FALL IS HERE! A perfect season for gorgeous family photos to decorate the walls and print on your Christmas cards. With Fall Mini Sessions just around the corner, I thought I'd compile a list of tips to prepare you for a family shoot with EMP. Family shoots can make parents nervous as they prepare their children to look and act their best during a small window of paid time. Let me comfort you by saying I will make sure you get your money's worth of BEAUTIFUL and GENUINE family photos!!! To quote Pam from The Office, "I guarantee that you will be satisfied. Because your satisfaction is our guarantee! We guarantee it."


Parents, it may also comfort you to know that I have 5 nieces and nephews who LOVE their "Crazy Aunt Bessie" (AKA me). I am great with kids, and I will love getting to know your kids during our time together so I can capture who they are!!! So, let's get on with my TIPS!!!

Family Shoot Tip #1: Coordinate your outfits and minimize patterns.


Just as I have recommended with my couples shoots, coordinating your outfits will make for better family photos. You can't go wrong with solid colors so you won't clash with the background. If you really love wearing patterns, then consider this when you choose the location of your shoot. Patterns will look much better against a simple background like tall golden grass in a field. See the bottom right photo for a sweet example of matching patterned dresses in a grassy field!

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #2: Let the kids be kids!


When you come for a photoshoot you may expect to be posed by your photographer or hear them say "hold still" or "look here and smile" a lot. That can be nerve-racking for parents of squirmy, energetic children. Well, I am here to tell you that this isn't a Walmart photo studio because I want to get your kids MOVING. I know kids want to be moving, and these are going to be some of the best shots in your album!!! A few examples of the prompts I use with kids are encouraging tickle fights or asking kids to run to me or run to their parents for a bear hug. Some lucky adults may even get a bear hug from multiple children in their family (see middle photo below). The photos below are proof of the amazing moments I can capture with these prompts.

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #3: Pack snacks or plan a post-shoot treat.


Pack the kids some snacks or treats to keep their energy up or to keep them busy while we get some photos of the adult family members. A sure-fire way to get my nieces and nephews to smile for a photo is to offer them a small gummy as a reward. Another option is to plan a treat for after the family shoot, such as a trip to Dairy Queen or McDonalds!

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #4: Bring your dog!


Do you have a dog or multiple dogs? Great! Bring them along too! This is a movement-friendly photoshoot after all. If you do bring your dogs, I recommend bringing a leash and/or kennel as well. Also, the tip for snacks works just as well with dogs as it does with kids, so bring some treats along if it will help your dog get more involved in the photo shoot.

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #5: Prepare for your kids to get sandy, wet, muddy, etc.


Think about the location we have chosen and the various ways your child will get messy. We may start out at the beach and move onto a different location so it's a good idea to pack a towel, blanket, change of clothes and shoes, etc. If we are shooting in a field after it has rained the day before then you may opt for mud-friendly footwear. Whatever will make your kids feel comfortable and dry, and allow us to keep taking photos even if they get very wet or dirty! It will also make parents feel more relaxed knowing they don't have to protect their child's outfit the whole time!

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #6: Bring kid-friendly props!


Maybe your child has a special stuffed animal they carry with them everywhere and you want to cherish the memories of that sweet time by bringing it to your family shoot. I bet your child would be very excited to hear that their little stuffed friend will be joining in on the photos! Maybe your family loves to kick a soccer ball around and you'd like some candid shots of one of your favorite family activites. Feel free to get creative!


If you are planning to use these photos for greeting cards feel free to bring props that will suit the occasion. We can bust them out for a few photos so you have some options for your cards. You might bring along pumpkins for a Fall theme, or something for Christmas cards such as santa hats, personalized stockings, a garland, etc.


We can also make use of nature's props depending on the location of your family shoot. Wild flowers in a field, shells at the beach, the options are endless!

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

Family Shoot Tip #7: Hold a family meeting to vote on a shoot location.


If there was ever a time to call a family meeting, THIS IS IT!! Take a look at my blog post about my favorite portrait locations and get input from everyone on which location is the family favorite. Let's create some memories together in a location that captures who you are as a family!!!!

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo

That's it!!! I hope I've eased some of your nerves about hiring a photographer for a family shoot. I offer 3 different lifestyle packages to suit your needs. Shoot me a message to have my lifestyle guide sent over. Can't wait to work with you and your beautiful family!!! Now, let's end with a few more family shots to get you inspired.

Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo
Vancouver Family Photographer Esther Moerman Photo