tips for a fun, stress-free family photo session

Taking family photos can be more stress-inducing than being stuck in traffic while having to pee, with two starving kids in the back singing the theme song to Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and more of a pain in the ass than trying to grocery shop at 5:00pm with starving kids who have to pee and no list. Somehow our last family portrait session with Chris Nelson  went surprisingly well, so I thought I’d share some family photo session tips to help yours be just as smooth and stress-free, and maybe even fun.

Tips for Stress-Free Family Photos


  1. Pick a kick ass photographer (like Chris Nelson). Make sure they have a gorgeous website, a similar sense of style to yours and get references if you can.
  2. Talk about it ahead of time with your kids so they know what to expect and go into it thinking and saying how much fun it’s going to be (I told you, I believe in The Secret).
  3. Come prepared with lots of water, healthy snacks, and an extra change of shoes & clothes, just in case . Lexi was supposed to be in matching boots in these photos but as we were walking up to the location, she said they hurt her feet. I immediately whipped them off her and substituted the Mary Janes because no amount of anti-anxiety medicine would have made me okay to hear her whining about the boot zipper for an hour.
  4. Be sure your kids are fed and well rested before getting there.
  5. Pick a color scheme but don’t match perfectly. I picked Lily’s striped dress out of her closet because I loved the colors and then I found outfits for the rest of us that coordinated with it. But of course there is always the jeans with white tee thing, you know, if you get stuck for ideas.
  6. Practice your smiles with your kids ahead of time, in the mirror, in a fun, silly way.
  7. Have an incentive for the kids like a treat, or a fun activity that they will get immediately following the session.
  8. Moms, get a blow-out earlier in the day. Having someone else do your hair takes off a crazy amount of stress. So worth the extra money.
Got any other secret mom tricks that I left off? 


  1. 1

    Do I have to have a photo shoot for the blow out??? I could really use the stress relief right now. :)

  2. 2
    Galit Breen says:

    *Such* great tips woman, and these teaser photos are pure adorable!

    (I especially love the blowout tip! It really does feel so good to take care of *you!*)

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