How to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

Understanding how to prepare for your family photo session can be stressful. Knowing what to wear, what to bring with you, how to deal with the kids not cooperating, and what to expect from the photographer can all seem a bit overwhelming and that's no good because your family photos should be a joyous, fun, exciting time where the memories that are captured will remind you of this special time in your family's life for years to come.
How to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

How To Prepare Before Your Family Photo Session

There are a few things that will help you to prepare for your family photo session. If you follow our guide you will love your photos! The following 5 simple tips will help you prepare before your family photo session.

View my family portrait gallery

  1. Clothing Consultation

    At WDO Photography we know your clothing choices can make or break your family photos. Clothing Choice depends on time of year, where your session is, and how comfortable they are. At WDO Photography we always schedule a clothing consultation to make sure your clothing choices look and feel great.

  2. Look Great, Feel Great

    Get a trim, have your roots touched up, and your nails looking great. This can make a big difference in terms of your confidence. We always recommend trying to schedule a hair appointment the morning of your photo session. Love the way you look and come to your session feeling great. It will show in the photos.

  3. Keep Calm & Carry On

    Tell the kids that you're having a family day in the park or wherever the session is scheduled. If you're relaxed they will be too but if you're stressed the kids will be as well. Calm and happy families have calm and happy photo sessions. I understand this is not always possible. Still, it's the goal even if things get in the way. That being said, try to keep the pressure low by not setting expectations too high. Kids are kids. I know how to work with them even if they're shy or stressed to produce amazing photos that you all will love.

  4. Photo Props

    If there are specific props that you want make sure that we've talked about these beforehand. This will ensure that we know how to handle including them in the photos. Props can be anything that you're bringing including stuffed animals, blankets, or other items that one of the kiddos can't go without. They can be something that you specially requested we bring. Either way let's make sure that we all understand expectations for what must be in the photos.

  5. Sleep Tight

    Get a good nights rest the night before. Make sure everyone drinks lots of water. Being rested and ready for the shoot the day of makes it go much smoother. In the morning before review our pre-shoot instructions. Then you can show up to your appointment ready to pose for the greatest family photos ever!

Schedule your family photo session today!

Photo Session Day

The following tips will help you understand how to prepare for a stress free photo session day.

  1. Dress for Success

    We've gone over what to wear which will include options for uncooperative weather. Your clothes help you feel confident. They're comfortable, and will look great in the photos. We have reviewed what to wear and had a Zoom session to look at everyone's outfits. If you're forced to change to something we've not talked about send us a picture via text or DM. We want to know what the new outfits look like.

  2. Accessorize

    No outfit is complete without accessories. That applies to parents and kids. Scarves, hats, earrings and other jewelry, ties (bowties are cool), suspenders, handbags, and other accessories are interactive props. They add visual flair that helps make your photos unique and personal. They also give the kids something to do between and sometimes during photos.

  3. Declutter

    Big diaper bags are a must if you've got little ones. They are also a great place to store phones, keys, wallets, action figures, video games, and whatever else the family has brought. Everything that doesn't need to be in the photos should be collected somewhere. If you don't have a diaper bag bring a tote that can hold everything you don't want in the pictures without things getting left behind.

  4. Snack Time

    Kids inevitably need a snack at the beginning or middle of the session. Be prepared with a non-messy snack. We can take a few minutes to get them feeling happy without creating messy hands and faces. Surprise snacks also help motivate kids that are not feeling cooperative.

  5. Backup

    It's a good idea to bring extra clothes, hair brushes, makeup, and comfy shoes. Wind will happen, a big wet kiss smearing mom's makeup will happen, a mud-puddle will happen. These always happen when you're not ready for them. Be ready for them. A quick stress free change or touch up and then before the kids get tired makes a big difference. Another form of backup that is always welcome is a grandparent or other helper. Someone who can wrangle the kids and make a surprise appearance in the photos is great! If you can arrange this support to show up in the middle of the session as a surprise for the kiddos that's even better. It will help them perk up and give them another reason to smile.

