Family photo shoot tips

So you’ve decided you want to get some nice family photos done. Now what? Before you arrange a family photo shoot, read these top tips to get the best photos possible. We’ve done a few sessions now and learnt a couple of tricks along the way.

Research photography styles – choose photographer accordingly

If you’re going to be spending your hard earned cash, you want to get what you want. Just picking a photographer based on price or because they popped up on your Facebook feed, is not the way to go. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take advantage of offers but before you commit, check out their work. Is it the style you’re looking for? Do you want a traditional shoot with posed set ups, a white back drop and bright light. Maybe you fancy a whimsical shoot with costumes and props that are edited creatively. Then there are candid photographers who like to snap away at everyday life to capture the special moments. Personally, my favourite style is a lifestyle shoot where the photographer gives direction but tries to show interactions in a relaxed way.

family photo shoot

Tell the photographer what you want

When you’ve picked who is going to take the pictures, make sure you tell them what you want. Do you want lots of the whole family or maybe you are more keen to just get photos of the children? How about individual portraits or certain poses? If you tell the photographer up front, he/she won’t waste time taking what you don’t want and you’ll be much more likely to get what you do.

Check what you’re getting for your money

Photographers offer lots of different packages. Some include prints with or with frames, others may offer a canvas or photo book. Whatever you decide, check you know what you’re getting and how many of the edited images will be included. I’ve always been a fan of digital only packages. This way, you can get all the images and look over them at you leisure. Having all the photos on a USB or CD is also great for making photo gifts and taking advantage of wall art offers when they pop up.


Think carefully about the time of day you book. You know your children best so choose a time when they are generally at their happiest. Just before meal times or late in the day are probably not going to work well especially with younger children.


Some photographers would tell you for a family photo shoot to dress in plain block colours and to pick complimenting colours for the whole family. If that what you want to do, then there are thousands of ideas on Pinterest for how to choose outfits. While I try not to be too wacky, I do like to pick bright colours and favourite outfits that I love. I think it’s important to wear something that shows the real you or at the least, the best version of you.


Regardless of what type of shoot you opt for, I’d definitely recommend prepping you children. A few days before, I tell them that we are having some special photos taken. We practise nice smiles and pretend to be photographers. I’ll tell them the photographer’s name and if possible show them a picture of the photographer too so they are more familiar.


This is key. If you’re in a studio, you probably won’t have to even think about it as all the lighting will have been set up. However, if you choose an outdoor family photo shoot, the photographer is going to have to work with what the day gives him. Glorious sunshine may seem ideal but when you need to stand facing directly into it, then you’re going to have squinting issues. Overcast is best. If need be, get everyone to look down until the last moment then look up together.


Often a photographer will take quite a few shots in one spot and so keeping children relatively still, in frame and happy can be a challenge. When outside, use distraction to keep them close. “Look at this pretty flower. What colour is it?” This can also create great focus lifestyle shots that show lovely interactions. I’ve also found when trying to keep children in one spot, it’s best to stand behind the photographer and tell them an interesting story. We’ll retell ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ or remind them of a fun outing that’s coming up.


When all else fails, have an ace up your sleeve. Whether it needs to be chocolate buttons or, in our case, blackberries from the bushes as we walked. Small, little rewards for following instructions work a charm.

It may only take an hour but by the end you’ll probably be exhausted. Treat yourself to something nice afterwards. Maybe a takeaway so you don’t have to face cooking. Just think in a few weeks you’ll have some amazing images you can treasure forever.

Does anyone else have any top tips for a family photo shoot. I’d love to hear them.


Photos taken by:

Happy Capture Photography

Alex Stott







35 thoughts on “Family photo shoot tips

    1. Thanks – wanted to share what we’d learnt.

    1. You’re so sweet…thanks

  1. I love family photo shoots, we’ve had a couple done now. Trouble is, I always want all of the pictures! 🙂 #AnythingGoes

    1. That’s why we always do a digital package. I don’t need to make any decisions just get them all.

    1. Thanks…we just love photos

  2. haha yes bribery is always a good ace to have up your sleeve! I’ve made a couple of mistakes now with getting photos done so appreciate this post very much. Funnily enough my 4yr old had his school photo yesterday and they said his 18 mth old brother could join them and the little one just looked like thunder the whole way through …no amount of distraction or hijinks snapped him out!! ah well, it’ll be a funny photo :o) thanks for another lovely post x

    1. Guess we just have to laugh and think about how funny it’ll be when we look back on these moments.

    1. Thanks

  3. I hoping to have a few family pics soon so these tips are great!

    Such beautiful photos!

    Stopping by from #anythinggoes

    1. Thanks – glad they were helpful

  4. These are great tips that I will definitely be putting into practice! Your photos are beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    1. It’s all just good lighting and a bit of editing lol

  5. We have never done a family photoshoot. I have had lots of pictures of the kids done proffessionally, but not of us all together.

    1. I think it’ll be nice to have pics of all of us but know not everyone likes to be photographed

  6. Great tips and such fantastic photos. I love the natural feel to them.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

    1. Thanks -that’s our favourite style

    1. Thanks

  7. Beautiful photos and great tips. We use the same photographer for our photos – she has done both new born shoots and our wedding. #TriumphantTales

    1. It’s definitely mportant to choose someone you like and gets what you want.

  8. There are some great tips here! Thanks for linking up to #blogstravaganza

    1. Thanks

  9. These are really good tips for family photograph shoots. I personally am not keen on the perfect baby in a basket photo. I mean how many times will they be seen in said tiny basket? whereas let them roam free and be natural gets my vote #BloggerClubUK

    1. We got offered quite posed newborn shots but I definitely prefer the more natural shots.

  10. These are some really good points. We’re super lucky in the fact that my BIL is a great photographer who takes amazing natural shots!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow

    1. It’s great when you know a good photographer. My husband is good but then it means he’s rarely in the shot.

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