Styling & Getting The Most Out Of Your Family Photography Session With Kids


Let me begin this by saying that this particular shoot was probably one of the most difficult shoots we have ever done.  Our kids were not cooperating, running in all directions, collapsing, and all over the place!  We had originally booked a full 1.5 hour shoot but ended up calling it just short of an hour because three of the four were expiring, LOL!

BUT – our photographer is a pro and always manages to capture pure magic, even though I left the session feeling totally defeated!  Honestly, she captures the raw, real and candids that make up who we really are, and that is why these pictures turn out so authentic.   Talent, obviously plays a part in it too. 😉

I have been asked to give a few suggestions that are key to getting the most of out of your family’s photography sessions.

Pick mama’s outfit first

Have you ever heard the saying “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”?  Well, it’s 100% true.  If you can start with one person’s outfit and build upon that, it can be less overwhelming.  I almost always start with mine.


Coordinate without looking like you are trying too hard

I follow these simple rules when gathering items:

  • choose a simple color palette
  • timeless pieces are best
  • add depth or interest (think lace, leather, layering pieces with texture, etc)
  • subtle pattern mixing is OK, too



Consider your location

If you’re shooting in a field, you can wear something more whimsical.  If you are shooting in an industrial area, maybe a suit and dramatic dress or pencil skirt would be appropriate.  I always have a few outfit sets in mind for each shoot and these are dependent on the weather.  Our North Carolina fall days can be 89 degrees or 51 degrees during optimal shoot time – 4:30 or 5 p.m.


Embrace your season of life

You guys.  This one is the most true for us right now.  My kids are On. The. Move.  We have to shoot somewhere that allows for the galloping around and occasional giggle fest or meltdown.  Your photographer should know how to embrace these things too and will likely suggest shots with ample movement to capture your truest selves.  Let’s take a look at the next series of pictures where our son is literally running at top speed away from us.  Not to be contained!


Notice Stephen is basically hog-tying Elliott here after she was climbing out of my arms!


I mean, can you even?!!  Run, Forrest, Run!!!


And, if nothing else, just go with it!

Occasionally bribes work.  Mini marshmallows are good, but sometimes treats can only get you so far!  3/4 of the Mast crew never changed into outfit change #2 during this shoot, but would you ever notice?  Probably not. 🙂


Jo Lindsay Co shoots for us.



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