Family Session Guide



  • Make sure they are well rested. I know this may sound easier said than done, but if your session is in the evening, try to carve out some time that afternoon to have quiet time for the kiddos.

  • Make sure they are fed. Bring snacks if needed. Nothing chocolatey or sticky. 

  • Tell them what we will be doing if this is their first time with me, and make it sound exciting!

  • Make this exciting for them - consider a reward/ something fun afterwards.

  • Let them be little! Just give them grace to be little, and know that I will capture their personalities no matter what. 


  • Make sure he is rested and fed - Ha! But really, rested and fed applies to the grown ups too!

  • Show him a few of your favorite pictures from my portfolio so he can see the relaxed nature of my work. This will help him know what to expect. 

  • Let him know that the best thing he can do is to just enjoy his family - and let ME to do the work. The pressure is off.

  • Let him know how much this means to you, and that you're glad he is willing to be such a team player for one hour.


  • Make enough time to prepare on the day of your session so you don't feel rushed and anxious.

  • Let go of your need for perfection. This is the biggest anxiety for moms. It's ok if your kids aren't "perfect" during our time together. 

  • Don't worry about your kids not giving me their "real smiles". Most of the time being told, "not that smile, your REAL smile!" only makes it worse..

So, don't worry. I will work hard to get them laughing and will be sure to capture them at their best. 

What to wear?

Choose several complimenting colors and stick to them. Pick some of your hues that coordinate well together, and stick to them. What are your family’s favorite colors? Don’t choose one color for the whole family, multiple colors will add dimension to your images.


Pick one pattern and go from there. Avoid dressing the whole family in patterns.  A good idea is to choose from one item, a dress for example, with a pattern containing the colors you love. Then choose colors from the item that you love for the other family members to wear.


Be comfortable. Make sure that everyone’s clothing fits properly and is weather appropriate. If you’re hot or cold during your session it is less likely that you’ll appear happy and relaxed in your photos. This is especially true for children, if you feel good in your clothes, it shows!

Do: Wear layers! Layers add dimension and depth to your images. If it’s hot outside layer with accessories. - cute belts, necklaces, bracelets, etc. If it’s cool weather - cardigans, vests, scarves, boots and hats are all great examples.


Do: Purchase clothes that fit your body, it can be tempting to buy kids clothing a size bigger so they’ll have room to grow; but for photo sessions it’s not the best idea. Avoid looking sloppy by wearing well fitting garments.


Do: Start with one outfit and build the rest of the family clothing from there. It can be overwhelming trying to choose all the outfits at once, so start small and build from there. Everything doesn’t have to new, shop from your closet!


Don’t: Wear neon colors. They don’t photograph well and cast colors onto the skin of those who are wearing them. No one wants a bright yellow face!


Don’t: Match! Matching is out, coordinating is in. Remember, it doesn’t have to match, it just has to GO. Outfits should complement each other, not match each other.


Don’t: Choose a lot of patterns for your outfits. Too many patterns can be distracting and doesn’t add dimension to your photos. Along with this, avoid wearing anything with a graphic on your shirt. Maybe limit patterns to two - three people in your family depending on your family size.


Don’t: Wear solid black or white clothing. These colors don’t show dimension when photographed and make for dull, looking pictures.

If you are still stuck, please check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.

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location: Farmington, Minnesota

© 2020 Stephanie Newman Photography