Family Photography

How To Prepare for Your Family Photo Session – 8 Tips from Ottawa Family Photographer

You hired your family photographer and decided on the day, time and location. Now what? Is there anything else left to do for you to ensure you have the best time and get the best results? Yes, there is! I started my business as a Family Photographer in 2017 (I document Weddings now, too!). Since then, I have captured hundreds of families and couples in Ottawa and surrounding areas. From my own experience and a ton of education, I’ve learned some very important things that a client can do to prepare for their family photo session to ensure our time together is a success!

And I know preparing for a family photo session can sometimes feel overwhelming, but with a little planning and the right mindset, it will be an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone involved. In this blog post, I will guide you through some of my essential tips and considerations to help you prepare for a successful family photo session that captures the joy and love within your family!  

A collage of family photos taken during a family photo session in the fall at the Rockcliffe Park Pavillion in Ottawa
  • Allow your kids to express themselves:

Encouraging your children to express themselves authentically during the photo session is key to capturing their true personalities. Rather than instructing them to sit still, be good, or smile on command, let them be themselves. This allows for more natural and candid moments, resulting in photographs that showcase their genuine happiness and playfulness.

  • Your photo session is an adventure:

Remember, a family photo session is not just about taking pictures — it’s an adventure and an opportunity to have fun together. Avoid disciplining your children excessively during the session, as it may dampen the joyful atmosphere. Instead, embrace the spontaneity and enjoy the moment with your family, creating genuine smiles and laughter that will translate beautifully into your photographs.

  • Avoid bringing things you don’t want in the photos:

Children’s interests and moods can change quickly, and it’s important to create a positive environment for the session. Before heading to the location, carefully choose what you bring along, ensuring that any items you bring will enhance the photos and not become distractions or triggers for meltdowns. Simplify and focus on the experience, allowing your family’s connection to shine through.

  • Eat or snack with your children before the session:

Hunger can quickly affect a child’s mood and energy levels. To keep everyone happy and engaged, make sure your children have eaten or snacked before the session. A full tummy often translates into a content and cooperative kid. Be mindful of the food choices, opting for snacks that won’t stain in case you need to snack while on the way to the photo session location.

A collage of family photos taken during a family photo session in the fall at the Pinhey's Historic Point in Ottawa
  • Dedicate time for choosing your outfits:

The outfits you and your family wear can significantly impact the overall look and feel of the photographs. Take the time to select outfits that reflect your family’s style and personality while ensuring coordination and harmony. Coordinate colours, but avoid overly matching outfits. Choose comfortable clothing that allows freedom of movement and makes you feel confident.

Upon booking a session with me, you’ll receive my session preparation and style guide, mood boards for your family members, and links to Pinterest Boards to draw inspiration. I’m confident that you can find something in your closets unless you’re going for very specific looks. Always feel free to reach out to me if you need any further guidance.

  • Photographing older kids and teens:

Photographing older children and teenagers may require a different approach. Take into account their preferences and interests when planning the session. Engage them in the process, discussing ideas and locations they might enjoy. Encourage their individuality and allow them to express themselves authentically, capturing their unique personalities in the photographs.

  • Leave earlier and do a kid check:

To avoid unnecessary stress and ensure a smooth start to the session, plan to leave home 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. This extra time allows for unforeseen circumstances and provides an opportunity to do a quick kid check before the session begins. Check for clean faces, neat hair, and any last-minute adjustments to outfits to ensure everyone looks their best.

  • Manage your expectations and have fun:

It’s important to manage your expectations for the session and remember that the ultimate goal is to capture genuine moments and create lasting memories. Embrace the fact that not every photograph needs to be posed or picture-perfect. Trust your photographer’s style and direction, and allow yourself and your family to let loose, have fun, and enjoy the experience together. The resulting photographs will reflect the true essence of your family and the love you share.

A collage of family photos taken during a family photo session in the fall at the Pinhey's Historic Point in Ottawa

Preparing for a family photo session should be an exciting and enjoyable process. By following these essential tips, you can create a relaxed and fun environment that allows your family’s unique dynamics to shine through. Encourage your children to be themselves, embrace the adventure, and manage your expectations to make the most of the session. Remember, the key to capturing beautiful family moments is to prioritize genuine connections and have fun together. With these preparations in place, you are well on your way to creating cherished photographs that will be treasured for years to come!

If you’re thinking of planning a family session in Ottawa, feel free to contact me today! I look forward to capturing beautiful moments with your family!

Ina Soulis (owner of North Saplings Photography) is a Wedding & Family Photographer based out of Ottawa, serving families and couples across Canada, Europe, and beyond!

Read latest post