Tips & Tricks for a great family photo session!

Planning a family photo session can be overwhelming, read below for my tips!

What is your biggest fear before your session?

Usually, the answer I hear often is parents are concerned about how their little ones will behave for the session and choosing the family outfits.

I want to say, as a parent of two little ones, I understand this. As a parent who has had a few rough photo sessions with my little ones, I get it, but there are ways around this. Read that again, your photo session does not have to be filled with stress and concern. As a photographer, I can help make your session stress free and fun!

1. Location & timing is crucial!

I know personally, my little ones have better times of the day. When they were younger the best time of the day was bright and early for happy kids. Now, they are night owls and are getting easier as they grow to find a good time for photos. Granted every family schedule and child is different so that is where we talk, we talk a lot! When I first get an inquiry for a family session, I want to know more about your family! How many people are in your family, how old are your little ones? What is the preferred time of the day to have the happiest kids and avoid nap times? Does the family have any hobbies, or locations to use that is special to them? Are we celebrating any milestones at this session? Give me the details! This helps me give suggestions and find ways before even meeting you to connect with your little ones (more on this below).

It is true that the best photography session lighting is in the evening. The warm summer glow in the photos cannot be created at any other time of the day. Does that mean that is the only time we shoot? No way! When I had a one-year-old, there was no way we would be able to have a 7:00 pm session start time and have a happy baby. No way! So at J. Graeler Photography we have locations we love to use that are best for beautiful morning session light and we also have our favorite locations for that beautiful evening glow. It does not matter what time we choose if we have a little one ready to nap and screaming the whole time, so let’s avoid that by working together to find the right time and location. I shoot sessions as early as 7:00 am as needed!

2. Communication is key!

Communication is huge! I am not the right fit for you if you want to book the session, and then I see you at the session. I want to help you plan the session and work with you to find the right location and session time for the best possible session. I also want to know more about your kids! If your little one loves Mickey Mouse, let me know, that gives me something to connect with him or her about. Do they love dinosaurs? Bring some with you! They will be more excited they get to bring toys and I cannot wait to check out those cool dinos or sweet dolls! I want to make your vision come to life and create unique photos for your family

3. What do we wear?

This can be overwhelming, but if we break down the process I think it does help! The best advice I heard for family photo outfit planning was to pick a print for someone first. It could be mom’s dress, could be a fun shirt for your son, or a sweet dress for your daughter and build off the colors within that print. Take into consideration your location we are having your session. If it is a beautiful green park with lots of grass and large trees, a simple sweet green dress or a green shirt for dad is not going to be the best choice. Here is a quick suggestion on how to get started with colors/outfits.

Still not sure where to start or if you are on the right track? Reach out to me, I get so many photos from parents of website photos, or in the stores to get feedback! I LOVE to help do this and take some stress off. I will give suggestions and feedback. I also have a Pinterest what to wear board and an amazon store to get ideas!



4. What do we bring and how do we prep the kids?

Happy kids! Happy kids make such a huge difference! I will talk to you prior to the session and that will tell me what props I should bring. Might be a blanket for sitting photos, kids sized chair, or something more custom. So no need to bring big items unless you have a special request! Bring the kids a cup, even a snack for a mid-session break. If we are planning a first birthday session, we will talk about what to bring in more detail as we plan. It helps to prep the kids ahead of the session by letting them know we are going to take photos and play. Let them know that we are going to smile, tickle, and play and give them something to look forward too. Let the kids know if they are well behaved they can get ice cream, out to eat, or whatever you are planning to do! The worse thing you can do to prep is teaching your kids to say CHEESE, we want to avoid that, and letting them know they will be in trouble if they don’t smile in the first few moments of the session. The kids likely do not know me, tell them about me. Let me know I have two kids and ask them to bring something to show me. Whatever they are into, I LOVE that also! Let them know that and get them excited. Does your little one have a favorite animal or toy? Bring it! That will help me break the ice and they will be more likely to work with me easier with helps everyone’s stress level! Let me do the hard work!

5. Why hire a pro?

I hope these tips and tricks help you prepare for your upcoming session!

In case we have not met yet, here it a little bit about me!

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