4 Things to do the Day of Your Family Portrait Session

May 31, 2023

The day of your family portrait session is finally approaching. If you’re working with me, we’ve had our preplanning session and have things all planned out and ready to go. But do you have this nagging little voice in the back of your head adding some stress to the thought of your session? Today, I’m going to cover 4 things to do the day of your family portrait session to keep the drama and the stress down; so worry not!

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1) Ensure Naps are Taken

Every parent knows that there is nothing worse than an overstimulated and exhausted child. And while letting your child run around during our portrait session may not seem overstimulating, I can promise you that it will be; The location may be new to him or her; I may be a new face to them and we’ll be doing a lot of activities to keep everyone entertained and get those shots you’ll love.  So while meltdowns may still happen, I always recommend that we do our best to ensure everyone is well rested prior to our family photo session. It will definitely help things progress as smoothly as possible!

Pro Tip: Meltdowns happen; even with the best of naps. But if I can offer any advice, it is to just go with it. Let them have their space and melt, and then do what you do best; step in when they’re ready for comfort and hold your little one. I promise that the raw emotion we capture in those moments are going to produce some of your favorite images. So just let things happen (and remind your spouse of the same)!

2) Pack Snacks

Next to tired comes hunger, or hanger as we call it in our house (trust me, it’s real and it’s ugly)! Ensure that everyone has eaten a meal at their previous meal time, is key and this goes for the adults too. I always provide snacks before leaving the house for our family photo sessions, or I pack snacks for the kids to eat while we’re driving to our session as a way to keep hunger away a little bit longer. This is especially key for spring and fall sunset session, as they can often interfere with dinner time.

3) Be Willing to Bribe

One thing I always do (and shamelessly I might add), is bribe my family into happiness (this includes significant others that may not be thrilled about family photos). This is not to say that I will reward bad behavior, but more so incentivize good behavior before it turns bad!  😉 In our house, we talk about a special treat that we’ll get if everyone uses their listening ears during our family photo session, on our way to the photo session. Some of my go-to bribes are out to dinner at one of our favorite, family restaurants, or maybe ice cream at your local ice cream parlor (if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you check out Cherried Mary’s in Roswell. It’s our new favorite place!)

4) Don’t dress until right before photos

Finally, I recommend that you get dressed in your photo session clothes last, whether you’re driving to an outdoor location or getting pampered in the studio. This removes the risk of anyone spilling food or drink on their clothes or baby spitting up on them in the car. If you’re doing a studio session, this isn’t a huge deal. My family personally usually dresses at our outdoor session locations in the car. However, a number of the outdoor locations at which I shoot do have restrooms, so this is also always an options for dressing yourself and your family. By dressing last, it will also ensure that your close are crips and not wrinkled from sitting in them; so really, it’s a win-win all around!

Struggling to figure out what to wear for your next portrait session? Check our our blog post on Styling your Sessions & Coordinating your family!

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Closing Time…

I hope you’ve found this information on 4 things to do the day of your family portrait session helpful. If you still have questions or concerns, or that nagging voice in your head starts getting louder as our session day gets closer, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As your photographer, it’s my job to take as much of the stress out of your family portrait session as possible. So if it’s day of session and afternoon nape time and suddenly everyone is melting down, call me and we’ll get through it together!

Molli Dill is a natural light photographer who provides her clients with timeless photographs of their families throughout each stage of life. As a full-service photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, children and family portraiture, Molli’s stress free process allows her clients to enjoy capturing life’s precious moments. Molli is based in Atlanta, but her work as a destination photographer takes her across the United States and the globe. She cannot wait to connect with you and document your family’s story!



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