5 Tips for a Successful Family Portrait Session

February 17, 2022

5 Tips for a Successful Family Portrait Session

Autumn is fast approaching and you know what that means?! Cooler weather, falling leaves, pumpkin everything, and the busiest time for a family photographer!

Here are five tips to help guarantee a successful family photo shoot. 

1. Communication

I know this one might sound obvious, but it is so important. Make sure to find out what the client's expectations are and what they are hoping for. Are they wanting certain poses? Are they hoping for an urban or country shoot? Lifestyle, props, etc? 

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2. Have A Written Plan

Now that you have discussed your vision for the photo shoot along with the client's expectations, it is always great to write down a small note of how you want the session to flow. 

I typically start out the shoot with more posed shots (to make sure I am getting what my client has asked for) and then I get more relaxed images as well as the creative shots that both my clients and I love. 

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3. Keep It Moving & Keep It Fun

You know how I just said to plan in the last tip? Well, now that you have a plan, you also have to be flexible just in case it doesn't go as planned. Stay upbeat, positive, and keep moving forward. If one pose or idea doesn't work out, no worries, just keep moving and try something else! I definitely have my own bag of tricks when it comes to photographing families and the longer you do it, you will discover your own as well. 

Just a few of my "go-to's" are having the family walk hand in hand and then give each other squeeze hugs. Sometimes I will have the kids give mom and dad a nice tackle hug (like below), and another is having everyone look at each other and make a funny face (this usually always gets everyone a little more relaxed).

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4. Consistency in Editing

After you have totally rocked your session, it is now time to get the images edited. Be sure you give your client a reasonable turnaround time for edited images. (Always exceed expectations!) If you tell your client that it takes 2-3 weeks to edit the images, have them ready in 1-2 weeks. 

Also, be sure to edit the images with consistency (whether you prefer editing in Lightroom or Photoshop). This way, when the client hangs your beautiful work on their walls, the images are all consistent in color, tones, and lighting. 

For example, this gallery was edited with two different presets (both from my Lightroom Workflow presets) 

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 and this gallery was processed with the MiniMatte Collection (in Photoshop) 

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5. Happy Client = Happy Photographer

Be sure you that you go above and beyond for your client. If your client not only loves the amazing portraits you have just provided but they loved the overall experience, you will have a repeat client as well as more clients from word of mouth referrals. 

Another way to get the buzz going is to post a sneak peak (maybe one or two images) from your session on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Blog) within the first 48 hours of the portrait session. This not only gets your clients excited about their session with you, but their friends can see the images as well. 

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