Preparing for a Family Photoshoot

May 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

How to Prepare for a Family Photoshoot

                                                                                                              Large family photography in Walnut CreekBig family photo

Family is important to the happiness and well-being of everyone, so we are so excited that you are considering taking the opportunity to capture your beautiful family with a family photography session. At Milk + Lily Portrait Co., we know that every family is different and special, so we take extra care to ensure that your photoshoot shows your family’s unique, genuine beauty. Whether your family is young or old, big or small, we know we can capture something special for you. If your family has never done a photoshoot before, you likely have many questions about what to expect. The information below will serve as a guide and walk you through each step of the process and provide helpful tips along the way. 

Preparing Yourself (as the Mom)

Mom, we know how important it is for you to look your best during a photo session, so we recommend not holding back on the hair and makeup to ensure you love the way you look in the photos. Milk and Lily Portrait Co. actually provides an in-house hair and makeup stylist for your shoot at an extra cost of $125 for hair and $125 for makeup. We highly recommend our stylist’s work, but if you have a stylist you are very close with and would prefer going to them, that is a good option too.

Preparing Yourself (as the Dad)

Dad, we know your plans are expectations for this photoshoot are different than Mom’s. Whether you’re traditionally a fan of family photos or not, the best thing you can during the session is support everyone else to make sure everyone is happy, relaxed, and comfortable. Feel free to prepare some ideas for special father-son or father-daughter shots as well. 

Preparing the Kids

Preparing younger kids for a family photoshoot can at times be difficult, especially if one or all of your children are shy and not very comfortable in front of the camera. A helpful tip for this is to keep the event light and informal. Frame the event as a planned family hangout (especially if extended family members will be involved) rather than a planned family photoshoot. Planning some activity to take place during the shoot may also help get your kids' attention off their discomfort with cameras (playing outside or with toys, etc.). 

What to Bring

Special Items

Some families find it very important to bring significant family heirlooms or mementos as props to be involved in the shoot. If the item is meaningful or sentimental for your family, it could definitely be worth bringing. Additionally, if one of your kids tends to feel more comfortable with a particular toy or stuffed animal on hand, it may be a good idea to bring it, even if it needs to be set aside for the session, rather than telling them to leave the item at home. 

Snacks and Water

While we do have snacks and water bottles on hand in the studio, if you are filming a session at an outdoor location, it is a good idea to bring snacks in a purse in case the kids (or possibly Dad) get restless or cranky or just need a boost of energy. A photography session can be long and somewhat draining, especially if it’s outside on a hot day, which is why we recommend bringing plenty of water as well. 

Change of Clothes for the Kids if Necessary

If your young kids are like most, they aren’t always the cleanest and neatest. Any type of mess such as jumping in mud or spilling ketchup is part of the daily routine in many kids’ lives, so in the event of some kind of stain, bringing an extra pair of clothes may be a smart backup option to have.

What to Wear

What your family should wear may depend on the specific photoshoot you are planning and the location you are planning it for. However, there are a few general rules and guidelines for dressing for a family session that we recommend. These rules include:

  • No graphic tees, athletic attire, or vibrant sneakers
  • Avoid wearing stripes
  • Avoid having the whole family match as this trend is outdated and isn’t the most appealing photographically
  • Wear clothes that are nice yet, comfortable, as a session is typically a couple of hours long, and we don’t want you to be in any form of pain from wearing your clothes for an extended amount of time
  • Medium to long dresses work best for women in terms of capturing movement and creating flattering images
  • Do wear any personal accessories that you normally would to stand out and show your best self

How to Help Your Family Pose

Posing altogether as a family isn’t always the easiest thing, especially if you have a large family or more energetic kids. Young kids are sometimes conditioned to say “cheese” and stare directly at the camera with a big smile, but these poses do not make for the best family photographs. Instead, we want to capture more candid moments. Everyone does not to be looking at the camera at the same time, in fact, we prefer for them not to be. Playing and interacting with your kids can often create great moments to photograph. Keep the whole setting as light and natural and possible. If you are trying to force some type of interaction with your family, it will likely show on the camera as looking forced. Make sure you all stand close to each other physically during the session to ensure your family's closeness is displayed in the photos. Most importantly, the more relaxed and comfortable everyone in your family is, the better result you will have from the session. 

What About Pets?

Milk + Lily Portrait Co., like many other family photography studios, welcomes and encourages pets’ participation in a family photoshoot. If they are a part of the family, we would love for them to be a part of the pictures. One important requirement we do have with pets, though, is that if you bring them, you also bring a designated pet wrangler. This pet wrangler can be a neighbor or friend or anyone with a relationship with the dog or pet. Their job is to help keep the pet from distracting the photos being taken when they are not being photographed through play or a short walk. It is also a good idea to bring along some of your pet's favorite toys or treats to ensure they will be good participants in the session. 

What to Expect After the Session

Once the session is over, all of your work is done, but the most exciting part of the process is yet to come! Our team will cull over the images for the next two weeks and pick out the best photos to show you. Then we will schedule a time for you to come into our office to look at the photos and go over pricing packages and determine which photographs you would like to purchase as prints or digitals. 

We hope this information was informative and helpful in understanding everything that is involved in a family photoshoot. If you have any more questions or concerns about the process, do not hesitate to call Milk + Lily Portrait Co. at 925-430-9928 or email us at [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you and your ideas to capture a special family moment with us!

Cute family photo with dogCute family photo with dog


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