Family Photos: Advice For Parents From a Photographer (Part 2)



Family photos can be... well, overwhelming. Finding the right photographer, a time that works with your family's busy schedule, the coordinating outfits, and hoping you can get through it without too much fuss from your little ones... It sounds like a headache that I'm sure we'd all like to avoid. Last month, we shared our favorite matching outfits for family photos, and this month we are back with more tips so that you and the whole family can face your next portrait session with confidence and ease.

Here at CO, we have the pleasure of working with the wonderful and talented Meghan Doll for our collection photoshoots. Meghan specializes in family photography and can turn frowns into giggles like no other. She is a professional when it comes to making her clients comfortable in front of the camera, capturing the most genuine snapshots of a family's love. Lucky for you, Meghan gave us her best tips and tricks for rocking your next portrait session.

Mom, Dad, and Baby - Taken by Meghan Doll Photography

What's Your Style?

Before you even book your portrait session, it's essential to narrow down your family's style. Does your family keep it casual or do you like to dress it up? Are you looking for candid shots or your classic posed family photo? Asking yourself these questions will help your photographer create the most authentic representation of your family. Meghan recommends asking yourself these two questions to figure out your style:

What does your ideal family photo look like?

Head to Pinterest, find some inspiration, and think about the kinds of shots you want out of your session. Bringing a clear vision of what you're looking for will allow you to work together with your photographer to capture the images you've always dreamed of.

Where will your images be displayed?

Having an idea of where you hope to hang your images gives you a starting point for narrowing down your style. For example, if you're planning to display your images in your formal dining room, a more casual and candid photoshoot may not be the look you're going for.

Plan Ahead


Deciding on the wardrobe is typically the most involved part of planning for your family photoshoot. Meghan suggests giving yourself at least two weeks to plan your wardrobe, "so come shoot day, you'll feel confident and prepared." A good starting point is to choose a palette of 3-4 colors, and find outfits that align with that palette for each member of the family. It's a fool-proof way to effortlessly coordinate with each other without looking too "matchy-matchy".

Prep the Kids

"For a lot of kids, new experiences can be a little intimidating," Meghan says. To avoid meltdowns and mid-photo tears, it's important to ensure everyone is prepared for the big day. Here are three things you can do to make sure your session goes smoothly:

  • Be sure not to skip naps the day of the session.
  • Come with full tummies or snacks.
  • Frame the session as an adventure, rather than about behaving.

The Day Of

It's time for the big day! To ensure you and your family are set up for success, it's important to come prepared with any supplies you may need. Pack a bag with your kids' go-to snacks, combs/hair ties/bobby pins for last minute hair adjustments, and even extra shirts for your little ones that like to drool. Bring anything that will help make your kids comfortable so that you can navigate nervous fuss like a pro.

The best thing that parents can do during a family portrait session is stay calm. "In a new situation, your child will be looking to your for cues," Meghan says. If you can look comfortable and calm, your child will be more likely to relax too.

Lastly, trust your photographer. Let them work their magic and take a deep breathe. They know what they're doing.

Family sitting on floor, playing and laughing - Meghan Doll Photography

Check out more of Meghan's work here, and be sure to follow her on Instagram. For our favorite outfit ideas, be sure to read part one of this blog.