Preparing for Family Portraits | Sarah Kane Photography

Family portraits | Sarah kane Photography

Family portraits are more than just beautiful images of you and your family. It's about capturing everyone's personality and creating memories that will last a lifetime! Your session should be relaxed and fun, but right now you're stressing about what to wear, how to choose a location and how you're going to get your kids to cooperate. Relax, you've come to the right place! I've put together a few tips to prepare you for your experience! 

Outdoor Family Portraits | Sarah Kane Photography

Choosing a location

When selecting a location decide what type of setting bests suits your family, urban or rural? Local parks are always nice! If you want to go for a more authentic lifestyle session consider a place your family visits often, like an ice cream parlor. Think about an activity you and your family enjoy together like blowing bubbles, playing a game, flying a kite, or baking cookies. It may help to make a list of all the things you like to do together. Something on your list may inspire you! Engaging in activities together make great candids, but don't worry we will get some formal poses too! Still not sure? No problem! Send me your list and we'll work together to come up with the perfect place! (view some of my favorite locations here)

What should you wear?

family portraits in Midlothian VA

Don't be afraid to have fun with colors and layers!  If you are going to use a family photo for a holiday card, consider dressing for that occasion (even if you're out of season). Consider the decor of your home and where you will be hanging your images. Try and match your clothes with the colors of your house.

It's cool to coordinate colors, but try not to be too "matchy".  Don't wear the exact same colors as each other. If one person is wearing a red top the other should wear a different color top. Patterns are ok, but try not to overdo it. You don't want everyone wearing a plaid shirt it could look too busy. Alternate patterns as you would colors. If one person is wearing a patterned top another could wear a patterned bottom.

If you have a fair complexion avoid white or very light colors. They could wash you out. White reflects the light and will had an extra unwanted glow to your face. 

Accessorize and dress in layers.  Ladies think, scarves, bold jewelry, bright colored shoes.  Men, collared shirts under sweaters, ties (with or without jeans) caps or jackets are fun too!.

Feel free to send me some cell phone pictures of outfits your considering if you'd like my advice! a great place to get ideas is a website called Polyvore. They have many wardrobe examples and you can even order the entire outfit if you really wanted to! It's a great place for inspiration! 


 See the difference? The first image is of me with just regular mascara on!

See the difference? The first image is of me with just regular mascara on!

Ladies if you don't typically wear a lot of makeup I wouldn't go overboard for your pictures. Somethings you should considering wearing though is mascara. It makes a huge difference!! If you really want to go all out false lashes work wonders. If you want the look of false lashes with mascara my favorite is Moonstruck 3D lashes by Unique or any other mascara with micro fibers. It's like wearing false lashes without the expense and hassle!! 

Next make sure to wear a foundation or powder. I would bring powder with you if possible incase the heat starts to give you shiny look. 

Last thing is to consider wearing lip gloss or lipstick. Again, if you don't normally wear lipstick, don't, but do wear a clear lip gloss. Also try and make sure your lips are not dry or chapped on the day of your session. You can help prevent this by applying a good amount of Vaseline every night at bed at least a week before your shoot and drink lots of water! 


Life is not perfect so don't expect your hair to be perfect during an outdoor shoot. There will be some fly aways and possible frizz (some of us more than others). You can help reduce this by using an anti frizz spray or gel and once your hair is the way you want it use hair spray on the top of your head to keep those fly aways down. If this is not a concern for you then keep it natural! 

Kids Will Be Kids

silly pictures | Sarah Kane Photography

I'm guessing your biggest worry may be that your children are going to embarrass you and do everything but cooperate. Don't worry you're not alone, but please stop stressing! The good news is you're pictures are going to be amazing! The bad news is, you're children most likely aren't going to cooperate, so just come to terms with that now. Let go of any expectations you have of your children sitting still, looking right into the camera and giving their best smile! The harder you push for this the less likely they are to comply. I used to be a teacher and have two wild boys of my own. I've seen it all! Don't try and force your kids into smiling, this will only create more resistance. Just relax and let them be kids.

Let Them Know I'm In charge

Most kids are more likely to listen to their teachers then their parents. I remember asking my son's daycare how they handled his tantrums and she looked at me like I was crazy. She told me he's an angel with them! What!?!

The first 5-10 minutes of our session will consist of me building a rapport with your children. I know it can be very difficult to resist disciplining, but if your kids know they are entering "my classroom" they tend to be more willing to follow my rules.  After 12 years of teaching children I have a lot of experience with this!


During posed pictures let me worry about getting them to look at the camera. Parents often try to get their children to smile by making funny faces or pointing to the camera, and in the end when your child finally looks right at the camera with a big smile, both parents are looking away or making a really silly face. Also, I find with my own children, when someone else (other than me) asks for something they are more willing to oblige. No matter what face your child makes, it will be real and true, that's what you want to remember when they are all grown up! 

superheros | photography

Why not let the kids bring their super hero capes and diva dresses? Because one day you're going to miss your supermen and princesses. They can put them on at the end of the shoot and then we will really see their true colors shine! Plus, it will give them something to look forward to. 

 See look! They are all smiling :)

See look! They are all smiling :)

Family Portraits | Sarah Kane Photography

Have Fun!!

Enjoy this time together. Remember a photo session is not about getting the perfect picture, but about capturing the memories you and your family will be creating during the shoot that will last a lifetime!