5 Tips for Successful Family Photos

Many families are getting ready to have their annual holiday photos taken. Family photos can be a lot to handle – you have to get the kids ready, make sure they look neat and tidy, get your husband ready and make sure he has a smile on his face, oh! And don’t forget to get yourself ready too! On top of that you probably aren’t used to have a big, professional camera in your face. If you are getting nervous about your upcoming family photo session, we are here to help. Here are five tips for successful family photos!

Successful Family Photo Tips

1. Plan ahead

The number one question most photographers get asked after a client books a session is, “What should we wear?!” Start planning your families outfits at least a couple of weeks before your photo session. That will give you time to pick up additional items, make sure everything coordinates nicely or even make a complete change in outfits. You don’t want to be running around the morning of your session trying to get everything ready. Prepare in advance and you have one less thing to worry about! Check out our Fall Fashion Inspiration here to get more ideas.

Successful Family Photo Tips

2. Communicate with your Photographer

Do you have a specific vision or idea how you want your photos to look? Do you want something rustic, urban or beach themed? Do you know a couple of poses that you must have? Make sure to tell your photographer all of these things! Try as we might, we are not mind readers (although that would be cool), and we love getting input from our clients. We want to make sure that you are happy with your photos and your experience, so if you have something specific that must be included in your session make sure you tell your photographer.

successful family Photo tips

3. Think about Timing

If you are having an outdoor session your photographer is probably going to steer you towards a “golden hour” session, which is the hour before sunset (or hour after sunrise) when the light is soft and warm. The time of golden hour changes throughout the year. If you know your session is going to take place during a normal nap or meal time, see if you can arrange another time with the photographer. Or, feed the kids a little early and bring some (non-messy) snacks to the session to use as bribes. Happy kids = beautiful photos = happy mom.

Family Photo Tips-103

4. Have fun with it

We all want picture perfect photos – everyone dressed beautifully, smiling children, happy parents, beautiful backdrop. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Maybe there are storm clouds rolling in, maybe your youngest is having a meltdown because he can’t play with his favorite car, there are a million things that could go wrong. The key here is to have fun anyway. Your photographer is skilled at capturing the tiny moments in between meltdowns, a sweet kiss that dad gives to a crying baby and a million other crazy situations. If you can lighten up and make the best of the situation, instead of getting stressed, the rest of the family will feed off of your positive energy.

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Successful Family Photo Tips

5. Prepare Dad and Kids Beforehand

It might seem like a good idea to spring the announcement that you’re having family photos taken the morning of, but this is actually the worst way to prepare your family! Start mentioning the photo session to your kids and to Dad as soon as it is booked, and every so often in the days and weeks leading up to your session. That way everyone will know when to expect it and you can talk to the kids about what the photographer is going to do, so that they don’t get scared of the big, black camera in their face! And don’t forget about Dad! Make sure he gets a little treat after the session too for cooperating. No one usually likes having their picture taken while it’s happening, but they will be glad they did once they see the results!


Do you have any tried and true tips to make your photo session stress free? We want to hear them! Post it in the comments or on our Facebook page!


*All images taken by Tracy Cepelak of Tracy Lynn Photography.

Avatar About Tracy

Tracy is a children's photographer at Tracy Lynn Photography (www.tracylphotography.com) in Houston, TX. When she isn't behind the camera you can find her chasing around her one year old daughter, baking something sweet in the kitchen, and traveling as much as she can. She writes about her life as a mom at the mini traveling cupcake and traveling adventures at The Traveling Cupcake. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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  1. 1

    Your photos are always so amazing Tracy! P.S. That photo of Kaitlin never gets old. I giggle every time I see it! 😉