Top Tips to Get You Ready for Your Summer Family Portraits


Top Tips to Get You Ready for Your Summer Family Portraits

We all know how hectic summer months can be. With the older kids being home from school with endless bursts of energy. And the younger ones excited to be outdoors all day, getting dirty and discovering nature.

And now that you booked your photo session, I wanted to share some of my favourite tips to get you and your kids ready for your outdoor summer family portrait session.



1. Bring Water and Snacks

Best portraits of young children are captured outdoors. But with that comes the unexpected heat waves and humidity.

So fuel your child with healthy snacks before and during your portrait session by stocking up on refreshments and treats before leaving the house. Try to avoid “leaky” treats like watermelon, and colorful berries like cherries that will stain their clothes.



2. Bring Emergency “Bribe” Treats

As a photographer, it is my job to make the portrait session fun and exciting for the little ones. I pride myself in developing trust and engaging with my mini clients in order to keep them relaxed and enjoy their portrait session. Even if your child hates getting their portrait taken, I will always be able to capture beautiful candid portraits of them playing with you and laughing, forgetting that I am taking photos in the first place.

But in many cases my clients prefer to get that one perfect portrait when their children look like perfect angels. A perfect portrait to give to the grandparents, or add to the Christmas card. And I’m never satisfied, until I have at least one of these perfection portraits to present to them at their ordering session.

So pack a little bribe into your bag, to keep the kiddos on their best behaviour. Personally, I bribe my boys with fish crackers during our annual sessions. Many parents love going out for ice cream after their session, so the promise of a reward works very well too. Remember to make it a special prize, so that they have plenty of incentive to behave for those short few minutes while I snap away the perfect portrait.

If you’re not sure you want to feed your kids junk just to get a nice portrait, I can assure you that doing so once a year is not going to do them much harm. If you’re still on the fence, substitute a treat for a toy, a game, or special alone time with your buddy after the session. Whatever works for you and your child.




3. Wear Comfortable Clothing

Nothing is worse than buying the perfect outfit for your child that does not fit them well, and they hate wearing. Always try the outfit on for size at home before coming to your portrait session.

Look for breathable and soft fabrics that will allow the baby to move around freely.

4. Bring a Backup Outfit

Kids love playing in the outdoors. So they are bound to get messy sooner or later.

Plan ahead by bringing a backup outfit for each child.

If you are commuting to your portrait session, it’s also a good idea to change your kids once you arrive, so that there are no possibilities of accidents and spills on the way to the park.




5. Apply Sun Screen Before Heading Out

Some portrait sessions can be long, and you want to protect you children when they are outdoors. But applying sun screen immediately before shooting will leave the skin oily, and your children miserable (if they are like my boys and despise any form of lotion).

I advise you to apply sun protection before heading out, so that it has time to absorb into the skin properly, and the kids have long forgotten all about it.

6. Schedule Session After Pap

Unless you want me to document how your baby looks when they are cranky and hungry, please book your session after their scheduled nap and feeding time.

As a service-driven photographer, I only shoot one session per day. So I always book an estimated time during the booking process, and then confirm at my complimentary pre-session consultation.

This is very helpful for parents that book months in advance. Because it allows me to chat with them a week before their session, and make changes to suit the child’s changed sleeping routine.




7. Don’t Book a Birthday Party and Portrait Session on the Same Day

If you like being happy and not a fan of ripping your hair out, do not book your child’s birthday party on the same day as the portrait session.

Remember, little kiddos have little attention spans, and will be completely overwhelmed having both activities on the same day.

Schedule a separate day for each occasion, so that you can actually enjoy them both (separately).


8. Bring a Positive Attitude 

So what if you were stuck in traffic and showed up 10 minutes late? Only to find out that your toddler had a stinky surprise for you even before you started the session.

That is all out of your control and nothing can be done about that. (I have two kids, I know how it is)

So take a deep breath, relax, and allow me to treat you to this guilt-free time where it’s all about you and your needs.

As I said earlier, I only book one session per day. So I make sure you never feel like you are being rushed, and your kids are never pressured to “perform right NOW” because the session time is running out. Everything will work out great in the end!

You are there to enjoy yourself and have fun. Because when you are having fun, so will your kiddos :)



9. Arrive with a plan

Ask yourself, “WHY do I need these photos done, and WHAT do I want to DO with my portraits in the long run?”

Answering these questions early on can make your whole photography experience a breeze.

Do you want me to take these photos for your office, grandparent gifts, or holiday cards? Are your walls looking bare and you feel like your home is missing that personal touch? Do you want to capture all the little intricacies of your baby’s personality and mark their milestone with a beautiful keepsake album to pass down to them when they are older?

The more you plan ahead, the more successful your session’s outcome will be. For instance, if you wish to purchase an album, I will take many more “detail” shots of your child’s infinite pool of facial expressions and mannerism. I will want to capture them playing, laughing, and being the amazing child that you see every day.

On the other hand, if you are looking for one or two images for the wall, I will plan the session accordingly to capture very specific “framable” shots that you will love waking up to every morning.

The better I understand your needs, the more structured your portrait session will be (which is important when working with young children and their limited attention spans).


I hope you enjoyed my top tips for getting ready for your summer family portraits. Kindly share this article by using the buttons below, so that your friends can benefit from these useful tips as well.

As always, thanks for reading :)

Wish to book your next summer family portrait with me?

Call me at 416-937-0632 or contact me via the online form!





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