Tips for Making Your Family Photos Less Stressful

10 Tips for Making Your Family Photos More Blissful and Less Stressful

Does the thought of family photos make your heart warm or does just the thought make you cringe? We all love beautiful photos of our family AFTER they are done but getting ready for them and the anticipation can make you want to run and hide with a cup of Starbucks (or glass of wine). 

Here are 10 tips that can help take the Stress out of planning for family photos and make the whole experience FUN. 

1. Choose a Photographer

This sounds obvious but, there are a few things to consider. Browse a photographer’s facebook page and website.  You want to choose a photographer whose work overall appeals to you. Do you like the colors? The poses? The style of the website? Also, look for experience. Is the photographer a parent? Do they have a wide range of work on their website? You want to find someone who has excellent work but also someone you will be a good match with.  

2. Pick a Color Scheme

outdoor family photos The question we hear most often is “What should we wear?”  First, think of where you want these photos to be displayed. If you know you want a large picture over your fireplace, then pick a color from that room. Also, choose a color you feel good about. 

Once you have your color you can pick an accent color and then match them up with neutrals.  This same method also works for extended family. This family did an amazing job coordinating 4 family groups!  

3. Other Clothing Considerations

You want to make sure clothing does not have big words or logos. We want to focus on your faces and connection between family members. Shoes: wear something that is comfy and that you can walk in grass with. If you are shooting outside you want to be able to walk around in the grass. Children’s shoes are optional. No, really! don’t stress about the fact that your little guy does not have any shoes besides dirty  sneakers.  Children’s bare feet are much more photogenic than the bottoms of their shoes. Think about it, when a child sits in front of  you , all you see is the bottom of their shoes.  The bottoms of their little feet are much sweeter! 

4. Book Ahead, I Mean WAY Ahead.

Many good and popular photographers book up 3 to 6 months in advance. If you do your research and you find a great photographer that is an excellent match for your family, you will want to book them 3 to 6 months in advance.  Here at Wigglebug we start scheduling October Family sessions a YEAR in advance!  You will also want this time to find clothing elements that match your color scheme.  You may want to use this extra time to also schedule someone to help you out on picture day. Grandma, or your sister could come over and help take the stress off you. Getting two or three kids (or more) ready for photos may take more than your two hands. Remember, less stress will mean better photos. 

5. Ease Your Kids and Your Spouse into the Idea Slowly. 

You do not want to just stuff your kids into a collared shirt and khakis and rush them off to meet a stranger with a big  black contraption strapped to her face.  You will want to start talking to your children about the idea of a photographer and what you do when you are with one. It is not as important to tell them how to smile as it is that they are comfortable with the idea of a photographer.

 I have noticed that young children sometimes don’t know what to think of my big camera. Remember, for some this is the first time they have ever seen a professional camera with big lenses. I let kids hold my camera and even click the shutter a few times to help them get used to it. However, a little chat before hand can help children relax in front of the camera. 

6. Motivation

Now, I say motivation or reward but lets be frank, I mean bribe. Think ahead of time what will motivate your child to stay focused on the task at hand. Some children are just too young for this strategy but with children 4 and up it works like a charm.  I photograph my own children and my best friend’s children every year. One year we bribed them with underwater cameras! 

7.  Food, Food , Food!

You want to make sure everyone is fed ahead of time HOWEVER, Please make sure the food is not blue or chocolate! You want to make sure every has a full tummy and even have snacks on hand during the session but you want to make sure it is something neat like Cheerios . You don’t want to give your kids a blue popsicle right before photos.

8. Location, Location, Location
stress free family photos

You will want to plan a location that has a good ‘feel” to it and one with great light. Most likely the photographer you choose will have suggestions for you. At Wigglebug we love to use our outdoor studio space. It  has several different natural backdrops to choose from and amazing light during the golden hour. 

9. Timing

Again, your photographer will help guide you to the best time of day for your session. If you want  an outdoor session most likely your photographer will want to shoot during the “golden hour”. This is the hour right before the sun goes down. At Wigglebug out outdoor studio gets amazing light during this time. Even on cloudy or over cast days this location is perfect. Of course, a park or even your own house can be a great choice. You also want to communicate with your photographer if your child has a “fussy” hour or time of the day. You will want to schedule around that! 


Once you have found a photographer that has experience and is a good match for your family, RELAX and let him or her take over.  At Wigglebug we like to run the session so you do not have to. We will have ideas for poses and a flow to the session so it is easy to move from one location or pose to the next. We are experienced in working with children of all ages and know how to overcome doubts and tantrums. You don’t need to coach your child to “Say Cheese” or “SMILE” just let him or her relax . 

Our Goals

At the end of almost every family session the mother says “ wow! You are so patient” and “That was fun”. Those are our goals for your family session. We are not looking just to capture technically beautiful images of your family.We want to help create a pleasant memory of the process of family photos.

Want to know if Wigglebug Photography would be a good match for your family? Check out the About me page to see if we would be a good match.  Or check out our Family Gallery to see samples of  family portraits.  Want to know what other families have to say about their session with Tricia at Wigglebug Photography? Check out the Love notes page. 

Subscribe to the newsletter to get the most updated information about sales, products, and specials.


Tricia Schumacher is the owner of Wigglebug Photography. Wigglebug specializes in newborns, maternity, child, family, and senior photos. 

Wigglebug serves the DeKalb, Sycamore, Geneva, St. Charles, Batavia, and surrounding Chicagoland and Northern, IL areas.