Cleveland area family + newborn photographer 

What to Expect from Your Outdoor Family Photography Session

Cleveland, Ohio Family Photography by Lindsay Wilson

Hey! You’re probably here because you just booked an outdoor family photography session, and are hoping to gain some insight into how these sessions actually work, right? Well, you’re in the right place!

Before we dive into it – one quick thing to embrace right off the bat for *families with children 5 years old and younger*, sometimes photo sessions with these younger ones are downright unpredictable. And that’s ok! We’re going to make the most of it and capture all the emotions, all the big feelings, all the expressions.

All right, now that we have that out of the way – let’s talk about how the session will run:

  1. The “Traditional Family Portrait”

I always start with standing group poses of you and your whole family all together. The kids are usually mellow and calm because they just met a new strange lady with a big camera, and usually they are more than content to just stand with you or be held by you or your partner. This is when we get those photos that grandma wants out of the way – you know the ones I’m talking about – the ones where every single person is looking at the camera, making an attempt at a smile. In my opinion, these are the most boring shots, but definitely necessary and we’re going to take them right away. Kiddos usually start to get comfortable after the first 10-15 minutes, and they start to let those unique and fun personalities shine!

2. Each Child with Each Parent

After those group standing shots are done, I like to move on to capturing each child with each parent. Usually these photos are standing and sitting prompts. I might have you look at each other, or cuddle, or simply look at the camera.

3. Individual Shots of Each Child

Sometimes these images also have a parents hand, foot, or leg in them too, as some kiddos want to stay close to mom or dad. Keep in mind that children have a wide – w i d e – range of emotions, and I want them to be genuinely represented, so you won’t hear me tell them to smile at your outdoor family photography session. Some kids are serious, or dreamers, or have a deep desire to make others laugh, and so the expressions we capture should be natural here and not prompted.

4. Children Together

I typically have the kids hug or suggest they put their arms around each other, or have one tell the other a secret or a joke. If one child is a few years older than the other, like perhaps a 9 year old and a baby, I will have the older child sit on the ground and place the baby in the older childs’ lap, or on the ground and have the older child put their arms around the baby. It’s all about doing what already comes naturally to your kiddos!

5. Parents Together

I have so many parents tell me that they haven’t taken photos together since their weddings! Let’s make sure to capture just a few of you both together without the kids. After all, you are both the foundation of your family, and you should have those photos to show it! I will ask you to show affection to each other, like kiss or hug or snuggle. We may do these standing or seated.

6. Gently prompted “Candids”

I put quotations around the word “candids” as even the most candid looking photo has some gentle prompting from the photographer going on behind the scenes! I love to capture families genuinely interacting together, and I’ll give you gentle prompts like “tickle him a little!” or “foreheads together and slowly breathe in.” I also take true, unprompted candid shots, and capture any little moments that catch my eye.

My sessions usually unfold very naturally, without too much fuss or strictness. After all, forcing your fam into “sit there and hold it!” type poses isn’t natural, and doesn’t best represent your family anyway. I’m also big into being child-led. I will never force a child to do something they don’t want to do just for the sake of snapping a photo. Those photos aren’t happy or genuine anyway, and I wouldn’t be staying true to my own style if I took photos like that.

With that in mind – I really, REALLY want you, as their parent, to resist saying to your kids is, “smile!” or “say cheese!” I know that capturing your kids smiling is really, REALLY important to you, but I assure you we can get them to smile without forcing them to. Forced smiles aren’t genuine, and they look it in photos. Keep in mind that it’ll be okay. Just relax, be calm, and let your child relax and pick up on your calmness. Then we’ll tickle them, or swing them up in the air, or play a fun game, and we’ll start to see those real smiles pop up.

I can’t wait to photograph your family! We’re going to have fun, and enjoy the moment to the fullest!

See my Family Portfolio HERE

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What to Expect from Your Outdoor Family Photography Session

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