5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back
5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

Fall tends to be a busy season for photographers. It’s no wonder why. The weather is great and the changing leaves usually lead to gorgeous backdrops for family portraits. I recently took my family to a local park to update our family portraits.

Whether you are like me and taking the family portraits yourself, or hiring a photographer, I have a few things you should do to prepare for family portraits:

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back


Prepare everything right down to the shoes. Don’t wait until last minute. Start thinking about your outfit choices days in advance. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute looking for a t-shirt or scarf to match the family.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist

Stick with 2 colors and one neutral to get the best look possible. Be mindful of patterns. Mix and match these colors between members of your family for a cohesive look that isn’t too cookie cutter.


I’m not sure about your kids, but mine suddenly become fuddy duddies when I whip the camera out and tell them to smile. They moan and groan and complain about how long it’s taking. Get them ready ahead of time and bribe them (I do!) with a nice treat if they cooperate.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Abby Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist - Kaia Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Losh

Or threatening always works too. – I’m only slightly kidding – I told my kids they BETTER cooperate and the quicker they do, they sooner we could be done. Worked like a charm.


It helps going into a photo shoot to know what you are wanting. Be prepared with a list of poses and ideas. Also, be prepared for the photographer to suggest other ideas that may be more flattering, or better suited for the location/lighting available.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Group Shot

Know that not every image snapped will be one worth sharing. Eye may be closed, or the focus may be slightly off. Before moving on from a much desired pose, take a peek at the image to make sure it’s suitable.


Do a little research beforehand to know if any permits are required or if the location you are using has already been reserved. Keep in mind that it is illegal and considered trespassing to shoot where you do not have permission.

This job is usually left up to the photographer, but I have increasingly seen photographers shooting at illegal locations, or not receiving permission or permits prior to the shoot.


Finally, and especially important if you are taking the portraits yourself, prepare your equipment. Charge those batteries, clear those cards, and make sure you have every thing you need to complete the shoot, including those pesky tripod clips that always seem to walk off.

Before you walk out the door, take inventory to make sure it’s all there.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back copy

That’s it! Follow these 5 steps and you will be prepared for your family portraits.

If you are in Central Arkansas and need your family portraits updated, let’s talk! You can find my photography page on Facebook here.

Have you had family portraits done recently?
I took my family and got all the images you see in this post this past week. Prior to that, 2013 was the last time we had portraits done! Yikes!!

Author: Aduke Schulist

Aduke Schulist is a 30 something content creator living in the heart of Arkansas. She enjoys blogging, vlogging, and spending way too much time on social media. Aduke is a big fan of true crime documentaries and advocating for people with special needs. You can find Aduke on social media as @AdukeSchulist.

29 thoughts on “5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits”

  1. I love your pictures! It’s so great to have family portraits hanging in your wals or inside your photo album.. I’ve actually never done a family portait and I so want to do it, Photographers for things like this are quite rare in Greece (they only go on weddings) and really expensive.. I might try something out with my own tripod! I’ll let you know!

    Much love, Apostolia xx

  2. Your family photos are beautiful! I used to do a lot of portrait shots and the 50mm lens was never missing from my photo kit. I think it’s a brilliant lens to make the photos stand out. Also, a beautiful autumn scenery is also required for that wow factor 🙂

  3. Great tips! I was thinking of doing family portraits for Christmas cards this year. I always have such a hard time pulling off a great picture, but hopefully these tips help, thanks for sharing!

  4. My daughter has learned to promise her sons ice cream or some kind of special treat if they smile nicely during photos. They’re 5, 3 and 1, and if they get it in their heads to be grumpy, it’s all over!

  5. That’s a great idea because there is nothing quite like a great family portrait. Even nicer if you all coordinate and wear similar colors and outfits so that you can match and look like a team. I love it.

  6. We don’t have any family portrait, I think it is best to have one. These tips are awesome, your photos are beautiful!

  7. Great photos, I think fall is such a beautiful time to take photos, you need to go for it! I also love the idea of making a checklist to ensure you have everything, that is really smart!

  8. Those are great tips for family photos. I love your photos, the location is beautiful. I’m in need of new family photos, we haven’t had any done in 6 years.

  9. Family photos are always a great way to preserve memories. I’d like to get a nice professionally shot one of our family done.

  10. Thank you for all of the tips. I have to say my favorite picture is the one from behind. There is just something about photos like this that make it very special looking and like a captured moment.

  11. Aw I love how you chose the forest as the location. I think location is really important since if it’s a city it’s most likely a bit difficult. Beautiful photos.

  12. Family photos have definitely taken a life of their own as they can now be taken where you would like them to be and not just in a studio. These are some great tips!

    1. I love that about pictures. I actually can’t even recall a family portrait that I’ve seen lately that has been taken in a studio. I think outdoors with all the natural landscaping and lighting is the way to go.

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