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The COMPLETE Checklist for Preparing for Your Family Photo Session!

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

You’re officially on the calendar for a beautiful family portrait session. Yay! Here’s a comprehensive checklist that will walk you through every step of the portrait process to help you feel confident and prepared for your session.

Things To Do Before Your Session:

  1. Plan your outfits at least a week in advance—don’t wait ‘til the last day, trust me! You want to wake up feeling relaxed and prepared, so plan these details out early. Feel free to text me photos of your wardrobe if you’re having a hard time choosing! I’m happy to help.

  2. Prepare your kids (and husband!) with laid-back, low-key references to let them know what’s happening. Keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual. (Families have shared that this tip is especially helpful if they have a particularly shy child.)

  3. Prepare a list of your kid's favorite music, it will make them happy and comfortable during the photoshoot

How to Dress for Your Session:

  1. Don’t wear matching clothes— no more jeans-and-matching-shirts these days! Instead, wear colors in a complimentary color palette, such as earth tones and neutrals like the samples below.

  2. No tennis shoes, T shirts, or shirts with writing on them!

  3. Prepare different outfits to have different looks int the photos

  4. I recommend women wear medium or long dresses instead of pants because they capture more movement and generally photograph more flatteringly. Short dresses will be a challenge when we do any seated photos, so keep that in mind.

  5. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in. If your dress gets suddenly too short when you bend over, or your pants are too tight to sit down in, opt for more breathable pieces. Be prepared to move!

  6. Do opt for accessories! Bowties, suspenders, hats, flower headbands, chunky scarves, beautiful flowing dresses and skirts—these create visual interest and movement in your photos, and really help the images stand apart. Photos are a special occasion; take advantage of this fun opportunity to dress up a little more.

  7. If you have a little girl with bright nail polish on, go ahead and remove it. Neon pink and vibrant turquoise nails will almost undoubtedly clash with your beautiful wardrobe choice, and yes, it will show up in the photos.

How to Pose During Your Photo Session:

This is the most important part of this whole blog post, so be sure to read carefully!

  1. No need to ‘Cheese’! I’m chasing natural interactions and unposed moments. I strive to capture and encourage authentic expressions. No need to coax your children into fake smiles!

  2. On a related note, children around the ages of 5-10 will sometimes try to “cheese” in the photos, because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do when they see a camera! Help me create more candid shots by interacting playfully with your children.

  3. Laugh, play, tickle, and snuggle. This is how we’ll capture the REAL moments.

  4. Not everyone has to be looking at the camera. Actually, I usually encourage my gentlemen to NOT look at the camera. (they seem to prefer that, as well!) I like to especially encourage my dads to focus on their partners and their kids.

  5. When in doubt, just smile and look at your family lovingly.

  6. Stand close together. Actually, as close as possible :)

  7. Relax, slow down, and don’t force anything. Don’t feel pressured to make everything perfect! Just be present with your family and I’ll do the rest. And don’t stress if any of the kids get fussy! As an experienced photographer, I’ve seen it all before, trust me. Just snuggle your kiddos and we can still capture beautiful images :)

  8. Expect me to move you around to different spots to capture images. The more variety we get, the bigger your gallery and the more great shots we have the opportunity to create together!

What to Expect After Your Photo Session:

After your session, your work is almost done! You can let your hair down, put your feet up, and relax a little bit.

  1. After your session, you can select your favorite images to keep, or upgrade your package after seeing the photos.

  2. I will be working hard behind the scenes to get the best results of the photos. Your gallery is typically ready within 1 to weeks of your session.

  3. When your photos are ready, you will receive a link and password to your online photos gallery where you can download and share in high resolution.

Last step to complete your portrait experience: ENJOY YOUR PHOTOS! I am passionate about printed art because then you can see it and appreciate it in your home every single day. I can’t wait to help you create something beautiful, timeless, and meaningful, just for your unique family.

And that’s it! The complete checklist for guiding you through your family photography session. What to wear, how to pose, how to plan, and what to do afterwards—all easy to follow! Thank you for choosing me to be your trusted photographer. I can’t wait to love on your family and leave you with beautiful artwork you will love for decades to come.

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