7 Ways to Prepare For Your Family Photo Session

Here are 7 tips so you will feel prepared for your family photo session with me!

“The first time we booked with Melissa our boys were ages 3 and 5, so naturally I was concerned about whether they would cooperate, whether they would be too shy, or whether they would be running around like wild animals.  After our session, we were all so happy! It was like we had been hanging out with a friend that happened to have a camera with her.  Melissa is so laid back and flexible, she put us all at ease and the kids totally hammed it up.”  -Margaret, Mt Pleasant

1. First, relax!  I know that getting a family ready for a family photo shoot can be crazy.  My shoots are laid back and I turn them into a time of play for the kiddos since they don’t always have the longest attention spans – and that’s okay!  I will set you up to get some beautiful shots.


I used to be an elementary art teacher which was some good training for kiddo shoots! I’ve been photographing families since 2012 and have seen it all.  Kids are not designed to sit still and smile at a camera, and I’m okay with that!  We can let them explore and run and play and I will get some great shots as they do that.  Please don’t feel embarrassed or think that I’m surprised if your child doesn’t want to sit still for photos or has a meltdown during our shoot.  I will make it work.

2. Get on my calendar.  Before figuring out any other details this is the most important so you get a choice of dates and times that work best for you.  Especially in the fall when you can end up scrambling to get Christmas cards/gifts together!  If the weather doesn’t cooperate we will reschedule your shoot at no extra charge.  The best time for photos is in the morning or evening when the sunlight is the most beautiful and flattering.

3. Decide on a Location.  I am a natural light photographer so we’ll choose one of the MANY outdoor options we have here in Charleston. (I also travel!)  Visit this blog post I created to get some ideas!  We are, of course, not limited to these.  I’m always game for a new location.

4. Choose outfits.  Check out my “What to Wear” blog where you’ll find tips and examples to give you some guidance when choosing outfits.  And – just ask me!  I’m happy to give input.


5.  Prep the fellas and kiddos.  I know that your man could think of 100 other things he’d rather do than take family photos.  You can ensure him that I will make it as painless as possible!  I won’t make you do a bunch of cheesy, uncomfortable poses, I promise!  If having a beer before the shoot helps, I won’t argue with that 🙂

Have everyone come rested and fed.  We can schedule your session around naps.   If you have older children you can talk to them about how important these photos are for you and that we will play and have fun!

6. Bribe! I am not above bribing because let’s be honest – it works!  A lot of my clients have something special planned for after the shoot like ice cream or doughnuts.  Or, feel free to bring a snack or candy that isn’t messy (mini marshmallows work well!) to have at the shoot or to bring out at the end.

7. What to bring:  For younger children, snacks and water are always good to have on hand.  Also, a small toy they like that I can hold to get their attention is helpful.  I always bring a blanket that you can all sit on but feel to bring your own.  I don’t use “props” but if there is anything you’d like to include in the photos please feel free to include it.


Courtland & Ashton worked hard for those lollipops.  I’m all about some bribing.
Here’s Gabby deciding that being a model is sooo hard 🙂  Then 10 minutes later!…
Making it fun for the kiddos means it’s more enjoyable for everyone AND results in cute images!

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask.  Simply email me at info@melissagriffinphotography.com.  I can’t wait to work with you and your family!


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