Behind the Scenes of a Family Session

Ever wonder what it’s like to have a family photography session? Well come along as I show you a little peek at what a family session generally looks like at Indigo Squirrel films + photos.


Every session is unique… even when photographing the same family! This post will hopefully give you an idea of what a family session might be like with your family. Of course, how your session goes depends on a lot of different things… your family dynamic, weather, location, naps, hunger level, type of session, outfits, and mood of every person in the family.

Don’t worry! As long as we do a little preparation before your session, everything will be great!


You are ready to finally have some good photographs of your family…. with YOU in them. (because you are generally the one taking photos…. which is totally my problem!) Hubby and the kids have so many photos and I barely have any with me and the kids.

After finding my session information here, you choose a session that works best for your family this year and click on the booking link. Then you choose a session date and pay a deposit to reserve your date. The hardest part is done! Now it’s time to prepare for our session!

Once you book a session, I will send more information about choosing a location, planning outfits for your family and tips for session day. We can discuss your session either by having a chat on the phone or communicating by email. Now that all the details are taken care of… we are ready for session day!


I always try to arrive early to walk around our location. Even locations I’ve been to 100 times (I’m looking at you Holcomb Gardens…) look different every time I have a session. Depending on what flowers are blooming, where the sun is setting, what ages are in your family, I pre-think were we will walk to at this location.

Once you arrive, looking amazing with your family, we have a little greeting and small talk. Then we walk to the nearest lovely location and take …. “The Grandma Photo”. You know, the one of everyone looking and smiling at the camera. Everyone still looks amazing and kids (and even pets) are on their best behavior.

After our G-ma photo, I usually try the kids on their own. This totally depends on the kids, their age(s) and how comfortable they are with photos. If they are not ready yet, then we take some parent + kid photos. Luckily, I have photographed these children before and they wanted to show me their colorful umbrellas. We walked, talked and took a few more photos to our next location.

Act 1 – The Beginning

At our next stop, we begin with family photos again.

Then we head over to the steps to be able to sit, snuggle and giggle. I like letting the kids help make decisions about where to take photos. These two like the steps and were really adorable for about two seconds… until they were ready to move to the next location.

Sometimes it fun to keep everyone together moving to the next location by holding hands.

Act 2 – The Middle

This is where most of the in-between magic happens. Everyone is feeling more relaxed in front of the camera and having fun. I am always looking for genuine smiles and laughter to capture individual portraits. Even your furry baby receives a portrait!

Note: I love all of kids expressions. Sometimes pensive and not smiling photos are my favorite. Although, I do try and almost always can get a genuine smile… not just the “cheese” smile.

If someone has or is wearing something special, I like to photograph it. In this case, sweet girl was wearing a special locket with photos of her Mom and Dad on the inside. So sweet!

Act 3 – The End

As our session comes to an end, I usually ask if there is any specific photos you would like. I’m always happy to try new ideas or poses.

This family was sitting and making up stories to tell each other. It was seriously so adorably sweet and funny! I love stepping back and watching them make each other laugh.

Exit – Stage Left

We walk back to our cars and say goodbye. I know you are excited to see photos from your session, so I edit a few to share on social media a day or two after our session. (I always check with my clients to see if they are okay with sharing online.)

Depending on the date and type of session it takes me about 2 – 3 weeks to edit and print your photographs. When I’m finished editing, I send an email with a link to an online gallery or to coordinate picking up any prints or enlargements.

One final note: I have been photographing families for over 5 years now. There is no “perfect family”. The photos I take are the highlights from our session. Sometimes kids act a little silly, funny, or you might even think…”who is this wild child?” during our session. This is TOTALLY NORMAL and I encourage everyone to roll with the flow and keep smiling. We can move locations, give them some time to get silliness out or even stop to have a snack + drink. I have 3 children and totally get it!

Every year, I have sessions with very energetic kids and at the end of the session, the parents look at me and ask, “were you able to get anything?” I assure them I did and when they see the final images, they always exclaim, “I can’t believe there are so many amazing photos!”

Hopefully this will help you relax and enjoy your next family photography session!

Are you ready to have an amazing family session? Click here to get all the details!