How to prepare for your family portraits

Preparing for your family photo shoot

How to prepare for your family portraits by Emma Hutchinson Photography

You’ve finally decided to book your family photography session, hurrah! It’s as simple as just turning up on the day, right?


Like most things in life, the success of your session depends on planning!

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your family portraits:


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your clothing has a hugeeeee impact on your images!  Plan your outfits well in advance for a stress-free session. Mums, I recommend you getting your outfit sorted first, and co-ordinate the rest of the family around you. And what a perfect excuse to buy yourself something nice! A flowing dress or maxi skirt is a great option as they give beautiful movement and are so flattering.

Think about the colours and how they will look with the location. Neutral colours are hard to beat, so think about creams, soft pastels, tans, grays and blues.  You could add pops of colour such as yellow or reds. Accessorise with scarves to add texture.

Some things to avoid:

  • Being matchy, matchy! No need to have all matching jeans and white t-shirts!
  • All dark colours- pops of colour add interest.
  • Phones in pockets- guys, I’m looking at you!
  • Graphic t-shirts- no Disney character, thanks!
  • Fitbits on your wrist.
  • Bulky or oversized clothes.

I’m here to help, so feel free to send me your outfit choices and I can help you decide!

Northern Ireland Family Photography


I want to shoot you in the best light, literally. I am always looking for the most flattering light. The best time for lighting is two hours before sunset and after sunrise. Of course this changes throughout the year, so I am happy to recommend what will work best. Just be aware that midday in summertime is probably not going to be flattering light! Living in Northern Ireland, we tend to have a lot of grey skies, so this can sometimes work to our advantage!

Avoid nap time, as no-one wants a cranky baby!

Avoid meal times, as no-one wants a hangry child or parent! Make sure you have eaten before and it’s always a good idea to have snacks (non-messy ones) and water with you.

Allow a good couple of hours for the shoot. It usually takes less time than this, but allowing a little extra time for breaks means that we aren’t rushing if you have somewhere you need to be after.

Family photography Belfast


No cheese, please! Don’t feel pressure to be perfect. Even if there’s a meltdown, just snuggle your kids. Kids will feed off your energy, so if you are stressed, the kids will reflect that. Relax, and trust me! I love chatting silly nonsense to get those lovely, natural smiles!

Have fun! Laugh, tickle and snuggle each other. If in doubt, just smile and look lovingly at your family. Remember, not everyone has to be looking at the camera.  I’ll tell you if I need you to look at the camera, but most of the time you will be looking at each other.  I love the real moments and interactions.  These are the photos that you will treasure, as they show your connection and love. That is where the magic is.

Family portraits Portstewart


There you have it. A few simple tips to help you prepare for your family portraits. I’m here to help, so feel free to email me if you still have any questions. If you’d like to book in for a family session, contact me here! I’ve love to tell your family story.

Click here to see a full family session.

Northern Ireland Family Photography


How to prepare for your family portraits by Emma Hutchinson Photography




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