7 tips for an easy-going family portrait session

(I met Leslie through the Influence Network, and she recently took some adorable pictures of our little family. I'm excited to show those to you soon :) But, today, she's sharing about tips taking easy-going family pictures!)

I love photographing families in their natural state, because I believe that any families' real, messy, happy, spit-upped-on, unpredictable, daily life is beautiful. As a photographer, giving clients proof that their own life is worthy to be made into art is a real privilege and one of my favorite things to do.

But, I also know that scheduling, planning for and then actually being photographed in family portraits can be a big stress for parents. Between finding a time that works well between nap schedules and work hours, getting together coordinating outfits, making sure everyone is rested and fed and happy, getting and keeping the toddler’s attention, and trying to keep shirts clean for an hour, it can all be a lot to handle!

Somehow, though, it always turns out to be worth the trouble. Even if a shirt or two does get a little slobber on it.

So, helping families have as relaxed and easy-going as possible portrait sessions is really important to me. I love making images that show clients they are truly doing a great work in growing and loving their family.

Here are a few tips that I give my clients to help them have an enjoyable and easy-going time taking family portraits.

  1. Choose real life over perfect.
    Inevitably, something is going to go wrong, whether it be the weather going south or the kids not being as excited about a certain photo setup as you are. So, I say make flexibility and fun your main game-plan, and focus on the real-deal love of your family over striving for perfection.
  2. Let your photographer know your priorities for the shoot ahead of time.If there’s a certain shot that you’ve just got your heart set on, try to let your photographer know a least a week ahead of time if possible, so that they’ll have plenty of time to prepare and plan to make sure that happens. On the day of the portraits, I get those priority shots done early in the session, just in case of any later meltdowns or surprises.
  3. And then beyond those priorities, trust your photographer.
    Your photographer has your best interests in mind, and is going to be constantly watching angles and light and shadows to make sure that you and your family’s love, not any other distraction, shines through in the photos.

  1. Try to let go of insecurities.
    So, since you’re already trusting your photographer, why not go ahead and also try to let go of any worries about bad sides or imperfections or silly faces? It’ll be so much easier to just enjoy the session and the time with your family if you decide that once you’ve got your hair, make-up and outfit settled before the shoot, those periphery things are not worth any further fretting. Confidence and genuine enjoyment will come through in your photos so much more beautifully than a flawless appearance ever could.
  2. Wear clothes that you feel happy and confident in.
    Choosing an outfit for yourself that you really enjoy, feel like yourself in, and feel confident in can make a big difference. Layering, adding a favorite accessory, or wearing one quirky piece that you love, like colored tights, can make it a little easier to relax and let go of insecurities. (I’ve got more tips for what to wear on
    this board.)

  1. Let the kids chime in! If they’re old enough, and if it’s possible, let the kids pitch in a few ideas during the portrait session! They want change it up and push you on the swings for a change? No problem! They want a photo of them and their dad making their favorite goofy face? Perfect!
  2. Enjoy your people.
    The bottom line is: enjoy the people you love. This always shines through
    so clearly in photos. Your photographer will take care of getting a good mix of images and documenting the personalities and stories in your family, and you can just worry about loving your people well. Because in the end, that’s the photo you’ll want to hold in your hands for years to come: your family’s authentic mix of crazy and love and spunk at that very moment in time.


Leslie Lee is a portrait and wedding photographer based in Texas, and when she’s not photographing lovely people she’s either reading, laughing too loud, writing, napping, or being a goofball with her high school sweetheart husband.



Popular Posts