5 Things to Consider When Planning Your Family Portraits

As a believer in the power of a beautiful legacy, nothing says legacy more to me than family! There are fewer things I value more.

When it comes to documenting your family and preserving that legacy, planning a photo session with kids in tow can seem incredibly daunting. When should we do it? Where should we take the photos? What do we wear? Do we bring the dog? I’ve heard from families on mulitple occasions that they’ve forgone having photos taken because it all just feels like too much.

Because I don’t want you to go another year without gorgeous, light-filled photos of you and your littles, I’ve mapped out 5 key things to consider when planning your family portraits that will hopefully make the process that much easier!

Charlottesville Family Photos by Carrie Coleman

1.Book Further in advance than you think you need to

I know it seems crazy to book your family session 3-6 months in advance, but if you want to work with someone you love that’s really great, odds are you’re not the only person who wants that! Photographers, especially those of us who do a wider range of work, book quickly and calendars fill up particularly fast in the months you probably want to do your photos in the spring and fall seasons. Go ahead and get it on your calendar and theirs! Plus, booking further out aids in the other steps in this post as it gives you more time to plan!

2. Choose a location that makes sense

As a photographer, natural light is my best friend, so when it comes to choosing a location, outdoors is always my preference*. Think about what you all enjoy as a family and what your style is – do you prefer open fields and trees, or are you drawn more towards architecture and gorgeous buildings? In my experience, choosing a location that fits you all, creates a greater sense of comfortability for everyone involved!

*I am a sucker for lifestyle sessions at home, but I’ll save that post for another day!

3. Choose a time that works well for everyone

Again, light for me is everything, and you’ll hear photographers talk about golden hour being prime time for photos. With that said, I fully recognize that sometimes little ones go to bed before the sun even sets in the summer, or that dinner time often coincides with golden hour. Communicate with your photographer in figuring out a time that works well with naps and meals!

4. Prepare your kids in advance

In the week leading up to your session, depending on their age, try to prepare your kids for it! Let them know that you’re going to get to take special pictures outside and that it’s going to be fun (because it will!). Show them a photo of your photographer so they don’t have a heightened sense of “stranger danger” the day of. Having someone you don’t know point a camera at you can be daunting as both an adult and a child, so encouraging your children beforehand will hopefully ease any anxieties they might have.

5. Have realistic expectations and try to relax

It’s important to recognize going into a session that it may not go as perfectly as you hope. Kids cry. Parents get frustrated. And while it’s not what I wish for your experience, know that it’s totally okay and normal! I strive to create an atmosphere that is fun and results in images that are beautiful, emotive, and sincere.

Have more questions? Great! I work with all of my clients to ensure that their session is exactly what they’re looking for so that I can deliver beautiful, light-filled, honest images. Interested in booking your session? Contact me here and let’s get planning!

If the thought of a full on session still seems like too much, a mini session might be a great fit for you and your family! These abbreviated sessions are a great opportunity to get a few new portraits that are Christmas card worthy. Sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page to be the first to know all the details on Fall mini sessions!

Author: Carrie