Read about overcoming photo session anxiety

Family Session Poses

A lot of people are nervous about having their photos taken because they don't know how to pose. We always talk beforehand about poses but the following tips will help you relax and get the most out of your session.

Read 7 tips for a healthier family photo session

  1. Trouble Areas

    Photographer client privilege is sacred. If there are body parts you are uncomfortable about let us know and we will create photos that minimize or hide those areas. You will look and feel amazing, I promise. We have those same insecurities, everyone does. Trust us to take care of hiding what you want hidden. After over 20 years photographing people I understand how to pose people to show off the features they love and hide areas they don't. Let us know what bothers you. Then relax during your session and we will take photos you will love.

  2. Act Natural

    Cheesing is great for family snapshots but these sessions are designed to create lasting memories. We capture real moments, natural interactions, and photos that you just can't get from the local big box store photo studio. During your session you may be asked to pose to help you look your best. However most of the time we'll look to capture your family being authentic.

  3. Ignore the camera

    Most of my client's favorite photos are candids. You don't need to look at the camera for each photo. Often looking at each other, laughing, and having fun results in photos that look authentic and that you will absolutely love.

  4. Relax

    The more relaxed and happy you all are the better the photos will turn out. We make our photo sessions fun. A full session will go by very quickly. Please don't watch the clock. The results are what matter to us, not the time that you've booked. Don't feel pressured and rushed. Take a breath, relax, and don't try to force yourself or your family to hurry. We make lots of great photos and the more relaxed everyone is the better.

  5. Let It Go

    During the session I'll move around a lot. I will ask you to pose a little. I may ask you to snuggle close or tell a funny joke. Your job is to go with the flow. I am photographing everything we've talked about. Relax and spend quality time together with your family. Let me worry about making sure the session goes as planned. Your job is to enjoy yourself and spend time with your amazing family.

Post Session Expectations

After we wrap up your session you may have some post session expectations. The following list should answer most of your questions. If you have any more please call or message us at any time to ask or get clarification.

  1. Time

    Most sessions take a lot more time than what we spend together. Editing, processing, and getting your photos ready to view takes a few weeks. I promise a three-week turn-around to finish your photos. Depending on schedules it may take longer to schedule your viewing appointment. If possible schedule this post session appointment beforehand. Then you can see your photos as soon as they are done.

  2. Viewing Appointment

    With Covid-19 and so many people not yet vaccinated in person viewing appointments are still not a great idea. We are conducting viewing appointments via Zoom. Even after everyone is vaccinated we may stick with Zoom as it's easier for almost everyone. Getting to view your photos and to order what prints and other products you initially want is very exciting. With Zoom you can allow the whole family to see the photos. Then if the kids are restless they can go play while the adults figure out what to order.

  3. Print Orders

    You've got prints coming to you. Assuming that you picked out all the prints for your package during the viewing appointment you can expect to receive your prints in a few weeks. If you ordered digital copies those are available immediately. We have all of our clients photos on file going back to 2007. You can always order prints or products. We keep our client galleries online unless you tell us to remove them so you can visit the link and order prints right from the website.

Thank you!

Thank you for choosing WDO Photography for your family portrait photography. We hope this helped you understand how to prepare for your family photo session. We are so happy to have you as a client. If you're ready to book or have more questions as to how to prepare for your family photo session please contact me here. I can't wait to hear from you!

June 21, 2021 | Don Orkoskey
Post Categories:
Family Portraits
Information for Photography Clients
Photo Client Tips
Photography Guides
Post Tags:


Hours & Info

5844 Walnut St. #W3
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Open by appointment

I'm so glad that you're here. I love to provide incredible headshots, family photos, and event photography as well as to teach photography. I also really enjoy providing wonderful free content for those looking to learn photography. In order to spend time creating all this great free content it would really help me out if you'd use one of my affiliate links to buy any equipment that you're interested in purchasing.

My Amazon Affiliate Link