How to Best Prepare for a 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’ve booked your family photo session and you are excited, as you should be! But now what? How can you best prepare yourself for a family photo session?

This past fall I had my own family photographed. By placing myself in your shoes, I was reminded of a few things that were vital for having the best family photo session. I’m sharing from my own experience along with things clients have told me that helped them (or that they wished they would have done)

Prepare for a family photo session, Seattle family photographer, Photo of family of four

Prepare for family photos by trying clothes on everyone BEFORE your session day.

I’m a BIG planner. I had been laying out outfits for months leading up to my own maternity session. I had everything set aside so that the kids couldn’t get stains on their photo outfits before picture day. But do you know what I forgot? To try on the brand new dress I had ordered for my daughter. While I went with her regular size, I found as I was dressing her (just 30 minutes before leaving for our session) that the dress was actually pretty tight. So tight, that my very spirited and opinionated almost 2-year old was not going to wear the dress. (I don’t blame her, but still).

The moral of this story is to try on outfits on everyone before the big day. Leave yourself time should something not fit right (too big or too small, or just not fit right won’t look good) and you need to find a replacement.

Did things workout for my family? Yes, luckily, I had a backup option and it worked out beautifully. However, I could have avoided some major photo day stress by trying outfits on everyone earlier.

Prepare for a family photo session, Seattle family photographer, collage of photos of girl

Plan to arrive at your photo session location at least 15-20 minutes early.

While I know you may not want to be waiting around for your session to start, you also don’t want to be late. There is ALWAYS something.

Remember my family photo day? Not only was there a bit of traffic, but my 3 year old HAD to use the bathroom. We were scrambling to find a place to stop and take him. This little detour cost us precious time and took another 15 minutes. Luckily, I planned ahead. Otherwise, I would’ve arrived late, leading to more stress and wasting beautiful light.

So plan to arrive early. You can use the time to get kids out of the car, use the bathroom, brush hair, fix make up, or anything else that could come up. It also helps should there be a wrong turn, extra traffic, or confusion about where to park.

If you are bringing the dog, I suggest arriving even earlier to let him out of the car to get used to the location before we start. Let them adjust to the surroundings, go potty, and get that initial excitement out before we start your session.

Bonus Tip: Check traffic during the SAME TIME OF DAY as your session. Checking how long it takes to get to a location at 9pm at night when your session is at 6pm may lead to a bit of shock if there is actual traffic!

Prepare for a family photo session, Seattle family photographer, Photo of family of four hugging

Finally, to prepare for family photos relax, trust in your photographer, and let EVERYTHING else go.

This is where I quote our favorite ice queen, Elsa. Let it go. You’ve done all the work, you got to your session, and now it’s time to let it go. Relax and trust in your photographer. Your daughter didn’t want her sweater? That’s okay. Your son’s hair standing up a little bit? That’s okay, too. I promise.

As your photographer, I have seen it all. I’m ready for your family chaos, I’m ready for the kids to want to run and play, or even get a little wet in the water. I’m ready to play and chase and get super excited about light and your family connection.

Do you know what I cannot fix? Your frown. So just let it go, have fun, embrace your inner child, get ready to love on your kids, and trust that I’ve got you. None of what happened before your shoot matters anymore. You’ve done all you can. And I promise if you let go of perfection, and just lean into your joy and love of your family you will adore your gallery of images.

Ready to have the best family photo session ever? Contact me to get on my calendar. I cannot wait to capture your beautiful family.