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  • Writer's pictureBianca Jo

Family Portrait Session Check-List

You have made it official and booked your family portrait. You know the session plan we've discussed during the consultation and booking, but what do you need to bring to the session as a backup or just in case? I have put together a few session checklists.

For the whole family

There are a few items you don't want to forget to bring with you on your session that will be a lifesaver for the whole family.

Extra clothes are great to bring with you. And yes, for the whole family because you never know what will happen when you are on location. I had a session at the beach with a family and as they were getting situated on a rock a giant wave came hit the rocks below just right and soaked everyone. The session was over after that, lol.

A brush is a great idea to help make sure your hair is in place.

Layers/sweaters are great ideas to bring for the whole family because they can add a different look to your session but in case it gets cold you won't be uncomfortable or freezing during your session.

Family of four on the beach for family portraits

Hair ties are perfect when the wind picks up so you can make sure you won't have to fight with hair in your face or be wild for your family portraits

A sunglass case for transition glasses. This is a must if you have transition glasses and want to have them on during your family session. I found this hack during school portraits. It works by putting the glasses in the case for a few minutes and only putting them on once everyone is in position. Depending on how fast they transition will determine how many shots I'll get at a time.

Lotion is a must because you will see dry skin on camera. Bringing lotion will help minimize dry skin and make your skin look great.

A bag to hold everything you need.

For Mom

Makeup for touch-ups - you don't need to bring your whole make-up bag with you, only enough that with help with touch-ups such as powder and lipstick/gloss.

Comfortable shoes to walk in (save the nice ones for the actual portrait). Some locations can be a bit of walking and may be uneven or muddy in some areas. Wearing comfortable shoes will give you more support. Bring extra shoes if you are worried about your nice shoes getting dirty.

For Dad

Gel - this item is kinda like hair ties for shorter hair as it can help keep your hair from moving so much if there is wind.

For Kids

Snacks - Snacks are great to bring with you to a family session because kids can get hungry and when they are hungry they can get upset and won't want to participate in the portraits. It's not my first choice but it can help give them an incentive to continue the session.

Wipes - After the snacks, wipes are great to help keep kids clean but they can also help if the kids are picking up dirt and other things found in nature that can get them dirty. Wipes are also great if their noses get runny.

Toy(s) - I think toys can have a place during a family session. They don't need to be in the session the whole time, however, it can help the kids stay calm and it can make for great images with their favorite toy. Who knows maybe they with stop playing with that toy soon, but now you have a portrait of it with them and that memory is saved.

Portrait of a child and their toys

I hope this family portrait session check-list helps make your session less stressful so you can enjoy time with your family.

If you would like more information about a family session with me you can follow the link to my blog "How to Book A Photo Session With Me" and "Anatomy of a Portrait Session". You can also email me at for more information.


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