Prepare | Family Portraits

Tips for how to prepare for your family portrait session

My Family Portraits work

Scheduling | Location | Preparing your Children | What to Wear | Odds & Ends

Mira did a great job photographing my family- none of us feel particularly comfortable in front of a camera (except the toddler) but she did a great job of making the experience feel as “natural” as possible.  She was very communicative, timely, and we loved the final product. – Sonali D.


  • Time of Year: Spring, Summer, and Fall are all very popular times, but Winter can be just as nice — either outdoors prepare for your family portrait sessionfor a snowy, “winter wonderland” type of vibe, or in your home all nice and cozy.  Whenever you decide to book, it can be very helpful to schedule your session 1-2 months ahead of time if you can to ensure you get your preferred date and time.  If you aren’t able to plan that far ahead, please get in touch anyway — I try to accommodate everyone I can!
  • Time of Day: For outdoor sessions, the most flattering light is found within 2 hours of sunrise or sunset.  Obviously, the specific times will vary depending on the time of year (December sunset sessions are a lot earlier than June sunset sessions!).   For indoor sessions, you actually want to schedule in the middle of the day, if at all possible so we have as much light as possible to work with indoors.   So your session time will depend very much on what time of year it is, and the location.  Timing is also important for families with little kids — when at all possible, I always try to work around nap time and meal time to help ensure that kids are in the best mood possible.
  • Family Sessions take up to an hour — sometimes they are shorter, sometimes the full time, but I find that amount of time gives kids a chance to warm up well so we can get some great shots.


All of my family sessions take place on location, whether that’s at your home, your favorite park, or another outdoor spot.  If your family has a favorite spot, that’s always my go-to, since I think it helps personalize the session some andmake it even more special for your family.  If you don’t, though, no worries!  I have a whole list of locations I love, and we can chat about what will work best for you!

Preparing Your Children

  • It can be helpful to talk to children ahead of time about what’s going to happen, and, if you’re comfortable with it, set up some sort of reward for cooperation (it could be something immediate, like a small pile of m&ms, which can be doled out throughout the session for cheerful cooperation, or a slightly bigger treat to be given at the end like a cookie or a small toy).
  • I recommend against using electronics to keep kids happy during the session — I find it’s often hard to pull their attention away from the screen once its been given.
  • Bring some non-messy snacks, and plenty of water in case the kids get hungry or thirsty.
  • Let me know ahead of time what sorts of things they like (really into Elmo?  Dinosaurs?  Outer space?  etc) and what sorts of tricks YOU find work well for them — you know your child best!
  • Most important — be prepared to have fun!  I like to play lots of games during family sessions, and I find generally we get the best results if everyone is relaxed and enjoying the experience!

What to Wear

  • I provide a complimentary styling service to all my portrait clients.  You will receive a link and personal code when you book your portrait session.
  • Coordinate without matching among the members of your group — so maybe you’re all wearing similar colors, or the parents are wearing similar tones while the kids wear a complementary pattern.  Or the parents (or one parent) wears a nice pattern while the kids wear solids.
  • Avoid graphics if at all possible, since they tend to both be distracting and not age as well as solids and patterns.
  • Stick with basics for most of your look, but add some pizazz with some fun jewelry, a scarf, or a jacket.
  • Most Important — if it’s something you feel good in, you’ll be more comfortable and relaxed for your session.

Odds & Ends

  • If you’d like to stand back and take some “behind the scenes” shots with your camera you’re very welcome to do that.  I generally ask that you not get too close so I have space to work to get the best images I can for you.  If children are getting distracted, I may ask you to put the phone away so I can get the best eye contact possible with them for your official portraits (sometimes if a phone camera is out, a child might not be sure where they’re supposed to look).