Wisdom Wednesday – 10 Tips For Fabulous Family Portraits


This week’s Wisdom Wednesday is all about having a successful and natural looking family portrait shoot!

Let's face it, almost every family will want some sort of family photo taken eventually. Even if they aren't necessarily your favorite thing to do, as a photographer you should be well versed in the world of family photography.

Don't know where to start? Don't fret, as we are here to help with our top ten tips for family portraits! 


1Dress For the Part


One extremely important aspect of a family photo is how everyone is dressed. It is important that everyone is dressed their best! You can try having everyone wearing similar colors or colors that simply work well together. You will also want to work out whether or not they will want to wear more casual clothing or upscale as this will affect the whole shoot.

An extremely important note here to to retain the family's personality! You want them to look their best but you also want them to look, well... like them! Make sure they are comfortable with what they are wearing and the shoot will go off without a hitch.


2Make Sure The Location Works For Everyone


It is always a good idea to check with your clients on their ideal location. Get their input about their favorite spots and advise them throughout your conversation if certain locations may not fit for what you all envision for the final product.

Scout and check out those locations and give your verdict. If the location your client chose does not exactly work out, suggest a different location. Try locations that have large shaded areas with beautiful trees and a location which has an open area for little children to run around.

There is also always the option of using one of our backdrops! It can make the day a whole lot easier if you don't have to shlep everyone out to a busy and hot park! BACKDROPOUTLET.COM


3Communication Is Key


It goes without saying that communication is key when photographing people. From the day you receive the first e-mail from the client, make sure that you stay continuously engaged. Respond to inquiries promptly and keep your clients informed at all times, especially on any potential schedule changes!

Your clients may also forget about upcoming dates as we all have busy lives! It may be a good idea to remind clients about a week in advance via email, phone or Facebook first, then send another reminder the day before the session. If your client does not respond, try calling them and make sure that they got the message.

Effective communication is important for a busy pro, because the schedule can get packed very quickly. Rescheduling a missed photo shoot can get costly, especially if you have that one weekend day planned for a family outing. 


4Make Sure The Whole Family Is Well Rested And Fed


Be certain when you schedule your appointment you take into consideration their child’s nap or bedtime. There is nothing that can bring a photoshoot down faster than a cranky young one!

The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for their children, figure out another time that will work for everyone.

Make sure the clients don't show up to the photo session on an empty stomach. If they plan on going out for lunch or dinner afterwards as a family, just remind them to bring some snacks to hold them over!




5Have The Family Bring Activities To The Shoot 


A great way to add some fun to the day is incorporate an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives them something to do with the free time, engages the little ones, and brings out those genuine smiles! 

Maybe they love to play boardgames or cards as a family. Plan for them to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, you will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.


6Not Everyone Has To Be Smiling Directly At The Camera!


The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. (Although, not to say these classic photos aren't appreciated!) If they are engaged as a family and loving on each other, their eyes will be on their family members and the smiles with be natural. These are the photographs they will cherish most because they depict the family's connection and love.


7Let The Kids Be Kids!


Many Parents will tell their kids before a photoshoot to be on their best behavior and smile when asked. This is not bad advice, but it also puts a ton of pressure on the little ones! It may be your best bet to just tell them you are all going to the park to take pictures and have a good time.

Don't be to get goofy for the kids as well! If they see you, as the photographer, having fun they will know that they can let loose and enjoy themselves too. Once the kids get in their comfort zones you will see the pictures burst with loving smiles and faces of enjoyment! 


8Take Plenty Of Photos!


A good rule of thumb for family portraits is to take a ton of photos, and by a ton, we mean a ton! Seriously this is not the time to be shy with that trigger finger. 

A family portrait means that there will be a lot of faces that need to be captured at the perfect moment. You will end up with many photos being great... except the five year old who is picking their nose!

Just remember to bring some extra memory cards, because you will want to get as many opportunities as you can of the family all coming together for the perfect shot!



9Don't Forget About Props


There is nothing worse than having a group of 5 people standing there and not knowing what to do. Aside from posing your clients, the biggest thing you can do is give them something to do! The idea is to make them feel like they are in their own backyards and give them accessories close to their hobbies and lifestyle.

Luckily at Backdrop Outlet we have plenty of Props to choose from that can fit any family's needs! Check them out HERE.

10 Expression Is Key


No matter how the lighting is, or where the session is taking place, nothing is going to matter if you can't capture a genuine happiness with the family.

It can be more difficult than you may think to get everyone in a cheerful mood! (Looking at you Dad and babies) So be patient and work with everyone to get them smiling. A couple jokes in your back pocket wouldn't hurt!

All in all, have fun with the shoot and don't make it some stressful event for everyone. Let the photos come naturally and everyone will be amazed by the results!


As always, we hope this installment of Wisdom Wednesdays was insightful and can propel your photography career to new heights!

We look forward to hearing your feedback so don’t be afraid to comment down below!


Until Next Time

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