5 Things YOU Need to Bring to a Family Photo Shoot

5 Things to Bring to Your Next Family Photo ShootWait, wait, wait, you’re paying a photographer to take photos of your kids, and you’re expected to bring things along? Isn’t that what you’re paying them for? Well, yes … and then again … no.  Whether you’re going to a photographer’s studio or meeting them out at pretty spot in your neck of the woods, it’s on the photographer to have what it takes to get a good photograph.

But even a full-stocked studio is not going to have everything it takes to capture your unique family. Want to really get your money’s worth? Here are some things you definitely want to bring along:

1. Your child’s favorite stuffed animal. I know, you spend a lot of time thinking evil thoughts about that bedraggled bear that they drag everywhere. But even if it’s ratty and mangy looking, that stuffie is a big part of your child’s life. Family portraits aren’t about capturing the “best” version of your child; they’re about capturing a moment in time. One day you’re going to look back at the photos with that little critter, and your heart will just melt.

2. Toys. I know, I already covered this in number one; except I didn’t. If you have several children at the shoot or even just one child but you also want to have some photos of just Mom and Dad, you want to keep the children who aren’t being photographed from getting too bored. The best way to do that is by bringing along something to keep them occupied.

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3. A favorite book. This can serve the purposes in both 1 and 2. You can read to a child who isn’t being photographed … or read to one who is! Think about how special the bedtime routine is for your family. When is the last time you took a photo of it? I can bring along books and capture my clients snuggled up with their children, but it means so much more if it’s a special volume that the child really loves.

Ryan bear

This cute kiddo’s teddy bear will never be forgotten, even when he’s too old to carry him around!

4. Extra clothes. Let’s face it, children have never met an outfit they couldn’t destroy. As a mom and family portrait photographer, I recognize that. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen parents so stressed that their kid will make a mess of their clothes that they (Mom and Dad) can’t relax and have fun! I’m not saying your kid is going to need that extra shirt and pants, but do yourself a favor and bring it just in case … if nothing else, it will reduce your anxiety.

5. A good bribe. In the day and age of allergies and parents swearing their kids off sugar, it’s getting harder and harder for photographers to know what to give your kids to make ’em straighten up and fly right. I tend to get them talking about their favorite toys or TV shows, and that works well, but if you’ve got something you know will really keep them in line, by all means … bring it along!

Have you taken your kids in for a family photo shoot lately? What do you wish you’d brought along?


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  1. sarah jackson says:

    Great Ideas ! our daughter has a pretty ragged bear that has been dragged everywhere and I mean everywhere for the last 4 years and if she wants him in the pic then he goes in the pic lol , he is part of the family at this point lol ! I think one thing parents should bring is some patience !

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