How to Prepare for a Family Lifestyle Photography Session

Have you ever looked at a photograph and felt like you could see into a person’s soul? Photography is an amazing way to tell a story that would otherwise be difficult to articulate. Lifestyle sessions are meant to be candid, capturing your family in the most authentic way: how you love each other, how you connect, how you laugh and play together.

The location plays a big role in the look and feel of your photographs. It’s important to choose a place where your family will feel happy and natural. Do you love outdoor adventures? Do you enjoy ice cream, cupcakes or coffee? Beside a creek, atop a scenic overlook, in a colorful garden, at an iconic urban spot, or in an open field are just some of the spots families love. Inside your home works, too!

Consider your ultimate goals for the session. What kind of photographs do you envision displayed on the walls of your home? If its mom in a flowy dress with her hair blowing in the wind, children running free through a grassy field or your family strolling along the sidewalk in your favorite part of town, you should be outdoors. On the other hand, the comfort of your home is a great option for “a day in the life” type photographs like playing your favorite games or baking cookies in the kitchen. The way your family loves to be together should inspire the location.

What you decide to wear goes a really long way in not only making beautiful photographs, but also creating images that capture your personality. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start shopping:

  • Mamas, choose your outfit first and build everything else around that. For example, if your dress is printed, weave those secondary colors into the other outfits. Women photograph so well in lightweight, somewhat long and flowy dresses. This type of piece will move with you and look so romantic floating in the breeze. Some women feel most relaxed in jeans, but they just don’t convey the same carefree spirit. That being said, no judgement if denim is your go-to!
  • While jeans aren’t the best fit for women, they are perfect for dad. The texture photographs beautifully. Men are also more relaxed in front of the camera when they are wearing something comfortable.
  • Children’s outfits are the perfect opportunity to bring a more whimsical vibe into the photographs. Their favorite sparkly tutu or superhero cape are perfect props to bring along. You may see them every day now, but one day they will simply be memorable relics of their childhood. Just make sure they are comfortable and free to move around easily.
  • When it comes to colors, pick one of the following trends to mix with neutrals (white, cream, gray). The camera loves:
    • Jewel tones (sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst purple, turquoise, topaz yellow)
    • Earthy tones (forest green, desert tones, midnight blue, seafoam green)

Above anything else, it’s so important for families to feel at ease going into their session because a relaxed attitude is really conveyed through the photographs.

My guess is that you didn’t choose to work with me because all that you want is a dozen formal portraits. Sure, we will get a couple of posed photographs, but the point is to be your authentic selves so that one day you can look back and remember the beautiful details of how you were then.

Let your kids be little. If they run around and scream at the top of their lungs, let them. This is your family – embrace it. They will have the most fun if you run around with them instead of asking them to come sit down. Look at them, tickle them, love on them, swing them around. ENJOY THEM. The point is to interact with each other. What makes a photograph beautiful is emotion and sentiment. Don’t worry about a hair out of place. Concentrate your energy on laughing and smiling towards the camera. If you choose to embrace the chaos, have fun and go with the flow, I will show you how beautiful it truly is from the outside looking in. Years from now, these photographs will bring the biggest smiles to your faces.

Let’s chat about planning your family lifestyle session! hello@melanieapplegate.com

Follow my journey on Instagram. @melanieapplegatephotography

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