top of page

Advice I Wish I Knew for Family Photos Before Becoming a Photographer


If you’re looking for a photographer who actually wants to hang out with you and your family, take you to an epic location, and do something fun while we take some've found your girl! This advice might not be the norm but in my experience, it helps my clients to have a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Once You've Chosen Your Photographer

Take the time to talk with them about your vision for your session. Before you even contact them, have some pictures from social media saved to your phone that you like. A good photographer will know how to interview you to discover what you are looking for. During the first phone call, you’ll get a better understanding of what type of session you want, the types of locations available near you, and an idea of what your wardrobe will be.

Think of your session like a weekend activity. You could go on a picnic with your photographer and play frisbee, or go to the beach and bring the dog, visit Golden Gate Park or the gardens…the options are endless!

Choose a Photographer With a Storytelling Style

Storytelling photographers can direct you with stylized posing while you and your family are enjoying each other (in other words - no long pauses to sit and smile at the camera). They will usually have you moving around and interacting with each other for a more natural feel. This results in dynamic photos that have variation and life to them.

Work With a Photographer Who Has a Client Closet and Knows How to Style Their Clients

A good photographer will know how to elevate the styling of each individual and/or family to bring out their true style and personality in the images.

Styling is about looking cohesive and that you belong in the environment you are in. Breaking the idea that you are supposed to match and instead ensuring everyone is comfortable and feeling good in the clothes they’re wearing.

You can read more about this here.

Everyone Should Eat Before the Session, Especially Dad

I encourage my families to eat and also bring snacks! We’re all so worried about getting something on our clothes during the pictures. Let’s break the mold on this. I think all kids should either be in flip flops or barefoot, and we should be on the beach or climbing rocks, while mom is in one of my very long, flowy dresses! Let’s have fun. Bring snacks and drinks to keep the family energized.

Why I’m Against Bribing for Taking Photos

In my opinion, the bribe should be the actual pictures (rather than the ice cream or toy shop afterwards)! What’s better than hanging out as a family at the beach, a beautiful park, or open space? We have some fun playing music (playlist specific to the family) and simply playing or doing an activity that your family enjoys. I even give out candy (Tic-Tacs usually!) to help entice the kiddos. As soon as we change the mindset and make it a fun environment, everyone can relax and be themselves (which makes for better photos, too!). I love making the process easy for my clients so that they can really look forward to sessions together and will keep returning to document their memories.

I’m Awkward or We Have Never Liked Our Pictures

Working with a photographer who is confident in gentle posing and keeping a busy family engaged is key. Once you arrive, your photographer should be in charge to keep the session running smoothly and the kids focused on them. Your photographer's voice will be guiding you throughout the session while you play and enjoy time with your family. Sessions should be natural and swift so kids do not get bored or lose focus. At the same time, we’re posing you, your partner and the children throughout the fun so that you don’t have to worry about feeling awkward while “posing.” We want you to be in your element (aka ignoring the camera) and having a good time.

My partner and I Could Never Be That Touchy Feely

Clients are usually a bit nervous because they want that snuggly pose, but they simply do not know how to get there…especially in front of someone they just met! My advice is to find a photographer that consistently shows what they’re capable of and makes you feel comfortable and confident when speaking to them about your vision. 

It is magical to see couples come together and have their kids see them share a kiss or to watch a parent see siblings actually hug during sessions. A good photographer will make you feel at ease so you can get comfortable with your crew.

Your Photographer is Responsible for Getting the Photo; Your Job is to Love on Your Family

The best photographers will suggest kisses, jokes, nuzzle noses, piggy back rides, rolling around in the grass and tag. Honest open-mouth laughter and real connection. Don’t worry, there’s always time for the more formal shots or individuals of the kids, too.

When the Kids Need a Break, the Couple Gets Their Time

This is not the time to say you don’t need these photos. You do! Don’t pass them up. A great photographer will help the two of you get close and feel comfortable. But if I were you, consider whispering how good your partner looks and nuzzling their neck. That’s always a great shot! As hardworking parents, you’ll cherish these moments together and appreciate having the moment captured.

Incorporate Something Special into Your Family Session

Many sessions are focused on the dog or the new baby, but don’t forget about something unique to your crew like your weekly game of UNO or a family member with a fun talent. Something seemingly small can create more meaning for the session. When that personalized image is printed and hung in your home, there will be a wonderful story to tell about it that captures your family.


bottom of page