Tips for Family Photos

Family hugging at Christel Lake Lavender

Raise your hand if this is you. You’ve booked your family photos, your photographer has scouted the perfect location for you in Oshawa, you’ve found the right outfits that coordinate without matching – you’re ready to go! Then life happens. One of your kids falls asleep on the way to the photo session (you’re thrilled at first – late bed-time) but then won’t physically let go of you once you arrive. Your other two children immediately run in opposite directions and you and your partner try to wrangle them all into one spot. You’ve probably brought along a bribe or two (although really should be called an “incentive” and I’m all for those). You end the session exhausted and sweaty and seriously hope that photographer was able to capture at least one good photo.


Sound familiar? I’ve been right there. I know how stressful family photography sessions can be. That’s one reason why I love a lifestyle approach to family photography sessions. That toddler who won’t let go? I’ll capture the snuggles. Those children running around? I’ll photograph their smiles and laughter when daddy actually catches them. I want you and your family to enjoy your time together with me, and that’s what I want to document. The interactions. The smiles. The fun.


So how do you prepare your family for a lifestyle family session?

Tip #1 Adjust your own mindset. If you’ve booked a family session with me it’s because you’ve seen my work and the emotion and movement I am able to capture speaks to you. This might be a different type of session that you are used to. I usually try to get one or two photos at the beginning where everyone is looking at me, smiling, but after that we go with the flow. Beyond those first few minutes I don’t actually WANT anyone looking at me, smiling. I’ll direct you and your family into poses and activities that will bring ACTUAL smiles and laughter to your photos and create the moments you really want to capture.

Tip #2 Be prepared. I’m the first to admit I procrastinate. I leave things until the last minute and then I’m stressing, and getting a family of five out of the door on time is like herding cats. Plan how much time you need, and then (if you’re like me) double it. Earlier in the day pack things to bring with you – hairbrushes, snacks that won’t make a mess (grapes, apples, crackers – avoid granola bars with chocolate chips – speaking from experience!) My kids can finish dinner and without fail will ask for a snack once we’re in the car. Plan to leave 20 minutes before you think you need to, so when you’re done wrangling your cats – I mean kids – you’re not stressing the entire drive over about being late. One other suggestion – take the time earlier that day to get your hair done or to get a mani/pedi. I know only a hairstylist can tame my mass of curls and having it professionally done immediately makes me feel better!

Tip #3 Relax and have fun. Lifestyle sessions are about just that – having fun. Think about it as an evening where you get to hang out with your family (with no electronics!?!) exploring and enjoying each other. We have so many beautiful locations scattered throughout Oshawa and Clarington that our time together will feel like an adventure. Once we get to the session I need you to hand the reigns over to me and trust in my ability to showcase your family’s personality. You’ll play games, you’ll cuddle, and I might even get you to say some silly things. Clients often say how much fun a session was or that even their partner enjoyed themselves (gasp). This is honestly the most important tip for a successful family photography session – let go and have fun.

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Greater Toronto area family and newborn photographer providing authentic, lifestyle photography
 for people who love to play, laugh, and have epic adventures.