6 Tips For the Best Family Photos

Family photos are special. They’re timeless and valuable, and moms actually get to be a part of them! But, lord have mercy, those things are stressful. And you know someone is bound to wake up on the day of with green snot or pink eye or a monster zit. Or your toddler will decide that’s the perfect day to drop his nap, and so 75% of your timeless memories are of him losing his ever-loving mind. I have yet to make it through a session without having to soak up some serious boob sweat.

So, here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way that hopefully will keep you from losing your ever-loving mind too.

1. Do research on your photographer.

This is a no-brainer, but it’s also super important. Just because your brother’s girlfriend’s little sister is a photographer, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to use her. And just because someone owns a fancy camera and can take pictures with it, doesn’t mean they really know how to use it. Ask around for a few names, and before you even talk to a photographer, check out their website so you can see what kind of pictures they take. There’s nothing worse than dropping some serious coin on pictures and then hating every single one of them.

All the pictures featured here are by some incredible photographers who we loved working with! Shout out to Christy Parry (Atlanta), Terri Calla (Cincinnati), and Karey Roe (Seattle).

2. Pay for the longer session.

Snapping at least one good picture should only take about 20-30 minutes, right? Err, no. Not with my family! The kids are fully aware that this is a special occasion. So, naturally they’re going to do what they do and try to ruin it. If you’re rushing around trying to get them to sit still, it’s gonna be a circus with a lot of boob sweat.


See what happens when you try to control them?


Still failing at that control game.


So. Much. Boob sweat.


3. Take snacks, toys, and a blanket.

Leave the carrot sticks and kale chips at home and pack all the junk. Bring whatever crap your children respond to, and bribe the hell out of them. We also bribe with ice cream afterwards, because what better way to celebrate the end of a photo session than smearing ice cream all over your face? Oh yeah, and pack drinks–maybe wine for you, water for them.

Pick out toys that will capture your child’s attention, and that you wouldn’t mind showing up in pictures. One year, we brought along matchbox cars and trains. I picked out ones that were more classic-looking and had a certain level of charm. We whipped ’em out to help entertain and re-direct, and the photographer snapped some pictures of my son’s little hands. The pics turned out great, and were some of our favorites.

The blanket can be a good central location to keep everyone in one place for a second. Kids love to jump on a blanket in the middle of wherever, and there’s something cozy about it. So if you’re kids are running every which way, bust that baby out and pile up on it together. Be sure to laugh and play and tickle each other so you have real laughs.

4. Let the kids be in charge.

Does your child want to climb a tree? Jump in a mud puddle? Pick flowers? Roll around in the bushes? Let them! The kids need to rule the show, even over the photographer. Do your best to make a game out of whatever they’re doing, and let the photographer take candid photos of that. If they’re having fun they may be more cooperative, and you might be able to stop them every once in a while and say, “Hey look at {the photographer} and show your happy face!” And they might actually do it! This also goes back to giving yourself enough time. If you have an hour or two to run around and play and move around throughout your location, you are much more likely to capture a moment that you want to remember.

5. Wear clothes that you love.

Don’t worry so much about trying to over-coordinate with color schemes and patterns. Just pick out something that you love to wear and you feel really good in. Pick out clothes that you love seeing on your kids. Then pick out one fun accessory for each family member to make the outfits really pop. Things like, statement necklaces, vests, suspenders, watches, a cute jacket, headbands, bows, etc. It will naturally all come together, I promise. When you feel good in what you’re wearing, your confidence will show.


Also, don’t wait until the night before or, heaven forbid, the day of to pick out your clothes (No, wait. Tell your husband not to wait until the night before or the day of to pick out his clothes). For the love of everything good and holy, don’t mother effin do it. One or all of you will be stressed and you’ll end up fighting the whole way there, and then you’ll have to regroup so it looks like you love each other. I mean, that’s what I hear. It’s never happened to us.

6. Have fun.

Stay chill. Keep your sense of humor. Enjoy each other. Your photographer will undoubtedly be able to capture some awesome moments.


At the end of the day, no matter how these pictures turn out you will still look back on them with warm fuzzy feelings. You will remember how much you adored your family then and how much you adore them still. Because hey…

Ur a Mom Now. 


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