Family photos at Luther Burbank Park by Neyssa Lee

Family Photo Album: The Design Process

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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

How many times have you said that you’ll print those photos, or design that family photo album? I get it. You’re busy. However, that does not mean your photos should not be displayed. They are not meant to die a digital death. That is why I include a custom album with each of my Seattle area portrait sessions.

You can enjoy your album without the work. Win-win!

When designing your family photo album, I am thinking about your family, your session, and your gallery of images. As you flip through the pages of your album I want you to be transported and taken along the story of our time together.

Each album is unique. However, I have a design process I use to ensure your photo album feels cohesive and complete. Follow along below to get a peek behind the scenes of your family portrait session.

Example first spread of family photo album designed by Seattle photographer Neyssa Lee
The first spread of your album features your entire family

The first spread of your family photo album features your entire family.

When designing a family photo album, I want a story to unfold. The first page sets the scene and tells us who the “characters” are. In otherwords, the first spread includes the entire family together.

During your family photography session, I begin by guiding your entire family into a pose together. From there spawn several different photos. I will then move in close and capture smaller groupings, smaller details, and moments that are occurring from the first pose and prompts. These are the moments and details for the first page.

Typically a large family photo is featured. Also included on the first two pages (or first spread) are either a few additional pictures of the entire family from the early part of the session or the photos are close-ups of smaller groupings from the same poses.

Sibling and individual photos from portrait session at Luther Burbank Park, Mercer Island
Sibling and Individual photos come next in your family photo album
Another spread from a family photo album featuring individual children's portraits
With multiple children, a second spread is needed for individual portraits in your family photo album.

Next, sibling and individual children photos are the focus of your album.

Again, most families expect to take a group shot and individuals. We get these photos done and out of the way within the first 15-20 minutes, leaving us plenty of time to play.

With that, I take time with siblings and each child to capture them. I do not ask them to smile but I talk to each child. I want genuine responses. This also leads to several photos for each child that are included in your album.

Depending on the number of children you have, each child may have their own page or their own full spread. I will also include sibling photos at this time.

Sunset Family photos at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island

Parents together is an important photo to include in your family photo album.

It is at this point in the session that I give the kids a break and let the focus be on the parents. This is important for several reasons. First, it’s giving the kids a break. It also shows that kids that you and your partner are just as committed to having photos taken. It is not just about the kids but the entire family, and every member matters. It’s also important that you have photos of you together where you are not in a wedding dress!

Don’t worry. The photos of the adults are super quick. I offer you a prompt and I make it fun for the kids to get involved.

As for your family photo album, we include photos of the parents typically with sibling photos. However, once again the flow of your session matters. The featured session here had a young baby and we were by the water so we waited until we moved to a new spot within the park for parent photos. Thus, these photos are toward the back of the album.

Family photos from Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island, WA
Playful photos come next in your family photo album..

With the most expected photos out of the way, it’s time for fun and adventuring.

It’s at this point in your portrait session that we do something like explore the trails of a park in North Bend, throw rocks in the river in Snoqualmie, or even splash in the water at the beach in Seattle.

Think of this part of your session like the “conflict” part of the story. Of course I do not mean there’s conflict in your family, but the part where the story really happens. With prompts, like snuggle on dad, or mom pick up your daughter and twirl, more joy, laughter and emotion can come out.

Family of 5 playful portraits by Snoqualmie photographer

These joyful, adventuring photos are next up in your family photo album.

As we are nearing the middle of your family photo album, we love those details of your family and your portrait session be here. This could be wider photos of your family skipping rocks. It could be you running through a field together, playing ring-around-the-rosie, or sitting watching the sunset together.

That’s the beauty of family photos in the pacific northwest. There are so many different things we could do together. Your location will help dictate a lot of the “adventuring” we do. However, it’s mostly about your family being together, loving on each other.

These photos can take one or two spreads in your family photo album.

Family photos album design with little girl and parents

With everyone’s legs stretched a little, it’s time for the focus of portraits to be on each parent with the kids.

The biggest gift you can give each of your children is a portrait of you with them. During your photo session, I will have you snuggle up with each kid for a few quick photos. Depending on the age and personality of your children, I have different prompts so the focus is on your connection and not on smiling for the camera.

These are also up next in your family photo album! Typically each parent will have a spread of them with the kids (all the kids and each individually). However, the number of children you have and the dynamics in your session will affect the final design.

Playful, outdoor photos of kids and parents at Luther Burbank Park

The final page of your album is for a playful, final few photos.

Again, this photo depends on where your session was. This is a place for another family photo and a few more detail-focused photos. However, this family photo is much less “formal” than the first spread is.

With your design completed, I send it to the printers!

Then your family photo album is shipped to your home. When it arrives on your doorstep, you will love being able to flip through it right away. However, your family photo album will only gain in value with time. As your children pick up the album a month, year, or several years later you will love pouring through the pages with them.

You will be transported back to your family photo session, to that time in your family’s lives.

The first step to having a custom, designed-for-you, family photo album is booking your session. Contact me or join my newsletter list for updates on session availability, special events, and photo session tips.

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