Tips for Taking Family Photos




Family Photoshoots

Family photo shoots have become more and more frequent since starting PorterUnraveled and I’ll fully admit there are shoots that don’t go so well. Meltdowns, arguing, bribery, it happens, especially for family photos.

There are so many aspects that go into taking family pictures. Where do you take them? Do you want to be outside or inside? Who do you hire? What do you wear? How do you get your children to behave and enjoy them?

I am going to share all my best tips on the ins and outs of family photos!

Tip # 1:  Finding a Photographer

This is such an important piece for your family photos. Your photographer is going to be capturing your family in the best way! They will need to be someone that you trust, and someone you can collaborate with to create the vision you have for your photos! 

While on the hunt, find someone who has some of the following:

▪  Has an eye for detail. With all the craziness going on during family photo, you will need someone who has an eye for detail and catch things that can’t be fixed, outfit malfunction or having a crazy hair placement. 

▪  Great with kids! This is so important, especially if you have young ones. Their has been so many times our photographers have been able to distract or play with our little ones to catch that precious smile 🙂

▪  Editing style you love, especially if you are going to be hanging these photos around your home. Always recommend to do your research by checking their website, instagram or any other social platforms to get a feel for their creative style. Does this fit your vision? Warm tones or Cool Tones? Formal or Candid? 

▪  Word of mouth is always a great start too! If you remember loving your friends Christmas card last year, ask them! They can give you the inside scoop that sometimes reviews can’t. 


Tip #2 : Location, Location, Location

Studio or Outside? Most photographers have some great spots they have taken pictures  at before (which you would have seen because you completed the step above 😉 ) Once your photographer to selected contact your photographer and let them know what you are looking for! I usually choose outside, but this year I chose a studio! It was so fun capturing the photos that we did (just love the bright and airy vibe)! 

Tip #3 : What to Wear

Now that you have your photographer and location, it’s outfit time! IF THIS SOUNDS STRESSFUL, I TOTALLY GET IT!  It can be super overwhelming! The last few photoshoots I have usually set the tone with what I am wearing first, then start putting together outfits for the boys and Jess. Since my boys are soo little to put much input on the outfit, fortunately this is pretty easy. As they get older, I think it would fun to let them pick out something they really want to buy and then build outfits for them based on what I am wearing. I want them to feel comfortable and show off their own personal style. Plus I would want them to feel good in what they are wearing. 

Here are my go to stores/websites: Revolve, Nordstrom, Free People, ASOS



Tip #4 : How to Prepare

For my family, the morning of picture day emotions run high. Usually kids are grumpy and occasionally Jess and I will bump heads because we are rushed all morning. To reduce the chaos it has been such a game changer for me to PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE. I will have the following either laid out or loaded in the car to reduce extra work prior to leaving. 

Outfit Prep

  • Outfit for kids laid out

  • Outfit for husband laid out

  • Your first outfit laid out

  • Load up or hang up additional outfits in car

  • Props for photoshoot loaded in car


  • Snacks

  • Water

  • Brib candy/snack


  • Plan something fun to do as a family AFTER pictures! This way the family has something to smile and behave for just a little bit! 

Little onsite snack ….


Tip #5: Enjoy the Experience

Have you ever seen a family holiday card with kids crying and parents arguing. DEFIANTLY NOT (although that would be entertaining to see). It can be so easy to get flustered when family pictures are not going as planned. Kids get fussy, husbands get bored and you probably want to pull your hair out. But moms, we are the rock, the conductor, the glue that holds everyone together, so keep calm and enjoy the experience. Some of the most hectic or silly moments have been the best for some great candid shots too! 



I have linked several pieces that I had my eye on for this shoot. Like I mentioned, I find it easier to pick mine first, then build everyone else.



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