Family of four in field during family photoshoot

Family

How to Prepare for Your Family Photoshoot

June 17, 2022

Is it time for some updated family photos? Sure, it might feel like you just had your annual family photoshoot, but let’s be honest—it’s probably time for a refresh. While a photoshoot isn’t at the top of everyone’s “fun list,” you’ll never regret having beautiful photos documenting your children throughout the years.

Family of four in field during family photoshoot

How do I approach a family photoshoot?

First and foremost, my sessions revolve around capturing you and your family as you actually are. It’s all about looking natural, having fun, and getting some great photos—and memories!—in the process. I like to keep my family photoshoots super relaxed and easy, but a bit of pre-planning can go a long way in making sure our time together goes smoothly.

Here are a few tips to remember when getting ready for your family photoshoot.

Mom, dad, and sons in large field

Location, location, location

Choosing the perfect location for your family photoshoot is crucial. Whether you have a specific place in mind or need suggestions, I’ve got a handy dandy notebook (ok, it’s really just a folder in my Notes app) of locations around Cleveland for various scenarios—beach, river, field, etc. Keep in mind, that we want a spot with minimal distractions, soft lighting, and ample space to move around.

If getting everyone ready and out of the house for an outdoor session seems daunting, an in-home family photoshoot might be right for you! Sessions in your home are the best way to capture your family authentically. When everyone is comfortable, snacks are on hand, and the weather isn’t a concern, we can focus on the good stuff.

Dad kissing baby during family photoshoot at home
Mom holding baby in backyard during

Timing is everything

I like to schedule outdoor family photoshoots just after sunrise or about an hour before sunset when the light is soft, glowy, and gorgeous. 

Depending on the time of year, this timeframe might not be ideal for everyone, especially for smaller kiddos. Try for a later nap if you’ve chosen a sunset session or an earlier bedtime the night before if you’ve chosen a sunrise session.

Brother and sister on grassy path during family photoshoot

What to wear for your family photoshoot

Comfort is key. While shopping for an entirely new wardrobe prior to your family photoshoot may seem tempting, I find the best route is going with something you know works. If you do decide on a new outfit, stick to styles you would normally wear instead of trying something new just for this occasion. 

Opt for seasonally appropriate clothing and footwear, and avoid overly bright colors, large or distracting logos, and matching outfits at all costs. Instead, aim for complementary colors, patterns, and textures to keep your family from looking like one monochromatic blob.

Family of four at park during family photoshoot

How to pose

The first few minutes of a family photoshoot might feel a bit awkward, but rest assured, the final results will be awesome. I’ll guide and direct you to capture those authentic, candid moments you love, and I’ll never leave you hanging with that “what do I do with my hands?!” panic.

My goal is to make your family photoshoot feel like playtime, allowing you to connect with each other and for me to document those true-to-you moments you’ll want to remember 20 years from now. 

Kids playing airplane with parents

Kids will be kids

I know what you’re thinking. What if my kids are total monsters on the day of our family photoshoot? If your kids are acting rowdy, don’t want to sit still, or don’t want to smile: PLEASE. DON’T. STRESS. Kids will be kids. 

All I need you to do is ensure your littles are well-rested and well-fed before our session. (Because hangry, tired kids and family photos are never a good combination.) I’ll do the rest.

Get your kids excited before the session by showing them some photos that I’ve taken; let them know that you’re really excited, that we’ll be playing lots of fun games, and that there might even be a special treat at the end. (I’m 1,000% not above bribery – it works wonders in this exact situation). 

And rest easy in knowing I have yet to meet a kiddo I couldn’t work with.

Little boy being silly in field

Final tips for a smooth family photoshoot

To avoid last-minute rushing around (STRESS!), lay out your clothes and pack any essentials the evening before (for a sunrise session) or the morning of (for a sunset session) your photoshoot.

Give yourself plenty of time to get to your family photoshoot location. When a family shows up after driving at illegal speeds to get there, it sets the tone for a tense and stressful session.

And most importantly, if you walk away after reading this and only remember one thing, let it be this: have ZERO expectations. Throw that checklist out the window and embrace whatever unfolds.

I’ll be there to capture it. 

Little girl tickling baby sister's toes

Hey there and thank you for stopping by! I’m Mackenzie, owner of Mackenzie Romagni Photography, a birth, newborn, and family photographer serving growing families in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. I hope you found my “How to Prepare for Your Family Photoshoot” blog post helpful. 

Interested in learning more about booking a birth, newborn, or family session with me? Contact me here to connect! Not quite ready yet? No problem! Follow me on Instagram or join my email list here to stay in the know.


Mackenzie Romagni is an award-winning Cleveland and Northeast Ohio birth, newborn, and family photographer. She offers documentary birth and natural and relaxed lifestyle newborn and family photography.

Mackenzie is based in Cleveland and serves all of Northeast Ohio, including the following counties: Lorain, Medina Summit, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake & beyond.

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As a parent, I know how quickly our babies grow up; all the time in the world still doesn't feel like enough, and every moment counts. While I haven't yet figured out how to keep those babies small, I do know that a photograph does a pretty good job in the meantime.

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