10 Great family photoshoot ideas and tips on how to prepare!
The Best fun family photoshoot ideas & how to get the most out of your photos!
You love your family, and wouldn’t it be great to do a family photoshoot? After all there are so many amazing family photoshoot ideas on the internet and you just can’t wait to make them yours! The obvious step is to find a photographer, right? So, you get all excited, contact a local photographer, schedule a photoshoot, and eagerly anticipate the family photoshoot.
You are all set with your family photoshoot ideas from Pinterest only to find that all hell breaks loose on the day, you have children crying and hiding in places or just running rampant in the photographer’s studio, or on location and it becomes difficult to catch that beautiful family photo.
So how do you go about making your family photoshoot work for you, avoid the drama it can sometimes bring and turn tears into smiles so that you can watch those family photoshoot ideas you have been dreaming of become a reality?
Stick around and I will let you in on a few secrets as professional photographer and, “finder of child laughter’. But before that here are some cute photos that I did to put a smile on your dial.
How to prepare yourself for a family photoshoot session
These days it is easy to find lots of family photoshoots ideas on the internet, but that does not necessarily mean every photographers’ skill is created equal and that they can pull off the look of the pictures and ideas you have found. So here are some tips to help you choose the right photographer for “YOU”.
How to choose the right family photographer.
- Search locally specifically for a photographer that specialises in family portraiture. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites to get a better idea of their work. If they specialise in family photography, they will have plenty of examples of their own work from family photo sessions that you can see.
- Look for Photographers that have the style of photos you want for your family photoshoot.
- Narrow it down to three potential photographers you like, get in contact with each of them, and ask them to send you photos from a full family photo session so that you can view it.
- Ask questions like what locations you can use, what you can wear, and how to prepare your little ones for the photos. If they are as good as they say they are they will be able to provide you with a few tips and tricks like the ones in this article.
- Find out about their pricing and compare these options with your budget before going choosing your photographer. Also be sure to check what is included in the price, such as digital images, prints and how many photos you get with your family photoshoot.
It is all about distraction and laughter. Make sure your photographer has a sense of humour and is not afraid to pull out the” funny face artillery” when needed to ensure you get the best giggles out of your kids during the photoshoot.
How to prepare your family for your photoshoot ideas.
Once you have chosen your photographer and set the date for the family photos, you need to prepare your family, especially the little ones for this big event. And this is where a few simple tips can help avoid the tears and drama that sometimes comes with your family photoshoot ideas.
Where can you do family photoshoots?
Location, Location, Location! There are several things to keep in mind when considering where to take your family photos – firstly choose an outdoor or indoor location for your family photo session. Bear in mind that studio photos can get tedious for little ones especially, as there is nothing to help distract them. If you do want studio photos, then be sure to bring along lots of goodies to entertain your munchkins!
Family photoshoot location ideas and advice
- Outdoor family photoshoot locations depend on season, so depending on the look you are going for try to plan for the season that will allow this. Here in South Africa, there are a few locations in winter that have long veld grass that makes fantastic photos with warm beige and orange tones. But other locations which look great in summer may not be so good in winter, as trees lose their leaves etc. So be sure to check this with your photographer to get the best out of the location you choose.
- A great way to get unique family photos is to have photos taken when something happens only very occasionally. For instance, the Cosmos flowers bloom here in Johannesburg, late February and only lasts about three weeks. But for that time there is a carpet background of flowers at certain locations. So, if you can schedule your family photoshoot around that time you can get some absolutely fantastic photos.
Here is a list of my favourite locations to give you a bit of inspiration.
Family photoshoot ideas – what to wear.
Decide on outfits that do not clash with one another for the entire family. A similar colour range or tone often works best in this instance. This does not mean you all have to wear the exact same thing, but similar colours and tones create uniformity and harmony in your pictures.
- Choose pastels or neutral colours, so that the focus is not on the clothes but rather on the family. Avoid loud and heavy patterns and colours that can be distracting.
- Consider your background – will the photoshoot be outdoors or in a studio? What season is it? Prepare clothes that suit the season and the background you will be using. This means, if you are using a very green outdoor background, then try to use florals or summery colours that will be complemented by this.
All in all, if you are not sure your photographer should be able to help you with this!
Questions answered for your family photoshoot.
- How long will the family photoshoot be for? This varies with photographers, but I like to allow an hour for a family of four or five with kiddies.
- How many photos do I get? Again, this will change with the photographer, but at Renphotos as a guideline, I offer 80-100 high resolution edited digital images per hour of photography.
