Tips for Making the Best of Your Next Family Photo Session

July 1, 2020

Whether capturing your sweet family, or celebrating a special moment in your life, like a graduation, birthday, anniversary or new baby, I’m so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. I’ve created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos, and feel more than ready and prepared for your session!

Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot and let me create photos you’ll love forever. Can’t wait to get you in front of my camera!


Photographers are natural light specialists because we believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections, creates photographs that feel fresh, timeless and truest to you. Therefore, the BEST possible time to create these magical portraits is known in the photography world as “golden hour.”

Golden hour is one hour before the sunset. You can use a sunset calculator online to determine the scheduled sunset for the date and location you’d like to do your session.

Remember, the sun sets much earlier during the colder months of the year and much later during the warmer months, so make sure to factor that in when choosing your portrait session date, especially if you’re taking off work or have evening plans afterward.


Some people choose to schedule their annual family photos during their favorite season! Others schedule their sessions around the timing of their little one’s milestones, so that we can capture all of the milestones in one session. The most popular option (especially since I’m based in the Midwest) is fall. People love the cooler temperatures and the changing leaves. Because of this, however, it is important to know that the months of September and October book up several months in advance!


The location of your portrait session is up to you! For most lifestyle sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always a first choice. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. There are amazing locations throughout the city as well as the surrounding suburbs, and I’m happy to provide location inspiration if you need some help in choosing.

Furthermore, I love to travel. I’m always up for exploring a new area together, so never hesitate to ask about a location even if you’ve never seen me shooting there!


Think about some activities that you enjoy doing with your little ones. I usually always incorporate some walking shots and maybe some tickles to get authentic smiles and laughter throughout the shoot. It can also be helpful to bring some things that will get your kiddos engaged in an activity, such as reading their favorite book, riding in a wagon, chasing bubbles, and the ideas here are endless. By bringing an “activity” for them to engage in, it will feel less like a photoshoot and more like a fun day at the park!


Professional hair and makeup is on the top of most clients’ checklists because it looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own.  This is the time to treat yourself! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. Mommas – You are rarely the one in FRONT of the camera, so take advantage of this time!

If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera.


Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help me get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera.

A lot of families discuss something fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like ice cream! It also helps if their bellies are full and they’ve had some good rest beforehand.

Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! They’re little, and some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!


– Blanket (If applicable and you’d like some seated shots)

-Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots

– Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

– Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

– Snacks for the little ones

-Playlist (on your phone) with favorite songs for the little ones

– Small eye-catching toys (or lollipops) to hold their attention

I can’t wait to see you soon for your session! If you’d like some additional tips for what to wear to your shoot, click here for an additional blog post to help you through the planning process!

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