Tips For Capturing Great Family Photos


I like family photos and I cannot lie.  😃

Let’s face it, this is family photo season.  The holidays are suddenly approaching and if your mind works anything like mine does, it’s time to start thinking about your family Christmas card.

Everything about the holiday season makes my heart flutter.  One of my favorite parts is sending and receiving cards in the mail.  I save all the cards that people send me year after year and put them out in a basket during Christmastime as part of my decor.

Over the years, I’ve come up with several tips for capturing the best photography for family photography sessions.

1 // Use a great photographer


This is #1 most important on my list.  Spend the time to look at several photographers in your area and find one whose work encompasses your favorite style of photography.  I’d also recommend booking with them as far in advance as possible.  The fall is usually their busiest season – with weddings galore and more family sessions than usual.  (hello, Christmas card season!)

j&a photography has been taking our pictures for the last few years and she is extremely talented and based in the Wintston-Salem/Triad, North Carolina area.  Check her out  here, here and here.


2 //  Trust your photographer’s talent and vision


Many of you are little Pinterest gurus like myself, but sometimes it’s best to trust the skill-set and eye of your photographer to lead the session.  They do this for a living and YOU hired them because you loved their style and portfolio.  Don’t try to run the session.  Let the professional do it.  Oftentimes my favorite shots from a session are the most difficult/uncomfortable ones to take, but your photographer had the vision to suggest and execute it.

Also, candid shots are my all-time favorite.  So don’t be afraid to move around and interact as ‘naturally’ as you possibly can so your photographer can capture you in your natural element.


3 // Don’t go matchy/matchy with outfits – find items that “go”


I usually find one item that I really love first – for instance Emerson’s linen outfit in this pic.  Or my burnt yellow sweater in the next, and then find all of the other pieces for the remainder of your family that compliment that first piece that you found.

  Neutrals are good.  I consider denim and leather to be a neutral, along with whites, greys and khaki.  Fuller – go EASY on the PEPSI!  (do you get my Christmas reference here?! BAHAH!) but for pictures, I’d go easy on the patterns.  If you want the go with a patterned piece of clothing, I’d choose probably one MAYBE two (but choose very wisely) and then match more neutrals or solid colored pieces around the patterned piece. Layering pieces are a good thing!  Different kinds of materials are also good for dimension.


4 //  Pick clothing that is going to be comfortable


There is nothing worse than putting your husband in a wool sweater when it’s 90 degrees out and having him sweating the whole session long.  Or putting your child in something that is itchy or too tight.  Just omit that stresser from the equation.

I do wear heels sometimes during shoots, and I always bring a pair of flat shoes to trudge around in before we start shooting.


5 // Classic styles and shapes of clothing never go out of style

Go easy on the in-the-moment hottest trends of the season.  We all know that chevron everything was all the rage a few years ago, but do you want to look at that chevron dress on your gallery wall for the next 10 years?  Think about that when you make your outfit choices.

6 //  Bring an ‘extras kit’

Bring a bag or tote that contains all the things you will wish you thought to bring.  A few snacks and drinks for the babes are a must.  I wouldn’t even attempt taking pics with babies/toddlers without the extras of those.  A bed sheet.  If you have a session that requires a few outfit changes, we’ve brought a bed sheet and held it up to change in/out of outfits with versus wasting time to run back to the car or a bathroom.  When we shot maternity in the river, we were wet once we finished.  A dry set of extra clothes is good.  All of the people including your photographer will get thirsty – so a few bottles of water to have.  Baby wipes are nice if any of you get some dirt or smudges on you.


Photography with kids isn’t easy!  But if you plan as much as you can out ahead of time and leave room for flexibility you will be set.


One of my favorite companies to use for Christmas cards is MPix.  They have so many card styles to choose from and I love all the paper and finish options.
They were kind enough to extend a discount to The Mast House readers for your next order.
Mpix – 50% off foil cards through November 10th use code:  MASTHOUSE17



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