Family Photos 101: Preparing for Your Session from Outfits to Poses [Step-by-Step Guide]

By Ramina Magid – Newborn Photography Studio in Los Angeles, CA

family photos

Family Photos 101: Preparing for Your Session from Outfits to Poses [Step-by-Step Guide]

Imagine the warmth of a summer family gathering, the laughter, the candid moments—this is what we aim to encapsulate in family photos. Whether it’s the tranquil hues of a maternity dress that celebrate impending motherhood, or the vibrant splash of a bright red balloon in your toddler’s hand, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to remember these days!

Let’s get ready to dive into color palettes, outfit choices, and the little details that will make your family pictures stand out. Whether you’re coordinating for a professional portrait session or simply wanting to capture the joy of being together, I’ll walk you through the steps to ensure you get it all right—from picking the perfect texture for your outfits to the best ways to bring snacks and keep the kids together and happy throughout the shoot. 

Step 1: The Basics

It all Starts With Choosing the Right Family Photographer

You’re looking for a professional photographer who can capture the essence of your family, someone with a knack for coaxing smiles out of shy toddlers and a patience as enduring as Mom’s homemade lasagna. They should be someone whose portfolio resonates with your vision—do their images make your heart flutter with anticipation? If yes, you’re on the right track. Trust your gut, it knows when you’ve found ‘the one’ who will photograph your family’s unique narrative.

When you’re planning, you’re not just looking for someone who’s good with a camera but someone who feels like an extension of the family, even if it’s just for the day. This person will witness and capture your candid hugs, the uncontrollable giggles, and the rare moments when little ones are actually looking at the camera, all at once!

Selecting the Perfect Time and Day

When setting the date and time for your session, consider your family’s routine. You want everyone to be well-rested, fed, and happy. For families with little ones, this might mean working around nap times or meals. It’s about finding that sweet spot when everyone’s at their best. Trust me, a well-timed session can make all the difference between photos that are nice and photos that take your breath away.

Choosing the Right Location

Whether you’re looking for the rustic charm of a barn setting, the sophistication of a city backdrop, the simplicity of your own backyard, or a beautiful photography studio, the location of your family photo session sets the stage. If you’re opting for an outdoor setting, nature is your canvas. Think of the lush greens of a park that make the khaki tones of your outfits pop, or the cascading autumn leaves that provide a tapestry of warm colors. But if you’re leaning towards an indoor session, consider spaces that are bathed in natural light, which can make even the simplest of photos look sublime.

Step 2: Picking What to Wear for Your Family Photo Session

Color Palette for Family Photos

Choosing a color scheme for your family’s outfits can be as fun as it is can hard! The secret? Start with a solid base of neutrals. These could be your tans, your greys, your creams. These shades serve as the foundation upon which you’ll build with splashes of color. From there, choose one or two accent colors—maybe a navy blue that makes Dad’s eyes stand out, or a soft peach that complements Mom’s glow.

Starting with the Center Outfit First

Imagine you’ve found the most adorable little romper for your toddler — it’s the perfect shade of blue that just makes those tiny eyes sparkle. This is where you start. That romper becomes your inspiration piece, the first outfit from which all others will take a cue.

Now, it’s a matter of building around it, selecting colors and styles that complement without cloning. You’re creating a visual harmony where each family member stands out yet fits beautifully together, like a well-conducted symphony. And don’t worry — there’s no need to rush to every store in town. Sometimes, the best finds are just a click away on sites like H&M or Nordstrom, packed with outfit ideas.

Dressing for Comfort and Style

It’s essential to strike the right balance between style and comfort, particularly when photographing families with toddlers. Opt for fabrics with a pleasant texture that will not only look good on camera but also ensure that everyone, from the toddlers to the adults, is comfortable. You can find beautiful pieces that feel as good as they look — think cotton dresses for the girls that twirl with every little spin, or breathable linen shirts for the boys.

You’ll want to capture those beaming smiles, not frowns hidden in frilly collars or tight belts. After all, a photoshoot can take a few hours, and comfort is super important. Remember, the best photos are the ones where everyone is relaxed and at ease!

Step 4: Choosing Accessories and Props for Your Family Photos

Accessories can be the sprinkles on the cupcake — not essential, but oh-so-delightful when added. A bow tie that echoes the accent color of mom’s dress, a fun hairband on your little girl, or a hat that adds just a touch of dapper to your teen’s outfit can all serve as the perfect finishing touches. 

When it comes to props, think meaningful over grandiose. A quilt handed down through generations, a book that’s a bedtime staple, or even a family pet can add layers of sentiment to your snapshots. And as for accessories, less is usually more. A simple necklace or a watch can be enough to complement without competing. Remember, the focus should be on your family’s connection, not the bling.

family photos
family photos

Step 5: Mastering the Posing Game

When it comes to family photos, the right pose can transform a simple picture into a storytelling portrait. Posing doesn’t have to be a rigid, anxiety-inducing part of your session. With a sprinkle of guidance and a dash of spontaneity, you’ll find yourselves enjoying the process as much as you’ll love the final photographs.

