Family Pictures!!  Behind every one of my family pictures is a horrific nightmare-ish story.  You would never guess behind this picture what all happened.  We had to drive 30 minutes to the beach and of course both little’s fall asleep.  I think, oh good this means they will be well rested and cheery for pictures….WRONG!!!!  We get there late (of course) due to of stupid California traffic.  Scott and I go to wake each one up and both are FURIOUS that they had to be woken up.  I get in contact with the photographer and she tells me the beach is about a 10 minute walk away from the parking, so we begin the hike.  Heath remained half asleep for the entire shoot and wouldn’t even crack a smile.  Not even two minutes into the shoot Shelbee says, “Mom I need to go potty!”  She is saying this as she goes in her pants.  So there we have it, pee pee pants for pics.  We continue on while she is mad and wet.  My dream was to get the girls wading in the ocean, but the location that day had huge shore breaks and was a little daunting for Shelbee and she wouldn’t go near the water.  We get a bajillion pics of Scottee and Hadlee as they now think it is their own personal model shoots.  As I finally talk Shelbee into getting her feet wet, we slowly walk her a little further into the ocean and we get them all set to take a picture.  Right then, a massive wave takes her and I down and starts to pull us in!  Now I am half wet, she is DRENCHED, and now screaming and traumatized and will never touch the water again.  We had to remove her sandy drenched clothes and she sat in Scott’s undershirt on the beach for the rest of the pictures.  So after all of that, how did the magician, our photographer, even capture one picture?  Magic I tell you! Magic!


Let’s talk a few tips to making family pictures a more pleasant experience that I have learned since then:

  1. Tricked ya!  There are NO ways! Just kidding!  
  2. Plan outfits from top to bottom a couple of nights beforehand.  Do not stress so much about the outfits. The focal point needs to be the family’s faces.  What should I wear? Well, again, I think many people overthink it. My advice is: stick to the basics. Stick to what you know. If you don’t ever wear dresses, don’t wear a dress. If you don’t like how short sleeves look on you, don’t wear them. Wear what you feel confident in! It’s amazing how many people don’t like their stomach or arms or legs in a photo, but what they wore accents it poorly. So, again, wear clothes you know you kill it in and go in confident! My personal favorite photos of mine are when I’m simply wearing my favorite jeans, a great pair of shoes, and a shirt I know will accent what I love about my body. Then, get your husband to do the same. It all eventually comes together!
  3. Get yourself ready LAST.  This way you aren’t a hot mess by the time you have to leave.
  4. Kids need to have full bellies and a full nap before getting ready.
  5. Bathe the kids the night before.
  6. Pack non messy snacks the night before to keep your children satisfied throughout the photo session.
  7. Make sure all children use the restroom before leaving to your location…revert back to my nightmare.
  8. Know your location and check your traffic time so you are not running late.
  9. Obviously location matters. I mean, you don’t want to stare at photos hanging on your walls with a look you weren’t going for. You want to be able to look at the photo and like the scene that is set. But I do think people overthink it BIG TIME! Most of the time it’s easier than you think to find a beautiful spot! So I guess my advice is: choose somewhere that feels natural to your family. Don’t do a spot because you’ve seen it done … choose a spot that has meaning to your family. On the flip side, MAKE SURE there is enough light! Many people have grand ideas to take them indoors or at spots where the sun is bad during the time the shoot will be taking place. Ask your photographers advice and maybe go to the location around the same time as your shoot to really scope it out.
  10. Children do best with “lifestyle” shots.  Allow them to be in their element and they will ALWAYS turn our wonderful.

Good Luck!

xoxo Shea


10 tips