Preparing for your Family Portrait Session

Be Early & Prepared

The number one thing that you will need during your session is *BABY WIPES*. These magical little towels are my savior at home, in my business and in literally aspect of my life. Okay, super dramatic, but REALLY. Bring a pack for noses, dirty faces, hands, etc. You’ll be so thankful you have them!

I always recommend clients with young children arrive AT LEAST 10-15 minutes early. When we take family portraits, we leave our baby in her “street” clothes until we arrive (so they don’t get dirty or wrinkled), then we change her into her outfit and do her hair. Nothing ruins the perfect set of pigtails like a toddler in a carseat. Bring all of the combs, sprays & rubber bands/clips you need and do their hair when you arrive!

One of the most important tips with kids is make sure they’ve had their naps, they’ve eaten and they have clean & dry butts! Oh, and for the love of everything that is holy, BRING AN EXTRA OUTFIT FOR THE LITTLE ONES! You won’t regret it, pinky promise.

Remember, your kids are KIDS!

PLEASE don’t walk into our session with the expectation that they’ll be perfectly behaved, smile for the camera and listen to everything you say. Because you will be sadly mistaken. Kids. Are. Kids. I have a toddler, and I TOTALLY get it. They’re wild cards, and usually the best photos come from them being themselves! If they’re over 2, it may help to tell them about our session leading up to it. Practice “cheesing” at the camera and talk about it so it doesn’t seem so scary when they get in front of my camera. I don’t do a lot of hard poses with toddlers, I mainly do poses, or prompts, that require you guys to interact with each other. I love capturing genuine emotion, so let them be themselves. Don’t worry, we will get a few of them smiling at the camera. But the ones of them laughing with you & running and playing are the ones you’ll cherish for years to come ❤️

Bribery is your BEST Friend

Bringing their favorite toy, snack or treat is a great way to get them to participate in our session. Toys are great for younger babies to get their attention, but won’t really work too well over 3. Snacks & treats are another great way I can get them to look at me and listen! Small, mess free things like M&Ms, Fruit Snacks, etc. are great. Also, promising them something fun or yummy for afterward works like a charm!

Dress for the Weather

No one likes to be too hot or too cold, especially when you can’t understand why you’re uncomfortable. Believe me, my daughter has the CUTEST little wool petticoat. Although we love it, I know not to put her in it when it is 70 degrees, because she will get fussy…FAST! This isn’t as big of an issue, but not dressing them warm enough is. In early spring, winter or late fall it is so easy to pick an ADORABLE outfit for the babies, and not think about it being chilly. “The sleeveless dress is adorable, it is only 50 degrees. She will be fine for a few minutes!”. I’ve heard this more times than I can count, and every time I do, I can guarantee that baby will want nothing to do with me or my “getting attention” noises. Please buy a cute coat, scarf, hat, etc. and make sure those babies are warm! You’ll thank me later. We can book another session in the summer to wear that “warmer” outfit.

Planning your Family’s Outfits

This is going to be a long one. There are plenty of Do’s & Don’ts when it comes to planning your family’s outfits. Whenever my family has portraits made, this is THE MOST stressful part for me. So here are my main tips to help you plan!


  • Begin thinking about your outfits 1-2 weeks before the session.
  • Lock in your outfit choice AT LEAST a week before the session, and make sure you have all of the pieces. Don’t go to the store the day before!
  • Wear neutral, coordinating colors. Remember, timeless not tacky!
  • NO flip flops. Please. Don’t do it.
  • Hide diapers with bloomers, tights, etc.
  • Wear fitted clothing ( Not tight, fitted)
  • In the chilly season, utilize layers!


  • Unfitted, baggy clothing
  • Avoid any clothing with words (T-Shirts)
  • Don’t dress everyone in all black, or all white. I LOVE WHITE. However, pair it with a pastel or two and khakis. Not all white.
  • Sleeveless shirts, spaghetti straps, etc.
  • Short dresses (When the girls run, we will see diapers!)
  • A lot of patterns/ Intense pattern mixing

I always recommend solids and a pattern or two. For example, if the mom is wearing a floral pattern, have Dad in solids and the child(ren) in either REALLY subtle patterns or solids. Try to stay in the same color family (Don’t have each member of the family in a different bold color). I’m always just a message away, so If you need help deciding on what to wear, shoot me a message and I’d be happy to help!

Lastly, Relax and HAVE FUN!

This is my family! Captured by Danielle Elyse Photography

This can either be a stressful or a fun & carefree time. Just relax and let’s have fun! Kids are going to be kids. I have one (almost two!) of my own, and I work with them all the time. I know they can be a little crazy, so don’t be embarrassed or upset with them. I guarantee they won’t do anything I haven’t seen before! Let’s laugh, play and capture the true emotion and vibes of your family. I promise if you go along with it, you’ll have a blast! And we will capture some amazing portraits while doing so ❤️

I can’t wait to work with you and your family!


Alissa J Moore


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