A super fun family photo shoot is the best way to spend a day! It’s meaningful, personal, and a great way to celebrate milestones like a new member of the family or someone headed off to university. And, a family photo shoot makes such a heartfelt gift because it’s an experience that ends in a tangible, intentional keepsake. But how do you make sure it’s a fun family photo shoot?
This week I’m giving you my 7 tips for how to have FUN at your family photo shoot! Let me know what you think, and if you’ve found any other tricks that make the day memorable & light!
Right now I’m loving the outdoor fall sessions that my clients have been requesting! I’ve mixed in a few of my favourite shots from the season to get your creative juices flowing as you plan your next shoot!
#1 Location. Location. Location!
Choosing the right location is so important! And, especially as parents, there are so many things to consider!
First: pick a location that’s good for ALL ages. I do a mix of different locations for family sessions because I know every family is different! Kids’ different ages and personalities mean that a one-size-fits-all shoot just isn’t really a thing! Consider booking your session:
- At home
- At your fav location
- At my in-home studio
If you choose to go somewhere for your shoot, here are my top tips:
- Choose a location you love as a family, so your kids feel comfortable. The Wong family did this and the photos turned out amazing!
- Choose somewhere with shady spots, in case it’s super sunny!
- If you have littles with you, opt for somewhere far from a play structure. Slides and swings are just too enticing!
- Pick somewhere with a little visual interest: places with tall grasses, or fun places spots to sit always make for dynamic images. (I love a good tree stump, a big rock, or a cute bench!).
- Plan a family activity. Bring a picnic and your favourite board games to the park.
- Get your holiday cards & gifts sorted by picking out your Christmas tree (like the Barre family did) or rocking holiday sweaters (like the Tecks!).
- If it’s all grown-ups, scout out a new brewery to relax in together!
NOTE: Us west coast people LOVE shoots in the forest, but being deep in the woods can make everyone look very green and dark. Think of green spaces with nice light coming through!
#2 Full Bellies
It’s always best to come with full bellies to avoid that hangry feeling (never a good look on adults or children!). But of course, I am super ok with taking snack breaks, too. As a mom, I know how much my kid needs to be constantly refueled and let’s be honest, a snack never hurt an adult either!
The best snacks for photo shoot days are the ones that are not messy or sticky, and they don’t make you have to pee! You never know how close a bathroom might be.
#3 Plan A Little Bribe
I’m definitely not too proud to admit that I use bribes with my family from time to time– but always out of love and just as a way to keep my sanity! Everyone has something that sweetens the deal and entices them to play along for a bit. I know for me, if you put a coconut milk latte in my hand I’ll do just about anything you ask!
And okay, yes, this applies for the wee ones but it also works on less-than-enthusiastic adults! Think of your photoshoot as a fun day out with the family. Maybe you get pizza after, or ice cream? Or maybe it’s even pints at a local brewery!
#4 Timing & Lighting
Oh, the schedules! I get how tricky this one is when you’re considering naps, snacks and bedtime routines.
As a rule of thumb: the best light is always about 1.5 hours before sunset, and that goes for any time of the year. Of course if it’s a fall or winter day and it’s darker out, then we’ll be flexible on this. Planning a set time is important, but rest assured that as long as I don’t have another commitment the day of your shoot, we can play things by ear to make sure weather doesn’t stop us.
Also, there’s a really popular misconception that bright light is our friend, but actually, it’s not!
Strong sun = strong shadows = racoon eyes.
Planning what to wear can seem super overwhelming but you do not have to go it alone.
I always offer style consultations & advice. I’ll help you plan out your whole look (I’ve even gone to my clients’ houses so they could show me their outfits!). I also have Pinterest boards full of inspo if you need it, which you can check out here.
A few tips:
- You can choose to shop in your own wardrobe or use the shoot as an excuse to treat yourselves!
- Avoid being matchy-matchersons, but have a colour theme (it’s super cute)
#6 Go With The Flow
I can totally understand having a family session and wanting everything to come together in a particular way. But especially with smaller children, it just doesn’t always go 100% to plan, and we have to embrace the quirks of the day. The last thing you want is for this family photo session to remind you of a stressful day, so coming in with the mindset that it will go the way it goes will let you relax and enjoy it.
We’ll do a pre-shoot consult so I’ll know all about your family and be ready to rock with bad jokes and whatever else is needed to wrangle your crew! On the day itself, if you are silly and goofy, or if your kids are silly and goofy, embrace that! If your child is more reserved, embrace that too. Letting everyone go full force with their personalities, little or big, makes for really endearing photos. You’ll be glad you went with the flow!
#7 Be proud that you made the time to connect
We are all so stinking busy, but you made a goal to make time for your family and create some memories together and you actually did it! So while we’re together, you better believe we’re going to make it a celebration of your family!
I’ll help you make the most of this time together and let you all connect. By that I mean big hugs and getting all cozy together! I love seeing big bear hugs and making the kids giggle by having mom and dad have a big smooch.
Good To Know: When I do extended family sessions, I always make sure to get photos of the big group and each little family pod as well.
“Not only does she take amazing, beautiful pictures, she’s also an incredibly genuine human being. She somehow managed to wrangle my two rambunctious girls and get pictures that make them look like angelic sisters. Her demeanor when dealing with children who were tired of posing with mom put me to shame – she was kind and funny and gentle, and knew best how to talk to them to get the desired result — not just in the girls, but with the pictures, and she has provided simply gorgeous keepsakes!”
– Maggie Dumochel
Book Your Fall Session Now!
New family photos during this beautiful season + a head start on meaningful Christmas gifts for the fam = one big mom win! Send me an email to reserve your spot! Fall is fleeting, just like the appointments I have available 😉