3 Tips for Successful Family Portraits


August 13, 2020

What are your initial feelings when you think – “Lets take family portraits”?? Most of us cringe at the thought! But don’t worry – I get it!! There are soooo many things to plan, it can be stressful, and then when the time comes you don’t even know if your family will be cooperative. Well… my family and recently went on vacation and I attempted our own family pictures. Even though I was technically still taking the photos, I was quickly reminded of how chaotic it can be on the other end! In this blog post you’ll find some good and some not so good portraits of my own family and read about how I help YOU tackle the top 3 pain points of planning, resulting in the most successful family session.




Since I’ve been taking pictures, family sessions at the beach have always been my favorite!!! If you’ve been around a while y’all already know this haha!!! Buutttt I’ve always DREAMED of having my own family pictures on the beach.

Now I know what y’all are thinking: “Emily, just get someone to take your family photos. Boom! Easy, done.” Well, not so much for me. Something y’all might not know… I can be a semi control freak and have unrealistically high standards when I get an idea in my head! There ya go! One of my many flaws revealed, insert judgement here LOL.

So you see while yes, I could get someone else to take these pictures for us, I’m a huge control freak and just can’t relinquish my ideas, editing, and “forced family fun” just yet ;). While planning and shooting these pictures I was quickly reminded what it feels like being on the other end of the camera.

But what if you know you’d like to update family photos but have no clue where to even begin with choosing a location?? Well, when you reach out to me I automatically send you a link with a handful of location suggestions. There are also sample galleries from sessions I’ve had to give you an idea of what those locations will look like “through my lens”!!




Who else totally struggles with coordinating outfits for the WHOLE family??? Me! Our vacation was planned very last minute so me trying to buy outfits for everyone was just not happening. I actually ended up having to change my outfit last minute because it would’ve put 3 out of 4 in blue. Soooo I ended up wearing the very wrinkly pink dress to mix up colors a bit.

When you first reach out, I email helpful info for do’s and don’ts to help with choosing outfits!! Also, during the entire planning process I follow up with families to see if they need any styling tips or see if they’d like to send ideas, etc. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a second set of eyes check out things 🙂




The day of your session has finally arrived!! If your family is anything like mine, you’re probably far from relaxed and ready to smile HAHA!! In these, we were so rushed to get out to the beach because it had been raining all afternoon. We really didn’t even think we’d be able to take pictures. But the skies opened up right before sunset so we literally threw on our wrinkly clothes and said sure… why not – lets try this!

Now of course the kids were slightly distracted by the fun of the beach and not completely cooperative in smiling right away. Time was limited because the sun was setting so we had to work fast! Here is my process for making sure we capture all the important moments while keeping the smiles genuine:


  • Relax. If you feel stressed ~ you’ll look stressed (hence the photo above!). Trust your photographer to take the reins (thanks hubby LOL).
  • During sessions, I like to start out with the generic posed portraits first. The kids are still clean, usually have good attention in the beginning, and then fun candids are the reward haha!!
  • Have fun!! Some of the best portraits will always be you just having fun with your family. Play and enjoy the time together!


So if you’re wanting family portraits but don’t want to deal with the stress of planning, don’t fret. I’ll walk you through the entire planning process and make sure it’s a memorable experience rather than just a “stand here, say cheese” mug shot of you and your loved ones 😉 My goal is always to make it the best most successful family session!!

Let’s get connected to start planning your dream family session TODAY!! Our family pictures were taken within a 20-25 minute timeframe and of course I didn’t listen to my own advice LOL!!! But overall I’m so happy with them and CAN’T WAIT to print and hang them all over the house!!




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