How to Plan for a Family Photoshoot – Secrets to Picture Perfect Photos

Ahhhh, sweet, sweet relief! You searched high and low and you finally found the perfect photographer for your family! I hate to tell you but that’s only half the battle. There are a lot of things you have to think about to plan for your family photoshoot. Read on to get tips and tricks to get the whole fam ready for your upcoming family photography session.

How to Plan for a Family Photoshoot – The Secret to Getting Picture Perfect Photos

Still riding the high from crossing off “find family photographer” from your list? You’re halfway there but there’s so much more you can do to squeeze the most out of your family photography session. Considering just a few more things and taking the time to carefully plan will end with you drooling over your session photos.

Location. Wardrobe. Experience. Yup, it’s that simple!

What’s next? Finding the perfect spot for your Family Photoshoot

You’ve already combed the internet and chosen a photographer that matches your family’s style, budget, and personality. Amazing! This really is the hardest part down. Your photographer should have location suggestions for you to look over. Make sure you pick a location that suits your family.

Are you a messy crew that loves to make banana pancakes on Sunday mornings and wants an authentic representation of family life? Do an in-home session. Take those shoes off, let your kids *mostly* dress themselves and get ready for a fun day with your photographer.

Does your family spend countless hours exploring new cities and love the concrete jungle? Ask your photographer for their suggestion about an urban location!

Are you a hiking, biking, beaching bunch? Pick a backlit field and go frolic together in nature. Your location will convey a message about who your family is right now. Make sure to pick something that goes beyond ‘Christmas card worthy’ and pick something that truly represents you!

Family Photoshoot Wardrobe

So you’ve picked the perfect location that represents your family right as you are in this moment, great! Now you have to coordinate your wardrobe to your location. Super casual clothes don’t usually highlight cool urban locations, just the same as long flowing dresses and full hair and makeup aren’t going to really represent a day in the life of your family making pancakes on a Sunday morning. Think your location through and then hit Pinterest to find some outfit inspiration!

  • Backlit field and picking flowers in nature? Think natural, neutral, and simple. This is not the location for a cocktail dress.
  • Heading to downtown to explore for your session? Think stylish, chic, and modern.
  • Playing at home for your session? Think casual, daily-life, and best of all BAREFOOT!

Start with Mama’s outfit first. You know exactly what looks great on you and if you feel great, that light will shine all the way through the session. Add everyone else’s next. Coordinate, don’t match (think the opposite of all jeans and white shirts). Lay everyone’s outfits out on the bed and mix and match until it’s perfect.

Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer either! I routinely have my clients send me images of all the outfits laid out together when they’re stuck.


Experience? What?! Isn’t that the photographer’s responsibility?

Yes. Absolutely! However, there are so many things you can do on your end to make the experience an enjoyable one for your whole family.

First things first, change your mindset. Stop thinking of your photo session as a chore needing to be checked off your to-do list. Instead, start to think about it as a quiet minute of quality time where you and your family literally just have to enjoy each other’s presence.

It’s a hard shift to make but this will result in genuine, beautiful images that you will treasure even for so many years to come. This is a great opportunity to have fun with those little, crazy people you created. Bonus that you’ll get better images as well as actually enjoy your session!

Stop bribing those kiddos!

Just stop! Make sure you have water and *not messy* snacks, absolutely. But trading your kid a smile for a gummy bear is going to get super old, super quick. Plus, candy-for-smiles will only get you fake, crazy-colored smiles anyway. Your photographer is most likely also a kiddo whisperer, so let go of the control and let them do their thing. Fun, not-stressed, photoshoot mom will result in fun, not-stressed, photoshoot kids too. Remember, we’re having fun! I tell my clients to continue the experience after the session rather than bribing. Take everyone out for a root beer float or a massive ice cream cone, not as a trade-for-smiles but as a way to continue the fun evening with your sweet family.

So, that’s it! Your photographer will do their part and I promise if you do yours, you will truly look forward to your family photography session, year after year.

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