How To Prepare For Family Photos


When you have a young family, getting quality family photos is so important. We want to have keepsakes of every stage of our beautiful children, and of our partners! But how to prepare for family photos often feels like a Mount-Elbert-sized headache. Is there any way to make it all easier?

Moms, let me share how to prepare for (actually enjoyable) family photos–all tips approved by your friendly neighborhood Denver family photographer!

Mentally Prepare Your Family Ahead of Time

We want our kids to be prepared for the experience of family photos, especially if formal photos are infrequent. But too much preparation can actually make for really stiff photos! Family photos are all about capturing the authentic smiles. So instead of saying, “You’ll smile at the camera and pose for the nice lady,” try “We’ll have some fun together and meet our friend with the camera.” 

Comfort Before Cuteness

Keeping clothes nice is so tricky, and there is a temptation to hide all the clothes in a box in your closet until 5 minutes before the shoot. Don’t do this! Kids need to try on and adjust to the clothes they’ll wear. This way, if something doesn’t fit right, you’ll have come up with an alternative before you’re piling in the car.

My sessions are really active, with a lot of play and having fun! Make sure your kids all have full range of movement to help us get those smiles. And if you’re wearing new shoes, consider bringing a backup pair in case of broken straps or uncomfortable rubbing. 

Early Families are Happy Families

Okay, my next tip is the most important one: plan to arrive a little early. Planning to be ready at the location early means we’ll all stay cool when, say, a child reminds us all that she needs to use the bathroom. If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. 

When you arrive to the location early, you can feel it out! See what’s around, what might be fun to play on, and your kids will feel more at ease when it’s time for pictures. When considering how to prepare for family photos, this tip will be a lifesaver!

Prepare to Keep the Smiles Going

If you have really young kids, keep those pockets full of secret treats. Kids can get hungry or bored if the session goes long, so a little snack can keep up the happy mood. (Just don’t bring anything that is going to get stuck in teeth!) Or, bring a favorite toy, stuffy, or blanket to cheer up your kids and help them feel comfortable.

Another great idea is to plan for more family fun after the session. Kids can look forward to photos and going out for pizza afterward, or a movie night. Building that positive association will make it even easier next time! 

Let your kids be themselves, and enjoy each other

This one can sometimes be tricky, as a mom myself I know the desire to have our children be on their best behavior in front of others, especially new faces. But, the way you interact with your kids really sets the tone for how the session will go, and ultimately the results of your photos!

I encourage you to use your session time to really look at your children with love, ignore the small stuff, play with them, cuddle with them, show your affections, and resist the urge to discipline for just this one hour! We can redirect any naughtiness, and honestly sometimes those little silly things make for good photos!

I want to capture your children as they are, playing and feeling free to be themselves, jumping, twirling and doing whatever it is they want to do. Because that is when they laugh for real, (instead of the fake cheese smiles) their eyes light up, and they actually leave the session saying ‘can we do that again!?’

But remember, it’s on you to allow this to happen, and to set the tone! And, remember to tell your partner!

Denver family photographers are well-equipped to get those smiles out of every member of your family. Ready to preserve those fleeting moments with a Denver family session? Reach out! I can’t wait to hear from you!