12 Tips for Family Photo Sessions – Advice for Family Shoots


Outdoor Family Photo Sessions are so much fun, we create memories and pictures your children will remember and cherish.

Have a look at my BLOG to see other outdoor family photo sessions ive done.

My clients often have a few questions before a photo shoot so i thought id put together some top tips to help you plan your session with me.


12 Family Photo Session Tips - Advice for Family Shoot



 1. Prepare your little humans

Its always a good idea to let your little humans know what you have planned. Spend sometime talking about where we are going and if they have any good ideas for family photos.  Will we get one of you on Dads shoulders? Or do you want to tickle Mummy when she’s not looking?  Coming up with ideas will make your little human feel like they are totally onboard.

I’ve had family photo sessions with kids that have known before they were coming to meet Mel.

They’ve been curious at first but they warm up pretty quickly.  Ive also had a family photo sessions where Dad & kids had no idea they were coming to meet me!  Now there’s a story for another time !!

2. Plan Ahead

The most common piece of family photo shoot advice my clients want to know is wardrobe. What will we wear?  I know it can feel overwhelming but please dont stress. I am really happy to help with what photographs well.  If you are struggling with ideas then let me know and we can have a chat.

Plan your wardrobe and everyone else’s before the day of the family photo shoot.  That way you can spot any red sauce stains on favourite tee shirts.  It also lets Mum start the day feeling relaxed knowing everything is organised for the session.

How hard is it to leave your shoes in the same place? I ask the little Hudsons this at least 5 times a day.

We all know little humans take forever to get dressed, and find their shoes.  So have everything left out the night before ready to go. Then try and leave enough time to get dressed. Easier said than done I know!

3. Make sure everyone is well fed & rested

Afternoon naps can go a long way with little little humans if we are shooting close to bedtime.  Feeling cheerful and relaxed goes a long way towards a family photo sessions. That goes for Mum & Dad too!!

The cries of I’m hungry do not go hand in hand with let Mel take your picture and then we will have dinner.


12 Family Photo Session Tips - Advice for family shoots


4. Snacks

Bring treats or snacks that are easy and quick to eat.  Dont be picking anything that may stain or get stuck in little toothy pegs.  So to make it easier ive suggested good snacks & bad snacks.

Good Snacks

  • Cheese strings
  • Bread sticks
  • Jelly tots, little tiny Percy Pigs you know the ones.
  • Water, we will be walking and little humans do tend to get thirsty quickly.

Bad Snacks

  • Chocolate, especially milk or dark. It will stain & melt if its a warm day. So unless you are aiming for sticky fingers and chocolate moustaches then avoid chocolate.
  • Lollipops, they take too long to eat. Also they freak me out, what if it comes off the stick… argh
  • Coloured juice boxes, little hands grab the box and the juice squirts out of the straw all over Mums nice top. Try and stick to water or keep the juice in a reusable drink bottle.
  • Anything that will take a long time to eat – crisps, apples, oranges etc

These are all great post family photo session bribes.

5. A Blanket

We can use it as a prop to play with the kids. It will also be really useful to pop down when everyone feels like a rest and we dont want to get grass stains.

6. The Family Fur Baby

Bring your four legged member of the family along!  Ive lost count the number of times families have said we should have included the pup in the family photo sessions.  They make a great addition to your family photos.

7. Beach Shoots

If we are heading to the North Coast, or even Helens Bay then bring a towel so we can dry tiny toes. Also a tub of talc is really useful at getting sand off little hands. Theres something in the make up of the talc that makes the sand disappear like magic.

12 Family Photo Session Tips - Advice for family shoots


8. Clothes you feel good in

If you dont feel comfy for your family photo session then you will look uncomfortable.  Don’t be wearing something that you are going to be tugging at or you feel self conscious in.  Also try and just be you. The very odd occasion i put on a dress, i live in jeans, the little hudson’s always say i don’t look like myself.  So don’t go down a route and choose something that isn’t you. We want to capture your little family as it is. It will reinforce your little humans memories as they grow older.

I can talk you through colours depending upon the season. But very quickly avoid big brands on kiddies clothes, as family photo sessions can end up looking more like ads for GAP or North Face.  Layers can photograph really well. They ad texture and depth to you and your images.

If you love fake tan then i suggest you go a shade down from what you normally wear. When you are cheek to cheek or holding hands with your little human the fake tan can at times look more orange than you intend.

9. Weather appropriate clothing

As an outdoor family photographer in Northern Ireland i realise saying this is easier said than done at times.  We can experience 4 seasons in a day at times. But if i have any advice it would be dress for colder weather. Even on a summers afternoon, bring a cardigan.  Blue lips are not the look we are aiming for.  We can always strip away the layers if we get too warm. Rosey cheeks are always a better look than chattering teeth.

If we are shooting in Autumn / Winter then the hand warmers are good for little pockets.


Mel Hudson Family Photographer Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland


10. Enjoy yourself!

We are outdoors exploring. Let the kids see you being present and engaging with them. They love nothing more on this planet than Mum & Dad paying them attention and praising them. Lots of encouragement will leave your little human beaming with joy.  Avoid the don’ts and focus on the do’s.

Lets turn don’t be climbing the tree into hey can you help me find an acorn?
11. Let each little human be a star

Ill spend time with each of you together and separately to give you lots of lovely variety in your gallery. You could also use it as an opportunity for Mum & Dad to update their Linkedin profile picture.

I always like to know the ages of your little humans before the session as it gives me a good idea of what I can plan to do with each member of the family.  Separate children portraits are so beautiful taken outside with the natural light. The skin glows and their eyes sparkle.

12. You dont have to be looking at the camera

I certainly won’t be annoyed if you don’t fancy standing upright with a rigid smile on your face which i shout cheese. We all remember those family photo sessions, right?  My aim throughout our session is to be relaxed and genuine. We will chat and i will guide you together but the joy i capture is not something i can fabricate. It’s already there in how you look at each other when you think im not looking. The joy is there when your little human sees Mum & Dad being silly behind my back. The peace and stillness is there when you snuggle together and you feel each others warmth.

The joy I’m looking for I don’t need to create because you guys already have it. You just need to relax and enjoy spending time with each other and let me do the rest.


To Book any Family Photo Sessions with me then CLICK here, the link will take you to my Contact Me page.

I can’t wait you meet you!


M xx





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