How We Prepare For Family Photo Shoots

October 04, 2021 3 min read

If your family is anything like ours, and family photo shoots are the last thing that anyone wants to be doing, I've got a lesson for you today that you are going to want to save and share with all your mom friends.

I've learned over the years that there truly is an art to the whole family photo shoot thing because there are so many things that can happen (ahem: go wrong) if you aren't in full-on anticipation mode. 

Starting Birchmark Designs means that I am present for an awful lot of photo shoots! Some involve our family as a whole, while others include all those sweet babes you see all over Instagram. Either way, it has taught me so much over the years that I keep in the back of my mind as we plan for our own family photo shoots.

Before I spill the beans on all of my behind-the-scenes family photo taking tips, I just want to stress how important it is to take these photos in general. 

Let's be real: when was the last time your partner took a photo of you with your kiddos that you actually loved? Yup...that's why these are so important.

Having a professional photographer present to capture all of the love, goofy moments, and happiness your family shares on a daily basis is so important. Those moments are pure magic! And even if you only do it every other year, having these family photos to reflect back on will become your most prized treasures down the line. 

How We Prepare For Family Photoshoots

Mamas it's time to take notes because I'm sharing 6 key things that I do without fail to get ready for our family photoshoots. 

1) Outfits & Color Planning 101

Start with mom (we're usually pickiest and hardest), and build out a color scheme from there. Find shades in the same color family, but it don't make it matchy-matchy or you'll risk everyone blending together. Repeat a color at least twice to make it intentional. With the 4 of us, I try to pick 3 colors, so it might look something like this...
  • Adult 1 in colors AB (blue/cream)
  • Adult 2 in colors AC (blue/gray)
  • Child 1 in colors BC (cream/gray)
  • Child 2 in colors AB (blue/cream)
  • (So regardless of who's in the picture, there's at least 1 color that's common - kids alone, parents alone, dad + kids, mom + kids)
  • And don't forget shoes, jewelry, or accessories!
Mom Shopping Tip - Shop online and take screenshots of the outfits or pieces you're considering and plop them all in a document together. Or if you already have pieces, take them to the store with you so you can see how colors and patterns are going to work together. 

2) Let Everyone's Personality Shine Through

Be yourself - but up a notch. If your style is casual, you want your photos to look like you, but in a slightly fancier way. If pink is your thing, find a way to incorporate it into your photos. Dinosaurs? Doable. Keep in mind though that bright, fluorescent colors, or big and bold patterns can make you do a 'what was I thinking' head scratch in the future. Think small patterns or more muted shades of your favorite colors.
Accessories are also a great way to bring in your personal flair, through ribbons, bows, bowties, hats, or jewelry.

3) Location, Location, Location

Be aware of where you're going and what you might need to pack (like quilts to sit on or bug spray for woody areas). If you're going to be walking from place to place, an extra pair of flat shoes might save those heels. 

4) Haircuts

Don't forget to freshen them up! This might be one of my bigger regrets when I look back at old photos. Moppy haired boys. Pardon me if that's your thing, we all have our own taste and style, but I can't help but wish I'd taken the little fellas in to get spruced up. An actual style would have been nice vs. mom's at-home barbering.

5) One Final Look

Give everyone a final once over - yourself included. Shirts tucked in, or untucked. Sleeves rolled up, pushed up, or down. Bows and accessories tilted the way you want. Shoes on.

6) Don't Be Afraid To Bribe Your Kids

Seriously, bribe, bribe, bribe. Find what works for your family, but incentives over punishment tends to keep smiles on faces. I like to remind the boys that we're all working toward [fill in the blank, an ice cream date, movie night] as soon as we're done here.
I hope that these family photo shoot tips help you and your family prepare for and capture the perfect family photos. If not, we're sure there is always a great story to tell about what happened behind the scenes. Memories are memories, right? 

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