How to Have a Relaxed Family Photo Session | PDX Candid Family Photographer

PDX Candid Family Photographer

Okay, first of all, I know that getting your photo taken can be stressful. Then you add your kids into the mix and you’re ready for chaos, am I right? I’ve been there and I get it. But there are things you can do to make your experience go smoother and I’m about to tell you all my tips! This PDX photographer knows all about how to get the best, candid and happy shots of your family that you will treasure forever.

Mom holding son in PDX

Tip 1: Don’t Stress About Your Kids’ Behavior

So many times (almost every time, actually) parents will say to me that they were sure I got nothing good because their kids were crazy, and then when they get their gallery they have the hardest time choosing their favorites because they love them all. The thing is, all I need is a split second where your kids are doing something cute. The rest of the time they may be making fart noises and sticking their tongue out, but when they laugh BECAUSE of their silly behavior, that’s when I capture their true personality. No one expects them to be perfect! I actually wrote an entire blog post about why I don’t want your kids to “be good” during your session. Read it, it’s a good one.

pdx candid photographer

Tip 2: Be Prepared

When you’re prepared for things, you feel more relaxed. I will help you with location and outfit selection, so be sure not to leave that to the last minute. And if shopping is not your thing or you just don’t have time, ask me to show you what clothing I have available to borrow from my client closet! I’ll bring everything ironed or steamed and ready to be worn, along with my pop-up changing tent.

Other things you can do to be prepared: 

  • Gather non-messy snacks ahead of time if you think your kids might need some. Nothing that takes too long to eat or gets stuck in the teeth. No crackers or chocolate, please. I’d suggest marshmallows, smarties, grapes, water. Be sure to hide it and only pull it out if necessary.
  • Plan to leave about 20 minutes before you think you should. Get to the location at least 5-10 minutes early so you have time to feed baby, change a diaper, dress the kids, or just give your toddler a few minutes to relax after the car ride.
  • Schedule some pampering for yourself! Get a manicure and pedicure the day before or schedule a hair and makeup appointment for the day of your session. If you look amazing then you will feel amazing, too! I also have a blog post about how to do your hair and makeup for photo sessions.
pdx family dancing in light at sunset

Tip 3: Allow Yourself to Have Fun With Your Family

The first thing you need to do is realize that I’m freaking amazing ???? and I will make sure your photos turn out beautiful. So once the session starts, that is when you go off duty and leave it all to me! I want you to be in the moment with your family. Cuddle them, love on them, play games with them. I will let you guys know what to do next and I’ll help guide the kids to do what will look good in the photos. And if they don’t like my ideas, that’s fine! I’ll try something else. You’re officially off duty and your photos will turn out SO MUCH BETTER if you’re just enjoying your family and not stressing about their behavior. This is the single most important thing you can do if you want beautiful photos. Just have fun and enjoy your family. If you want to learn more about how to have the best family photo day ever, check out this article.

candid family photography in PDX

Those are my tips! Now go have fun during your session and try not to worry too much. I’ve got you. 

If you don’t have a family session scheduled with me but would like to, you can book a session by contacting me here

Photographers! I offer guides and presets, you can find out more by going to my For Photographers page. And if you want more tips on capturing candid images, here’s a great blog post about it from Pixpa.

candid lifestyle family photographer

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  1. I agree with all these tips, especially not sweating kids’ behavior and arriving to your session site early. I’m *always* rushing trying not to be late (having kids will do that!) and it doesn’t make for a relaxed family photo session.

  2. Sometimes people think photography is about setting up the shot and lighting and posing and the processing afterwards and don’t realize that the “herding” photographers do to get our best side and direct us while still bringing out ourselves so we are natural and stop being self conscious is what makes a good photographer truly great! Trust totally in your photographer to magically (but we know it’s all experience and skillz) to capture the beauty we might not see ourselves!

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