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The Do's and Don'ts for a Stress-Free Family Photography Session

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Family of four sits and poses on concrete at an urban psrk in Denver.
This cute Denver family came prepared with outfit changes, toys and snacks for their kids. Because Mom was so well-prepared, we were able to photograph the family in several different locations and in a few different outfits.

Taking photographs of your family is about more than just documenting moments in time; it's also about capturing the spirit, love, and connection that each member of your family has for one another.

If you are organizing a family photo session in Denver, Colorado, there are some do's and don'ts for a stress-free family photography session that will help insure your session is one that is not only fun but also memorable!

The years pass quickly, children mature, and the experiences we have become memories. Photographs of our family act as time capsules, preserving for future generations the moments captured during a professional photo session. Denver offers a diverse variety of environments that are perfect for creating unforgettable experiences. However, just like other things in life, preparation is the most important factor in determining one's level of success. A badly organized family photo session may rapidly become stressful. While a well-planned session can be a really fun, memorable event for the whole family.

Plan Ahead

A good photographer will plan the shoot well for location, time of day and flow of the shoot. Make sure that happens with your photographer so that everyone knows when and where to meet and what to expect as far as how long the session will take and any other important details. If someone is late or unprepared, this will hold up the session and can affect people's moods, especially children!

Location Choice

Your photographer should have good suggestions for location choices with knowledge of the many options here in Denver. With its blend of urban and nature settings, Denver offers a wide variety of possibilities. You have the option of going to Sloan's Lake or City Park for an outdoor spot, or to the Highlands or RiNo for a more urban vibe. If the mountains are your jam, an excursion just outside of town may be more appealing to you and your family. Wherever it is you prefer, have the locations picked out and make sure everyone knows where to park and where to meet after they arrive. The location of your photo shoot is one of the most important choices you will make when it comes to your family photo shoot!

Coordinate Your Outfits

I've photographed families who like to have everyone dress alike, such as in blue jeans and a white shirt. My personal favorite clothing look, however, is when family members coordinate with a cohesive color palette that enables each member to exhibit their personality while still remaining harmonious as a family unit. Also consider the context of the site you've picked. If it's in the middle of nature, you may want to go with muted tones, but if it's in the middle of the city, you might go with more colorful hues.

Family jumps in the air during a photo session at City Park in Denver last fall.
This Denver family coordinated their outfits well, and the colors blend nicely with the environment.

When it Comes to Timing

The golden hour, which occurs either an hour after dawn or an hour before sunset, has the most flattering lighting. Nevertheless, if your family consists of small children or elderly members, you will need to strike a balance between this and their level of comfort. Children typically do better in the morning. It's best to have everyone agree on the best time.

Rest Up and Hydrate

Looking and feeling your best for a family photo shoot is also super important! Everyone should try to get a good night's sleep and hydrate the day before and day of your shoot. Nothing is more important!

Keep it Simple

A personal touch may be added by using props, such as a fun sign or a cherished toy. However, it is important to avoid using too many props and making the photo feel cluttered or confusing. When in doubt, less is always better. This includes jewelry and makeup too.

No Changes at the Last Minute

In the absence of unforeseen circumstances, it is critical to adhere to the plan. A change in site at the last minute might cause people to waste time since they are not acquainted with the new place, which can have an effect on the length and quality of the session.

Have Faith in the Photographer

Photographers who specialize in family portraiture in Denver, Colorado, are aware of the city's unique characteristics and endearing qualities. They've done their research and have the experience on things like the location of the sun, the flow of the crowd, and other logistical factors.

Maintaining an open channel of communication is just as crucial as having faith in the skills of your photographer. Please share any ideas you have or particular photos you have in mind. This shared information may prove to be an invaluable asset in the process of transforming your concept into stunning images.

Two sisters hold hands as they walk up a dirt path.
A sweet moment between two sisters was captured at this photo session in the mountains last fall. Trust your photographer to capture nice moments like these.

Accept and Prepare for the Unexpected

Unplanned occurrences often result in the best photographs! Don't be bummed if your shoot has some hiccups or surprises. Try to go with the flow and let the photographer deal with those surprises. Guaranteed they have dealt with probably everything imaginable that could go wrong!

Kids Will Be Kids

If there are younger children in the session, keep in mind that they have a shorter attention span than adults so the session is best if not too long. It is often hard to get all children smiling and looking at the photographer at the same time. Often photographers will need to use Photoshop to make this happen.

Make Sure to Bring the Necessary Items

Snacks and Refreshments: It is highly recommended that you bring some light refreshments and snacks with you for the kids in the group. You may also want to bring a toy in case they get cranky or bored.

Second Change of Clothing: Having a backup outfit prepared for the shoot protects against a variety of potential disruptions, including accidental spills of beverages and sudden shifts in the weather.

Don't Forget to Take Pleasure in the Procedure

Keep in mind that the most important objective is to record recollections. Even while it's only natural to look for the greatest images, the emotion and connection captured in a snapshot are what really make it stand out. Accept the event for what it is, laugh out loud, and make room for the love to show.

Final Bit of Advice

The secret to a truly successful family photo session is to strike a healthy balance between planning ahead and being open to the unexpected. If you follow the do's and don'ts in this blog post, you will not only ensure that your family will have excellent images, but you will also give them an experience that they will never forget!

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