The Dreaded Family Photo Session: 5 Tips to Save Your Sanity

It's that time of year again where we all drag our families out to the desert kicking and screaming in pursuit of the "perfect" family photo. It's always stressful: the outfit selections, the anticipation, getting everyone (myself included!) bathed, clothed, and primped all at the same time, and then praying no one has a spill or diaper blowout before we arrive at the final destination!


This year, MacKenzie Pudenz took our family photos, and she shared 5 pro tips for overcoming the stress and ensuring a holiday-card-worthy turnout!


#1 Choose a Photographer Based on Their Work 

If you like what you see, then go with them!  If you are wanting an all posed and smiling session, but choose a photographer who is primarily unposed…or vice versa…you will not be happy before the session even begins!  Photographers are artist and they do their best work when they are hired to do what they love, what they envision!  If you let them do this, you will both be happy!


#2 Wardrobe, wardrobe, wardrobe! 

If you are unsure or uncomfortable, or even stressing yourself out picking outfits…ask for HELP!  I can not stress enough that outfits can make or break a session! 


Styling is key, and the majority of photographers offer styling services or websites!  Some even provide client closets to help you get started.  Wardrobe is such an important part of the session and can help tell the wonderful story that is your family!  Colors and styles show movement and connection.  Gone are the days of everyone where the same color, definitely make wardrobe selection a priority in your family session planning!

#3 Connection 

While we all love a good posed smiling portrait, it is so important to be ready to show your families connection!  Hopefully for most of us, this comes naturally…but the more touching, closeness, snuggles, kisses and loving you can do during a session, the more of a variety of incredible timeless images your photographer will be able to capture.  After all, we want our loved ones to have these tangible pieces of art to remember the love.


Capturing life itself, all the beautiful details, the butterfly kisses and tickle monsters…these are the moments that make up who we are and define our legacies!  

#4 Come Prepared (Especially if you have young children) 

Make sure everyone is well fed, (and hopefully well napped)!  Bring water and extra snacks…even treats if you anticipate needing them (just make sure they are not messy ones that will turn their mouths blue ;-)  Wet wipes or kleenex are even a good idea!  And lets be honest, us mamas are not above bribery! 

#5 Just Have Fun

I can tell you without a doubt I know in the first 5 minutes how a session will go just based on the stress level of mom and dad (you probably thought I was going to say kids there didn’t you?!? ;-)


Truth is, kids might not jump right in and start smiling…they might need a bit to warm up, so this is where it is important for mom and dad to just engage in playing, singing, tickles…anything you know your child loves!  The sooner they think this is going to be a fun little play session, the sooner they will warm up!  We all want tangible images of us being who we really are with our kiddos, and this is the perfect opportunity for those moments to be captured!  So have FUN!

MacKenzie Pudenz Photography is also giving one lucky reader a FREE family mini session in 2019. Follow @mackenziepudenzphotography on IG and comment on this post on @desert_moms to entered.

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