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Creating Cherished Memories: A Guide to Planning Your Family Photoshoot

Family photoshoots are more than just pictures; they're precious memories encapsulated in time. But creating those perfect moments requires thoughtful planning and expert guidance. That's where Pensacola's leading family photographer, Austen Hunter, steps in. With his wealth of experience, he transforms ordinary moments into extraordinary memories. To help you plan a successful photoshoot, Austen has shared his insights. So, let's dive into his expert tips on how to create a memorable family photoshoot:

Key Takeaways:

  • The purpose of a family photoshoot can vary, from commemorating special occasions and updating family portraits to creating keepsakes for future generations. This purpose guides all subsequent decisions in planning the photoshoot.

  • Choosing the right photographer involves researching potential candidates, asking relevant questions, and reviewing their portfolio to ensure their style matches your vision for the photoshoot.

  • Selecting the ideal location that reflects your family's character and mood for the photoshoot is pivotal. Both indoor and outdoor settings have their unique advantages.

  • Incorporating props that align with your photoshoot's theme can add fun and charm to your photos, while carefully planned attire can create a cohesive look.

how to plan a family photoshoot married couple with toddler

Table of Contents

Understanding the Purpose of Your Family Photos

Every family photoshoot starts with a purpose. Understanding this purpose is key to ensuring that your photos truly capture the essence of your family.

  • Commemorating Special Occasions: Special occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays, or holidays, are popular reasons for family photoshoots. These sessions can capture the joy and celebration of these special milestones.

  • Updating Family Portraits: As your family grows and changes, updated family portraits can keep your family's history current. A yearly family photoshoot can serve as a beautiful visual timeline of your family's journey.

  • Creating Keepsakes for Future Generations: Family photoshoots create keepsakes that can be passed down for generations. These captured moments in time allow future generations to connect with their roots and understand their family history.

The reason for your photoshoot will guide many of your decisions, from choosing a photographer and location to selecting outfits and props. So, before you start planning, take some time to think about what you want to achieve with your family photoshoot.

Choosing the Right Photographer for Family Pictures

Selecting the right photographer is a significant step in the process of planning your family photoshoot. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Research Potential Photographers: Start by conducting an online search for family photographers in your local area. Look at their portfolios and reviews. You'll want to find a professional who has experience with family photography and whose style matches what you envision for your photoshoot.

  2. Ask Important Questions: Once you have a shortlist of potential photographers, get in touch with them. Ask your photographer the right questions: their availability, pricing, and what's included in their packages. Also, ask about their approach to family photoshoots, especially if you have small children. You'll want to ensure that they can create a relaxed and fun environment.

  3. Review Their Work: Before making a decision, take a close look at the photographers' portfolios. Pay attention to their style, how they capture emotions, use lighting, and pose families. Does their work resonate with what you're looking for?

Remember, the right photographer will be able to capture high-quality photos that reflect your family's unique dynamics and connections. It's worth spending time on this step to find the right professional for your family photoshoot.

how to plan a family photoshoot extended family photoshoot in studio

Selecting the Best Location for Family Portraits

Choosing the perfect location for your family photoshoot can set the mood and influence the overall aesthetic of your images. Consider whether you want an indoor or outdoor setting. Each has its unique benefits and can provide different atmospheres.

An outdoor setting, such as a beach, park, or even your backyard, can provide a natural and casual backdrop. Outdoor shoots are great for active families, allowing for candid shots and capturing the family in a playful environment. Factors such as the season, weather, and time of day will play a significant role in determining the success of your outdoor shoot.

On the other hand, an indoor shoot, perhaps in your home or at a studio, can offer a more controlled environment. Indoor locations tend to lend a warm, intimate feel to the images. This can be perfect for capturing close-up shots, and showcasing the bond between family members.

If you decide on an indoor shoot at your home, consider spaces with plenty of natural light. If you're going for a studio shoot, discuss your vision with your photographer beforehand, as they can often help in setting up the scene and controlling the lighting.

In both cases, ensure the location is a comfortable space for your family. It should be a place where every family member can relax, as this will shine through in the photographs. If your family loves nature, a park setting might be ideal. If you all love baking, maybe a shoot in your kitchen would tell a more authentic story.

Ultimately, the perfect location for your family photoshoot is one that reflects your family's character and is meaningful to you.

Including Props in your Family Photoshoot

Incorporating props into your family photoshoot can provide an added element of fun and charm. They not only add interest to your pictures but can also serve to keep children entertained, resulting in more natural expressions.

When selecting props, consider items that align with the theme of your photoshoot. If you're planning for family Christmas photos, for instance, festive decorations, wrapped presents, or cozy blankets could bring in a joyful, holiday spirit. For a more casual, everyday session, props could include favorite toys, books, or family pets. Props that have a personal significance to your family can add a touching, individualized element to your photos.

Remember, the props should complement the scene and the family, not overshadow them. Striking a balance between using props effectively and ensuring the family remains the primary focus of the shoot is important. The props should serve to enhance the family dynamics and relationships being captured, not distract from them.

Also, props can help to engage children in the photoshoot. Using familiar items from home or toys can make them feel more comfortable and at ease during the shoot. This can be especially helpful in capturing genuine smiles and candid moments.

The thoughtful use of props can help in creating captivating, personalized family photos that will be cherished for years to come. So, take the time to carefully choose props that suit your family's style and the theme of your photoshoot.

