4 Steps to Feeling Less Awkward for Family Photos

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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

Does the thought of getting in front of the camera give you hives? Or maybe not that extreme, but you’re just worried that you’ll look and feel incredibly uncomfortable and awkward in your family photos.

Trust me, I think most of us moms, while we want beautiful photos of our kids, would rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it.

But it’s time to change that thinking. You matter. Your kids want to see YOU in photos with them. So instead of avoiding having our own photos taken, let’s talk about ways to feel less awkward in front of the camera.

These are my tried and true tips. They are just as important for me when I’m having my photos taken as when I’m photographing other moms.

So here we go, four steps for feeling less awkward for family photos.

Girl with hat smiling at camera with mom smiling at her for family photos, Lake Sammamish State Park, not awkward family photos

The biggest tip to avoiding awkward family photos is, you MUST feel comfortable with your photographer.

There are plenty of photographers out there, and so many with GORGEOUS work. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with them for one reason or another, it will show, you will feel awkward, and thus likely look awkward. So ensure that you feel comfortable.

“How,” you ask, “do I do that when I haven’t met my photographer in person?”

There are several things you can do before you book a session. The first is to visit their social media pages. Places like Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories can help give you a more relaxed feel for a potential photographer. You are also able to read their posts and see what they value, their style, and if they would be a good fit.

If you’re still feeling stuck, I do share more tips and ideas over on How to Pick the Right Photographer for Your Family.

Okay, so now that you’re comfortable with your photographer, the next thing is for you to focus on you.

Mother and daughter in golden light during Lake Sammamish State Park Family photos

Wear something you feel truly beautiful AND comfortable in.

Yes, you want to look a little more dressed up than your regular leggings and baggy sweatshirt. However, if you aren’t a short dress girl, or showing off your arms makes you cringe, avoid those things all together.

When you feel beautiful, it will show. When you feel uncomfortable, it will show.

And when you’re uncomfortable you will feel awkward in your family photos.

It will also be distracting if you are constantly adjusting your outfit because your dress is a little too low/short/uncomfortable. So make sure you take time out for yourself and select something you love. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Again, need more ideas? Check out Best Places to Find Outfits for Mom!

Husband and wife hugging near Lake Sammamish as children play in the water

During your (not awkward) family photo session, don’t look at me unless I ask you to.

Staring at a camera is awkward. And the longer you’re sitting staring, smiling at the camera directly, the more awkward you will feel in your family photos. Again, trust me.

You are probably programed that you’re supposed to look at the camera. However, if you’ve chosen me as your photographer, you’ll notice that none of the images on my website or social media features families smiling and looking at the camera. That is on purpose. That isn’t where my passion lay, and that isn’t where most people feel comfortable.

This also means you don’t have to be worried about getting your kids to look at me either. Which means, less stress for you! (Yay! Less stress is a good thing!)

Instead, just know that you don’t have to look at me. There will be a time. I will say “Okay, everyone right here for one” then you can look. Otherwise, you don’t have to look at me! What a relief, huh?!

Plus, when you’re looking at your daughter as you laugh together, the image will feel that much more impactful and meaningful than if you were looking at me.

Playful family photo at Lake Sammamish State Park

Follow my prompts and you will look relaxed and comfortable in your photos.

You’re probably thinking, okay, I don’t look at you, what do I look at?

I promise we will not stand there during your family photo session staring awkwardly at each other. Nor will I let you stand there awkwardly with nothing to do!

Leave that to me. The entire session I am going to offer prompts and guidance. I will tell you where to stand, or what to do, who to look at, how to play, everything. Moments may look “candid” but they were very much directed. How things unfold are your natural reactions and genuine smiles, however, I help direct everyone so that the moment may unfold in a way that photographs well and helps you look your best.

When you are focused on the “task” or the prompt at hand, you don’t have time to worry about the camera or what you “should” be doing. Instead, you’re loving on your family, having fun, smiling, laughing and looking amazing and comfortable. Just. Like. That!

There you have it!

4 simple steps to feeling less awkward in front of the camera for your family (or maternity) photos. The first two are the most important, I’d say. Then let your photographer worry about the rest. I will guide you, laugh, joke, make a little fool of myself, so that you know I’m a big dork and there’s nothing to feel awkward about at all with me!

Also know, that the more regularly you have your photos taken the easier it gets. Families I have photographed for years always have a confidence about them. They know the process, they know they can trust in me, relax and follow those prompts. So if you leave this year still feeling like maybe you were a little awkward (trust me, you weren’t), rest easy knowing that next year will be that much easier for you.

Feeling comfortable already?

Wonderful, let’s get your family on my calendar with a family photo session!