Guided Posing for Flattering Family Pictures

Picture your family in a scene where everyone is comfortably arranged in a cozy nook of your favorite park. The photographer might suggest having the tallest member sit to balance the height difference, or perhaps they’ll arrange you in a semi-circle that naturally draws all eyes to the center. They may ask you to hold hands, creating a connection line that guides the viewer’s gaze through the photo.

A pro photographer will have a toolkit of poses that work for every family configuration, from the classic ‘everyone on a blanket’ to more dynamic ‘walking hand in hand’ shots. They’ll ensure that each member of the family is seen and shines, from the protective hug of a parent to the mischievous grin of a toddler.

Examples of Poses for All Family Types

Like mentioned above, your photographer will have a repertoire of poses that work for families of all shapes and sizes. From the classic everyone-looking-at-the-camera pose to more playful arrangements, there’s a variety to suit every family’s style. And if you have any poses you’ve been dying to try from that Pinterest board you’ve been curating, now’s the time to share it!

In all this, the key is to relax, be yourselves, and remember that the best family photos are the ones that reflect who you are, not just what you look like. Whether you’re nestled in close for a group hug or letting the little ones run around, these photos are about celebrating your family.

Embracing Fun Family Moments

Candid shots are the secret spice of family photos. They capture the laughs, the tickles, the piggyback rides, and the stolen kisses. It’s about the sparkle in your children’s eyes as they run around, the way your family naturally falls into an embrace, the unscripted moments that you’ll look back on and say, “That’s so us.”

Encourage your family to play, interact, and let their guard down. These are the shots where personalities shine and memories are made.

Step 6: The Day of the Family Photo Session

It’s the day of the big show, and everyone is excited but before you head out the door, there’s just a bit more prep to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Final Preparations for Your Family Photo Outfits

Do a quick run-through of everyone’s outfits. Check for wrinkles, missing buttons, or any last-minute changes that might be needed. It’s like the final dress rehearsal before the curtain rises. You’re ensuring that each member of your family feels confident and photo-ready, which will shine through in every photograph.

What to Wear for Family Photos: The Final Checklist

Have a checklist ready for the day of the shoot. It should include all your outfits, accessories, props, and even backups for the little ones (because spills happen). This checklist is your peace of mind, knowing that you’ve thought of everything from plan A to plan B because with kids, a plan B is always a wise idea.

Check it twice, pack it once, and rest easy knowing you’re all set.

Ensuring Everyone is on the Same Page

Communication with your family photographer is crucial. Discuss your vision, any must-have shots, and the personalities within your troupe so they can tailor the experience—does your youngest need a little extra encouragement? Is there a pose that your teen loves? These little details will help personalize the session. 

Preparing Children and Family Members for the Session

Let’s not forget the stars of the show — your family. Prepare the kiddos by explaining how fun the session will be. For the littlest ones, maybe there’s a bribe (ahem, I mean a reward) like a special treat or toy for their stellar performance. And for all, ensure they know this isn’t just another chore but a time to have fun together, to hug, to laugh, and to make some new favorite family memories.

Last-Minute Checks and Balancing Nerves

As you give your outfits the final once-over, remember to also prepare emotionally. Pack those snacks that will keep the spirits high and the energy flowing (especially if you’ve got little ones or husbands with a sweet tooth), and take a moment to breathe and center yourself- embrace the excitement and let go of any jitters!

It’s normal to feel a bit nervous, but remember, today is about capturing the love you share, and there’s no wrong way to do that.

Ramina Magid Newborn Photography

At Ramina Magid Photography studio in Los Angeles we are currently open for booking family, baby, cake smash and newborn photo shoot sessions. You can see photoshoot pricing under each portfolio page and our photography reviews here. Our studio is located at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035, United States.

Are you ready to turn the short moments of your newborn’s early days into everlasting memories? Feel free to contact me, I’m here to help you do just that! 


As the days leading up to your photo shoot come to a close, you’ll feel a mix of excitement and nerves. But remember, the perfect family photo isn’t about everyone looking at the camera with a staged smile. The pictures that are the ones you’ll treasure most are those where your family’s personality shines through—where the candid laughter, the impromptu hugs, and the playfulness of your little ones are immortalized.

Whether it’s in the way the green dress complements the dark greens of a park setting or how the dark reds of your outfits contrast with the studio  backdrop, your family photo color schemes and the textures you choose will tell the story of this moment in time.

When you look back at your family photos taken during these sessions, you’ll see more than just the outfits and the setting. You’ll see the love and the bonds that hold you together. It’s not just about coordinating outfits—it’s about capturing the essence of your family. So, whether you opt for casual black pants or shorts for the boys, or you decide to put everyone in complimentary colors, remember to capture the warmth, the love, and the laughter. Because in the end, those are the true colors of your family’s story.

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1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035, United States


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Ramina Magid Photography is a family, maternity, and newborn photography studio located in Los Angeles, CA, minutes away from Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and West LA. Ramina is a Los Angeles newborn photographer, baby photographer, and family photographer. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding cities including Burbank, Brentwood, Pasadena, La Canada, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, West Hollywood, San Marino, Calabasas, San Bernardino, Malibu, Altadena, Covina, Alhambra, Granada Hills, Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, and all other communities in Southern California.