By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller

Now that Halloween is behind us, we’re collectively shifting gears. While I’m a big stickler about not actively celebrating Christmas – putting up decorations, listening to Christmas music, getting a tree, etc. – until after Thanksgiving, the planner in me LOVES getting a jump on the holiday in other ways. That prep always includes scheduling a family photo shoot so we’ll have some great photos on hand for our annual holiday card that goes out in December!

As with many things, when small children are involved, scheduled events can be a bit of a wild card – and of course there are other photo shoot-related elements to plan for and keep in mind as well. Along those lines, below are some family photo shoot tips to (hopefully!) help things run smoothly and result in some photos you’ll treasure for years to come.

  • Set a Google calendar reminder to prompt you to schedule next year’s shoot early. This is something you can go ahead and do that will help your future self – the fall 2024 version of you, to be exact. Because it can be easy to forget this task until it’s already fall and photographers and weekends are booked, I’d recommend adding a reminder to your calendar for mid-summer of next year to start coordinating your fall photo shoot. Get it on the calendar way in advance and you’ll have peace of mind – and likely your pick of your favorite photographer!
  • Develop a relationship with a photographer. This isn’t always possible, but if you’re able to work with a photographer consistently year to year, it will add an element of comfort for the whole family. We’ve been lucky enough to have had the same friend photograph our family since my maternity shoot with my oldest child, and we work with her twice a year to capture pictures of our family. Our children are familiar with her and know what to expect, which makes the whole endeavor way more fun for us all!
  • You don’t have to buy new outfits – but you do want to plan what folks will wear. I’m certain your family already has outfits that will be perfect for your photo shoot – no need to buy new things if you don’t want to add more stress and expense to the mix! You do want to plan ahead, though, to make sure everyone’s outfits are complementary. Opt for solids over busy prints, and try to incorporate some colors that are harmonious yet not exactly the same so there’s some good variation to the color in your photos.
  • Choose the time of day carefully. Your photographer will want to make sure the time of your photo shoot will result in beautifully lit photos, but within those available windows make sure to consider naptime schedules, meal times, etc. You’ll have best results when your children are well rested and fed for the photo shoot! (We’ve had good luck with morning shoots on the weekend, for example.)
  • You might want to have a bribe on hand… I haven’t used this tip myself, but a friend shared it and I thought it was so smart! Bring mini marshmallows with you to the photo shoot to help your kids stay motivated to keep smiling and participating. They won’t make their faces messy or hands sticky, and if your outfit has pockets, you can just keep a few in there and dole them out as needed! (Isn’t that a brilliant idea?)

photo shoots

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