What should you bring to your family portrait session? To some degree, this definitely depends on your particular family’s needs (and the ages of your kids), but since I shared what was in MY bag, I thought you might also like some tips for what’s in YOUR bag!
In this post I’m going to dive into practical tips & tricks to help you show up to your photo shoot feeling prepared, which in turn will help you relax and enjoy the photo session experience even more!
So let’s dive in!
- Water and non-messy snacks. First up! A classic: SNACKS! Bring them for kids of ALL ages. Yes, even teens 😉 Being in front of the camera is harder work than we often give credit for and every one of my sessions builds in some break times to recharge a little bit. For younger kids, it can be helpful to have a tasty special treat that you can leave in the car for the end of the session too, if you want to give a little bribe for good behavior. But bringing sweets to the shoot can sadly end in tears when it’s so close and not available. Water is especially helpful in the summer months, but good to bring year-round. Family photos can be thirsty work! A couple suggestions of non-messy snacks would be Goldfish or Clif Bars!
2. A special item. For younger kids, this can be their current favorite small toy, For teens, something special to them that they may want to incorporate into your session. For little ones, a favorite lovey or book can really help them feel comfortable in front of the camera. For example, I once had a child come to a session with one lego. One. It was his favorite and he was holding it in every photo — sometimes hidden, sometimes showcased, but it helped him feel like I was taking his needs and comfort into account. And it also said something about his lego obsession that his parents wanted to remember from this stage of his life.
3. Shoes you can walk and play in. All my family sessions are pretty active — we play games, run around, and explore the space. If you really want high heels that’s fine, but consider bringing shoes you can change into easily to walk between spots as well. The last thing I want for any of my clients is blisters or a twisted ankle! Be prepared to move around, I don’t do a lot of stiff poses! 🙂
4. A blanket for sitting on. I always have a couple of blankets we can use, but if there’s a special blanket in your life, it’ll make your session so much more special if you bring it so we can have you sit on something that’s particular to your family. I like to do a few poses sitting down and a familiar blanket can help your kids feel more relaxed too!
5. Your enthusiasm and sense of willing. Ok, this doesn’t LITERALLY get included in ‘whats in your bag’, but I invite you to come to your session with an excitement for what we’re going to capture — the love in your family and the stage you are all at right now. I know photos aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise to make it as painless as possible and hopefully fun even for the reluctant. I know sometimes one spouse is more excited than the other, but if everyone comes with a good attitude, we can have a great time AND create portraits your family will treasure for generations.
Lastly, I’m going to ask you to not bring one thing — electronics. They distract kids and make it hard to get those loving, engaged, connected photos you’ve come to me for.