Releive stress, 5 tips to nailing your Fall Family Portrait Sessions

Family sessions are often times not even considered in your yearly to-do list. With my professional experience and trial and error with my own family, I have put together 5 tips for nailing your family portraits.

I have to start by saying, these tips are for the parents, the adults in the room.

Now let's get to it. I am saying this with love, and compassion and because I want you to be successful when planning your sessions. Here it is, are you ready? Ok, (exhale with love) your photographer is responsible to educate you on how to achieve the best photos with smiles and laughter and great emotions, but that means you are responsible to do the homework in advance of your session.

My sister is a teacher and just like all teachers, you have students that are not prepared for a test or an exam because they did not do the homework, they didn't study or research. They would listen to bits and pieces of the lesson, deem that the information is internalized and can be recalled at any time. They show up to school only to realize, they aren't prepared or ready. I've been there, and I am sure we were one of those students at one point in our lives.

I want this to be an educational tool to get you ready for your sessions so when it's time to show up you are best prepared as you can be and walk into your session with confidence that it will all be ok. Parents you can walk in smooth with snack packs ready, kids well-rested, and everyone ready to enjoy some family time.

Your kids will see me as a stranger. No matter how much I smile, dance and sing, sometimes they are not just into it. Let them know it will be a fun day! Prep them and prepare them to be happy to take pictures. Trust me, It worked for me with my 4year old and she was excited to take her pictures and get all dressed up for a fun day at the park.

Prepare your kids mentally.

Here is an example of how to prepare your kids for the session mentally:

Instead of “When we get there I want you to smile for the camera ok, the nice lady will take your picture”

Start a week or two before the session and say “Omg! I am so excited that we get to take pictures together! It will be such a fun day. I can't wait to see your smile, let me see your smile (cutest baby/toddler smile to impress the parent) Then ask for that smile every now and then up until the day."

This will allow them to know that they have permission to have fun, be kids, and when it’s time to smile for the camera they will be ready. Remember family photos aren’t to just capture the traditional shot, but to photograph who you and your kids truly are, your true selves, at the moment just being.


"It's our job to capture the moment, It's your job to be in it."


Plan your sessions in advance

If you are planning your family session for the first time keep this in mind for next year, you can start this process now.

Making your family sessions a tradition will build a sense of pride in your family and it will build anticipation for your family. Remember tip number one, your family will have an amazing time and they will look forward to the next session.

Always anticipate the cost. Once you purchase your outfits, get your hair and make-up complete, in some cases, you will want to book a venue, and pay your photographer, the cost can add up quickly. Don't put that pressure on yourself. Find a number that works for your family session and start saving monthly. When it's time to secure your dream photographer and location you won't add the stress of the price tag because you would have already done your research.


Communicate with your photographer

This one is easy. We are artists and we communicate through visuals. I can see something as simple as a photo of a wine glass, pull a color pallet together, understand the style and what drew you to the photo. Pin what inspires you. It doesn't have to be photos of other families, it can be nature, a shadow, an animal, an expression, whatever causes you to pause and admire that image. I like to get 5 to 10 of these photos so I can help with the planning of your shoot. Don't get me wrong you can send me photos of people as long as the intent isn't for me to copy the exact pose, it may be similar but it won't be exact. Remember these are for inspiration only, not to copy.


Keep the kids happy.

If there was any time to have your kid's favorite snack on hand, this would be the time. Make snack bags with treats that won't mess up their clothes. Keep napkins and wipes handy also.

It is important to let them eat and nap before the session, or schedule an early session right after their morning routine. We all know what a 20 to 30-minute ride in a car does to kids. They fall asleep on the way to the session and then are groggy and not really ready to have fun, they are tired, and trust me when kids are not ready to have fun they let you know it. You may get a lot of forced smiles in your gallery.

Know their favorite nursery rhyme or kid's song and let me know them before the session. It's my last resort. Trust me the effort on my part hahaha.



Meditate, breathe and understand they are kids, and they will feed off your energy. Patience allows the opportunity to not miss the moment.