7 Tips for a Stress-free Photo Shoot with your Family

I love doing photoshoots for Celestina & Co.   I love the idea of having a particular vision or look gets translated to beautiful and of course pretty photographs that reflect what Celestina & Co. represents.  Believe it or not, it only takes a few minutes to plan a great photoshoot session with your little ones.  I’ll share with you a few tips that worked for me.

Determine your purpose.  Of course the ultimate goal is to have precious memories of your little one captured into timeless photographs that they will treasure as they grow up.  But you may want to ask these questions too.

Are the photos going to be framed, hung on a wall in your house?  Are you going to use it for a special occasion like baptism or birthday? Thinking of the end result will help you decide on the theme and look that you want.  But don’t limit yourself to one purpose. For example, when my little girl had her first photoshoot, I opted to have her wear a red tutu pettiskirt to match her birthday theme.  However, I also wanted the final photographs framed and hung on her room.  I made sure that although she was wearing a matching color motif for her birthday, I decided to let her wear a simple tank and bow because I wanted a timeless photograph that don’t reflect any particular theme and will look great through the years.

in her birthday outfit           Photo by Stork Studio

Go Pro.  I know that I can take decent photographs of my kids and my products from time-to-time but if I want beautiful results that make an impact, I always work with a professional photographer.  There’s always value in hiring professionals.  They spent countless hours practicing, investing in their equipment and simply knowing how to make the best of every situation and scenario.  There are a lot of professional photographers out there and I believe that you’ll always find someone within your budget.

Find your spot.  After you’ve determined your purpose, it’ll be easier for you to figure out where to shoot.  Ask your photographer for recommendations.  Or better yet, take a walk in your neighborhood and see if there’s a park, grassy area or simply a nice background wall that you can use.  Take a photo and send it to your photographer and ask what he or she thinks.

shot in the middle of a vacant lot in our village under an old tree  Photo by Stan Ong
a small area with some grass and little daisies (you can find this anywhere!)             Photo by Stan Ong
Brick wall background   Photo by Paolo Feliciano

Put it into writing.  Sometimes, there’s just too many ideas and details that we want to do and it’s hard to keep track of all of them.  You’ll most likely spend the actual day of the shoot fussing over your baby and next thing you know, you’ve forgotten half of what you’re supposed to do.  A list or guideline will help.  What I do is break down the shoot into scenes (i.e. Scene 1: Solo in birthday outfit, Scene 2: With little brother).  For each scene, I note down their outfits, props, and location (if you will be outdoors and move around). It could be just a one page guide that will also serve as your checklist so you won’t forget to bring anything.  A guideline like this will maximize your time spent with the photographer since you already know what to expect for the next scene.  You can also send this in advance to your photographer so he or she already knows what to prepare for and can also make recommendations.

Get creative.  Sometimes, we think that because we’ll be shooting in a studio, all you need to do is show up and the photographer will do the rest.  You can do this but you’ll probably end up with the same shots that most of the other families have.  The best way to be creative is to infuse your family’s or your child’s personality in every shoot.   Is your family the sporty type?  Maybe you can do a shoot in a basketball, tennis court or by the pool.   Do you love to read?  You can bring books as props and have your photographer shoot some candid shots of you reading to your child.  The best props to bring are those that you already have around the house such as wooden toys, mini bikes, a nice distinctive chair, banig, toy chest, dolls, etc.  The possibilities are endless and every family is unique.

our theme for the shoot was “Everyday is your prettiest” so we shot this on a park while having an “afternoon walk”                               Photo by Paolo Feliciano
Quick tip:  Props are also a great way to keep your little one entertained but make sure it blends with the scene               (props: pillows, stuffed toys, baby blanket, blocks, lamp)               Photo by Paolo Feliciano


the bike kept the kids entertained and was a great prop    Photo by Paolo Feliciano

Choose classic over trendy.  Whenever I have photo shoots either for my family or for the business, I always choose classic pieces for our outfits.   I prefer not to let my kids wear anything that has brand logos, cartoon characters and clothes that are too trendy.  What I do is work with colors instead.  For example, if we’re shooting on a grassy location, I choose colorful outfit that will make my daughter standout.  White clothing always look good in photographs whether in a studio or on location.  You can always add a pop of color thru accessories or props instead.  Coordinate your outfits but don’t stress too much about matching all of your clothes.  Sometimes, outfits that are too match-y end up looking unnatural in photos.

wearing a simple but colorful top
Quick tip: Opt not to wear shoes especially if the soles can be seen. Go barefoot instead!   Photo by Stan Ong
wearing coordinating outfit in shades of gray     Photo by Paolo Feliciano

Less is more.  The goal of the shoot is to capture precious and timeless moments with your family.  Remember that although we want our photo shoot to be unique, sometimes the best photographs are a result of genuine and candid interaction between your family and your photographer.   No other props can replicate your little one’s playful and genuine smile. If things or scenarios don’t work out as planned, just go with the flow and have fun!

candid shot while playing with curtains          Photo by Paolo Feliciano

If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you!  If you find this useful or know someone who  might appreciate it, please feel free to share it to them. 🙂



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