15 tips for making the most of your family photo session.

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw that we had a photo session for A a couple weeks ago. Once I have the prints, I will absolutely show them off here. As always we went with EIEIO Photography, as we do with all of our family photos.

15 Tips for making the most of your family photo session- this information is so helpful; these are tips for a very popular professional photographer who has years and years of experience that taught her all of this.

Can we take a second and talk about what a rock star Chelse is for still working her butt off a mere 5 week away from her due date and also how fantastic she looks? She has the glow!

Chelse Thompson, the owner of EIEIO Photography has been photographing life’s special events for families like ours since August of 2008. J and I were actually her second wedding and we were blown away by our photos! After that we were hooked. Over the years she’s captured everything from our engagement photos, our wedding, family photo’s pre-A, maternity, newborn and now a variety of photos of A throughout her first year. Additionally, you’ll see me here and there over at the EIEIO Photography Blog. She is loved by many in our area and beyond for her unique ability to tell a story through her gorgeous photos.

15 Tips for making the most of your family photo session- this information is so helpful; these are tips for a very popular professional photographer who has years and years of experience that taught her all of this.

One of our amazing wedding photos. Photo Credit: Chelse Thompson of EIEIO Photography


I got to thinking. I have access to this professional and her fantastic advice, why not pick her brain and share it so that other people can benefit from her expertise? So I sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee with Chelse and she let me in on some very valuable advice that I know I will be keeping in mind and putting into practice for all of our family photos. She made sure the mention that being prepared is very specific to the kind of session you are having! Each age of child has their own set of rewards and challenges. The following list of 15 tips family photo sessions are some overall pieces of advice from Chelse:

15 Tips for making the most of your family photo session- this information is so helpful; these are tips for a very popular professional photographer who has years and years of experience that taught her all of this.

Style: It’s important and personal. Show your family’s own personal style.

  1. Try to avoid all white: a splash of white is fine, but everyone wearing all white is not good because it competes for light with your face.
  2. When choosing colors, it’s great to pick a variety of 3-4 colors that you look great in and then have everyone choose things to wear within the color scheme so that the family is corresponding without being matchy-matchy.
  3. Textures are always a great addition.
  4. Shoes matter- no one wants to see your cute little boy looking totally dapper on top with sponge bob sneakers!
  5. Wear items that you feel comfortable in on a daily basis- you want to look like YOU in the photos.
  6. Hair and makeup count- go the extra mile!


  1. Practice those smiles before you go- this goes for both kids and parents!
  2. Pack- some snacks and drinks that your kids like, maybe a favorite toy or book that you wouldn’t mind making an appearance in your photos, and maybe some extra outfits in case yours (or theirs) get spilled on, drooled on, etc.
  3. Outline your expectations on the way to the session.
  4. Offer rewards for good behavior and make sure you follow through with it at the end!

During your session:

  1. Remind the kids of those boundaries you set in the car…
  2. …At the same time, give a little leeway- a photo session isn’t the time to be getting mad at or disciplining the kids (obviously if they are outright misbehaving or being unsafe then it’s necessary but normal silliness will happen as we are asking them to behave extra well). The idea is to make them think we’re having fun.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly, sometimes the best photos are the ones that capture your family members unique personalities (this one comes from me because I’ve found that some of our favorite photos are the ones catching us in the act of being our very silly selves).
  4. Relax; don’t over think it.
  5. Even if you don’t love having your photo taken, try to enjoy yourself. Worst case, fake it. While you may not love photos of yourself, we all love having photos of our family all together. Remember, the more we look at the photos, the more we love them!

Bonus- on Photoshop:

There are things that your photographer can and things that they cannot change in Photoshop. Changing the color of clothes? No. Fixing a blemish? Absolutely. A spot of drool off of a sweater? Yep. You get the drift.  Typically, you are working with a photographer, not a magazine editor. That is just not their goal or specialty.

Thanks again to Chelse for being to gracious to share her expert tips for making the most of your family photo session!

Check out more the full project gallery and don’t forget to follow The Life Jolie on Pinterest for more great inspiration!

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  • Reply
    Mariet - Practicingnormal
    March 4, 2015 at 2:16 am I love these tips. What a great idea to pick the photographer's brain.
    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 9:07 am Thank you- I'm really lucky to have her as a friend because she is not only a great person but is super knowledgeable and takes the most gorgeous photos- I can't wait to post the proofs we've chosen!
  • Reply
    Jennifer Burby
    March 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm Jessy- these are great tips and I'm printing them out as we speak. Family pictures can be stressful, especially ensuring that everyone is not only looking at the camera, but looks good. Cheers! Jen
    • Reply
      March 4, 2015 at 9:46 pm I'm so glad you find them helpful! They can be stressful. I've never considered myself to be particularly photogenic, but the pictures that I loved the most were when we were just being our goofy selves. Thanks for stopping by!
  • Reply
    Melissa Vera
    March 6, 2015 at 9:42 pm Thank you for sharing these amazing tips. Family photos are always so stressful these tips will help to relieve the stress. Also thanks for linking up at #homemattersparty
    • Reply
      March 8, 2015 at 9:45 pm I hope they help- it can be stressful! I hate having my photo taken but Chelse was right on when she said we like having photos of all of us together.
  • Reply
    Jann Olson
    March 10, 2015 at 9:45 pm Great tips! That wedding photo is fabulous! Thanks for sharing with SYC. hugs, Jann
    • Reply
      March 11, 2015 at 9:05 am Thank you- it was a beautiful day! Thanks for stopping by!

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