What to Wear for Family Photos

Planning what to wear for a family photoshoot can make good photos into great photos. Here are some things to consider:

  • Coordinate, Don't Match: Coordinate your outfits by choosing a color scheme and sticking to it. You don't need to be matchy-matchy, but your outfits should complement each other. For instance, if one person is wearing a red shirt, another person can incorporate red shoes or a red accessory into their outfit.

  • Comfort is Key: Choose clothes that are comfortable. If you or your children are uncomfortable in what you're wearing, it will show in the pictures. Choose clothing that allows for movement and ease, especially if the photoshoot is outdoors and involves different poses or activities.

  • Reflect Your Family's Style: Your outfits should reflect your family's style. If you're more of a casual family, jeans and t-shirts might be a perfect choice. If your family is more formal, then perhaps dresses, skirts, and button-down shirts are more appropriate.

  • Think About the Location: The location of your family photoshoot can also influence what you wear. For instance, if you're having a beach photoshoot, lighter colors and flowy fabrics might be a good choice. If your photoshoot is during the winter, layer up and incorporate winter accessories like scarves and hats.

  • Don't Forget the Details: Small details like shoes, socks, and accessories can make a big difference in how your photos turn out. Try to coordinate these details with the rest of your outfit for a cohesive look.

The most important thing is that you feel good in what you're wearing. When you feel confident and comfortable, it will shine through in your photos, resulting in beautiful, natural family portraits.

Preparing the Family for Photos

Preparing your family, especially children, for a photoshoot can make all the difference. Here's how to do it:

Firstly, it's important to talk to your children about the upcoming photoshoot. Make it sound like a fun activity rather than a task. Highlight the playful aspects of the session to help them look forward to it. If there are props involved, discuss how they'll get to interact with them.

Secondly, make sure everyone, including yourself, is well-rested and well-fed before the shoot. Hunger or tiredness can quickly turn smiles into frowns, especially with younger children. Scheduling the photoshoot at a time when your children are usually active and alert can also help ensure their cooperation.

Additionally, patience is key during family photoshoots. Children may need breaks, or they might not cooperate as expected. In these instances, it's important to remain calm and patient. A relaxed atmosphere will help your children feel more at ease.

Lastly, it's essential to have contingency plans in case of unexpected situations. For instance, if a child becomes uncooperative or if the weather takes a turn for the worse, having a backup plan can save the day.

Preparation is the key to a successful family photoshoot. A well-prepared family is more likely to enjoy the session, resulting in natural, candid photos that truly capture your family's unique dynamic.

how to plan a family photoshoot family on the beach posing

Choosing the Best Time for the Shoot

A vital aspect of planning a family photoshoot is deciding on the best time for the session. Here are some considerations to guide your decision:

  • 'Golden Hour': In photography, the 'Golden Hour' refers to the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset, where the light is soft and warm. Scheduling your photoshoot during this time can yield beautiful, evenly lit photos with a magical aura.

  • Family routine: It's also essential to consider your family's daily routine, especially when children are involved. A photoshoot scheduled during a child's usual naptime or mealtime could lead to an uncooperative, cranky child. Hence, choose a time when everyone is typically alert and in a good mood.

  • Weather: The weather is another crucial factor, particularly for outdoor shoots. A hot, sunny day may cause squinting and discomfort, while an overcast day can provide soft, diffused light. Always check the forecast ahead of your shoot and have a backup plan in case of unexpected weather changes.

Remember, perfect timing can greatly enhance the outcome of your family photoshoot, leading to stunning images that you'll cherish for years to come.

After the Shoot: Selecting and Preserving the Photos

Once the photoshoot is over, you're left with numerous beautiful images of your family. However, you'll need to make the tough choice of selecting the best ones. Consider the composition, lighting, and emotional content of each image while choosing. A picture that evokes strong emotions or perfectly captures a candid moment may be a better pick than a technically flawless image.

After you've made your selection, think about how you'd like to display these pictures. You could consider getting prints for a photo album, framing some for display around your house, or even creating a photo book. Remember, these photos are not just for immediate viewing pleasure; they are keepsakes that will bring joy to you and your family for years to come.

Also, consider digitizing your photos to ensure they are preserved for the future. Digital files are easier to share with distant family members and can serve as a backup if physical prints are damaged. Regardless of the form you choose to preserve your images, remember that these photos are timeless treasures that capture your family's unique story at a particular moment in time.

Final Thoughts

Family photoshoots are a wonderful way to capture and preserve the unique story of your family at a particular point in time. From understanding the purpose of your shoot, selecting a professional photographer, choosing the perfect location, and incorporating meaningful props, to planning the attire and preparing your family, each aspect plays a vital role in creating timeless memories. The golden hour can make your photos look magical, and the process of selecting and preserving the photos will ensure these precious moments last forever.

Capturing your family's special moments requires skill, dedication, and a keen eye for detail. This is where Pensacola Photographer Austen Hunter comes in. Known for his unique ability to turn ordinary settings into extraordinary memories, Austen will ensure that your family photoshoot is a truly memorable experience.

So, why wait? The perfect moment to create beautiful memories is now. Reach out to Austen Hunter today and book your family photoshoot. After all, each family has a unique story to tell. Let Austen help you tell yours in the most enchanting way possible.

how to plan a family photoshoot pensacola photographer austen hunter

Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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