Fall family phots at Busse Woods in Chicago suburb

October 11, 2023

Fall Family mini portrait session at Busse Woods in Elk Grove, IL

If you’ve ever scheduled a family photoshoot, or dreamed about the day you would, you likely started to feel some sort of anxiety or uneasiness. You may have started to wonder if your kids will cooperate, if the photographer will capture your little one’s smile, or if your photos will turn out as candid as the one’s you see online.

As a family + lifestyle photographer and mother of two with over 15 years working with children, I want to assure you that achieving heartfelt, authentic, and joy-filled images is possible for every family!

Before every portrait session, I provide my lovely clients with a guide that contains tips on how to prepare for the photoshoot, but there are 3 things that I always suggest to set us up for success.

Outdoor fall family portrait session at Lilacia park Chicago

Aside from booking a photographer you connect with, trust to guide + serve you and your family, and who’s work you admire, here are the 3 things I suggest you ought to do at every photoshoot.

  1. Always Stay Close and Connected

Part of what produces an image that is romantic, intimate, and heartwarming is connection! You are a family and love each other. Demonstrate that love and affection physically during the entire session!

You can:

Hold each other close (too close for comfort even! Trust me, it will photograph beautifully).

Hold hands.

Wrap your arms around each other.

Make eye contact.

Bring your heads and bodies together.

Caress one another.

Kiss your little’s head, or kiss your spouse/partner.

Give each other a warm embrace.

2. Keep Smiling

In a perfect world, your child/children will be in the best mood and smile + play throughout the entire session, but to be honest it doesn’t usually work that way! I do not expect them to fully cooperative or to be happy through the entire session. In fact, I always anticipate some push back and the need to take a small break or two at some point. I’ve already built-in the time for it!

There are times I will continue to shoot even if your child isn’t very happy (often from afar). I typically aim to capture some intimate images while you soothe your little, but my general rule of thumb is to KEEP SMILING.

Whether it’s a soft smile, big smile, or laughter, just keep it going!

Leave it to your photographer to get your child/children’s attention. It may take time, but when I finally get that smile, or get them to look at the camera, I would love to have everyone else smiling and set for that shot! There’s often small windows of opportunity that I need to take full advantage of for those beautiful images.

Be patient. Give your littles some grace as being photographed by a stranger, with a big distracting/intimidating camera, is not something they do every day.

You focus on smiling, staying connected, and leave the rest to me! I will always ask for help when I need it and will respect your child’s/children’s boundaries.

Baby smiling for parents during Fall Family photo session at Lilacia Park in Lombard, IL

3. Follow Your Child’s/Children’s Lead

Following your little one’s lead during a photoshoot will almost always guarantee a successful family photoshoot! What do I mean by that exactly? I mean I am aware they may be unfamiliar with me, with the location, and with being photographed by a professional.

Depending on their age, they may need more or less time to get comfortable and to be willing to cooperate. Kids have different attention spans, interests, and personalities so I love to take a few minutes at the start of the session to assess the best way to proceed.

I often shoot my family portrait sessions earlier in the day so I like to match their energy and adjust as needed.

For example, if your little is excited and eager to explore the area, I will let them do so and start with candid shots of them interacting with their surroundings. I will then find ways to incorporate the rest of the family.

On the flip side, if your child is a little shy or still a bit sleepy, I will start by taking photos of you embracing your child, giving him/her little kisses, singing their favorite song, etc.

As your child warms up/slows down/gets more excited I will follow their lead and move on the next set of photos I love to provide.

Regardless of the pace we move in, you will end up with a beautiful gallery that contains a healthy mix of classic, timeless images and candid moments filled with love and joy!

I hope you found this helpful and eased any worry/anxiety around booking your next family portrait session with Monica Miranda Photography.

Let me know if you have any questions around photoshoot prep, or other related topics you’d love to learn more about!

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3 Things You Should Do At Every Family Photoshoot


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