Family/Child Session Guidelines



I have found that family and child photo sessions can be very stressful for my clients! A rushed morning, uncomfortable clothes, a stranger telling you to sit right here, look right there, and just smile naturally! No wonder kids don’t always behave like their usual sweet selves. So I’d like to offer a few points of advice to make our photo session go smoothly and help us get those smiles you love.


If we are doing a studio session, decide which one of my backdrops you want to use, and let me know (see below). If we are doing an outdoor session, confirm the location with me.
Choose clothing well ahead of time, and put it all together with accessories the day before your session. If you have any props you would like to bring, gather those as well. A favorite toy or stuffed animal can help a child feel at ease, but you may want to consider coordinating clothing with any props. Also plan on bringing hair spray, a hair brush, chapstick, lotion, and some non-messy snacks.
Optional—Find family/child poses that you particularly like on my blog, on pinterest, or on other photographers’ blogs (please feel free to send me links to any poses you would like to do in your session).


For children only, I have a wood floor that I can set up with a white, pink, blue, or black/white damask backdrop (or the pink/blue can cover the floor and background). For children and/or families, I have larger solid grey, black, or white backdrops that cover the floor and background. Let me know ahead of time which one of these backdrops you would like, so I can have it set up when you get here. Here are some examples of my backdrops:




Be true to your own style! Here are a few guidelines, but don’t take these as law:

  • Think coordinating colors, not necessarily matching colors.
  • Consider how the backdrop you chose will work with your clothing.
  • Think about your home decor, if you will be printing the pictures for your walls.
  • Accessories can add just the right extra flair.
  • Layers and textures are great. Patterns can work too, but mix with solids so it doesn’t get too busy.
  • Coordinate clothing with any props you are bringing.
  • Stay away from characters or words on shirts.
  • Stay away from wearing all one color.



  • Plan as relaxed a morning routine as you can manage. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get everyone fed, bathed, moisturized, dressed, and combed. Do everything you can think of to keep all kids and adults happy and relaxed.
  • Please apply lotion to faces and hands (and feet if they will be bare). Pay some attention to everyone’s hands (including mom and dad). Trim nails and cuticles if necessary, and moisturize to clean up dry skin. Apply chapstick to dry lips.
  • Dress kids as comfortably as possible, bringing any uncomfortable clothing to change into at the session.
  • Bring hair spray, hair brush, chapstick, lotion, and non-messy snacks to the session.


Here is the really important part. As soon as the session begins, please let me work with your children without your input. I will spend a few minutes just getting to know them and helping them feel comfortable. I may ask for your help getting them to laugh and smile, but I need you to forget that your are their parent for a few minutes, and just have a good time with your kids. Please ignore any bad behavior you see, and let me deal with it (unless I ask for your help). Do not discipline or speak harshly to your children during the session. Plan on bribing your children if necessary (candy? ice cream after the shoot?) to enlist their cooperation, even if it goes against everything you believe in as a parent. Remember to be silly, play with your kids, and have a great time, but please leave your best parental discipline at the door. You can pick it back up on your way out. 🙂 For more insight on the photographer’s perspective, read this great blog post.


Please bring full payment (cash or check) to the shoot. Click here for pricing information.


Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery of your edited digital photos. I will email you a link to download the files. I can provide you with a copyright release if necessary (most of the time it’s not), so that you can have the photos printed. I can also provide high quality professional printing; please contact me for print prices. My photos are printable with good quality up to 16×24.