My mother-in-law is a photographer and has documented my ten year relationship with her son (dating marriage, kids, etc.) thoroughly. Early on in our marriage she taught me some simple tips for taking great pictures like what colors and make up tones would be good with my skin but, it wasn’t until having children that I realized this family photo shoot thing takes nothing less than an act of God to pull off.

Here are a few tips for your next family photo shoot that I have collected over the past three years of photo shoots with kiddos (all four). If our little circus can pull it off, so can yours!

Spend some more time with the family by doing some of these creative weekend activities.

10 Tips For Your Next Family Photo Shoot

Here are a few tips for your next family photo shoot. Everything doesn't have to go as planned for it to be the perfect family photo shoot.

Set realistic expectations

No one knows your children better than you. You know what they’re capable of and how broad their attention span is. With that in mind, set reasonable goals and expectations for how many shots you will get.

Wear coordinated clothing with similar toned solids

Choosing the right outfits for the entire family can be a daunting task. Here’s some suggestions: avoid being matchy-matchy. You don’t want everyone to look the same. Take advantage of this opportunity to capture everyone’s unique personalities. Look for a variety of colors (3-4) that are of the same tone and coordinate with one another. Add some interest to the photo by having 1-2 members of your family wear simple coordinating patterns.

Make sure the kids have napped

If you have little ones who still nap, make sure they have. If you’re able to, time your shoot around the kid’s naps. This will set your child up for success. (Note: Offer them a snack before you leave and before they’re in their nice new clothes).

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Pack Prepared

In your “photo shoot survival bag” be sure to pack  a comb for messy hair , a blanket to sit on in the grass and for photoshoot snuggles and some toys for easy entertainment. Not only will toys come in handy in sticky situations but some of the sweetest photos of your child may be a picture of them playing with their favorite toys.

Sit up straight!

Just what it says. When you slouch, it makes you look small and well, frankly, squished. When your having your photo taken, remember to engage with the camera and take up all the space you can. You will radiate!

Kiss, play, tickle, hug

Over the years, my favorite photos of my children are the ones where we are having fun together, playing around. We’re goofy and I love when that spirit is captured. Showing affection is a simple way to share and capture a precious moment.

Look at each other and not just the camera

Looking at each other during a photo session makes a picture look natural and uncontrived.

10 Tips For Your Next Family Photo Shoot

Take a break

If you get to the point where your kids (or you) need one, take a break. Don’t be afraid to ask for a few minutes to shut off the cameras and take a breather. Most photographers will gladly give you a few minutes if it means better shots in the long run.

Get the kids excited about it

Talk it up! If you are excited about the “special picture time” your children will feed off of that energy and when they are excited, you can bet that they will be much more likely to oblige.

Embrace the crazy!

Remember number one? Realistic expectations? You are a family. The whole lot of you. Something won’t go as planned. Expect it and be ready to roll with it.

Alise Durkota
Alise Durkota
Alise is a mother of two who loves the slow, small town life. She is a teacher turned stay at home mom who loves cooking, her husband, going on long neighborhood walks, just about any baked good (with coffee) and playing with her children. She has a passion for all things childhood development, teaching, and learning.