4 Tips For A Fun Family Photo Session

Family photoshoot in San Antonio following Bianca Flanagan's family photo tips for a natural, fun session.

Getting family photos made shouldn’t be stressful! Here’s 4 family photo tips to help you get the most out of your family photo session (and avoid the meltdowns).

Family, Photo Tips

I can’t promise these family photo tips will have your session be all smiles and smooth sailing. Kids will be kids, and sometimes they have feelings! But planning ahead and following my 4 family photo tips can make your family photo session feel a bit smoother, and most importantly, enjoyable!

Jump to it—

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. When all else fails… bribery works.
  3. Stay comfy.
  4. Have fun!

Family Photo Tips To Help You Get The Most Out Of Your Family Photography Session

Family photography session at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area with a mom and dad holding a son upside down playfully, while the boy is laughing.
Family Photography Session at Enchanted Rock Natural Area in San Antonio by Bianca Flanagan Photography.

TIP #1: PLAN YOUR WARDROBE AHEAD OF TIME.

Gather and try on everyone’s wardrobe at least a couple of days before your session.

We’ve all been there: scrambling to find that one thing we thought was in the hall closet, or realizing something doesn’t fit right. It’s so so stressful!

Make sure everything fits, looks good together, and everyone likes their outfit. This will save you time… and make sure everyone is actually happy for the camera.

What you don’t want on your family photoshoot day is your 3-year-old upset because he just found out he can’t wear his Blippi slippers.

Or a last-minute closet raid because you realized your 10-year-old seemingly grew an inch overnight.

But remember, in the end, it’s not about the clothes you wear. 10 years from now, your eyes will go straight to the little dimples that show her sneaky grin. The way his arms hugged your neck and seemed to fit just perfectly.

You won’t be wishing you’d chosen a different dress or found a new pair of boots. If you stress yourself out too much ahead of time, you’ll be stressed up until the end.

And reach out for advice. Ask your photographer! Once my San Antonio families book a session, my clients have access to my Client Closet — a growing collection of women and girls dresses from size 6 months to XXL. And everything in my client closet is, of course, free to borrow! (Curious? Check it all over on my Insta!)

If clients prefer to buy new clothes or add to what they already have, they have access to my Style & Select, a planning tool using your sizing, style, and color preferences to coordinate wardrobe options. (Here’s a quick video to show you how this tool works… and just how awesome it really is!!)

A toddler girl in a cream dress running toward the camera smiling. She is in a San Antonio grassy field during golden hour.
Family Photography Session in San Antonio by Bianca Flanagan Photography.

TIP #2: BRIBERY WORKS!

There, I said it! I’m not above bribery. Bring the treats!

For me, this tip is used as a last resort during family photos. But kids get tired, restless, and… hangry! So bring small snacks (that aren’t too messy!) like mini marshmallows, teddy grahams, or mini pretzels.

Just be sure to avoid treats or candies that will get their clothes dirty or last too long (think: lollipops, chocolate, or chewy candy).

But sometimes bribing doesn’t work for every kid. You know them best! If you give them one teddy graham, will they want the entire bag? Will a quick snack make them sleepy? This works best for kids who will be happy with a few bites and then are ok with waiting a little bit.

Another way to do this is to have something for them to look forward to at the end of the session. Are you going to have a special dinner out? Get ice cream together as a family? Maybe they get to pick a small toy next time they go to the store.

And sometimes photographers will have little treats for the end of a session too!

(Spoiler: It’s me. I’m the photographer with the treats.)

Family of 4 at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. A toddler girl runs to her dads arms while he faces the camera and her, smiling. The mom stand overtop, behind him holding a newborn boy.
Family Photography Session in San Antonio by Bianca Flanagan Photography.

TIP #3: MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS COMFORTABLE.

Prepare younger kids ahead of time. Tell them how important it is to you to have family memories captured. Get them excited about printing the photos, framing them, or creating a family photo album together.

Does your family session involve a small hike, a sunset view, or a new location they’ve never seen before? Hype them up for the session like it’s an adventure your family gets to go on together (because it is!).

Most photographers will also ask you a few questions before your session. It’s our job to help people open up in front of the camera. Your photographer really depends on your communication, especially when capturing children.

I like to send my San Antonio families a questionnaire. This way I can show up knowing everyone’s names, what age group of kiddos to plan for, and all of the little details for planning your shoot.

Does your child have a sensory processing disorder? Ensuring a quiet location will help me create a comfortable session! Am I photographing a large, blended family where not everyone gets along? I can plan ahead with positioning and groups! Or maybe you have a specific vision and will be disappointed if your location doesn’t align.

We want to know all of these things… and more! Don’t assume you have to handle any of your worries on your own. You’ve spent all this time finding the right family photographer, picking out the location, coordinating outfits, and getting everyone ready — let’s make sure it goes smoothly! 

Newborn, in-home family photo session in San Antonio of a father holding his newborn in front of his chest with his hands and arms, tattoos visible, showing towards the camera.
Family Photography Session in San Antonio by Bianca Flanagan Photography.

TIP #4: LET YOUR KIDS, BE KIDS!

If you’re going to follow any of my family photo tips, then let it be this: just let your kids be who they are!

Kids get distracted. They like to explore, run, and play. Lean into that! You’ve hired a family photographer so you can have real, authentic photos of your family. The more willing you are to just go with it, the better your photos will be.

And I know, it’s so hard to not stress when your toddler runs off to the side or your newborn keeps falling asleep. But the best family photos are the ones that tell the story of how this stage of life really is. So join in on the giggling, tickling, and playing. Let your photographer handle the rest.

When doing photoshoots in the San Antonio area with my family, I always remind them that if I need help, I will ask for it! I’d rather moms and dads relax and embrace the chaos.

Because that’s when the magic happens!

Child-led family session in San Antonio where a family of five are sitting on a blanket is a grassy, golden field while the two young toddlers run around and play.
Family Photography Session in San Antonio by Bianca Flanagan Photography.

Follow my 4 family photo tips, so you can make the most out of your family photography session!

I hope these 4 family photo tips help you have a natural, and most importantly, FUN family photoshoot. Enjoy the experience, and let your photographer do all of the work. You just need to show up and be ready for the adventure!

Ready to embrace the chaos? Let’s chat about how you can have a magical family photo session with me in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding Hill Country. Or join my email list for updates about mini sessions, fun surprises, and more!

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