Best Tips for a Stress-Free Family Portrait Session


October 13, 2021

Having professional photos taken can be quite stressful. For most people, being in front of the camera doesn’t feel natural! You’re feeling nervous and awkward, wondering what locations or outfits are best. What about timing for the best light? Oh, and don’t forget you’ve got to work around your kids’ nap schedules! Then you’ve got to figure out how to look gorgeous and natural without looking too posed. I mean, come on! Even a selfie pro has to take a bunch of snaps to get that one Instagram worthy shot – and she likes being photographed! All these questions and thoughts are running through your head before your session and all this anxiety is just building up more and more. But wait … it doesn’t have to be that way. Read on for some of my best tips for a stress-free family portrait session!

At Krista Mason Photography, we want you to have a fun, relaxing, stress-free session. You can do that by leaving all the details to us, the professional photographers. Our goal is to capture your family – whether it’s the two of you or your growing family of 4 or you and your fur babies! We do this in a fun and relaxing way that allows us to capture your genuine personalities with love and laughter.

You can be sure we’ll do our part, but how do YOU make a great photo session happen? Read on for our tips:

Choose the Right Photographer

Not all photographers are the right photographer for you. The most important step in the process to finding a photographer is finding one that you connect with and feel comfortable around. A photographer that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable and confident. Plus, one that works well with your kids is a must! 

Pick the Right Timing

It’s a fine line between picking the perfect time for gorgeous natural light and that time when your little ones are going to be in their best mood. Communicate with your photographer if you have specific time frames you’d like to work with.  The best photographer is willing to work with you and your family’s schedule while still striving for the best options for getting those amazing shots.

Keep It Light Hearted

Your kids or husband may be driving you up the wall while you’re getting ready and rushing out the door for your session. Stay focused and don’t let it get to you. Do your best to keep everyone calm, cool, and collected … including yourself. If you need a moment to relax – even just 30 seconds alone to regain your sanity – just take it. Nothing is worse than showing up to a session trying to capture the love between you and your family, but you just got in an argument. Even worse? Trying to get the kids to listen, but one of them goes into full-on meltdown. Today is supposed to be a peaceful day! Bonus tip: bring a little something to keep the kids entertained and focused … a favorite toy (or even a new one), music, snacks … candy is my go-to favorite! Of course, I don’t have to go home with them, though – lol! It is also recommended to bring snacks and bites that are non-staining and non-melting – you’ll thank me in advance!

Prepare and Be Ahead of Schedule

Nothing adds to the stress more than running out the door in a panic because you’re late for your session. Allow plenty of time to get ready and arrive on location for your session – maybe even add on a little extra time to deal with those unexpected hiccups that inevitably occur. We suggest at least 2-3 hours to get ready. Lay out all your outfits the night before – including shoes, socks and all the accessories – because there’s a good chance you’ll forgot the socks or won’t be able to find those shoes that make the outfit complete, lol. We also suggest to double your expected travel time, it is LA after all. It’s always better to arrive early enough to look around. It lets you and the kids unwind from the travel rather than being in a frantic high-strung state because you got stuck in traffic. Don’t make specific plans after your session, like dinner reservations, ball games or anywhere you have to be at a set time. Sometimes things can go a bit longer than anticipated.

Trust Your Photographer

Trust your photographer to capture you and your loved ones. Let them guide you and direct you. That takes the pressure off of you. Trust they have your best interest in mind and want you to love your images just as much as you want to love them. Don’t worry about anyone but yourself, your photographer has your back and is looking at everyone to make sure you all look your best – even the kids and fur babies. Take this opportunity to allow yourself to roll with the punches! Almost always, things don’t go as perfectly as you planned, but I promise we will still get amazing images.

Be Well Rested and Have a Snack (Especially the Kiddos)

Get a good nights sleep. Try to get everyone to take a nap if you’ve got a late afternoon or early evening session. Eat a light snack before your session. Yes, I know that you are trying to fit into that stunning dress, but hearing your tummy grumble during a session will for sure be a distraction. And we all know how testy a hangry toddler or husband can be! If possible, it is also best to plan the session time around nap time, not during. That way you are not changing your child’s schedule, but just adding an activity in for them! You want to set them, and yourself, up for success – but if there are still tears, we will still work to get some great shots.

Hair and Make-up

Consider professional hair and make-up for your session. Pamper yourself a little and take the stress off of getting the perfect style and look. Don’t have time to go to the salon? No problem … many hair and make-up artists now come to you!

Have Fun!

The most important tip we can offer you is this: have fun and let loose. Allow yourself to laugh, enjoy the silly moments, whatever it takes for your session to be fun. Let your inner child run free, and of course let the kids be kids. Let them be who they are, crazy wild and all! It’s about capturing the precious moments and a genuine reflection of your family. Look at your session as an adventure, a date night or an enjoyable excursion with the family. You’ll be happy when you see images that tell the truth about who you are as a family!

I’d love to work with you to update your family photos and get some new shots for you holiday cards! We are currently booking for this holiday season with our mini and full sessions. You can learn more about both session types here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!


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