How to Have Less Stressful Family Photo Sessions

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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

Can you really have less stressful family photo sessions?

Having family photos taken should not be something you dread each year (or dread so much you don’t have it done).

If it’s something that causes you stress, maybe even so much stress that it affects the entire family, it’s time for a change. I’m here to help make it less stressful for you, so you can take back the joy in having your family documented.

I want to let you in on a secret.

When you are stressed, the entire family feels it, and it will show. I’m not telling you this to cause more stress, but to be real with you. Using these tips can help you feel more prepared and at ease when it comes to having your photos taken.

How to Have less Stressful Family Photo Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Photo of family hug

The first step in less stressful family photos is to find the right photographer for you.

Just because I’m a photographer and you like my work, does not mean I’m immediately the photographer for you. You need someone you feel comfortable with, that you know, trust, and like. Being in front of the camera can make you feel vulnerable. When you’re comfortable with your photographer the process will be easier for you. Thus you will have a less stressful family photo experience.

Not sure how to find the right photographer for you? Start by looking at work, and then head over to their Instagram page. Read their posts, their words, and watch a few stories. Get a feel for them and their personality. Their feed posts will give you a feel for their values, while their stories will give you a more personal feel if you align.

Schedule your photos in your “off” season.

I get it, fall is a beautiful time. The pull of having fresh photos for Christmas cards is big. However, it’s also usually people’s (mine included) busiest, and most stressful, time of year. If finding time (and a day with good weather) is something that is difficult and stressful, try a different time of year.

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful all year round (hello, Evergreen State here!). You may be surprised how much you love photos in the winter snow, blossoming spring, or the dog days of summer! Family photos in the other seasons are much less stressful without the pressure of getting photos done in time for holiday cards.


Plan ahead for a less stressful family photo session.

From booking your session to picking out outfits for everyone, planning ahead gives you time to figure out if a top doesn’t fit your daughter well, or that red-striped shirt doesn’t match everyone else’s outfits. It also means you’re on a photographer’s calendar and not trying to book and fit it in last minute.

In my experience, planning ahead helps relieve a lot of stress that the last minute can affect.

Make picture day a fun family day.

Talk up the fun time you’re going to have for family photos. Be excited when you talk about getting all dressed up together, heading to a park and getting to play, snuggle, dance and explore as a family. Yes, be honest that you’re having photos taken. It’s all about how we frame the day. Paint a picture of the fun, and that you “get to have your photos taken to enjoy together forever.”

Talk about how you’re going out for dinner or ice cream (or hot chocolate) afterwards. Instead of bribing to do the photos like it’s a drag, make it about the entire experience.

I also suggest not having things planned on picture day like play dates, busy soccer games for little ones and such.

Give yourself extra time on picture day for a less stressful family photo session.

Build in more time than you think you need for getting everyone ready and getting to the location. Traffic happens, a missed turn, or a kid falls asleep in the car on the way. Giving yourself extra time to get everyone freshened up (or even dressed) once you arrive at the location is a great way to reduce stress. If you’re racing and rushing, you’ll start your session off feeling rushed. Remember, when you feel it, so do the kids!

Those extra few means means a less stressful start for your family photo session.

How to Have less Stressful Family Photo Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Photo of baby girl surrounded by family
How to Have less Stressful Family Photo Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,

How to Have less Stressful Family Photo Sessions, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer,

Let your photographer worry about how the session is going.

If you followed tip #1 above, you found a photographer who’s work you love and who you feel comfortable with. So trust in them to do their job. I guarantee that portfolio of images they have isn’t built off families who were “perfect.”

I tell each family at the start of their session (as a gentle reminder) to relax and focus on loving on the kids. Just play, love, smile, be. And know that I’ve got your back. Things may not “feel” like you’re getting amazing photos, but trust me. The more fun, play, smiles, giggles, running, chaos, the more beautiful I feel a gallery is – the more true to your family I feel a gallery is.

Finally, know that it is 100% worth the work to have your family photographed.

I get that it is a process to get your family ready for photos, to decide on what to wear, and to show up with everyone perfectly happy. Even following every tip above (which I highly recommend) it still takes some work. However, it is something I 100% feel is worth it.

When you get your gallery of images and pour through them, you’ll know it was worth it. In 6 months as you’re sitting with your kids and looking at your album, you’ll know it was worth it. And in 5 years when you look at your photos, you will be so glad you did the work, that you invested time in having your family photographed.

Now that you’re ready for a less stressful family photo session. Let’s start with the first step. Grab a family photo session now for a few months from now. Once you’re booked, I will help you begin to plan by suggesting locations and outfit ideas. Your future self will be so glad you took the time now.


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