Joe Dantone Photography

How to Prepare for your Family Session

Family sessions are a blast because you will finally be able to sit back, relax, and let me document your amazing family. At this point there are probably a bunch of things running through your head, like "what do we wear", "what time should we take the photos", etc. Don't worry one bit, I am here to help you through it all! there are many great tips and ideas coming up, along with some pictures of course.

Be Comfortable!

Lets first start with the most important tip, and that is making sure you are all comfortable with what you are wearing. So you can take this two ways, the most important is being comfortable in what you are wearing, and making sure you feel good about yourself in your outfit selection. If you are self-conscious about what you are wearing it will make you feel uncomfortable posing during the family session. The second way you can take this tip is literally wearing something that feels comfortable. If you like a really nice pair of heals, but the place we are shooting requires a lot of walking, or maybe even some trail walking to get to a nice field, bring a pair of flats for walking around in.

Philadelphia Family Photos

Stay Away From Crazy Print and Bright Colors (unless you all plan on wearing bright colors)!

When you are thinking about what to wear for your family shoot, I would recommend staying away from prints and certain patterns. Most chaotic and busy patterns and prints take away from you, the subject, but will also go in and out of style very frequently. In 3-5 years after the family shoot, you may look back and freak out that you had a crazy logo or a psychedelic pattern from Urban Outfitters with owls on it. Now not all patterns are bad. Subtle patters like thin stripes or flannel are patterns that will always be around. On top of that, a lot of times, young kids clothes have some fun patterns as well, but as long as they aren't loud or distracting, they should work perfect!

Don’t Dress the Same, but Compliment Each Other

Have you ever read or seen the book Awkward Family Photos? A lot of the times you will see the family pictures with everyone dressed the same. Typical blue jeans and white shirts, or black pants and red Christmas sweaters litter that book. To put it bluntly, its cheesy, and you will hate it later. A good way around that would be to wear complimenting colors. You can match shades of colors between layers, socks, shoes, or accessories.

Newtown Family Photo

Layers on Layers!

A great idea to get multiple different looks in your Family session without having to fully change your outfit is to layer! During a family shoot you will most likely be picking a location that may not have a restroom to get changed in. If you all dress in layers, you can simply just remove your button down shirt, or take your sweater off. Its as simple as that! So don’t make things difficult for yourself, just focus on having fun!

Remember, kids will be kids!

They are just going to want to have fun and run around, so lets let them! Sometimes its best that we schedule the session after naps have been taken or even very early in the day. We also have to remember that kids don't always want to smile. A lot of time parents will start yelling at the kids to smile, or not make a funny face, or standstill. Every time this happens, the kids will act out, so lets let them be them! After all when you look back at these photo albums you want to see their personalities shining through. We want to capture those funny faces they will no longer make 10 years down the road.

We've got some awesome moments right here in our Family Portfolio

Snacks, Drinks, and Candy!

We want to make sure everyone is fed well before the shoot. Having a family session, it is crucial to bring small snacks, candy, juice boxes, or even bottled water to subdue any hunger.

Bucks County Documentary Family Photographer

Location, Location, Location!

A lot of times I will guide my families to help them pick locations. Try to think of maybe a place you like to go as a family. Maybe even an activity that you all enjoy doing together. Wether it be going to a field to play soccer, or going to a certain park. It could be going to a certain festival that you traditional go to, and you want it documented as you hang out. Most times when picking a location I always try to see if there is any meaning behind it. If not, we can find a location that has great lighting, and a nice setting where we can create new memories!

Bucks County Family Photographer

Let the kids know!

You don't have to hide this! Don't be afraid they will combust once they hear the word "pictures". Most times kids want to know what they'll be doing. I always recommend the parents let the kids know about a week before the family session. This way they have something to look forward to. Tell them its going to be a blast and that we are going to make it a day of fun. Ask them if there is a specific item they want to bring with them to play with (not an iPad!). Talk it up and let them know its going to be super fun, because well, it will be! Sometimes it works best when you do a count down. 3 Days until our super fun family pictures!

Hopefully the information here has helped you out. I love shooting Family sessions because its a great time where I can capture your family at their best and provide you with an album of your family legacy for generations to come. During the family sessions I love to let loose and have a good time. If you know anyone that may need some help on this topic feel free to share this!


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