The Van Vactor family

I’ve got to admit, I love planning family pictures. I have that rush of excitement, nerves, and good stress all at once. Pictures take a lot of thought and preparation. Professional photographers can help with some of that, but if you want to personalize your photos, it takes just a little planning.

Scheduling and planning family pictures can be stressful if you aren’t sure what to do. These tips will help you think ahead so you can have the best session that shows off your family and its personality.

Tips For Your Family Pictures

1. Color scheme! Some people don’t think about how important the color scheme really is to pictures. Planning outfits can be a challenge, but look at it like decorating your house. Think of where you are planning to hang your family pictures and think about what else will be around them in the house. When selecting outfits for pictures, pick a color that matches what is in your house. Also pick a color that will coordinate with the season.

You don’t need your family pictures outfits to match. Just make sure to coordinate colors. If you have two or three kids, start with them. If you have children who are the same sex, find a store that has a certain clothing line that coordinates, or find clothes that share colors but have different patterns. I love to get my two girls dresses that have the same fabric in different spots. Then I find a shirt or tie for my son that matches the girls. It might be the same material or just the same color. My son’s clothes can also be a solid color while the girls’ clothes might have a busy pattern. My husband and I dress simply. I try to keep the pattern to a minimum and just use one solid color from my children’s outfits. I try to put my husband and I in different colors than each other, but I make sure they look good together. If you need help, try Pinterest, or some photographers offer a link on their websites with outfit and color tips.

2. Tie it all together! It’s the small pieces you add to each person that will show off personality and tie everything in. I try not to make it look too busy, but I include different accessories like hair pieces, jackets, and boots or shoes that match. I then add a sweater, bowtie, tie, or hat for my son to add other colors or tie everyone together. I like to make my dress or sweater solid and add flair with fancy jewelry, boots, a belt, or a scarf with a pattern. My husband doesn’t need much. I give him a simple outfit, but if he needs a color pop I’ll look for shorts, pants, or a sweater.

3. Bring props from your house or go to a special location! In order to make your pictures special and unique, think of a location, blankets, or baskets that have meaning to you. For example, I have a trunk I love that my grandpa made. I used it in a field for my kids to sit on in our last fall session. For a summer session, we went to my in-laws’ lake we love so much. Bring a special quilt that a family member made or a family blanket to lie on. If your child has a special doll, toy, or stuffed animal, bring it along. I saw a great idea where a family adopting some children brought their pictures and held them in the photo.

4. Be yourself! Posed pictures are nice to have, but it’s almost impossible to get a perfect posed picture. Let your kids be goofy. Snuggle, kiss, and love on them. Let the photographer snap away while you play around. Go to a park and capture in-the-moment pictures with your family. Let them make silly faces after they smile for you. Pull out all your tricks to get them to smile and giggle. You might be surprised by the pictures you get. You want to capture your children’s personalities. You can also have “lifestyle” pictures taken. These are pictures at your house or just somewhere your family is together. Sometimes the pictures are just hands or feet, or they show your family snuggling together and not always looking at the camera.

5. Bring the tools. You might need snacks, drinks, and rattles or bells. If you have little ones, you know they can’t handle a photo session of more than 30-45 minutes. Bring snacks and give them breaks. If you have babies, sometimes having the photographer or someone by the photographer shake a bell gets their attention long enough to capture that picture.

6. Change it up. Sometimes your photographer might let you change an outfit to show different colors or styles. You can also change the location and drive around to find different spots. This will give you something different when trying to pick which photos you want to keep.

7. Do mini-sessions. Mini-sessions are short 30-minute planned sessions that usually are cheaper and a quick way to get some pictures. These usually fall around the holidays to be used for Christmas cards, but photographers might offer them for specials during the year, too.

8. Make sure to check out the website! Also ask your photographer questions. Share your ideas and desires. They might have items to bring to help you get the shot you want. Make sure to discuss if you want close-up or far away photos and if you want individual photos of your kids, too. Trust your photographer to change your position, location, or angle. Research their website for ideas, prices, and what to expect. Getting your pictures done is a fun, exciting time. Don’t let it stress you out. Plan ahead and follow these tips to help you get the pictures you want. Check out some of these photographers for more ideas:

Amanda Tonagel Photography:

Leah Hoskins: Photography

Traci Shupert Photography:

Heartfelt Photography:




Category: Family Free Time

Tags: Alyssa