Preparing for a Family Session | South New Jersey Family Photographer | Most asked Questions and Tips


‘ What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” 
-Karl Lagerfeld

Preparing for a Family Session

I am so excited that you have booked a family session with Memories by Maria Photography. It may be because your kids have changed so much, and you haven’t had a family photo taken in years.  Maybe your family is having a reunion, and everyone will be together for the first time in years.  How exciting if your family is expanding with the birth of a new baby.  Or you will soon have an empty nest and want to capture the kids before they leave in different directions. Some families have a yearly tradition of having a photo session.

There are many reasons to call your photographer to schedule a family session.  For some, this doesn’t happen that often and most aren’t sure what to do or wear.  I hope these tips about preparing for a family session will help you get everything together and ensure everyone has a great time.

The number one question is…
“What should we wear?”

When planning your photo session, clothing choices can significantly impact how the final photos turn out.  My advice is to coordinate but not match!!
Pick a color scheme. For example, blue and white.  Have everyone in those two colors, but some wear blue pants and white tops and some in white pants and blue tops. Don’t be afraid to mix in some patterns (try to avoid small designs and graphics).  Then have a pop of color: teal, red, yellow, pink, or coral.  You can do that with accessories or have little ones wear the pop of color. I love the sage, tan, and grey with a pop of light pink combo the Scarboro family chose for their beach session.

Dress for your session’s location

It also depends on where your session is going to take place.  Bold, bright colors ( not neon, stay away from neon) look lovely against the sand at the shore. Flowy dresses, shorts, and bare feet are perfect for the beach but may not look the best in a park or downtown setting. Most patterns are ok. However, graphics are not favorable for portraits. If you decide on a design, make sure it isn’t overwhelming and distracting. Some small patterns can make the camera do wonky things.
You can always send me a picture or two of your outfits, and I can let you know what I think. Pinterest is also an excellent reference for ideas.

Preparing for your family session tips

Empty your pockets! Your keys and cell phones can be seen in your pockets more often.  For the ladies, make sure you bring a hair tie for long hair but don’t keep it on your wrist. They are easy to forget, and when trying to take the photo, I may overlook the hair tie, but I will see it when I am editing.  Please put it in a pocket or bag before you arrive for your session.

Guys, if you wear socks, make sure they match your pants! You will see your socks when you sit, and your pants leg goes up!

It is essential to make sure whatever clothing choice you make is one that you are comfortable in. For example, a dress that is too tight, a shirt with popping buttons, or a too-low-cut top can make you want to sit or stand in a certain way in the photos. Moving you into a different pose may cause you to be self-conscience and can be noticeable in the pictures.  AND try to make sure that they are wrinkle-free as possible. Downy has a great product that sprays out wrinkles!  I love it! Downy Wrinkle Releaser.

Sometimes it is windy, especially at the shore. Sometimes we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, and there may be more than a gentle breeze outside. If you have long hair or a hairstyle that looks windblown, plan on a different hairstyle. Instead, try a ponytail, wear braids, a messy bun, or a pretty hat.  If you plan ahead, it will be less disappointing that your hair isn’t cooperating.

Remember the snacks!

If you have young children, remember to bring something we can use to capture their attention.  A favorite toy, cookie, candy, or noise maker will usually work. If possible, try to have a friend or family member that will not be in the photos come along.  They can help by standing behind me and getting everyone looking toward the camera. They may also know a favorite song or do something funny to make everyone smile.  I do my best to act crazy, but it is easier if someone else can play peek-a-boo.

Take this time to pamper yourself.  When you feel good, you look good and confident in your photos.  Go and get your nails done.  Schedule a hair and makeup session. Make sure the guys have a fresh shave and trimmed eyebrows.  Feeling relaxed and looking your best can make you feel more comfortable during your session and may help your inner model come out!

Make sure you arrive on time.  Sometimes you are scheduled for a specific time to catch the best light.  Other times, I am doing two or three back-to-back sessions and need to keep everyone on schedule.  If you are late, your session will be shortened. I won’t add time to the end of your session because I may be meeting another client right after your session ends.

And most of all, RELAX and have FUN!!  You don’t have to be a pro at this!  I will guide you along the way, and it will be a blast.  Enjoy this time together, and maybe make a family date night out of it.  Plan to go to dinner afterward and celebrate with ice cream.

Please reach out with questions about preparing for your family session

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or ideas.  I love to incorporate ideas that mean something to the family.  I also love four-legged family members.  If pets are allowed at our location, they can come along for a photo or two.

Thank you for booking your family session with Memories by Maria Photography.  I look forward to capturing these memories for you.

  1. Tania says:

    Very informative. Love the variety of families here 🙂

  2. Lydia says:

    These are some great tips and kudos to you on photographing the big family groups. I know it’s not easy.

  3. Ashley Mckee says:

    These are great tips & great photos! Also, as a fellow Jersey girl, I love them even more!!

  4. Stacie says:

    Snacks. Such a good tip. Also good call on emptying pockets and matching socks!! Those are things I personally always forget! I love how this guide would help me feel prepared and ready for a family session!

  5. Josefin says:

    Oh! When I see the pictures I just feel for gathering my own to have pictures of ALL of us!
    Love them!

  6. Great advice! Sticking with a color scheme makes a huge difference!

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