Bridging the Photo Session Gap: Tips for Taking the Stress Out of Family Photos

Disclaimer :: Fort Worth Moms Blog is a BIG fan of Life in Design Photography as Christina is our go-to gal when it comes to capturing our fun events. Our team asked her to provide FWMB with some family photo session tips!

When was the last time you had your family portraits done? I have to admit I subject my family to two family sessions per year, once during Bluebonnet season, and once in the fall, just in time for Christmas cards. The photos fill my walls, and, sometimes, I just scan each photo, taking note of how the kids have changed from season to season and throughout the years.

When I visit friends, I like to look at their photos as well. A few years ago, I noticed many families have only one family photo on their wall. The photo is usually 10 – 15 years old and features a toddler who has since developed into a busy teenager. All the years in between are sadly missing from the wall.

smiling boysAs a family photographer, I am hoping this trend will change. One of my goals is to hold fun, stress-free portrait sessions families can actually look forward to! In order to help ease the stress of scheduling portraits, I give to you some tips to make your portrait session a success.

Finding Your Photographer

With hundreds of photographers in the area, finding the perfect one might seem like a daunting task. However, finding one can be as simple as asking for suggestions from friends and local mom groups. Fellow mommas are often eager to share positive photo experiences and even their own images from their last session. From there, you can review each photographers work to find a style that suits your own. (For a list of local photographers, check out the FWMB’s  “Guide to Fort Worth Area Photographers.”)
family on a bridge

Choosing the Perfect Outfits for the Whole Family

Okay, mommas, let’s be honest when we talk about photos. We love our kiddos. They could be wearing pajamas, and they would be adorable. We, on the other hand, are far more critical of our appearance. So, when it comes to picking outfits, choose one that is comfortable and flattering for MOM first. Choose an outfit that makes you feel beautiful. Then, using your outfit as a base, find clothes for everyone else using these tips.

  • Think coordinating colors rather than matching outfits.
  • Use layers and accessories for pops of color, but avoid busy patterns.
  • Avoid wearing too much white. This is especially important for outdoor photos on a sunny day. It’s really easy for white clothing to appear too bright.
  • Consider your background. If you know that your background will have a lot of a specific color, avoid wearing that color and opt instead for a color that will contrast nicely. 

Keep things comfortable for the kids. Children aren’t always fond of taking photos, and a big reason for this is they don’t like the itchy, hot clothes that aren’t their norm. Simple Polos or lightweight sweaters pulled over a coordinating tee shirt are perfect for little boys. And for the little girls who may not be drawn to itchy tulle, comfortable cotton dresses can be key.

little boy wearing hatYou’re Kids Are Probably Going to Act a Little Crazy, and That’s OKAY

Even though my kids know the drill for our twice annual photos, they still become crazy wildebeests every single time. I find it’s the same phenomenon that occurs at bedtime or during grocery trips when even the mildest mannered kids get a little rambunctious. Rest assured, your photographer is pretty used to this phenomenon. Help your photographer by allowing him or her to take the reins during the session. The photographer will likely rile up the kids a little with silly jokes or running around. The kids being silly might seem chaotic and exactly the opposite of sitting nicely with a smile, but it’s usually the best way to get those natural smiles. I promise you kids who sit properly and smile on cue are in the minority. 

Communicate Your Concerns with Your Photographer

When I hear people avoiding having family photos done, the reasons given are often the same. We will have photos done when: 

  • I lose 10 pounds.
  • My skin clears up.
  • My hair grows out.

If you’re really uncomfortable in front of the camera because, say, you hate how your legs look in photos, let your photographer know. Many photographers are skilled at posing people in the most flattering way possible and can take extra care to make sure you’re comfortable with the poses. You can also ask them to fix blemishes and stray hairs in post processing. This also comes in handy when your child inevitably gets a giant goose egg the day before photos. Being upfront and honest when communicating what makes you uncomfortable about photos will allow you to work together to make sure all concerns are addressed.

Hopefully these tips have taken some worry out of having photos made and inspired you to schedule your next session before your baby goes from first steps to first year in high school.

Christina Bio PicOriginally from New Mexico, Christina has lived in Fort Worth for the last 14 years.  She is a very busy mother of four boys and owner of Life in Design Photography. The goal of her business is to celebrate women, motherhood, and families through photos. When not studying photography technique or taking or editing photos, she enjoys DIY projects and spending time exploring Fort Worth with her boys.   


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