So You’ve Booked A Family Session………

Now what?

For some people this is a creativity journey and one that is met with anticipation, while for others it’s a bit daunting.  Everyone wants a fabulous family photo and often people don’t know where to start.  I began writing an email to a client recently with responses to questions she had. I found myself wanting to attach photos and give greater explainations and then it occurred to me.  If she is questioning this, others may too.   Hope this helps you, if you fall into this category.


Here’s a short list of things that help you prepare for your session

  • When young children are involved, a good night sleep is really a necessity
  • Also on the necessity list is feeding kids before they arrive.
  • For children of most ages, it’s best to set expectations for them.  Go over what is going to happen when they arrive and tell them my name
  • I’m also a fan of  letting children know that this means a lot to you and their cooperation is needed.
  • I’m not opposed to little bribes like an ice cream afterwards or a trip to the park.

Here is a list of things you can expect do do while I am photographing

  • Know that if kids run away from our session, one parent needs to be in charge of getting that child.  I leave the corralling to the parents so I maintain my relationship with them for the shot we are about to capture. 🙂
  • Only one person directs the children at a given time and primarily that is me.  The hardest thing for me is when parents are talking to the kids at the same time I am.  When more than one person speaks, they don’t know who to listen to. As simple as this sounds, knowing this is a key element to our success.
  • If grandparents come to help, I know their intentions are good and they want that beautiful photo too.  Remind them that if they are speaking to the kids during the actual session, they are  just one more adult the children struggle to focus on.
  • What is helpful is a family member that the kids adore(often a grandparent) that comes simply to be goofy and work with me.  They literally stand beside me and at the same height as me.  That person needs to be able to squat down to the same level as the camera and work in sync with me while being a total goofball.
  • If a family member is assisting me by being the “goofball”, they must not stand above me.  IF they do so, the kids will all have their eyes looking up in the photos.  They need to look right at my camera.  It’s a common mistake and helpful to know ahead of time.
  • If we are working with a young child that’s a runner, the best place for him/her is a hip or a lap.

Everyone in the group needs to understand that this will not be easy when we have multiple children so patience is the best thing we can exercise. I recently came across an article in a photography magazine with a very simple quote and it resonated with me.  Thought this would be  good place to share it.

“If you think you’re going to get a specific shot, you’re not.  You get what the child gives”.  

Now that quote was aimed at one child.  Imagine when you are working with multiple children and at multiple ages.  It’s tricky but the bottom line….. be patient with everyone, have fun, and prepare ahead as best you can.

Creativity comes from a variety of elements such as posing,clothing, or location selection.
Creative posing can be something non-traditional
MMP 10 color fbMMP 15 color fbMMP 52 color fb
Creativity can come from trying something completely different like a silhouette or simply by bringing the family pet.
Silhouette with Bella-1 WEB

Creativity can also come from location selection.  I photograph in every public spot imaginable!

MMP 47 webMMP 125 webMMP 152 web

Here are some samples so you can make a decision that suits your family best. (keep one major factor in mind – If you want to do a session at a location that charges for access, the client will be responsible to cover fees associated with shooting there, and all parking fees. Clients are also responsible for organizing the access and any permits related to doing so. ) This is so very important today because many property owners are enforcing this.

Local schools work for me because kids have fun in school. Not to mention, schools have lots of beautiful green grass, bleachers,benches, and things that are very helpful to me when posing.

Some of the best places are literally on the side of the road.  I scout out foliage and new locations while driving every day! In this spot, we are mere feet from the sidewalk off the beaten path.


Would you believe this was a dumpster behind this cutie pie?


This blue background is also a dumpster

20110714-MMD_9378wm State park

20110714-MMD_9388 wm

park bench20110714-MMD_9415wm

I’ve photographed on boats

untitled (47 of 244) copy 2

MMP 35MMP 77untitled (62 of 244)untitled (87 of 244)

Alleys in Boston

MMP 21 webMMP 37 webMMP 278 web

This session was in a location for walking dogs & it was beautiful with color!

MMP 18 webMMP 20 webMMP 24 web

Cranberry storage facilityMMP 139 Color web

golf course walking pathMMP 166 webMMP 170 web

Cranberry bogs


There is always the beach

MMD_6952 sml

MMP 69 sml wm

MMP 154 web

I also own a 20 acre parcel of land that is full of trees, old fences, tall grass, and when the foliage is right, it’s spectcular!  ALL of the photos below were taken there.

DSC_8439DSC_8442MMP 36 wmuntitled (13 of 186)-2 untitled (49 of 186)-3untitled (71 of 186)-2untitled (93 of 186)-2

MMP 53 of 205 smlMMP 76 smlMMP 153 smlMMP 160 smlMMP 221 copy

I’m known to drop an element into nature…. Like a couch!  Why be ordinary?


I hope this helps you to make some decisions about a session that’s perfect for you~


Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



M o r e   i n f o