top of page
  • Writer's pictureBianca Jo

How To Prepare For Family Portraits

Planning a family portrait session can be difficult and downright frustrating. It probably gives you anxiety thinking about finding a date that works for the family, what will everyone wear and how will the kids behave. My goal is to make this experience as easy and fun for you and the whole family! I am sharing ways to help you prepare for your family portraits so you can enjoy making memories together!

1- Moods & Small Children

I know this is a very important topic so I wanted to tackle it first. I've had children range from really active to really shy or even grumpy and I can still get great images. How? Well first, there are 2 things that you can do that can really help before a photo shoot: 1) make sure small children have had naps and 2) are fed. Once at the photo shoot, the rest is on me. I like to plan my session's poses and activities based on the age of the children. Kids that started out grumpy or shy, ended up giving great smiles and images that are some of my favorites. We will take the session as it comes and if one needs a break, I will focus on images of those who are ready. Kids with high energy? Great! I will use that energy for poses I know will look great!

Adults can help as well by having a positive attitude – children tend to copy mom and dad so if you are happy, there is a strong chance the children will be happy.

2 - What To Wear

Deciding what to wear can be really fun! Remember, comfort is key so don't buy outfits the day of the photoshoot in case clothing or shoes are uncomfortable making the session hard to enjoy.

Wear complementary outfits rather than matching and pick colors that go well together. If two people are in bright colors, then the others might want to be in neutral or toned-down colors.

Layers are great, you never know what the weather will be like once you are at the location and certain locations, like the beach, can get cold as the sun goes down.

For the littles, clothes that fit now will look better than big clothes for them to grow into.

One last thing, just be yourself! Let colors be complementary, but let your unique style for each person come out. This session is all about your unique family!

For more in-depth details about what to wear, head over to this blog.

3 - Prepare The Day Before

Take some time the day before your shoot to get everything together, cleaned, ironed, and steamed! Make sure your accessories are all in one place, any wrinkles in your clothes are history, and any stains/spots are busted well before the shoot. This will give you plenty of time to relax and not be rushed which is key for beautiful, natural images.

4 - Don't Skip On The Hair And Makeup

This is a big one! I always tell my clients to think very seriously about having hair and makeup done before the session. This adds a nice finishing touch that will make you feel special. If you love the way you look, it will show in your confidence. Bring extra makeup with you in case touch-ups are needed.

Make sure everyone's skin is moisturized, dryness will show up on camera. Do Haircuts a couple of days before in case of any irritation or red areas that need a day or two to clear up. Nails should be clean or polished.

5- Pack For The Whole Family

Make sure to bring water and snacks for the whole family! This helps keep the energy up and stave off hunger toward the end of the session. Kids can get messy, so pack an extra towel or wipes just in case. Don't forget to bring bubbles or something the kids like to entertain those that are really little. Amused expressions look great on camera. It may also be wise to bring extra clothes in case of an accident (like a wave that came up higher than expected - littles can get hit with more water).

6- Relax!

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Yet so many of my clients get worried about whether they need to know how to pose, find the right backdrop, turn into the light a certain way. I've said it many times and I'll say it again, Relax! Those things are all my job! All you have to do is show up looking fabulous, and I'll take care of the rest. Promise!

I'd love to know if these tips were helpful to you in planning your family portrait session. Let me know in the comments which ones stood out to you the most!

If you would like to know more about family portraits and how to book your own, feel free to email me at or DM me on IG @biancajophotography.

Not ready to book just yet? Check out my website for more services I offer and images of other family portraits.


bottom of page