5 Picture Day Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

You have your family session booked, the date is on the calendar. So now what? If you’re anything like me you want to plan to make the most of the family session. Here are the 5 picture day tips I give families as a Seattle family photographer with an upcoming family photo session.

Fall City family portrait with picture day tips

The first of the picture day tips is to plan what to wear in advance

I know it can be easy to put outfits until the last minute, however, no one likes racing around to stores trying to find coordinating outfits, in all the right sizes the day before family photos. Instead, start thinking about the color palette and feel you want right away. Then you can check closets for pieces you already have for everyone and slowly start looking for what you need to fill the gaps.

Find plenty of What to Wear inspiration on the blog. Even more, take a peek at how I plan and select outfits for my family of 8s own photo session.

Snoqualmie Valley family portraits

Next, explain to the kids what will happen during family photos

This tip is about helping your kids feel confident about their picture day. 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 lake, depending on the location we’ve selected) together as a family. Tell them that I will be there with a camera and a camera bag. 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 four 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 or to a special playground, 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.

Mama, listen to this picture day tip: Pamper Yourself

When you feel special and beautiful, it shows on camera. I’m not saying that following this picture day tip has to be anything big, get a pedicure, a massage, or even just a new lipgloss. Sometimes taking a moment for ourselves helps you recharge and forget about the stress of wanting everything perfect for picture day. 

One of the biggest picture day tips is to 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. This tip is about keeping spirits up during pictures.

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 suggest a “clean” snack that doesn’t leave messes on the face/clothing or turn mouth colors – unless you want that captured in your photos!

Mother hugging her two sons during portraits in Fall City, Wa

Finally, show up relaxed, and ready to love on your family….No Matter What.

This is a tip I repeat over and over to clients for their picture days. I may even remind you with a little pep talk just before your session.

Your job is to just show up relaxed, take a breath, and love on that beautiful family of yours. Drop all expectations of perfection and let me photograph the connections and love in your family. Remember, we aren’t after that perfect shot, but a collection of images that show who you are right now. Rest easy knowing that I have seen everything from the shy kid to the wild ones, and everything in between and always capture images that are true to those children, true to your family. 

One mom told me that her husband said, ‘We were such a trainwreck but somehow Neyssa made it look like we were pulled together and getting along!”

Feeling prepared but haven’t booked your photo session yet? Don’t worry, I can help with that. Contact me and let’s get your session on the calendar. Receive monthly inspiration and tips for your family photo session by joining the free newsletter.