How to Make Sure Your Family Session Goes Smoothly

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Since I became a photographer here in Portland, OR, I met a whole group of people who had been wanting to have family pictures taken for a long time but didn’t because they weren’t sure if it would go well.

I can tell you that every single one of those families ended up with a gallery of photos that they love and cherish after having a session with me. And now I am going to tell you my top tips for a successful family photography session.



1 – Preparation is key

I am the kind of person who feels that, if I can be well prepared, I can take on any task, no matter how daunting. That’s why I offer my clients plentiful access to my time before the session so that we can prepare together.

That means, getting to know your family the best I can before the session by asking you to complete a questionnaire and meeting on video or in person to chat a little before we meet for the photos.

We will talk about what your family is like, what everybody likes, any reservations family members might have about having their pictures taken, what styling you want to achieve with the wardrobe, etc

That will make us more comfortable with each other and will give me the opportunity to prepare for your shoot in a very personal way.


2- Let the Kids Be Kids

The number one advice I can give my families for their family session is, kids shouldn’t get in trouble for anything during that hour we are together. The more we allow them to be themselves and express their free spirit, the best the photos will look. As long as you make sure they are acting in a safe way, you don’t have to worry about anything else.

I ask that you don’t say “smile’ to your kids during my sessions. Here’s the reason. I want to capture your child and all their beautiful colors. In the one hour we spend together, I will see so many different expressions on their faces and  I want to capture them all. I will make the time during the session to encourage them to smile, but that does not involve telling them to do so.

The way I do this is by putting a lot of effort into connecting with them and finding ways to bring genuine joy out of their hearts. The result will be emotive pictures that will remind of your child’s genuine personality at this moment in their lives.


3- Choose a photographer you love

I know that sometimes it can be easy to just go for the first photographer you found on Google or the one offering a deal on Facebook. But pictures are family heirlooms that you will keep forever, so make sure they reflect your family the way you always dreamed of.

Look at the photographer’s work you are considering in detail, do their pictures make you feel something? A lot of pictures look very beautiful but don’t evoke any emotion, in my opinion that’s a big no no. I want you to look at the pictures I make of your family in years to come and have those feelings come right back to you. And I want every person in your family to feel seen. That’s my main goal as a photographer.


4- Have an easy day on picture day

That means, keep things simple that day. Instead of having a really busy day full of activities, hoping to tire them out, do the opposite. Have an easy day, relax at home watching a movie, let the kids have lots of choices so that they don’t feel super frustrated by the end of the day. Make sure they take their naps and eat their meals. This will help them be in a brilliant mood for sunset time when we meet for photos.


5- Work on Styling with Your Photographer

At the beginning of my career as a photographer I did not believe what people wore to their session mattered, I believed that I could capture love and connection no matter what people were wearing. And that still holds true. The love and connection will always be present in my pictures no matter what you and your family wear.


The thing is, once I decided to give styling a try with my clients, I truly understood the role that styling plays. Just think about a movie that you really love, a lot of effort goes into what every single character wears, and that’s for a reason. The clothes add to the story, the colors help evoke emotion, bring out feelings. And that’s why I will always offer to help you style the session. Because although I know that I can make pictures full of love and connection no matter what you wear, I know that choosing the right textures and colors will take your pictures to another level. This will help us create art that will hang in your walls and fill your hearts for years to come.


Do you feel ready to tackle your next family session in Portland, OR? Just send me a message here and we can get you booked!

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