little girls dancing and playing together - must have photos for family photo session

5 Must-Have Shots For Your Family Photos

The Five Most Important Shots for Your Family Photos…

and they might not be what you think.

There are tons of different photos you might get during your family photo session, but these are the 5 that I personally feel are the most important, must-have shots! 

Now I know you think I’m going to say that the most important photo is that grandma shot of everyone looking at the camera.

Well guess what? You’re wrong!

The shots that I think are the most important are the ones that make you FEEL. So I’m going to focus on feelings here, things that make you feel when you look at them.

Because when you get your photos taken, it should be to capture a feeling. To capture the way your family is right now, how you interact, how you laugh. That’s what you are going to want to remember later.

So here’s my list.

Your Family Laughing Together

5 must-have shots for family photo session - family laughing and tickling each other

How often does your family laugh together? I bet it’s pretty often. Get that captured in a photograph and hung on your wall ASAP. 

A Big Family Cuddle

Sweet family cuddling on blanket - pdx lifestyle photography

I don’t even care if you can’t see half of your faces, I just think that getting everyone in a group hug is adorable! There are variations on this, of course. But the main thing is that everyone is cuddling SOMEONE.

A Sweet Image of Mom and Her Kids

moms cuddling and being sweet with their kids - family photos

As a mom, I know that what I really want is an adorable photo of my kids and me together. Either laughing or cuddling, it doesn’t matter as long as I have it.

A Fun Photo of Dad and Each Kid

dads having fun and playing with their kids

Typically dads are happiest during photo sessions when they get to play around with their kids. I love to give dad time to be silly with each of his kids because 1, it makes dad happier, and 2, it makes the kids happier!

The Kids Playing

black and white image of family playing by the river in Oregon City - must-have shots for family photos

Letting the kids play is something I try to leave room for during every session. Usually it’s at the end when we’ve gotten all the things we needed and now the pressure is off. They just get to play around and relax for a bit and I love stepping back and letting them do their thing. Sometimes mom and dad are watching them off in the distance, and sometimes it’s just the kids alone. I like to see what they will do naturally. These are the real moments that the parents will look back on and say, “oh right, remember when you guys were obsessed with finding pretty rocks and feathers?” Or whatever it might be.

little girl hugging onto mom during family photos
portladn oregon family photographer
Kids running under blanket during photo session with family
Family laughing together at photo session

So that’s my list of the must-have shots for your family photos! Is yours different? Let me know in the comments the photo that you most definitely don’t want to forget.

And if you’re ready to book your own family photos, you can find out more info here!

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  1. I love these ideas, especially the cuddling with family shots! I have terrible family shots, our problem is really getting everyone on board and excited about taking photos together then trying to set it up. We really need to hire someone who can help bring the fun out in all of us! Thanks for the ideas.

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