Preparing for Your Family Session

Family photography is fun! But it can also be a little stressful for the family. Mom and Dad particularly. And it shows in the pictures when Mom and/or Dad are on edge.

As a family photographer, it is my job to make this experience as stress free as possible! So here’s a little guide to ensure your family session is laid back and relaxed and HAPPY. 

Be Cool!

Keep in mind that the days of stiffly posed, everyone-looking-and-fake-smiling-at-the-camera kind of family photography are over! Thank goodness!

Today we go for a more natural look in family photography. Don’t get me wrong. I still strive to get those beautiful pictures with the whole family looking and smiling at the camera, but the key is that if it doesn’t happen right away, we don’t get upset and set the mood for the rest of the session. We can let the kids run around and take a break for five minutes before we try again. I schedule plenty of time for this very thing in each of my family sessions. which leads me to my next point…

Length of Session

While there is plenty of time for the kids to be kids, I do try to work quickly and my family photography sessions rarely last more than an hour. Even with some monkeying around. 

Let the Kids

Sometimes the best pictures are candid! Candid pictures often capture real moments with real smiles and emotions. So while the kids are running around, I may follow them and snap pictures when I can. I may suggest they run together or play ring around the rosie. Or I may simply let them explore their environment while I snap pictures. The point is: We can work with them. 

Look Away

Remember that we are trying to capture WHO your family really is together. I want to capture the connection between you and your children and spouse. NOT a connection between you and my camera. lol!

So don’t be afraid to look away from my lens during your family photography session. Look at your kids like you normally would. Cup their little cheeks with your hand and kiss their faces. If they’re not looking at the camera, then just stay in position and look at them. Talk to them, and interact with them while I work my magic.  Just try to stay conscious of where the camera is and don’t let anyone block anyone else’s face. I am always on the lookout for this, but it’s helpful if mom and dad know too, so they can move accordingly with little or no instruction from me to break up whatever adorable-ness might be happening.

The Best Time of Day

Timing is very important for photography! Especially outdoor photography. I try to do all of my sessions within an hour of sunset or sunrise. It really is the BEST time for lighting. The “golden hour” as its called offers the most beautiful light and atmosphere to make your pictures perfect. Lots of families will have their kids take a long nap on picture day so they won’t be so tired. Do whatever you have to do to get that golden hour light. You won’t be sorry!


Location is important, but its not everything. I don’t do a whole lot of props. I am more interested in simply capturing you all together and loving each other. So I try to choose locations that are pretty, but have plenty of room for us to move around and explore a little. Local parks are my go-to, but I love trying new places, so if you have something in mind, please let me know. If you have no idea, don’t worry. I’ll be happy to suggest some places.

What to Wear

Wear clothes that you feel good in and that reflect who you are. I don’t recommend matching, but rather coordinating. Click here to view a pinterest board I’ve made to help you coordinate clothes for your family photography session. I am happy to consult with you directly on wardrobe or recommend a personal stylist if you are interested. Just let me know.

When to Schedule Your Session

Don’t be afraid to send a message and check if I have last minute availability (sometimes I do), but its always a good idea to schedule at least a few weeks in advance. Especially in the late summer and Fall. I can get booked out pretty far, and I hate turning people away!

Ideally, you should book at least 2-4 weeks in advance to be sure you get the day you want.

I will deliver your digital gallery within two weeks of your session date, and you will select your favorite images, and place any orders at that time.

After the Session

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Need More Information?

Whether you've already booked your session or you need more information before you book. I'm here to help! Send me a message HERE and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Jessie Arras Photography