6 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Family Photo Session

family photo shoot in a beautiful location in nature

Fall is a great time for family photo sessions. The weather is still nice and the changing leaves provide a beautiful backdrop. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful family portrait or simply need to get pictures taken for your holiday cards, you should start planning your upcoming photo shoot now.

If you’ve ever gone through a family photo session, you know it can be challenging. This is especially true if your children are young. The following tips will help ensure your upcoming family photo shoot goes smoothly and captures beautiful pictures that you’ll cherish for years to come.

Choose Your Location Wisely

When we schedule your family session, one of the first items we’ll discuss with you is your desired location for the photo shoot. Do you have a favorite spot that you’d like to have as a background? Denver offers plenty of options for a beautiful photo session. Between scenic mountain backdrops and lush parks, you can incorporate nature into the setting for dramatic results.

You’ll also want to think about the time of day for your photo shoot. Mid-day often provides more even lighting. However, you can potentially get dramatic pictures around sunset as well. The time of year may dictate time of day:

  • Summer photo shoots are often better early in the day or in the early evening to avoid peak heat
  • Fall gives you the broadest range of times for optimal weather and lighting
  • Winter provides a narrow window for good lighting, and you may need to schedule a weekend shoot since it will already be dark after work
  • Spring has erratic weather, so you will need to be prepared for everything

Choose Your Wardrobe in Advance

Your clothing can add a lot of personality to your family photos. Are you looking for an elegant portrait? If so, wear neutral colors and soft, flowing fabrics. Do you prefer a fun vibe to your photos? If so, bold colors can provide the flare you’re looking for. Do you want to coordinate outfits for your children? If so, plan this out in advance.

Make sure to keep the following points in mind when choosing your wardrobe:

  • Bring a second outfit that you can change into mid-shoot – This will give your photos a more varied look, and it provides a safeguard in the event that your kids spill something on their clothes during the photo shoot.
  • Wear comfortable clothes – Uncomfortable clothes will make you feel self-conscious. This won’t create an ideal situation for achieving beautiful photos. Your family will be more relaxed, have more fun and get into the spirit of the photo session if they’re wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Bring extra layers – This is especially important if you’re family photo session is occurring during the fall. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly in Colorado. You may find that it’s much colder at the end of the shoot than at the beginning, or an unexpected storm can roll in mid-shoot. You want to be prepared for all types of weather to ensure your family stays comfortable.
  • Accessories make the outfit – Fun accessories such as hats and scarves can add more personality to your photos. You can also vary your pictures by using different accessories throughout the session.

Prepare the Kids for the Family Photo Session

Family photo sessions can be stressful for children. There are several ways you can ensure a smooth experience.

Set Expectations in Advance

children at a family photo sessionWe recommend that you start preparing your kids in advance. A few days before the photo shoot, start talking to your children and let them know what to expect:

  • Tell them where the photo shoot will take place
  • Let them know how long the family session will last
  • Explain what is expected of them during the photo shoot

Most importantly, try to build up your family photo session as a fun event that your kids will look forward to. Talk about ways in which they can be creative and have fun with the pictures. In addition, you may want to consider offering them a treat, such as a trip to their favorite ice cream shop or a special activity, that you’ll do as a family following the photo shoot. This will give them an incentive to be on their best behavior while you’re taking pictures.

Make Sure They’re Fed and Well Rested

Don’t show up for your family photo shoot on an empty stomach. This will make for cranky kids (and adults), and it won’t create an ideal situation for beautiful photos. If you’re planning on a big family dinner after the photo session, give your kids a snack before you start. It’s also always a good idea to have snacks on-hand in case your kids get hungry during the session.

The following snacks are great to bring since they won’t get all over your children’s outfits:

  • Cheese cubes
  • Dried fruit
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Jellybeans

Avoid these snacks since they can either take a long time to eat or stain your teeth and clothing:

  • Ice cream
  • Lollipops
  • Chocolate candies
  • Chocolate milk
  • Juice or fruit punch

In addition, don’t come to the photo session tired. No one looks their best when they’re tired, and it’s often harder to follow instructions. Make sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep prior to the family photo session. You should also avoid scheduling your shoot just before or during your children’s nap time. Instead, have the shoot take place after nap time so that your kids are well rested and feeling great. Just give yourself enough time to get the kids ready after they wake up from their nap.

Let Each Child Be a Star

Your kids will have more fun at the photo shoot if they have an opportunity to shine. Make sure to arrange for a few pictures of each child alone. This will help them feel special. If your kids have an activity they excel at, this is a great time to show it off. Bring your child’s tennis racket, violin, dance shoes, or any other prop that speaks to what makes them special and unique.

Leave Plenty of Time to Get Ready

You’ll have a lot of work to do getting your kids ready for the photo shoot. Often, this can take longer than you anticipate. Make sure you’re all dressed, have your hair styled and your makeup applied before you help your kids get ready. This will reduce your stress level before the family photo session and ensure you look your absolute best.

Arrange for Help with the Dog

We all love our dogs, and they make a great addition to your family portrait. However, there are some things you need to do to ensure your pet doesn’t derail the photo shoot:

  • Have a friend come to monitor the dog when it’s not part of the pictures
  • Bring treats and toys to help ensure your dog cooperates
  • If your dog is hyper and doesn’t follow commands well, you may want to consider leaving it home

Have Fun

Your family photo session should be a fun event. This will help you get the best possible pictures. Encourage everyone to have fun throughout the shoot:

  • Give your spouse a playful kiss on the cheek every once in awhile
  • Don’t be afraid to pick your kids up and lighten the mood in between pictures
  • Be affectionate with each other
  • Tell jokes and keep everyone laughing

mother and children reading a book at a family photo sessionIf you have an activity that you like to do as a family, try to incorporate it into your photo shoot. This will give everyone something to do with their hands, it will engage the kids, and it provides an authentic moment that reflects how you spend time together.

Some great activities to spice up your photo session include:

  • Books
  • Board games
  • Footballs
  • Bikes
  • Picnics

Monty Nuss Photography Can Help

At Monty Nuss Photography, we have you covered for all your family photo sessions. We’ve been one of Denver’s premier family photographers for over 35 years. During that time, we’ve developed ongoing relationships with many families, helping them capture precious moments year after year that provide a lifetime of memories.

We’re the only family photographer in the Denver area to offer the Uniquely You Experience™ which focuses on highlighting your personal lifestyle and capturing you in your most authentic moments. This approach involves:

  • Getting to know you and finding out what you like
  • Taking the time to understand your goals and expectations for the photo session
  • Offering wardrobe guidance
  • Coordinating the right backgrounds to complement your clothing, style and personality
  • Cultivating an ongoing relationship that allows us to continue to get to know your better each time we work with you
  • Using the most advanced equipment, processes and materials to bring out your best qualities
  • Offering subtle retouch enhancements that deliver a beautiful, natural looking image
  • Providing a 100% satisfaction guarantee

In addition, you’ll receive a free session when you work with us again for other life celebrations.

Schedule a Family Photo Session

Please contact us today to schedule your family session. Monty Nuss Photography serves clients in Littleton, Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.