3 Tips You Need to Know for your Family Portraits

You’ve finally booked the family portraits session you’ve been wanting. Now what? How do you prepare? What should you wear? Here are tips to help you get ready for your big day!

Family portrait sunset at beach


1. Plan ahead

What’s meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. All too often people spend the day before their photo session running around with last minute preparations. We understand how important this experience is to you, so we want to help you plan in advance to avoid any unnecessary stress.
One of the best ways to ensure that your family portrait session goes smoothly is to plan ahead. Talk to your photographer about what you hope to achieve with the session, and make sure everyone in the family is on the same page. Once you have a clear vision for the shoot, you can start planning logistics like what to wear and where to have the session.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your family portrait session:

Talk to Your Kids Beforehand

Kids are smart and they love feeling grown-up and informed. Get your children interested and involved by explaining the plans for the day. Show them the outfits you have picked out or let them be involved in the clothing selection process. Tell them a “professional photographer” is coming over and that’s it’s going to be a lot of fun. Convey positivity to minimize the stress of new people and new things that can overwhelm small children.

Decide on a Reward

Sometimes a little bribery is necessary to make sure things go smoothly during your session. If you would like to try an extra incentive to keep your kids calm, pick a reward beforehand that you would be comfortable following-through with after the session is over. If your kids like frozen yogurt for example, we can talk about using frozen yogurt as a bargaining tool with the kids when they need to smile more, sit still, or pay attention.

Ensure Everyone is Fed and Rested

Make sure to get as much sleep as possible and don’t forget your breakfast and lunch depending on the time of the photo session. We love to provide snacks, but pack extra goodies for the kids in case they get hungry or restless. Preserve your energy for the session so that everyone is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with smiling faces.

Trust Us

We know how stressful it can be to get a family portrait done, but it doesn’t have to be that way! We’ve been doing this a long time. We love it when kids get giggly, smile wide, or show off a little attitude, because we get to capture their true personalities. Trust us and follow our lead. We are here to guide you through the process and make sure it is a memorable experience for all.

Family portrait mom dad and young boy

2. What to wear

The goal of good photography portrait is to direct the viewer’s eye to the subject’s face. All other elements should be secondary. Not sure what to wear during your family portrait session? It’s a lot to consider – after all, these portraits will hang on the walls of your home forever. Here are a few tips to help you and your family look your best!

Be Timeless

Clothing can date your portrait. For that reason, we suggest simple clothing with a timeless cut and style. Long-sleeves work best for portraits, taking attention away from the arms and keeping it on the faces and expressions. Jeans can be timeless and casual. Darker clothing recedes in the image and can appear slimming.

Color & Style

Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, decide on a color scheme that works for all. Different hues of the same color family, or complimentary colors work great together. Ideally, keep your clothing selection within the same style (dressy, casual, sporty, etc.) For a soft, timeless look, choose neutral colors in classic styles. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Incorporate bold accents. Avoid wearing clothes with logos. Busy patterns can detract from a portrait but if that depicts your style, consider pairing them with solids.


Scarves, hats, bows, bow ties…they can all add ‘fun’ to your timeless style. Accessories are a great way to coordinate looks, and props can help express your family’s unique personality.


Layers will not only provide more visual interest in your photos but they will allow a lot more variety in your shots and poses. Layering lets you easily and quickly vary your look: add a sweater, jacket or hat and you have an entirely different look.

Comfort Counts

Our goal is to capture the members of your family as they are today. Choose clothing they love to wear and that accentuates their individual personalities. Consider that you might be sitting or leaning in different poses. You want to wear something that you feel comfortable in and that will cover any areas you do not want to show in the images.

Try This

Lay out everyone’s clothing together in the room where your portrait will live. Replace outfits and add accessories until you achieve a fresh and exciting look for that room.

Be practical

If you have young children, consider having them wear something that is easy to take on and off. This will make it easier for them (and you!) when it’s time to take photos.

Think about the location of your session when choosing your outfits. If you’ll be outdoors, make sure everyone has comfortable shoes and clothing that won’t get too hot or cold.

Family portrait big family in forrest

3. Where to take family portraits

Your family is everything to you, why not capture that love and connection in a family portrait? But where should you take your family portraits? Here are a few tips to help you choose the perfect location for your family photo session.

First, consider the style of portraits you want. Do you want formal portraits in a studio, or more natural-looking shots outdoors? If you want studio portraits, look for a photographer with a good reputation and a comfortable, professional environment. If you prefer outdoor photos, look for locations with beautiful scenery that will complement your family’s personalities and style. A few examples of cool locations in and around the Tampa Bay Area are:  Crews Lake Wilderness Park, Bok Towers, Hillsborough River State Park, Fort De Soto Park, Ybor City, just to name a few.

Next, think about the logistics of the location. Is it accessible for everyone in your family? Will there be plenty of space for your photographer to move around and capture different angles? Is the lighting good at the location? These are all important factors to consider when choosing a spot for your family portraits.

Finally, trust your gut! If a location feels right to you, chances are it will be perfect for your family portraits. Go with your gut and pick a spot that you know will create beautiful memories for years to come.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.