If your family has littles, let’s face it — sometimes just getting out the door is a win. Let alone leaving on time in clean clothes with the ability to keep it together long enough to snap some great photos. Trust me, I know. But while I’ll do my part to capture your kids in a way that naturally showcases their personalities, there are some little things you can do that will go a long way. With these five tips for a successful (and stress-free) family photo session, we can work together to create authentic, joy-filled images of the whole family! 

1. Plan Ahead

Are your kiddos hard to wake up in the morning? Or do they wake up full of sweet smiles, ready to go? Maybe they put their best foot forward in the afternoon after a nap, or right after lunch. Whenever they typically feel their happiest, try and schedule your family photo session accordingly. If your photographer is pretty booked on the day you want, or the natural light you’re hoping for doesn’t coincide with your usual schedule (because when does everything line up perfectly, right?), try and make adjustments where you can. A later start, shifting a nap just a bit or bumping up a meal or snack can make a big difference in arriving at your session with happy hearts. Use your best judgment… After all, no one knows your kids like you do!

2. Take the Pressure Off

We all want perfect family photos. And why not? Our kids are only the age they are once, and we want to remember every moment (plus they make it easy to show off our pride and joy around the house, in cards and on social media). But I have a secret: Kids feed off our energy. If we spend the family photo session sweating the small stuff, they’re going to mirror that stress right back. Take the pressure off and enjoy the moment! Give yourself plenty of time to get ready, get dressed and transition into the photo session. When we’re all calm and relaxed instead of rushing around, that mood will shine through your images! 

Colorado Springs Family Photographer

3. Come Prepared

I know it sounds simple, but seriously, never underestimate the power of snacks. No one can see the future, but coming to a family photo session prepared can prevent restlessness and preemptively solve any problems that typically come up. Tights can rip at outdoor shoots, hair can go south in the car, and spills can happen any time. Be sure to bring some munchies, a hairbrush and a spare outfit or two. Are photos of just the grown-ups on your shot list? Bring along some activities to keep the younger family members occupied. Like I always say: It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it! 

4. Practice makes Perfect

Practicing at home can be a useful tool, especially if it’s your children’s first family photo session (or the first one they remember, anyway). Kids tend to do better in new situations if they know what to expect ahead of time, and it’s easy to prepare for the day when we all have phones in the palm of our hand. Take the time to talk through what the day will look like, from getting ready to getting home, and take a few photos so they understand the process. Believe me, the first time they experience something shouldn’t be when there’s a photographer present!  

5. Make it FUN!

This may sound silly, but don’t be afraid to be… well… silly! A fun experience will result in joy-filled images you’ll cherish forever, so don’t hold back! Go ahead and whip out your best (or worst) dad jokes. Let your kids explore the space and be themselves within it. Tickle those tummies and raspberry those cheeks. I’ll come prepared with prompts and questions, you come ready to let loose and be yourselves. 

Whether you’ve been capturing your family annually for years or you’re new to the process, it always helps to hire a professional photographer who has experience photographing families and kids. Check out some of my galleries and family photo sessions over on my Instagram. Time flies when you’re having fun with your family. Let’s capture the moments together! 

Colorado Photo Destinations
Figure Skating Photographer
Colorado Family Photos


Fun Fact: Did you know that having family portraits hung in your house increases childrens’ self-esteem? Research has shown that having loving portraits displayed around your house reminds children that family is important and honoring the memories created together is special. 

Whether you have a family portrait session every year or every few years, your choice to invest in photography matters. Family portraits bring everyone together and remind you of the love and joy that your family shares. During challenging times, family portraits can bring comfort and can heal. 

When I photograph family portraits, my goal is to capture those photos that show everyone looking at the camera mixed with the authentic moments of families. 

Here are five reasons why it’s always a good idea to say yes to family photos

Kids grow up fast! 

With each photo you take of your kids, you capture their growth and the development of your family. It might feel like getting ready and picking outfits is stressful, but when you have a moment to step back and relive all of those precious life moments, you’ll thank yourself later. 

Everyone will be in town. 

Whether you’re a family of annual photos or on the rare occasion you all make it for Thanksgiving, it’s a great time to get everyone together to take family portraits. 

I recently captured the Gaytan Family who travel as a large group of 18-plus every year on a family vacation; I admire their commitment to plan something together each year and how much they love family photos. They all got dressed up — the women did their hair and makeup — and they made it a really fun two hours. 

Capture life events. 

We know how fast life passes by — milestone birthdays, new schools, drivers’ licenses — and it’s worth taking time to pause. It’s a tough reality, but the sudden passing of family members can give even more meaning to your photos. When someone passes, the first thing we do is look for pictures of them to remember the good times and the life they lived. 

Consider it an activity, not just a portrait session. 

I tell this to my engagement and wedding couples: photo sessions don’t need to feel like an hour of awkward poses. It should feel like you’re going on a date! When done right, photo sessions are an opportunity to connect and have fun. If you’re going to put aside the time to take photos, treat it like a fun family activity. During my sessions, I like to give kids fun things to do and think about. I ask them to run away from the camera, tell me their favorite Disney characters, and more. No matter what the prompt is, I get them smiling and laughing. 

Continue the family legacy. 

I was sitting on the couch while my in-laws shared printed photos of their younger selves alongside their parents, as well as photos of my husband with his cousins as children. Everyone was passing around the photos laughing and smiling at the memories. During the holidays, it’s a lot of fun when the old photo albums come out and memories flood the room as relatives recount stories of their younger years. While kids may not care about photos at the time, they’ll be happy to have copies of those photos down the road. 

If you are someone who has opted out year after year for family portraits, I encourage you to do it; or surprise your family with it as a gift. Talk about the perfect holiday gift!

Colorado Fall Photo