Preparing for your family photos with little ones

Firstly thank you for considering Making beautiful memories Photography, LLC for your photo session and helping you create memories for you and your family! Preparing for your photo session doesn’t have to be exhausting. Being a Mom, I understand how we stress about planning, getting everyone’s outfits ready on time and clean including trying to ‘match’ everything and worried if your little ones will even smile for one single image! I just want to say to each Mom/dad who contacts me that I have been in your shoes. 

As a Mom and as a photographer, I can say that planning and prepping for your next photo session with little ones doesn’t have to be this stressful. Here are some tips hopefully will help make your experience less stressful and more fun –

1. Planning for your session.

Make sure you double check with your photographer beforehand on the day/time plus meeting point for your session. Plan and put your outfits including any accessories out for everyone in the family the day before the morning session or the morning on the day of your evening session. On the day of your session, It is always best practice to arrive at least 5-10 min early for your session, figure out parking so that you get settled in.


2. Outfit selection.

Coordinating colors are always best, not matching. Look into your closet for clothing collections. For example – Think about the colors you like and that compliment you. Do you like bold colors? Bright? Or neutral colors? Red, blue, mustard yellow, pink – all photograph well. Try to avoid bold patterns, white as it is reflective and all black if possible. Also green if your session is outdoors at a park as you do not want to be camouflaged with the background.  Color and contrast always adds and enhances the images.

In summertime as an example; a pretty short/maxi dress for the mom, with dad’s dressed in navy blue shirt and a clean pair of jeans and kids in complimentary colors would work well. Laces and knits work great in summer time. Also, another tip to remember is – think about what color are the walls are in your house? If the photographs are eventually going to be printed as wall collections/art; maybe you should consider coordinating colors (choosing from one color palette). The main goal is for you to stand out in the images and not the patterns on your dress. Also think about comfort. Do not force your kid to wear something that she/he may not be comfortable in. It is important that they are being themselves during the entire time and comfortable in their clothing.


3. Accessorize.

Feel free to wear jewelry that to completes a minimalist look if that’s what you are going for. Too much jewelry takes away from the subject and shows clutter.  For other accessories, you could definitely consider bringing hats, hairbands for kids as props for the session. Men could wear a tie if they would like. Accessories always work as good props.

Here is my pinterest board for some inspiration on dress styles. 

"What to wear for spring/summer portrait sessions" 

4. Hair and makeup.

Moms could consider doing their own hair and makeup as they would like before their session or feel free to reach out to me for a referral for hair/makeup. This is especially something many of my maternity, senior and couple clients ask for regularly. I work with various artists and they have their own unique styles.

5. Bring their favorite toy to the session

It really helps to photograph kids in their element. When parents ask for suggestions on what they can bring for their session such as any props, I generally recommend soft toys, bubbles, chalk pieces, balloons, maybe that spiderman lego that they never seem to keep down. All of those or anything else your kid particularly loves are perfect to grab their attention and keep them involved during the session. I want to ensure that your kid ends up feeling like they had a great time while parents are happy as well because they didn't have to force anything on their kids. 


6.Please do not force your kid to say cheese or look at the camera

Many a times I see parents all worried that their kid isn't very cooperative or isn't smiling or looking at the camera. One thing I would like to say is capturing genuine smiles and emotions is what most photographers aim to capture.  Getting the kids to be in their element is something much more precious that you will remember along with the story behind that image than just a static smiling image. If the parent isn't in the frame, call out for your kids name. Try silly faces. Be as goofy as you can.  Tickling always works. Anything you can think of to get that smile or may be not their smile, but amusing faces works! 

My goal is to highlight the personalities and not force upon a pose. When you let the kids be free and not force them to do something, they automatically start enjoying the things around them. In other words, the goal is to capture your toddlers being themselves, playing and running around and not forced smiles. The emotions that speak within these images is what I want to give you. And - when you look back at these images, I want you to remember a story, a memory of your experiences. 

Preparing for you family photographs doesn’t have to be stressful at all! With a little planning ahead of time and these 6 tips, your session will be one to remember and full of laughter!