Family Photo Session in Carmel, California

Everyone wants their family photography session to go as smoothly as possible—including your family photographer! And because I want your day to go well, I’ve come up with a list of my top five best tips for making your family session successful.

Shoot During the Golden Hour

This is a must for me, and very rarely will I shoot at any other time during the day. The “golden hour” is the hour after sunrise or the hour just before sunset. These two times of day create warm, perfect light that will illuminate you in the photos we take throughout your portrait session. This warm light, along with the rims of light that outline the subjects of the photo can create stunning images when your portrait session takes place in an open field or wooded area. 

Be Comfortable and Confident

When picking out your clothes for the session, err on the side of comfort. You want to be confident in your clothing styles, but choose something flattering and timeless that will make you want to keep that family portrait up for years to come. Try to avoid trendy patterns and styles that might be outdated in a year. Wear something you can move around in and feel comfortable chasing around your kids or throwing them up in the air. I have tried to make styling the whole family as easy as possible for my clients, and have created my own Style Session Guide and my clients also have access to Style & Select, which is an amazing interactive, online tool that can help you visualize, choose, and shop for your outfits for the big day!

Listen to Your Photographers

This is especially true for families with small children. Often, photographers have methods of calming children and getting them to participate in the family shoot without a fight. These tried and true methods have been honed by plenty of years of experience. I want your entire family to have good time during the session, so we will explore, run, play, snuggle and laugh. Don't worry about them smiling and looking perfect, that is not my goal. I want to capture the true, authentic relationships between family members.

Explain to the Kids What Will Happen During Family Photos

Kids like to know what to expect. Chatting about the day and what will happen will help make them more comfortable. Explain that you're going to go explore a fun park (or river, or beach, depending on the location we've selected) together as a family. Tell them that I will be there with a camera. Showing them my picture if they don't know who I am can help them get a better idea. You can even tell them I have two kids so I REALLY like kids!

If you're making it a fun event like having family photos and then all going for ice cream or hot chocolate, chat up the entire event. I suggest not bribing like saying, "You behave and you get a hot chocolate," but making it more about the fun family adventure you're going to go on together from family photos to special treat afterwards.

Pack the Snacks and Feed the Kids

Even if you're going out to dinner, it is a good idea to feed the kids something before your session. Hungry kids can't think about anything besides being hungry. Full tummies make for more fun. You can also pack snacks to eat on the way or during the session. While sessions typically only last about an hour, I know that all that playing together can feel like hard work. I just suggest a "clean" snack that doesn't leave messes on face/clothing or turn mouths colors - unless you want that captured in your photos!