Do’s and Don’ts for Family Portraits

posted in: Portraits, Uncategorized | 0

To help us all get into the family photo groove, here are some tips for a great family portrait experience.


  1.  Accept that your session will go as well as it can go based on your children’s moods. I have seen the happiest babies not crack one smile the whole time; the shyest kids exuberant and open; and the most well-behaved kids fight with their parents for the better part of a session.
  2. The best time of day for photos is within three hours of sunrise and three hours of sunset. We want nice soft light, not harsh overhead light. Is your family better in the early morning or the evening? Plan your session for the time of day when your kids are most alert and agreeable.
  3. Understand that for a toddler or a baby, portrait sessions are incredibly over stimulating. The camera, the stranger, the sitting still, the smiling, and the expectations are exhausting and foreign.  Be patient.
  4. Know there will be breaks. Family portraits are exhausting for all of us and I’m very sensitive to the fact that children need breaks! It is NOT 20-30 minutes of posing. There will be time for snacks, running, and playing during the session.
  5. Have ideas for photos you’re excited about but be flexible! Trust your photographer to get great photos throughout.


  1. Don’t get angry with your toddlers for not cooperating. They are toddlers! Their job is to not cooperate.  Just let them be themselves and the photos will reflect what makes them special.
  2.  Don’t force the kids to do more than they are emotionally able to. There comes a time to end every family or baby portrait session, and it may be before you got the shot you were hoping for.
  3.  Don’t expect more than a half hour of photography. I find that 20 minutes is the average amount of time before everyone breaks down.
  4.  Don’t expect a gallery full of posed, formal portraits. That is not my style and it’s unlikely to happen with the average kid! Your proofs will contain a variety of poses and expressions including more formal ones where everyone is smiling at the camera and more spontaneous ones where personalities are shining through.
  5.  Don’t apologize for cranky, misbehaving kids – know that they are NORMAL! As a professional photographer (and a parent), I assure you, your child’s behavior is 100% expected. They’re doing great! And so are you.


Comments are closed.