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  • Nicolette Jackson-Pownall

Family Photoshoot Tips For Moms

There's not denying that family sessions can be stressful, especially for moms who often feel responsible for ensuring that everyone looks and behaves their best.

As the head of your household you’re probably tapped out with a million things to do but if you want to make the most of your family’s time in front of the camera, plan as much as possible. This includes coordinating outfits for the session and deciding on the best location for you and the kids.

So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are some tips to help moms stay calm and plan a stress-less family portrait session.

As with all of my shoots, I first suggest you start with wardrobe. Choose clothes that create a cohesive look but aren’t matchy-matchy. Think about the color scheme and style you want to go for, and put together outfits that can be layered and will complement each other. Just avoid busy patterns or logos, as they can be distracting and draw attention.

A two-mom family portrait session at the beach

Speak with your photographer about using a place that is comfortable and familiar to your family. The location you choose can have a big impact on the look and feel of your family portraits. So consider environments that reflect your family's personality and interests. This could be a park, beach, or even your own home. If you have young children, any spot with opportunities for them to run around freely like a playground will help to keep them happy.

Then let the kids know what you're up to. Get them involved and excited by sharing some of the photographer’s work and asking them what kinds of family poses they’d like to try. Or chat about what kinds of fun accessories they’d like to bring, like a favorite toy, stuffed animal or maybe balloons. The more engaged the children are, the more energized they’ll be and fun they’ll have.

Child portrait at pumpkin patch

Just know that kids, especially under 5, sort of get to dictate the pulse and rhythm of the shoot. I always tell my parents that when one of their children hits a wall, we stop and take a break. No child can fake being happy and cooperative for the sake of a photo. It doesn’t work. Family photographers have tricks up their sleeve to encourage kids to act as naturally as possible during a shoot. So let us do the work of getting yours to react and participate in authentic ways.

Lean in to your photographer’s vision and direction during the session, so that you can allow yourself to relax and enjoy the experience. I know it's hard not to worry about looking perfect but trust me when I tell you that the in-between and silly moments are often where your personalities shine through. By embracing imperfections you’ll get to express those truly beautiful moments that reflect your family at its best. At the end of the day, the goal of these portraits is to capture memories and create lasting keepsakes, not to create a picture perfect image of a cardboard family.

Candid portrait of newborn with her mommies

You can see more results from my work with families and to get in touch about scheduling your own family portrait session in the LA area, email or fill out the contact page here. I look forward to helping you capture your own precious memories!

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