Family- Tips for a fun and successful family session

I wanted to take the time to share a few tips that will help when it’s time for your family session! To check out more of my family photography go here! Below are just a few suggestions that I would like to share with current clients and future clients! I hope these are helpful and I can’t wait to help capture your  memories!

 1. Communication

Yes this is important for both of us! Why? Well I want make sure we are both on the same page. Let me know what you want your session to be like, what your end goal is for these images. If there is anything specific that you like or any ideas you have please please share and let me know ahead of time! My goal when shooting your family is to capture your story and tell it. My favorite type of family session are the casual at home sessions where I can be a fly on the wall and just capture your family as is, this is more of a family story telling session see more info here on that type of session. Of course we all want pictures of our family smiling and looking sharp for the camera and perhaps a little more traditional and that’s great but just let me know:). I love gathering inspiration for family sessions for my clients or for my own family and I do that via Pinterest, you can check out my family inspiration board here and I love when clients share their ideas with me so don’t be shy! Sometimes through this process we may discover that we aren’t a good fit for what you want in your session and that’s ok. I would be happy to point you in the direction of someone who can give you what you want vision wise from your images!

2. Type of Session

This may tie into the above tip but just in case:). Let me know are you looking for, for example:


Family session w/children


Mommy & Me Session or Daddy & Me

 Just the kids

Yes this is my baby girl 😉

Family Storytelling  session

This is one of my favorite types of family session and I am hoping to shoot it more often! This session is basically us planning a day where I join your family during a typical family activity and I am more like a fly on the wall capturing the moments unfold mostly candid. Like what kind of activity you may ask? Well it could be making breakfast with the kids and enjoying a lazy Saturday at home. Or perhaps you like to visit a park or museum frequently or working on art project with the kids at home. Basically anything you do normally with the kids I will be there to capture that time! These are often moments we don’t think about recording but they are sometimes the most important! For example below, that’s my little Bella. I decided to follow her around without bothering her on her morning play time routine….I love these images she was just doing her thing having fun!

3. Parents please be involved!

One big lesson that I have learned while working with families and children is that I need the parents to be involved in the session. Now I know some parents don’t want to me in the photos but sometimes it’s necessary:). My best advice for this is for the day of the session is to dress as if you were going to be in the photos. I have no problems shooting kids alone but as we all know our kids can be pretty unpredictable at random times and sometimes they may shy away from my big ol’ camera lens and get a little scared. In that case it helps to have mom and dad ready to jump in to help them relax and feel comfortable and eventually they forget all about me and my big camera and they start having fun. I can easily take photos where mom and dad are in the images but not the main subjects, example below…

4. Location & Time

For family sessions you have a variety of options on where you can have your session. I t really depends on the feel of the session and what you are looking capture. I personally love shooting at clients homes, especially with children this is where they are most comfortable. This is the best option for the story telling sessions mentioned above because you are in the comfort of your own home and the session would be more natural. This is however still a great choice for a regular family session. We can use various spots in your home such as the master bedroom and pile the family onto the bed (love those shots) or in the living room on a big comfy couch this makes for fun relaxed images. At home sessions are especially nice when you have a lot of natural light coming in, that makes my heart happy haha!

The below was taken in the nursery, very easy!  (yes that’s my Bella again!)

Other location ideas can be a local park that you like to visit with the kids or I can definitely recommend parks if you want a certain look. If you want a more urban setting we can do more of a city type feel session, with brick walls and cobblestone streets which I LOVE for family sessions!  Even just around your town, I don’t require much for a session  location my main concern is you and capturing your family!

As for time of day, this varies with families. I love to shoot about 2 hours before sunset to get that beautiful golden light but really I can shoot at anytime! I think it’s best to observe and see what time your children are at their best,especially with smaller children who have naps and multiple feedings. I know what it’s like so trust me I can accommodate!

5. What to wear

Last but certainly not least is what to wear to your session? Again this all depends on the feel of your session. If this is a regular at home just like any other day session aka Story telling session then dress in what you feel comfortable and in what the kids love! If this is going to be a holiday session for let’s say Christmas then you may want to put a little bit of thought into it. Think of the holiday and season colors that’s usually a good place to start. I always recommend picking 1-3 colors and kind of playing off of them, but not in a way where everyone is dressed the same (please no) . Here is a good example, this was from our holiday photos! I worked on our wardrobe for days haha but in the end decided on green and red since it was going to be for a Christmas card. I used the green as the accent and my husband played off the green with his shirt that had a hint of green and well Bella being the center of it all she wore the red which still fit in with the “color story”.

image taken by Meridith Desmond Photography

How cute are these three, they played off each other pretty well in wardrobe and I don’t even think they realized it!

The below they are casual but still put together, they played the blue off each other perfectly!

OK that’s it whew! I hope that was helpful and I cannot wait to shoot your family and capture some beautiful memories for you!

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