5 things to prepare for a family photography session as a photographer

Updated: Mar 10

When starting out as a photographer, many photographers start out as a family photographer but don’t take the job lightly. Photographing a family, especially with small children will break your back. I started my photography gig as a family portrait photographer and wished I knew these tips.





1. Bring an assistant to the family shoot.

Having an extra hand on the day is crucial for getting the successful shots. The assistant can help you lug around your gear, look after the children (during mum and dad couple shots), hold up the reflector, help with lens changes, last minute coffee orders and can also shoot some behind the scenes for your blog or Instagram. Can’t recommend this enough.


2. Jump on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration

No matter how experienced you are, you need to keep looking at inspiration to help you improve on every photoshoot. At an Adobe conference, there was a 20-year veteran who shot ads for a living and he told us “Prior to any shoot, always do an inspiration session”. I also recommend creating a Google Drive and sharing all the inspirational photos with your client. This shows initiative on your end and also sets the expectations for the final delivery of the photos. This is a great way to figure out what expectations the client has prior to shooting. This way you can make solid decisions about the location, props, wardrobe and even time of the shoot.





3. Prepare water bottles for yourself and everyone on set

Sounds like common sense, but if you go on a water break during the shoot, you’re going to lose a solid 20 minutes looking for water. If you keep shooting when your team and the family is thirsty, you’re going to get a poor performance from everyone.


4. Wear sunscreen and a hat

Maybe because I’m in Australia, the sun is a killer. Literally. It won’t matter after one shoot, but it’ll stack up and pay off for just having a habit like this when you’re starting out. Bring a massive tub of it to share with your crew and family, they’ll appreciate it.


5. Scout the location with your camera before the family arrives

This is very important to make sure you’re not trying things out when the family arrives. You need to have at least 1 amazing composition idea per location so that the family isn’t waiting for you to try things out.


Everyone has a different style of shooting, but it’s always good to make sure the family is enjoying the day. Don’t stress out the family or the children out too much by trying to get the shot. If the family is genuinely having a good time, the photos will always turn out great.





A bonus tip would be to not promise an exact delivery time, give yourself a buffer of at least 2 weeks just in case. It’s always better to over-deliver on expectations.


Check out 5 tips for preparing for a family photo shoot you can send to your clients.