Picture day is a big deal for any parent. It's the one time of year you can get a professional-quality photo with not only your family but also all your pets and even the house! But what do you do if it doesn't go as planned? Read on to find out how to make picture day go smoothly. Every family has its ups and downs, but as a photographer, I'm here to help you make those memories last. The best way to do that is by capturing those moments in pictures for years, decades, or even generations. This blog post will help parents take care of last-minute details before their families' portraits and offer some helpful hints for making sure everyone has fun during picture day.

Before The Shoot

1. Find a location that is meaningful to you

This can be at home, a beach or park that you have memories at, another family household that has shared memories at like a grandparent's house. 

2. Make Sure The Kids Are Ready

Make sure the kids get a good night's sleep the night before and have a good meal before getting them ready to go, but make sure to bring snacks just in case they get hungry during the photo shoot. Another thing to help is to make sure to bring some sort of activity for them to entertain themselves with. That way when we do photos without them. They are entertained. I cannot emphasize these points enough. The attitude of the children during the shoot can make or break a photo shoot. Make sure the children are rested, fed, and entertained. Then the photoshoot will run a lot more smoothly. you can even bring a friend, family member, or a babysitter to take care of the kids while the parents are doing photos by themselves. 

3. Think Ahead And Make Sure To Have Plans and Backup Plans

This will involve communicating with your photographer. Getting ideas for posing. Location ideas and details that interest you. Any props that you wish to use. Also, be mindful of the order in which you take pictures - start with the youngest child and end with the oldest parent. 

4. Be Sure Everyone Is Matching

It can make photos look bad when everyone is wearing something different or is not matching in theme. This doesn't mean everyone wears the same outfit. Just make sure that there is a combination of color and/or theme within everyone's outfits

What To Bring

5. Snacks

We’ve already touched on this above. This can be snack bars, small sweets like jelly beans, cheese sticks, crackers, etc. Really anything that doesn't make a big mess to clean up afterward like chocolate, lollipops, or drinks with water being an exception.

6. Spare Clothes

You never know what kids will get themselves into sometimes. Especially when they are outdoors. So be sure to bring a backup set of clothes to make sure they are still looking great for the length of the photoshoot.

7. Entertainment For The Kids

This also was touched on above. Bubbles can not only be entertaining for children but even make for great photographs. Another thing would be sports balls like a football or soccer ball. These also can make for great entertainment for children but also great for candid photos for the family. You can also bring an extra family member, friend, or babysitter to help watch the kids while we work with the parents. 

8. Bring The Dog

it's great to include the family dog. it can make the whole shoot so much more fun and adds a whole layer of personality for the whole family.

now there are a few things to consider when including a dog in a photoshoot. first and foremost it's personality. will it get along with everyone? especially in a public setting like a park or a beach. you want to make sure that they will not be an issue with strangers. also, consider that they need to be comfortable with the photographer as well. then you need to consider how much they will be distracting the family. often being in a new environment. that causes both kids and dogs to get more excited and energetic than normal. so they could run around more and get more distracted. kids can be bribed to behave. dogs not so much. finally, you should consider bringing a friend, family member, or dog walker to take care of the dog while we are trying to get shots without the dog.

9. Beach Photos

Beach photos can make for beautiful and dramatic photos. However, it doesn't come without its drawbacks. Remember that sand gets everywhere and with kids playing in the sand that means more sand getting everywhere. so be sure to bring a blanket or towel with you. I suggest a blanket that matches your colors or theme. also, make sure you are ready for parking and entry fees. especially here in the northwest Indiana region where there are several beaches to pick from. 

10. Hair, Makeup, and Nails

This is going to depend on your family's personality. if your family is more casual. then play to that. if you're a more formal family then go with that look. whatever clothing your family is most comfortable with will show in your pictures. if you're all uncomfortable you'll all look very uncomfortable. also, look into finding a hair, makeup, and nail salon to work with. sometimes you can get a family deal. don't hesitate to ask to save you a few bucks. that way you are not just being photographed by a professional, but also being styled by professionals as well. 

11. Clothes that Bring Out Your Confidence

this can have a huge impact on the authenticity of your photos. if you push your fashion too far out of your comfort zone. then you won't look comfortable in the clothes you're wearing. make sure to balance looking nice with comfort. remember, this is about having fun and being confident. that way we are capturing those authentic emotions as they are happening. 

12. Retouching

this is where photoshop is opened and we get rid of things like wrinkles or acne. a lot can be done in photoshop. however, if there is something you are self-conscious about. let your photographer know. we can work out different poses that work with those. however, if something comes up in the photos that you want to be removed. don't hesitate to ask your photographer to work on those for you. just make sure to be specific. some people like to look as natural as possible while others like the porcelain doll look. also, keep in mind that many photographers will do this for free and others charge for it. so make sure to ask them about the cost per image or if it is part of their packages. 

13. Wear Clothes For The Season And Weather

there are very few things worse than trying to keep warm in cool weather when you wore summer clothes for a fall shoot. so make sure to wear clothing meant for the weather that day. we don't want you shivering and turning blue on us while you're trying to smile. unless you are a professional model or actor. then you probably won't be able to hide how cold you are. lots of body language shows how cold you are. 

During The Shoot

14. Enjoy The Time Together

now that all of the planning is done and over with. the big day is here! since all of the planning was taken care of. you can sit back and relax. have fun and enjoy your time together as a family. these emotions will come through in your pictures. you'll get more shots of fun moments and authentic smiles and laughter. this also makes the photoshoot fly by because you are having fun rather than it feeling like it's dragging on. 

15. Ask your children to think about what they're most proud of and tell them it will help them look happier when they're taking pictures.

this is a great psychological trick to get kids to give us great big proud smiles. don't forget to tell the photographer what that is so they can arm themselves to get your kids to smile more. also handing the photographer the favorite toy of your baby to help get their attention to the photographer. remember that we want everyone looking in the right direction. so parents looking down at their kids trying to get them to smile or laugh will just get more pictures of everyone looking at the kids and not at the camera or in the right direction. 

16. You Don't Need To Look At The Camera

candid looking photos are often some of my clients' favorite shots. and there is no better way to get that candid look than a family looking at each other laughing and smiling. it pulls the viewers in for a story. tells us how happy they are. tells us they are sharing a common joke or story. sure you want to get the formal photos of everyone for parents and grandparents, but those candid photos are often most shared on social media.

17. Let Each Child Have Their Time To Shine

let each child have their own time to shine. let them have their own round of photos. that way you have those cute photos of them laughing and playing. they also love the attention and get them in a great mood. well not always. some kids are shy. 


18. Silly And Calm

you can catch some really interesting moments with these different ideas. you can get some very intimate photos that show how close each member of the family is to one another. then you can get those crazy over-the-top photos where you get to capture authentic laughter and excitement. balance these two things and you will capture some amazing and beautiful photos for everyone to enjoy. 

Family portraits are a great way to capture memories and show off your family, but they can also be stressful. That’s why I wanted to share some of our favorite tips for making sure that you get the perfect pictures. We hope these ideas will help make your next photoshoot go smoothly! Did any of these 17 tips resonate with you? What other advice would you offer someone looking to take better family photos?

Thank you for reading

William Owner and Photographer for Dettman Photography

Northwest Indiana Wedding Photographer and Chicago Wedding Photographer

#weddingtipsforbride #photographyrulesforbride #weddingphotographer

Northwest Indiana Wedding Photographer