Planning for Family Photography


Ever since Lisa was born, our clients and friends have remarked that we must have “SO MANY” photos of her. It’s true, she is a very cute baby, and we are photographers, and we do in fact have many photos of her. But I have to admit that our family photography does not happen quite as organically as I originally assumed it would. Between our clients and our daily family duties a lot of our time is already spoken for. This is a predictable problem, but it’s not the whole story. Recently I figured out another reason we often struggle with our own personal shoots.

Photography Takes Planning

Our best photos of Dannie and Lisa have been the ones we planned the best. For the featured image of this post, taken at Fort DeSoto Park, we knew exactly where we were going to be and how we were going to pose long before we even chose the date for the shoot. But while we always put a lot of effort and planning into the photos we take for our clients, we are sometimes more cavalier with our own images. Often we will head out for the day, dress nicely and bring a camera, confident that we will take some photos “at some point.” It almost never works.

A while ago we wrote a blog post to help our clients get ready for their photo shoots. It contained 10 things they could do before and during the shoot to make sure the photos came out great. I just read it over last night, and I realized that when it came to our own family, we were pretty much ignoring the rules we suggest to our clients. Tsk. Tsk.

Family Photography Advice (from ourselves) We Should Be Following:

  • Plan the Photos: It’s always good to have a vision in your mind of what the final images will look like.
  • Show up On Time: You can still be late, even if you don’t hire someone. We often find ourselves rushing when we don’t set aside time specifically for our family photos
  • Bring a Snack: How many times have we gotten to cranky to smile for the camera? Exactly the same number of times we didn’t bring a snack (that goes for baby Lisa, Dannie, and myself)
  • Wear the Right Shoes: We’ve messed this one up both ways. Sometimes we’ll wear shoes that are comfortable but don’t look right for the context of the photo. Other times we’ll dress up just right but Dannie’s feet will get so sore by the time we walk to the site that she doesn’t feel safe holding Lisa. Sometimes Lisa forgets to wear shoes entirely… Babies!
  • Stay Positive: Actually, for the most part we do stay pretty positive. I only mention it because it’s going to be really important for us to maintain a good attitude while we’re taking photos in Europe this Fall and next year.


Behind the scenes: Sometimes when we do venue walkthroughs with our clients we bring Lisa along with us. Since we are already dressed nicely for the walkthrough, and the venues tend to be beautiful locations, we sometimes grab a few photos of ourselves while we’re there. Dannie or I usually carry Lisa around in our Ergo Baby Carrier, which keeps Lisa comfortable and leaves us hands free and undistracted so we can pay attention to our clients.

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