You’ve clicked book, confirmed a date. Now how do you start to prepare for your lifestyle family photography session and also, what really is “lifestyle photography”? Hang tight, friends. I’ll explain all you need to know for a successful photography session.
What is a “Lifestyle Family Photography Session” and how can you prepare?
Custom lifestyle photography is exciting. You have a chance to show not merely what you look like at a certain point in time but who you authentically are. Lifestyle sessions embrace the connections in our relationships with each other, our pets, and even the space around us. They create cherished images not just for their beauty but the emotion you feel when you remember that moment.
What to Expect at the Session
My style is smashed between documentary and traditional. Meaning there will be more guidance than documentary photography but less posing than traditional photography. Expect to get lots of prompts to encourage natural engagement between family members and pets. Don’t expect lots of “smile and look at the camera.”
A lot of people go into a Lifestyle Family Photography Session, thinking they need to prepare for a perfect portrait. We will sneak a few in, but it’s not the focus of these dynamic sessions. My goal is to help you remember your family as you are. Chaos and love, beautifully mixed into a space worth being proud of.
A Checklist For Preparing Children For a Family Photo Session
- Don’t surprise children. Let your youngest family members know ahead of time a friend is going to be taking their photo. It’s never a good idea to drop this on them the day of the shoot.
- As you prepare for the shoot, make sure to involve them. Ask for your children’s advice in picking out clothes and show them family photos on Pinterest to get them excited.
- Eat ahead of time, take a nap if needed, and plan on bringing dry snacks in case anyone gets hungry during the shoot. Dry food options will help keep their faces clean for photos.
- EMBRACE the chaos that might ensue on the day of the shoot. Your child likes to scream at the top of their lungs, wrestles with their siblings, or runs everywhere? Awesome. I love to run too. I promise I can keep up.
Do you know what makes for great photos? When your children run, run WITH them. Play and engage with your kids just like you would at home. Avoid saying, “No. Sit still.” It never works. Trust me. Allowing them space to run, play, and scream makes it easier for them to calm down for a sweet hug later.
Your session is a bit of a documentary look at your life as a family. Life isn’t supposed to be perfect, calm, and polished. Let kids be kids. Enjoy your time, and let me worry about the rest.
For more on photographing kids and rolling with the punches, check out this past blog. Photographing Kids, Perception Vs Reality
What to Wear For A Lifestyle Family Session
Wear what makes you feel fantastic. When you feel comfortable, confident, and like yourself, it shows. I will probably be asking you to tickle your kids, run down a trail, and lay in the grass. Are you in clothes that you feel comfortable doing these things?
Coordinate, don’t match. Avoid everyone wearing the same color or style. If you’re wondering if you match or coordinate, try putting all the clothes together on a bed and snapping a photo. Do they all look the same? Does anything stand out? When in doubt, send your photo to a friend for a second opinion.
Avoid solid, vibrant colors. Super bright colors can actually reflect back in your face which makes for some odd skin tones you might not love.
Long sleeves create long beautiful lines in photos. If your session isn’t in the heat of summer, this is something to consider.
Details. I love detail shots and will probably grab a photo of shoes, hands, etc. Keep this in mind when dressing everyone.
Lastly, scroll back up and read the first tip once more. Dress in a way you feel your best. The rest will work itself out.
As a Spokane photographer, I think In-home sessions give a great intimate feel. We should double-check that you have adequate light ahead of time, but in most situations, we can make it work. Also, living in the Inland NW there are a lot of outdoor locations I love too! I can give you some great recommendations, but I’m also up for trying new spots. Think about a place that speaks to your family. Is that downtown in the bustle of the city or on a trail in the woods?
A lot of my favorite spots require a short walk for a big pay off but don’t worry; I’ll warn you ahead of time if walking is involved.
I recommend that most outdoor shoots happen during the golden hour—the time shortly before sunset as the light is ideal and worth staying up late for.
A Note About Dogs at A Family Sessions
I am a SUPER pet-friendly Spokane photographer. If your pet is a valued family member, please bring them. I have another blog specifically for preparing pets. Check it out here.
Pets in a family session will NOT always be looking at the camera. Most of the time, they will be just doing their thing, and that’s OK. It’s better to let them hang out in your session and not stress about what they are smelling or which way they are facing.
That’s about it. Even though I dropped a lot of advice, the most important thing in preparing for a lifestyle family session is to show up and be you. Let your kids be themselves. Embrace connection and be prepared to set aside perfection.
Ready to find out more about how a Lifestyle Session might fit your family, you can schedule a free consult here.
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[…] While I don’t specifically tell families what to wear, where to shop, and which color palettes to always stick to, I do offer advice on preparing for sessions, like this blog on preparing for a newborn session or this one preparing for a family session. […]
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