How to Have a Great Family Photography Session

My sister is a professional photographer. While you’d think that meant I had pictures of my children at ever stage of their lives hanging around my living room, I don’t. Mostly because I never pay her.

But, after a couple of years helping when she’s in a pinch, I’ve learned a few things about having a great family photo session.

1. Research your photographer. My sister is a “lifestyle” photographer. This means her clients will rarely have a posed, studio style shot, the children won’t always be looking directly at the camera, and she does most of her sessions outside or in her clients’ homes. Make sure your photographer’s style matches your own.

2. Feed and water your children. This may seem like a “no duh” statement, but so often parents are in such a hurry to get everyone dressed and out the door, they forget things like lunch.

3. Don’t wear white shirts. No. Seriously. I know everyone does, but it drives my sister and most of her photographer friends crazy. It’s something about white reflecting light and bouncing it places where it ought not to be. Just trust me on this one.

4. Don’t be too early and don’t be too late. There’s a small window before the whine begins. Use it wisely by showing up about five minutes early.

5. Relax and have fun. Let’s face it, we usually have a picture in our heads and nothing the photographer does will match it. Mostly because that picture shows us to be 60 pounds lighter, with shinier hair, and a smaller nose. Just relax and let the photographer take a picture of your family the way it is. Even if that means Dad’s juggling two children while child three is trying to get under Mom’s shirt to nurse.

Because, as my sister says, you’re beautiful. Just the way you are.