Tips to Get Your Family Ready and Out the Door


For those who may not already know my work, my heart is in capturing you with those you love the most. As your photographer, I want our photo session to go as smoothly as possible. For this reason, I have some tips to get your family ready and on your way to a successful photo session.

Before Your Session

Book your session at a time that works for your family and for good photos. Sunset is always a beautiful time of day, and that hour leading up to it is what us photographers call ‘the golden hour’. The sun drops lower in the sky, softening shadows, casting that beautiful golden glow over everything, and generally making everything (including you) as beautiful as it gets! So trust me when I say it’s worth making a few accommodations in your schedule.

Now, I realize when you add kids plus the desire for gorgeous photos, things like meals and bedtimes become a delicate balancing act! But with a little preparation and knowing ahead of time that you might need to bump up a nap, head off a hungry toddler, or push back bedtime this one day (and maybe offer a special reward for good behavior!) you can plan for great photos. With these tweaks, your session is likely to be a breeze. Well rested and well fed kids are generally happier kids. They are also easier to get ready and out the door!

Talk to your family about what to expect. Prepare your kids for the session, so it is not a surprise. Let them know that this will be something fun! This will ease some of the stresses involved and even make for better photos. You might even plan to do one of your favorite family activities during your session. Not only will this give your children something to look forward to, but it will add an extra personal touch to your session, too! (Look here for some neat ideas!)

Styling and What to Bring

Plan outfits in advance. Remembering to select a style for each member of your household is a must! Be sure to have outfits selected at least a week in advance. This includes laying outfits on the bed to make sure everything coordinates, removing tags and stickers, removing wrinkles, and ensuring everything fits comfortably.

Don’t forget about shoes! Shoes are the most important things to be sure they are broken in. Too tight or too loose shoes, particularly with no socks, can cause instant blisters (and an unhappy child) during a session which means we can’t play and have fun! For style tips and inspiration, please reach out to me or check out my client closet

Pack your bag. I generally recommend packing light and so if you prefer to show up empty handed I am all for it. But if you want to have any of these items on hand, even just near by in the car, they can be helpful:

  • A blanket to sit on—perfect for outdoor sessions!
  • Lint roller: You might need this to touch up your clothes and get rid of those pesky lint balls and pet hairs (especially if you’re bringing your fur baby).
  • Snacks and Water: Bring a non-messy snack and bottles of water. Nothing makes kids (both big and little!) happier than a nice treat or sip of water in between shots.
  • Tissues or Wet Wipes: Most moms keep these as a staple, but they work for everyone. Keep those noses, mouths, and hands clean!

On the Day of Your Session

Be sure to block off enough time for everyone to get ready! That means not scheduling the day full of other activities, so you end up feeling rushed when photo time comes around. You want to be sure everyone has enough time to shower, change, and get ready otherwise (hair, makeup, and anything else) without feeling rushed.

Ensure everyone is well fed and well rested. We mentioned this above, but it’s worth saying again! Nothing is worse than “hangry” children (or grownups!) having their photo taken. Depending on the time of your session, be sure dinner has already been eaten or have a plan for snacks in the car or during the session with dinner immediately following.

Prepare for the unexpected. Even the most thought out sessions can take an unexpected turn. If your toddler decides to have a meltdown midsession, no worries! It might feel like a big fail in the moment, but it really doesn’t have to be! Take a breath, smile, and love on them as they work their way through it. How you address the situation might be what ultimately gets your little one smiling again- and the photos of it will still be priceless.

Remember to plan for fun! Don’t over plan with too many outfit changes, scenery changes, and props. Keep it simple. A photo session is a major event and can quickly go south if there are too many variables or materials (hello, sensory overload!). In the end, the main objective is to capture your family and create long lasting memories.

When you’re ready for some family fun…

I’ll be ready to join you! For more tips and tricks for your upcoming session, I hope you’ll explore some of my other blog posts, reach out to say hello or ask any questions you might have. When you’re ready to make it official, go ahead and snag a date on my schedule and I’ll take it from there!