Tips for having a great family photo session


Austin Portrait Photographer

This is one of my favorite times of the year to get pictures taken, because the weather is nice and cool. That means you can layer your family up with lots of cute colors, pull out your favorite boots and accessories.  Simple outdoor backdrops usually means a fun colored wall, or something with awesome texture.

There are lots of different kinds of photo shoots with a family, that don’t necessarily fall into this category, ones that are more laid back and somewhat casual.  For example at home with the family cooking together or doing an activity such a fishing or decorating the Christmas tree.

To the left is an image I found online (but could not find out who I could credit for such an awesome creation) It shows color combos, layers, and textures of clothing selections for a really cool family photo sesh.

 You could also go with a themed shoot that could incorporate props or styling even.



 Outdoors.…If you pick the right time of day, an open field with a outline of tree’s works wonders. This is the safe route, and the easiest in my opinion as the photographer. I have my certain spots that I know work well in certain times of the day. It seems most of my clients prefer this type of location because it’s safe with not so many distractions.  Natures colors are a good neutral background, which helps emphasize the people, with fewer distractions. Outdoors refers to any nature scene: from the beach to rivers to open fields with trees. This seems to be the easiest type of setting to bring in props and other elements, such as quilts or treats or fun elements for every member of the family.

Austin Portrait Photographer , Austin Family Photographer

Urban….amazing Austin artist murals, skyline, or man made structures within your family portraits.  Urban can be very colorful or very monochrome, it also allows for something new around each corner.

Austin Family Photographer, Austin Portrait Photographer Kelly Wendt

In your Home….most of the time families can under estimate the potential of the home setting, but think about it being the best reflection of your family.  I have also found with toddlers it really helps the personality open up because they are comfortable in their environment (mom and dad can also relax a little).  I have found myself crawling around back yards, tea parties, mud pie creation, and even watching a ‘sword fight’ between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, it was a marvelous show.  If your home doesn’t have great lighting, then it would be tricky for a photographer to capture the natural light as well. So much can be done around the family bed, in the kitchen, or in the backyard.  Think about making dinner together or playing board games to capture a real candid photo of your family time that I guarantee you will love for years to come.

Austin Portrait Photographer Kelly Wendt

A few tips when the shoot time comes:

  1. Squish together in your group/family. –I say this because more times than not I see families grouped together but not really ‘there’ with each other.  You are related…get in there and squeeze each other!! Hang on each other.  When you come together as adults I suggest a tilt of the body-shoulders and hips for a slight angle. This is flattering, allows more people in the shot, and looks great in a photo.
  2. Coordinate some sort of clothing idea.  See the long image above at the beginning of this post for more ideas, browse through Pinterest (I always lose an hour if I even glance at Pinterest…so many great ideas!) 001small
  3. Tell jokes or something funny everyone will smile at.  This could be me as your photographer or an inside family thing. Nothing looks better than a genuine smile on camera!
  4. Be open minded & try something on a whim.--I love to ask mom, dad, or the kids (especially the kids) if they have any ideas for a photo, pose, etc.  This helps everyone feel like they are part of the process, makes things interesting, and engaging. Before you know it you have 5 people’s ideas and lots of great photos.  Plus I have found kids will want one of the photos they ‘planned’ to hang or place in their room, it really gives them a sense of pride.
  5. If you have little ones (under 7)–Bring a water bottle, a small (non staining) snack, and a few of they small favorite things.  I have had some parents try to hide that one toy their child will not put down but I say go with it!  It is a part of their personality at that moment and you will treasure it in the future. My lastest was a toy golf club…it made for a few great shots & laughs but I also got enough photos without the toy.

Austin Portrait Photographer Kelly Wendt



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