Planning Your Family Photography Session

February 24, 2023

The best thing about documentary “real life” photography sessions is that they are unique to your family! Planning your family photography session doesn’t have to be challenging, usually less is more when it comes to real life photography. Great moments can happen in even the most mundane moments. When we start chatting about your family session one of my first questions is – what do you like to do together as a family and what individually. Often you’re going to give me a great idea for your session based on the answers to that question.

Here are my tips, as a mother who has her own family photographed and as a photographer to planning a wonderful family photography session! And if you have any tips to share, please use the comments below.

family  playing hockey during family photography session

Do what you love!

Tip #1

Plan your day or session according to what your family likes to do, knows how to do and won't cause too much frustration. Maybe you're family enjoys a bit of extra time relaxing with coffee or snuggles in bed or maybe you love forest hikes or adventures outdoors. Two very different mornings, two amazing options for a family photography session

Don't set your expectations too high

Tip #2

planning your family photography session should have some free time for everyone to do what they love like reading

This is something I'm learning as a parent in general. The higher the expectations the more disappointment there seems to be. I'm not talking about low expectations for how the photos will turn out - meltdowns, messes and all will still make for photos you'll love. Plan for less - 1 to 2 activities plus your normal day routine - and leave flexible time in the day. As one parent told me before our session "There will definitely be tears during the day" - It was an incredible day tears and all.

Follow your daily routine

Tip #3

tips for planning your family photography session

No, it's not boring! Daily life is busy and full of so many interesting things, even if from the inside right now it doesn't seem like it. These are the days that pass by too fast (even though some days feel slow). When you look back a reminisce about life, having everyone together is what you'll think of.

Bribe them with your attention

Tip #4

Consider your family photography session as an opportunity to be together, with nothing else on the to-do list. Put the laundry down, even for one day (because we all know it's never ending anyway!). Your kids won't need candy or bribes if you're giving them extra cuddles and attention today, their smiles will come naturally.

cooking and preparing food together is a fun thing to do during a family photography session

Add food and drinks into the session

Tip #5

There is nothing more intense than a hangry child. We know kids need about 30 snacks a day, do include this in your time. Whether it be a meal, a sweet treat (like grabbing ice cream at Kawartha Dairy or Cool Licks), a picnic or snack break. Involving everyone is preparing your favourite meal or baking is a fun way to make the most of our time together and keep little bellies full!

dressing comfortably for a documentary family photography session

Tip #6

Wear comfortable clothes

This is probably my most frequently asked question - "What should we wear?" My answer is whatever you're most comfortable in and also to dress according to the activity you're doing. If you're outside in winter - bundle up and get out there and play!. If you're relaxing at home in the morning - wear your pjs or soft pants. I do suggest you put away those t-shirts with giant logos or Disney character's faces - these are a bit distracting in photos. Comfortable kids are happy kids.

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