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Have you booked a family session? Or are you considering one? I’m sure you want to avoid some cringe-worthy photo that will never make it on the wall. Being a professional family photographer I’d like to share a few tips of the trade I use to ensure my clients always end up with a creative family portrait that each member of the family will want a copy of! Keep the following in mind and I bet that your family photography shoot will be a success.

Number One: JUST DO IT!
So often I get a message along the lines of.. ‘I would love family photos, but I just can’t yet because {insert reason that totally will not matter in a year or two or even a months time!}.’ Your family does not care that you are a few kilos heavier than you were last year. They don’t care that you are self conscious about your age. Family portraits are important to the family unit today and in the future. Your family will look back in 20 years time and see connection, love, fun and maybe even remember a little story behind the images. We need to get over our own fears and think of the benefits.  There is no good time for family portraits, we have to make time and the whole family has to invest their time into the session.

Number Two: WHAT TO WEAR!
Some clients don’t realise at the time of their session just how important their clothing choice is – it dawns on them a year or ten down the track when they cringe out the daggy outfits and laugh at what dad thought was cool. It is my mission to ensure this never happens with my clients. When you book your family session with Kirra Photography you will get access to your very own private client lounge online where there is a great area to help you plan you families outfits for your session. I beg you to read it and if you follow it, I guarantee you will still love what you are wearing when you gaze lovingly at your family portrait on the wall in 2026! The guide directs you to some ideas, tells you what to avoid and what to be on the look out for. I am also here to help you – run your outfits past me prior to the session or ask any question that pops to mind!

Give yourself extra time before heading out the door. The last thing you want is to be rushed, stressed and running late. When booking a time and planning your day around it, give yourself the luxury of a few more minutes – you will thank yourself for it.
Also when booking a time, try to plan it when the kids are going to be happiest. Plan around nap and fed times.
The night before, ensure everyone is well rested and gets a full nights sleep.
We are all happiest when we are well fed – there’s nothing like a hungry, grouchy toddler! Bring some snacks and water along to the session in case the munchies drop in.

Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home.  Cheese is for crackers.  So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!”  Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs.  Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children.  This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.  Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air.  Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check.  Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family.  Have fun.  Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace.  Kiss.  Snuggle.  Play.  Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family.  Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion.  Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.

My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together.  This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face.  Do you love to read together?  Bring some books.  Is your favourite dessert ice cream?  Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session.  Love to play board games or cards?  Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session.  Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, baking, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless.  When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.

The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other.  Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural.  These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.

Teens and photography can be a challenge. I suggest involving them in the process. Teens have great ideas and will be more interested if they are involved with the process from the beginning. Get them on board as soon as you book your session, ask them to research what they like and get them chatting to your photographer early on – they will develop a relationship together that will ensure there are no surly, bored or whatever looks in your family photos.


Choose a location that suits you and your family. The Smith family may love the beach, they go at every opportunity, but you could never get them to go hiking! The Jones’ on the other hand can be found camping in the mountains every weekend, they crave adventure but hate the water. If we do a photo session at the beach, the Jones’ are going to be out of place and uncomfortable. The Smith’s will be right at home and we will capture great natural expressions and connections though…. are you following? Where does your family love to spend time? Chat with your photographer and find a place that sings to you and your family.

Number Ten: ENJOY!
Finally, just try to enjoy the experience, it will show in your photos.

I hope these tips help to make your family session a joyful experience that you will remember for years to come.


If you would like more information on La Familia Family Sessions, check out the website here or have a chat to Mikaela – email, phone 0439 049 989, facebook or contact here.

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