Family Portrait Session – Tips and Tricks

There is nothing better than spending a beautiful weekend morning with the ones you love.  Family portrait sessions can be a great way to spend time together as well as get photos to show friends and coworkers.  The following are some of our tips and tricks to help you better prepare for your family session with The Shutter Monkeys.


TIP #1.)  Combine sessions with other relatives.

This can be a great way to have a larger group together and catch up with everyone in the family.  Planning multiple sessions together with other relatives makes it easy to get those large group photos that everyone wants.  For example, if there are three families that want to be included and each family purchases an hour session, there are many different ways that the time can be split.  Maybe each family takes only 45 min of their hour for individual photos, then at the end it leaves an additional 45 minutes of the 3 hours to do combined group photos like the one above.  Each family walks away with photos of themselves as well as photos of the whole group.  This type of session can be a great way to make the most of your time and get everyone together to enjoy the outdoors.

TIP #2.)  Plan for the right time for your family.

This can be interpreted in a number of ways.  If you very young ones in your family, it is best to schedule your session when the little ones will be most relaxed.  If your child usually takes a nap at 3 in the afternoon, try to plan the session for after their nap so they are fully rested.  By planning for the time in this manner, it ensures that everyone will be in the best possible mood for their photos and enjoy the session to its fullest.

Another way to plan for the right time is to keep in mind the patience of younger children.  Sometimes children can get fussy and that is to be expected.  Be sure to schedule a session that is long enough to account for such things.  Maybe an hour and a half session would be more realistic than an hour?  If you can gauge how much time you will need, it allows for more time which means more photos and less stress.


TIP #3.)  Colors and patterns.

When it comes to wardrobe, there are many options and one can easily feel overwhelmed.  Although it is fun to have that photo where everyone is wearing the same shirt, it may be best to color coordinate without matching entirely to showcase the individuality of each person in the family.  Some things to keep in mind when choosing colors and patterns are: Does it go with the season?  Will it clash with the location?  Does one stick out more than the rest?  We suggest using colors that flatter everyone and that everyone enjoys and keeping them in the same vibrancy.  For instance, earth-tones and blushes look great together, but earth-tones and a neon pink may clash quite a bit.  The same goes for patterns.

TIP #4.)  Location.

The location you choose for your family session can play a large role in the overall outcome of the photos and that is why we are here to help!  Some locations have really one type of scenery to offer while others have a variety.  Consider what types of scenery would best represent your family.  This also translates into what scenery you would like prints of for your home.  Many of the local Metroparks have a lot to offer in terms of scenery and style, so let us know what interests you most.  Often times, if there is a park that your child is familiar with and comfortable at, it may be a good location for your session as well.


TIP #5.)  The importance of play.

A relaxed and fun atmosphere is of the utmost importance for a family session and that is why we highly encourage playing during our sessions.  This is a time to have fun and if the family is having fun, it will show through the photos.  Smiles that are natural convey emotion far stronger than those that are forced, which it why it is best to keep frustration to a bare minimum.  We all remember those forced smiles we had in photos as kids for the yearbook and our goal is to bring out the natural smiles of everyone.  Have fun, chase each other, tickle, laugh and genuinely enjoy each others company and put the stress of a portrait session behind you.  This will give you the best photos where everyone is showing their best and beautiful selves.


TIP #6.)  Expectations.

It is important to go into a family session without strong expectations of outcome, just leave that to us!  When younger ones in the family feel the pressure to make sure the photos come out perfect, it often has the opposite effect.  Many people feel uncomfortable in front of the camera (children are no different) and although we try our absolute best to ease that stress, added pressure to perform from mom and dad can sometimes be the difference between good photos and great photos.  If your family arrives at the session expecting to have fun, we can guarantee you are going to have a great time with us. Don’t worry about posing and all of that, that is why you hired professionals.  We will guide you in ways as to make everyone feel comfortable and most of all, have fun!

Ready to schedule your family’s session?  Click HERE to contact us today!

Have a high school senior in your family?  Be sure to check out our other article “Senior Elite Sessions – How to Prepare for Senior Photos” for more helpful advice!


This entry was posted in Family Photography, Photography, Photos, Uncategorized.