Mom and Dad with kids


My Best Family Session Workflow | Austin Family Photographer

It’s true – as photographers, we often grow tired of our routines and long to change things up. It’s one of the reasons that photographers invest in workshops and retreats! As someone who has photographed over 1,000 family sessions, I have a very solid workflow when it comes to my families. That is not to say that each session isn’t unique, because it absolutely is, but I go into each session with specific shots I want to capture. Here is all about my best family session workflow – I hope it can help another photographer out there change things up!

Start with Posed Family Images.

Family of four smiling at the camera

The first thing I do with a family is get everyone into position for a few posed images. Why do I do it this way? As the session goes on, the kids get more comfortable and loose, which means that they are often a lot sillier and less apt to stand still and listen. This makes for fun lifestyle photos, but it is really important to me to snap one photo where everyone in the family is looking at the camera. I head swap for this shot if I have to, and I’m happy to do it. It is a very important shot to me. If you get this photo out of the way, though, it means that you have more room to play and it’s no big deal if hairs fall out of place or we even get a bit messy. That’s part of the lifestyle fun!

Mom with Each Kid Separately

Mom with her young daughter.
Mom dancing with her daughter at sunset.
Mom with older tween daughter.
Mom snuggling her two daughters.

As moms, we are often the ones behind the camera. That’s why it’s so important to me to give moms pictures of each of their babies separately, as well as at least one of them with all their babies. As a mom myself, I believe we have unique and special relationships with each of our kids. That is why it is such a big deal to me to include this.

Dad with Kids

Dad having fun with his two daughters.
Dad with little girl.
Dad with tween daughter.

I often focus on dad photos with all kids together, with one posed and the rest fun and lifestyle. With young kids, one of my favorite things to do is ask dads to pick up all their kids at once. I tell them, there is only so long that they will all fit into your arms. Let’s take advantage of it! They usually love this one, and it makes for some silly fun to have all the kiddos smooshed together.

Sibling Shots

Two sisters playing and smiling together.

It is also really important to me to try to get one posed sibling shot, whether kids are standing or sitting. After that, we play! I ask siblings to hold hands, swing, touch noses, snuggle, and run. I love capturing the unique sibling relationship this way.

Children’s Headshots

Tween girl in a cranberry dress.
Little girl twirling.

I try to snap a “headshot” style photo of each child, either up close and/or full body so that you have at least that solo shot to remember where they were in that stage of life. I try to get one where they smile, but being totally honest, my favorites are profile shots and images where kids are staring directly into my camera with raw emotion instead of a “cheese” face.

Parents Solo.

Mom and dad kissing.

I always snap a few photos of parents. After all, it was their love for each other that led them to start their family. I always love to make sure that I sneak parents away to capture their love! Even if it’s just a couple snapshots.

Lifestyle Family Shots.

Family of four with a dog in the park.
Family snuggling each other.

I try to end each session with a dance party and have us do lots of silly prompts like holding hands and running, swinging, and just generally having families enjoy each other. These make for some of the most fun shots! There is no pressure from families to look a certain way or be at a certain angle – I am simply capturing their spirit.

What do you think of this family session workflow? Did it help give you inspiration for your next session?

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