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How to Prepare for Family Photos | Calgary Family Photographer

Updated: May 8, 2022

Family photos only come around so often, so it's easy to feel the pressure of wanting everything to be perfect!

Here are my tips to help you prepare for your family photo session stress free!


If you have a large family and trying to create your own coordinating colour palette seems like it could be a lot, my best tip is to stick with neutrals. If you want a pop of colour, add some denim into the mix! If you're feeling a little more creative, or just need some more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board here.

Pick everyone's outfits the day before so getting ready on the big day is stress free:)


For older kids, they often know the drill of what to expect. The best thing you can do for them is just to make sure they know when and where family photos will be!

For younger kids, this may be the first time they're really aware of what's going on. Before the session, make sure you describe to them in detail what's going to happen (ex. "we are going to Fish Creek park on Friday to get some fun pictures together! There will be a photographer there named Tamzen, and she's going to show us around the park and take our pictures while we explore. How does that sound?). Don't assume your children know what to expect going into new situations!

It's also important that you do not plan your session right after nap time or allow your children to sleep right up until it's time for your session. I had one family who woke their child up seconds before we were ready to start, and he was not a happy camper. Give your child time to wake up properly, especially if they're typically grumpy when they first wake up:)

When you arrive to your session, I will also explain the flow to you and your children so you can all know what's about to happen!


The hardest thing I've encountered when including pets (usually dogs) in family photos is that they don't know how to sit still!! Your dog probably spends plenty of time sitting and sleeping at home, but not because it's something you've trained them to do. Plus, when they're brought into a new environment there are lots of exciting new things for them to check out!

The most important command you can have in your tool box before a family session is for your dog to know how to STAY. It's a simple command to teach, but without it your dog may not know what's expected of her during the session.

If your dog doesn't know how to stay yet, check out this article by the American Kennel Club. It will make our session together so much easier!

Bringing a couple treats is also a great way to maintain their attention throughout our session. I usually have some on hand ;)

What is your best tip for preparing for family photos?
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