- How will I receive my photos? At Renphotos for smaller 1–2-hour sessions I usually send a link on WeTransfer to download images. A good Wi-Fi connection is recommended in this case. However, if that is not possible, or you don’t have the storage space for the photos you can opt to collect them on a USB at an additional charge.
- What time will my photo session be? This is important because the light changes during the day. The best time to schedule your photoshoot is an hour or so before sunset if you have outdoor photos. For studio photos, I like to schedule in the mornings around 9 am when children are still fresh, and the studio is not too hot.
Creating fun family photoshoot ideas and poses.
How to get natural family poses and not be stiff in front of the camera.
This is a big issue for a lot of families, and for many, the idea of standing in front of a camera and smiling just seems terrifying. Trust me I am one of them, I made a career out of staying on the other side of the camera, so I don’t have to be in front of it. Just kidding, but I do feel your pain.
Therefore, it is important that you feel at ease and that your photographer can direct you during the family photoshoot. But just in case here are some family photoshoot ideas and poses to make it more natural and fun and, keep your children interested in being in front of the camera.
10 Great family photoshoot ideas and poses to keep the kids smiling.
Kids at any age can be a challenge to keep smiling throughout a family photo session but before you tear your hair out and panic that they aren’t cooperating with your family photoshoot idea. Check out the fun ideas I have put together below to try out with them and watch the magic happen.
- The walk swing – place your child between the parents and walk and swing them in between you. Most of the time this will create a natural smile from the child, and involuntarily the parents as well. This generally works with smaller children up to about five years of age.
- Going on dads’ shoulders is always a fun one for most kids, and dad can improvise with bouncing up and down, or just keep it at a simple walk holding mums’ hand, its generally a goodie.
- Tickling or turning them upside down works a charm for a great smile as long as the photographer is quick with the camera.
- Create a “race” between siblings – get them to start at one point and run towards the camera as if they are racing each other.
- Find something interesting in the flowers or your surroundings – this is a favourite for me at Highveld Honey Farms ≫.
- , as the kids really get into it, looking for bugs in the flowers and shouting gleefully at their findings!
- Turning in circles is great for little girls with long hair and dresses and often brings a smile as they get a bit dizzy – just make sure it’s on a soft surface in case they fall over.
- Pile on – is great for studio or outdoor, get dad to lie on the floor on his stomach and mum on top, then the kids can pile on top of them which inevitably turns into a game with natural laughs and smiles.
- Pulling a funny face at the camera or at each other often is followed by a natural smile or laugh.
- Play hide and seek or peek-a-boo in venues with trees for instance, or in-studio even hiding behind mum and dad and playing peekaboo with the camera can work.
- Use props in the photos – such as bubbles, or in-studio I have little chairs which are always a winner for a shy child as they want to sit on that chair. Or choose a venue like Vega Equestrian Centre ≫ which has horses and watch as children learn to love these big animals. Or if you aren’t sure then somewhere with a jungle gym is also a safe bet.
Other ways to prepare yourself and the kids for the family photoshoot.
There are some other ways to also help prepare for family photoshoot ideas which sometimes need to be resorted to if you are really struggling to get your kids to smile and participate in a photoshoot.
- Teach them about cheese before the photoshoot – although this can be a bit cliché it does sometimes work, and you can substitute cheese with similar words and make it into a game which can sometimes bring a natural laugh – this can work with the adults too (use more adult words) But for the kids try cheese, bees, please, freeze, trees, peas, squeeze can all work.
- This is a personal preference, but some parents resort to bribery – Of course, I will never force this and is completely up to the parents, but they can make promises like sweets and treats after the photoshoot if they behave.
- Changing scenery – Especially if it’s in-studio, and all you are getting is tears, I will ask the parents to take the child outside for a break and go and see the fountain in my garden for instance until they calm down a bit. I find children are more cooperative when not forced.
- Bring along favourite toys, bottles, blankies etc that the child loves – you may not want them in every photo but if it’s the only way to get your little munchkin to stop crying then this may be your only option. Just be sure to have these things hidden until you actually need them, otherwise the child is sure to want them in the shoot either way.
The most important thing to remember is to keep yourself calm no matter what and know that some tears and drama are quite common during a family photo session, it’s not all smooth sailing although the magical family photoshoot ideas you find online may tell a different story. Choosing a skilled photographer who knows how to work with families and using some of the tips and tricks in this blog will definitely go a long way in creating those happy family photos you are after. No matter what age your children are.
For more information on Renphotos family photoshoot packages and to see in Johannesburg that Renphotos has to offer click on any of the links below.
Be sure to contact me ≫ if you have any questions or would like to schedule your family photo session!