How to prepare for a family photo shoot

family photos in Bushy Park

It’s wonderful having photos of your family to capture a moment in time as we all know, kids grow up far too quickly. But sometimes the thought of it can be a bit stressful.

Here are some tips to help your session run smoothly


Make sure everyone is well fed and rested. That time before a nap can turn even the sweetest children into bears …and a hungry bear is even harder to please.

Try to time your session around nap times and after a decent snack or meal. It may also be worth packing drinks and snacks if we go out on location.

Make sure you allow plenty of time for the session. Even though we have booked in a specific time we need to allow some flexibility. Babies especially need some time to rest, suckle, get cleaned up in between photos. Also timing a shoot before your child goes off to a party, for example, is not going to put them in the best frame of mind.


With a young family it works best to start off in the home with a family group shot and then maybe do an activity / playtime in the home and garden or head out to one of your favourite places. These natural, active shots are the ones that show your family’s connection and personality. I hope that looking back at your photos you get a sense of how much love there is between you and how much you enjoy being with each other.

mother and baby photography Surrey

What to wear

It’s best to decide on what to wear at least a day before your photography session. No point in stressing when you find out your favourite top is in the wash.
When deciding how to co-ordinate your family so that the photos look cohesive – think more co-ordinating tones and NOT matchy matchy. Comfort is key, especially for kids. It’s up to you if you are a colourful quirky bunch or usually more organic and natural.

It’s important to feel relaxed leading up to your session so please leave yourselves enough time to get ready. A family starting a session with a rushed and frantic feeling doesn’t make for the best images.

Include your other half

It tends to be Mums who book photography sessions so please do talk to your partner about the family photos. It is really important that the adults participate cheerfully. These photos will become your family legacy and when your children are themselves grown up they will treasure these images.


I love a nice gooey Brie. But please leave the cheese behind when we have our photo session. There’s nothing quicker to spoil a photo than someone directing a family member to say ‘cheese’ or anything similar. Natural laughs and relaxed connections make for the best memories.

Have fun with your family

Feel free to pick your children up, swing them around, tickle them. Have fun. Laugh. Cuddle. Giggle. Mess around. Parents be sweet and loving with each other. Doing these kinds of things allows me to capture your family as they are and create beautiful, authentic photographs.

A family session works really well when you do an activity together. This could be anything from baking, reading a favourite book, picnics, riding bikes or a walk in the park to feed the ducks.

family feeding ducks Surrey photographer

The end result

Before the day of your photo session we will have a chat on the phone to talk through how the session will run and also if you have any particular requests.

The best photos are often the ones where families are engaged with each other and not all photos will have everyone looking at the camera or smiling at the same time.

The way I approach your family session is to try and capture a relaxed family portrait near the beginning of the shoot. It is the holy grail to try and do this with everyone making eye contact with the camera although bear in mind this may not always happen, especially with very young children.

After that, most of the session will revolve around you being in each others’ company and doing something you enjoy. If you are engaged with each other as a family your similes will be genuine and natural and these photos will show your family connection and love the most.

family photography surrey
family photography surrey
mother and baby photography Surrey
mother and baby photography Surrey
family photo session Surrey photographer

If you’d like to find out more about having a family photo session please do drop me a line via my contact page or email directly

I’d love to hear from you, Karen x

You can see more family photos here 

For more information here is my pricing page