Written by Denise Quinn

Edited By Avya Solutions | Virtual Assistant Services

You have secured your photographer, date, time and location for you family photo shoot. You’ve purchased the frames and looked at the Christmas cards you want to include them in. Now is the day, for your family to show how much you all have grown. Little Emily lost a tooth and her brother Tyler grew 6 inches in the last year! Now what? Where do you go from here?

The four best ways you can prepare your family for a fun and successful photoshoot this season are getting plenty of rest, planning, thinking about activities and having an “embrace the day” mindset!


Author Robert Heinlein once said, “Happiness consists of getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” This is so true in so many ways. We can all do well with getting more time to sleep each day especially on days that are out of the norm like getting photos of your family taken.

Imagine getting five hours of sleep then getting kids dressed, fed and out the door for a 1-2 hour session with your photographer. As much as I love a challenge, that is not one I’m willing to try, would you? The #1 suggestion we can make with getting incredible photos of your beautiful growing family is getting enough rest for everyone, including you.

This will start your day off with enough energy to take it on and it will show in the energy and smile you give. If you have kids who take naps still and your session isn’t till later in the afternoon, lay them down for a nap with time after to get dressed and fed before your session. Kids who are well rested will give you one less thing to be worried about during your time!

Illuminated Canvas | October 2022


As stressful as it is to prepare a head, it will save you a bigger headache later if you prepare at least 24 hours in advance if not more. There is so much to prepare for when thinking about your family sessions so here is a list you can use to check things off!

  1. Outfits! One of the best parts about family photos is deciding what everyone will be wearing. Will you all match? Do you want a subtle look? Maybe something colorful and vibrant for the summer season? It’s all up to you and your family so have fun with it. Think of this well in advance so you have time to shop, try on, wash and press your outfits so you all can go into the session looking flawless!
  2. Food before or after the session. With little ones this can be tricky. Is it best to eat after or would that make for cranky kids? Maybe bring a snack and an extra pair of clothes for young ones who may get a bit messy. Perhaps eat light before the session or maybe a picnic photo shoot is in order. However, you decide to do this making sure you are all fed and ready is incredibly important.
  3. Be comfortable. This ties back to outfits, so often we try to show up in what looks the best but may not be the most comfortable attire. Trust me when I say being comfortable will make it easier on you and your photographer to get genuinely happy photos. So, this is a PSA to all you parents out there looking at the heals in your closet, put’em down, you’ll look flawless in flats too! Bring the heals along if you want for a few shots but don’t forget your comfortable shoes at home.
  4. Second Outfits for babies and toddlers. It’s tried and true rule to always have a second or maybe third outfit for babies and kids who just find every possible way to get dirty on photo day. Best to just be prepared with wet wipes and a change of clothes. Or who knows, a photo of mom or dad whipping chocolate off baby’s chin may be what you need for your new family photo album!
  5. Anxious kiddo’s may do better in the session if they have a chance to meet the photographer a few days in advance. Talk to your photographer about this option and see if that is something they can do for your young ones.

There are other small ways you can prepare for your session, talk to your photographer for any other suggestions they may have, after all, they are the experts! 

Illuminated Canvas | October 2022

Think about activities

If you are looking for authentic, unposed photos then be authentically you by bringing a game, book or planning a session in an area you know you all can have fun in. You know your family best so pick something you all enjoy doing together.

Jenga throwdown? Take it to the park and set it up! Hiking? Pack the bags and enjoy the journey. Have little ones who aren’t yet mobile? Grab a few books, toys and a plastic bag. Blow the bag up and pop it with a funny face, watch that little one light up like a Christmas tree. You can tell the story of your family and your photographer can catch it as it plays out. 

Embrace the day mindset

A letter to all you parent’s out there who are never in the photos during family events because you are the only one taking the photos, embrace your time. This is your opportunity to get some quality, joyful photos with your growing family. You want to see happy beautiful children and loving parents, so stop being the navigator and driver, get in the back and enjoy the ride. Your photographer will get better authentic moments with you in the moment instead of being the instructor.

Your authentic photos will come with the way you look at your family. The way your partner interacts with you and how you laugh with your kids. When you are happy, your family; most of the time, will be too. If they aren’t that’s okay too, that’s something your photographer can assist with, just roll with it. You might end up with a story to tell at their wedding one day with photos to back it up.

Illuminated Canvas | October 2022

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