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Hi again!  It's me, Jenna!

With almost 12 years in business I sure do have a lot of stories to share! I hope that I can spread some joy and inspiration with the following posts. I have so much fun writing them! Please explore by choosing a category or just by scrolling through!


June 5, 2022

Stress free family photos: tips & tricks

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are, someone in your house tends to get a little stressed when it comes to photo planning. With ten years of experience in photographing families and children, plus juggling four kids of my own, I have definitely been through the trial and error stages of making our own family photos stress free. I am hopeful that after reading through my tips and tricks your next family session will seem like a breeze!

1. Choose outfits for your family photos

Planning outfits for a family photo session can bring out the stress in us all. For this reason, I started planning outfits before we even book a session with a photographer. The wardrobe should always reflect the personality of whoever is wearing it, but with so many personalities how do you coordinate?

When choosing outfits for your family photos there are three things you’ll want to consider: colors, textures, and patterns.

  1. The colors should compliment each other, and be appropriate for the season and location. Always include a lighter neutral if your palette has more dark tones, or a darker neutral if your palette has a lighter feel.
  2. To add depth to the photo and break up colors, include a variety of textures by using different fabrics, clothing layers, and accessories will add depth to the photo.
  3. Include at least one patterned piece in the mix. This is an important one! It will tie all of the colors together. It helps to choose this item first when shopping.
A variety of textures and colors being worn for family photos in Columbus, ohio.
Family photos with zero signs of stress

Add a touch of drama and personality to your next family photo session without having to swear, I mean sweat, through the racks at your local department store. Some of the best places to find photo-ready outfits are Baltic Born, Bohme, Roolee, Old Navy, Gap, H&M, Free People, and Target.

Have a family of four? Check out this session at German Village for some easy outfit inspo!

2. Play together during your family photos

Ah, children and their unpredictable motives. As their grown ups, we can spend all morning coaching them about how to act during photos but they may end up doing their own thing and that’s okay! It’s just how they operate. If your kids decide to do the complete opposite of what they were told to do minutes before hopping out of the car – let them. And if it drives you absolutely mad – smile through it. This is your opportunity to take in the lesson you were giving to them that very morning.

In actuality, a stress free family session is pretty easy to achieve with children. All you have to do is get on their level and play. Be loud, unpredictable and silly.

A little boy playfully splashing water at his dad
Siblings running through a field during their family photos

3. Melt stress away with the whisper game

If your child is in a heightened state, yelling, screaming, or bringing the party when the party should have ended hours ago, this one is for you. Get on eye level with them and hold their hands, whisper instead of talking over them. If they are calm (or small) enough to hold, whisper in their ear.

A great starting point for the whisper game is, “I see that you’re _____ (upset, so excited, angry, etc..), but I am having a hard time understanding what you are saying. Let’s whisper!” Once the whispers are mutual, try going for a short walk or sitting still with your child for a few minutes.

This could take some patience and persistence, especially if it isn’t how you normally operate at home.

A mom and son touching foreheads
A mama giving her little boy a smooch

4. Let everyone warm up to the photographer

Sensory overload is real, and it doesn’t limit itself to adults. A lot of the children I have worked with over the years, including my 6 year old, thrive on the warm up phase. This phase can last anywhere from 5-30 minutes. If we chastise our kids for bad behavior while they are already heightened, it will take longer for them to reach their calm. If you have a kiddo that has a strong sense of stranger danger, or gets overwhelmed easily, let them have the space that they need.

A family photo at Sycamore Creek Park in Pickerington, Ohio.
A little girl smiling for her photo after she has had the chance to warm up.

5. Sleep, eat, and bring snacks to your family photos

We run a tight ship when it comes to sleep and meals in our house. Tantrums happen frequently when our kids are tired or hungry. Being well rested with full bellies is a necessity for stress free family photos – that goes for the grown-ups, too! With that said, it’s always a great idea to pack mess-free snacks and something to drink. Those snacks may come in handy if all else fails and bribery comes into play.

A mom and dad making their family photos stress free by feeding their daughter a freeze pop in between photos.

Children feed off of our energy and the things that are going on around them. It’s important to show our creative little humans that they are perfect in every way. Let them be themselves, feel all of the things, and most importantly, embrace it for what it is. And remember, if you simply let things happen as they happen, there is a pretty solid chance that your family photos will be stress free.

A mom twirling her little girl through Schiller Park in Columbus, Ohio.
Stress free family photos being easily achieved while a dad plays with his daughter.
A family walking away after their family photos are complete.
A little girl smiling at the camera.
A brother and sister feed their new baby brother during a newborn session in Columbus, Ohio.
A little boy smiling at sycamore creek park in Pickerington, Ohio.
A family portrait at Goodale park in Columbus, Ohio.

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