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6 Secrets to Getting the Best Family Photos

6 Secrets to Getting the Best Family Photos

Family portraits are great for holiday cards, gifts, and most importantly, capturing memories. However, preparing your family for a photoshoot can be a daunting task. I’ve put together six secrets to getting the best family photos to help you make it an enjoyable and stress-free experience!

A mother and her two daughter smile comfortably on a bed. The best family photos in Colorado Springs, Colorado documented by Capture Life, Photography.

1. Come Relaxed

This may sound easier said than done. However, the more relaxed you and your family are going into your photoshoot, the happier and more relaxed you’ll appear in your photos.

To avoid unnecessary stress, plan your outfits the week beforehand. Have everyone try on their outfit at least once to make sure it fits and it’s comfortable. Then, lay out the outfits and any accessories (and shoes) the night before so they’re ready to go the day of your session.

A mother, father, and son smile on a winter day. The best family photos captured in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Next, consider how much time each family member will need to get ready the day of the shoot and build in a buffer to ensure you can avoid rushing out the door. Before you leave, plan for everyone to get a good meal. A relaxed and well-fed family makes for the best family photos!

2. Coordinate Your Clothes

I understand how challenging finding the right clothes for your family portrait can be, but don’t worry! I have some valuable tips to make selecting outfits easier. 

five children of various ages smile together. Family portraits in Colorado.

First, do not all wear the same color. Instead, wear coordinating and complementary colors. For example, blues, grays, and whites work well together, as do tans, beiges, and greens. Try not to overdo it with bold colors and patterns, though, as these can be distracting.

Next, consider the season as you’re planning your colors. If it’s a spring or summer shoot, wear lighter blues, yellows, whites, reds, pinks, and purples. For a fall or winter shoot, don’t be afraid to showcase flannels, along with darker reds, oranges, tans, navy, and dark greens. 

A father and son smile together. Colorado Springs Colorado Photographer Capture Life Photography shares the best tips for family photos.

Don’t forget to check the weather ahead of time: You don’t want to wear anything that will make you feel uncomfortable in the cold or heat. Overall, have your family wear something nice and keep in mind that for the best family photos, they should also look like themselves.

3. Get Your Family Photo-Ready


Schedule your family’s trims about one week before your photoshoot. Now is not the time for anyone to try a crazy new ‘do! I recommend wearing your hair how you typically would for a nice occasion: styled, but nothing too formal. Men, be sure to have a clean shave. Add extra hair spray, creams, or conditioner to maintain fly-away hair and prevent static. 


Make sure everyone brushes their teeth, and flosses! Double-check the kids’ teeth before your photoshoot to make sure everyone’s smiles are photo-ready.

A family smiles in front of a mountainous landscape.


Next, make sure your family has cleaned and trimmed fingernails, and toenails if anyone is wearing open-toed shoes. It may not seem necessary, but they’re sometimes visible in photos. Make sure your family has neat nails before your shoot for the best family photos. For ladies, I suggest a pedicure and/or manicure with neutral or clear polish. 


If you’re going to be wearing makeup, try not to go overboard. A family portrait should look and feel natural, so wear the makeup you would typically wear day-to-day.

A mother and daughter smile at the camera. Best Family Portraits Colorado Springs Colorado


While glasses are necessary for everyday life, they don’t photograph well. The lenses cause a glare in images. To avoid this, you can choose to take photos without your glasses or buy/rent a pair of glasses without the lenses. Some eye doctors will even remove the lenses for you.

At a minimum, make sure glasses are free from smudges and fingerprints, and we can get creative with posing to avoid glare. 

My number one rule for glasses: Do not wear transition lenses!

A family smiles together for a photo. Get the best family photos with tips from Colorado photographer Capture Life Photography.


I understand that blemishes can be embarrassing and unwanted. But, they happen! If they are a major concern, let me know ahead of time and we can discuss editing options. However, a little cover-up tends to do the trick.

Check out my senior pictures checklist blog for more advice on getting photo-ready.

Two boys huge and smile at the camera. Family portrait trips from Colorado family and lifestyle photographer Capture Life Photography.

4. Prepare Your Kids for the Best Family Photos

Young children don’t understand what’s happening as you prepare for family photos, and their behavior isn’t always predictable! Prepare your young kids for the best family photos by following these simple steps. 

  • Keep a positive attitude around your kids. This will help them feel more relaxed.
  • Make sure they’ve had their nap and are well-rested. The last thing tired kids want to do is stand still for photos. 
  • Make sure they’ve gone to the bathroom before the shoot starts.
  • Bring snacks: something that will give them energy and not be too messy, like grapes or carrots. No Cheeto fingers! 

Most of all, remember that kids will be kids. They may not want to sit still or pose for long, but that’s okay. The silly and not picture-perfect moments are sometimes the best photos. Therefore, adjust your expectations.

A mother and son walk away from the camera together. Family portraits and photoshoots are a specialty of Capture Life Photography in Colorado.

You won’t always get the typical posed family pictures, especially with younger kiddos. If they aren’t cooperating and are highly distracted, expect to receive less posed pictures and more interactive, lifestyle photos. Sometimes, these turn out best and truly captures the moment and stage of your child’s life!

5. You Do the Smiling, I Do The Posing

Once your family is at your shoot, it’s time to relax, I’ve got it from here! Parents, don’t stress about your kids or pets posing, that’s my job. I make sure everyone is in their right spot so you get the best family photos possible. 

Take this time to enjoy being with your family. My photo sessions are meant to be fun for everyone, including you. If you’re feeling a bit stressed, remember that I’ve seen it all and I’m here to provide guidance and support.

A father and mother smile with their two small children. Lifestyle and family photography provided by Capture Life Photography.

6. Get the Best Family Photos With Your Pets

If you’re going to be taking your family portrait with your pets, there are a few extra steps to follow. First, make sure they’ve been walked or had some exercise prior to your photoshoot. This will help burn off energy and be calmer during your session! Arrive early at our location so your dog has a chance to sniff around the area and get familiar with the area.

Knowing which keywords get their attention will help me get them to look at the camera. Also, bring some of their treats and toys. They deserve to have fun at the photoshoot, too! 

It may feel like there is much to prepare for in order to get the best family photos, but, I’ll let you in on a little secret. As long as you are with your family and enjoying the experience, you will love your images.


Check out my family photography portfolio to view the families I’ve captured over the years. Then, contact me to book your session!

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