• Whimsical Roots

9 Tips For Planning a Perfectly Imperfect Family Photo Shoot!

Alright, so you've made the commitment this year to finally update your family photo collection! Yay! The first step is always the hardest.


Now, onto the fun stuff...choosing the photographer, planning the session and executing it so that you end up with gorgeous images that reflect the true nature of your family and the love you share!

Follow these guidelines for the family photo shoot experience of your dreams!


1. Choose the photographer.


Ask yourself some questions as you begin exploring photographers in your area.

-How do I want my family to be reflected? Do I want a studio session or something outside on location? Do I like posed or candid photos? What kind of editing style do I like (some options are true to color, light and airy or dark and moody)?


Not only consider the aesthetics of a photographer's portfolio but also hone in on how they interact with clients. You can do this by visiting their social media pages, website and blog. Read reviews to gain an understanding of other people's experiences as well as to gauge their credibility in the industry. Make sure you choose a photographer who seems fun and energetic... it'll be much more of a delightful experience for you and the fam!

2. Start the dialogue and brainstorm ideas with your photographer!


Now that you've decided on a great family photographer, it's time to reach out and start the dialogue!! Give your photographer details about your family. Tell them the number of people included in the session and what types of photos you want (only group shots? individuals of each kiddo? inclusion of grandparents? candids? some posed?). Provide your photographer with the type of vibe you're going for... if you're looking for an outdoor scene, is it a city scape? Rustic barn backdrop? A field of flowers? With these initial details in hand, your photographer will be able to quickly put together a game plan for how to best approach your family session!!

3. Select outfits.


This part can be a bit daunting for families. Coordinating colors, patterns and personal styles can be a challenge!! The key is to coordinate a bit but not to be toooooo matchy-matchy. Avoid everyone wearing the exact same color (think everyone in white or black t-shirts) and also steer clear of shirts with words on them. The focus should be on you and your family, so be sure to select ensembles that accentuate your style!! I recommend picking 3-5 coordinating colors and adding in 1 or 2 patterns for a splash of fun. Sprinkle in a layer of texture and a couple fun accessories and you're ready to rock 'n roll!! When you think you've got your outfit rundown all set, lay everything out on the bed to see how it all looks together. Send your photographer a couple photos and ask for feedback. If you find yourself at a standstill with ideas, don't be afraid to mosey on over to Pinterest for some inspiration!!

Whew, moving onto "Day of"!!


4. Hype the kiddos up.


Set some expectations with your kids. Nope, I don't mean telling them that they better behave and smile nice for the camera. Instead, approach the session as an adventure for the whole fam! Tell them that it's going to be enjoyable, that they'll get to explore a new spot and that they'll be playing games and laughing!! Set the tone for fun and upbeat attitudes and the kiddos will hop on board!!

5. Push back nap time if you can.


Most of my sessions are scheduled for one or two hours prior to sunset... this can often fall in line with little one's bedtime. I understand that this can throw the normal routine off kilter a bit, but hear me out. Try to push back back nap time just a hair so that your littles are well rested and happy during the photo shoot.

6. Feed the fam before the session.


Everyone is happier with a full belly. Try to eat a meal prior to the session. If hunger strikes when we're on location, we can certainly pause for a few minutes to share some snacks and get everything back on track. Trust me, I will not judge you if a bribe is needed to reignite the smiles!! ;)

7. Bring a few props and toys that feel like home.


Some babes are shy, and that's totally okay. To ease the nerves, feel free to bring some props like cuddly blankets or toys that make them feel at home. It's not every day that a stranger has a camera in their faces, so it's natural for them to be a bit apprehensive at first. Bonus: If candids are what you're going for, snuggles with blankets and free play with toys make for awesome photos!

8. Go with the flow.


We'll play games and I'll provide prompts that get everyone interacting and having fun. In this environment, let kids be kids. Encourage their little personalities to flourish and their bodies to be mobile. If that means being goofy, silly or snuggly, it's okay! Each expression photographs beautifully! As the parent, your job is to just keep smiling. Let go of expectations and be with the moment exactly as it is... the resulting images are the real nuggets of your life and will end up being the photographs you most treasure!

9. Embrace your family's quirkiness and have fun!


Show up to your session with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. Let your family's personality shine. Embrace the quirkiness that is unique to each family and most of all HAVE FUN!

I have been photographing families in southeastern Wisconsin for the last 7 year and have learned many tips and tricks to achieve frame-worthy images of all personalities and ages. It is my pleasure to connect with happy, positive families seeking a photographer who will illuminate their light and preserve their loving memories!

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andrea@whimsicalroots.com  |  262.229.0196 

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Serving up smiles throughout southeastern WI, the Midwest and beyond! 
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