How to Prepare for a Family Photo Shoot

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How to prepare for a family photo shoot

Today we’re offering tips on how to prepare for a family photo shoot and we’ve been lucky enough to get some advice from my good friend and talented photographer Suzi Bowles of Suzi Bowles Photography.

I first met Suzi because our daughters were in the same pre-school class. While chatting in the pick up line, I learned about Suzi’s budding photography business and immediately asked if she’d take some photos of my family of four.

We’ve had family photos done on the beach before, so this time I was hoping to switch it up with a more urban setting. Suzi recommended we head to Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano. The setting was absolutely perfect and I was so happy with the results that I vowed to have a real family photo shoot once a year.

I think being able to freeze a moment in time is so precious, especially when your kids are young and changing so quickly from year to year.

Our family photo shoot with Suzi went so smoothly that I asked her to share a few of her tips on how to prepare for a family photos session. Since, as everyone reading this blog knows, a family photo shoot with kids under the age of 8 can be challenging, I think having photographer that is also a mom (especially one who is as patient as Suzi) helps tremendously.

How to Prepare for Your Family Photo Shoot

Choose the Right Time of Day

Choose a session time that works well with your kids regular sleeping and feeding times. No photographer worth their salt will hold a session in direct sunlight in the height of the midday sun, but when choosing a time for your session be mindful of how your kids are usually feeling/acting at that time of day – if it’s in the middle of their witching hour and you don’t have any tried and tested plan to rearrange their day to make it work, it will probably show through in your pictures.

Share information with your photographer in advance of the shoot

Share as much information as you can with your photographer before the shoot. Tell them what your children are interested in, what makes them laugh as well as any issues that could bring the session to a grinding halt of they were to come up in conversation. If there are any must-have shots, share them ahead of time too.

Choose a Photographer You Trust

Choose a photographer you trust and then let them work with your kids to get the smiles and interactions that make a fantastic picture – if you’re constantly telling your kids to smile and say cheese they will have fake smiles that you will see in the end results, take a step back and trust your photographer to build the rapport they need to get the shots. If you’re in the frame focus on your own interaction with the camera so that the moment your kids are participating, the photographer can capture the moment.

Choose outfits that complement, but are not too matchy-matchy

What to wear is definitely a question I get asked a lot! Family outfits are a personal choice, but I always recommend that you choose a style that suits your family and the setting – if you’re a beach loving family who are having their session on the sand, formal wear may look and feel a little out of place – wear clothes that you are comfortable with and feel great in. Stick to 3 or 4 colors and don’t have too many different patterns going on, although a couple of patterns can add to the overall effect. Avoid text and cartoon characters that can distract from the scene and will also date your artwork very quickly.

Have Fun!

Have a plan, but keep it flexible – especially with young kids, be ready to go with the flow. The best pictures are usually the ones that show a family having fun and interacting with each other. If the session becomes strained, it’s always a good idea to take a break and re-group.

*all photos see here are reproduced with the permission of Suzi Bowles Photography

Special Offer For Tiny Oranges Readers

Now for the best part! Suzi is offering Tiny Oranges readers a $50 credit towards prints with a booked photo session. To receive the credit, your session needs to be booked in August and take place before the end of September.

Perfect for all those Holiday photos that we need to get done!


 Please email or call Suzi and mention Tiny Oranges when booking.

Suzi Bowles Photography

Phone: 949 940 5385



[Disclosure: Suzi provided us with a complimentary session of which I am so grateful.]


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