family beach photo session nyc long island

How to Prepare For Your Family Photo Session


As a mom of two, wife, photographer, and teacher I know first-hand how life can get hectic. You are not alone if the thought of preparing for your family photo shoot feels daunting, trust me I’ve been there too. Thankfully, I have worked with many families over the years and have learned a few helpful tips along the way. Here is a simple guide to help you prepare for your family photo session. It will help make the experience fun and memorable.

1. Make the family photo session an event

When preparing your children for the photoshoot get them involved in the process and make it a fun event. This not only builds excitement but also makes them feel as though they are part of the process. If they are old enough, let them know why you are having photos taken especially if it’s to commemorate a special event or milestone. Let your children know that it will be fun, no need to tell them to act a certain way or look at the camera the entire time. It will be beneficial if they are encouraged to be themselves. The goal is to capture them as they are right now and those sweet “in between” moments that end up being the most loved images.

2. Choose your outfits

An easy way to determine what everyone will wear is to choose one outfit first; In many cases this is mom’s outfit, then coordinate everyone else from there. Here are a few things to consider:


  • where neutral colors
  • try on your clothes in advance
  • wear clothes you are comfortable in
  • bring a change of clothes and a towel especially if the session is at the beach


  • wear athletic shoes
  • match outfits
  • wear clothes with busy patterns
  • wear neon colors, logos, ball caps

Here are my favorite shops Gap, Target, & Lulus, Vici Doll, Zara, Free People, and H&M.

If you still need more help check out my free Style Guide HERE and be sure to ask your photographer if they offer a client closet for access to outfits.

3. Make sure everyone is well fed and rested

For optimal light it is best for your session to happen during “golden hour” (1-2 hours before sunset), and depending on the time of year, this might be too late for some young children. Make sure to plan your day and have them fed beforehand. It’s also a good idea to pack some dry snacks and water to have with you just in case they get hungry.

If your child still naps, push the time for later in the day to ensure that your child is well rested. If they no longer nap or if they decide to skip it that day, have them have some down time to relax before you get to the shoot location.

Keep in mind

  • make sure the snacks you choose are not filled with colors and dyes which may stain clothes or even color mouths or teeth- pretzels, cheerios, cheese stick are good options.
  • pack pajamas for the drive home

4. Pamper yourself

As moms we do so much for our families and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. A good way to prepare for your family photoshoot is to pamper yourself. This is the perfect excuse to schedule your hair and makeup to be done the day of the shoot. You deserve some relaxation and time for yourself plus that is one less thing you need to worry about that day.

Don’t have time to leave the house for pampering? Check out Glamsquad where you can have your hair and make up done in the comfort of your own home.

5. Choose the location

Outdoor sessions are always nice and encouraged during the warmer months in New York City. Ask yourself what type of location you prefer. Do you want it to be at a park, beach, or even a cute street in the West Village? Try to envision what the end result will look, this will help you figure out the best location for your shoot. You may also want to choose a spot that means something to you and your family.

Another idea is to have the photo shoot at home. This is a great if you want a relaxed lifestyle session where you get to document your life with your babies at home. This can be a great option during the colder months or if it rains.

Keep in mind

  • some locations get crowded so plan to go during sunrise instead of golden hour.
  • make sure to find out if your location requires a permit.
  • be mindful of events that may be happening at that location the day of your shoot.

6. Have Fun

My goal during each session is to make sure everyone has fun. I tell families to be present and in the moment with their loved ones, this is so important as the photographs really can show the true love and connection of those moments that are created.

If you are still searching for a family photographer or have questions about how to prepare for your family photo session, I’d be more than happy to chat with you.

New York family beach photo session

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