Family Session Prep Guide

Time to update those family portraits? Of course it is! My belief is that you can’t really overdo it on pictures of the people you love, especially those little ones who grow and change faster than you ever thought possible. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your family session with Victoria Griest Photography.


First and foremost, choose outfits that make you feel good and comfortable! That feeling of confidence will show through in your photos. Dress appropriately for the weather; it’s especially hard for kids to give authentic smiles if they are feeling way too hot or too cold.

Don’t be afraid of vibrant colors, textures and patterns like florals and plaid. Competing patterns and multiple “busy” prints, along with t-shirts with big logos, images, and/or words on it are discouraged. I recommend that you go for coordinating colors among your family members rather than matching. You don’t all need to wear khakis and blue sweaters! A mix of textures and colors that “go together” rather than match makes for fun and stunning photos. Remember to include shoes when you’re considering the overall look and coordination of your outfits; your feet will definitely be in some of the photos.


If you are hoping to change outfits for some variety, I recommend no more than 1-2 changes so we can be efficient with the time we have together. For additional outfits you might like to bring, keep the location in mind. If we’re at a park with no restroom handy, switching from one sweater to another and changing up your accessories will be much easier than an entire outfit change. Dressing in layers will help.

Finer Details

For those of you who wear makeup, plan on applying it as you normally would, just a tad heavier. You should still look and feel like yourself. We do recommend paying the most attention to your eye makeup; we really focus on eyes in portraits, so check to make sure your eyeliner and mascara look the way you want them to.

Chapstick for the whole family is a great idea to keep your lips from looking dry or cracked. Consider bringing along a comb and hair ties/accessories if you need to do some quick fixes to anyone’s hair in the middle of the session. If you’re planning on haircuts, do so about a week before the session.

Nails can be another distractor in photos, so be sure chipped nail polish is removed and kids have their nails trimmed and free of dirt.

If you child has a bruise, a pimple, skinned knees– do not worry! That is something that comes with the territory and I will make sure they are not visible in your final images. I do ask for you help in removing any stamps and/or temporary tattoos that you child may have on their bodies.


If you wear glasses, you’ll probably find us spending extra time getting your pose just right to try to reduce glare and shadows from the lenses. Some people like to wear contact lenses or take their glasses off for the session; however, don’t feel the need to go without glasses if that means you won’t look like yourself. If you happen to visit your eye doctor before your session, check and see if you could borrow a spare pair of frames without lenses; you can still look like you but eliminate the glare and shadows. Any tinted lenses cannot be lightened.

The Day of Your Session

Once again considering our location, be sure to use the restroom right before your session. There might not be one easily accessible.

Props aren’t required but are always welcome. This could be anything from your own bench or chair, balloons, sport equipment, stuffed animals, flowers or anything else you’d like to include. Props like your child’s favorite bear or blanket can help your child to feel comfortable and engaged in the session; more than that, it adds a sweet, sentimental touch.

Take the Pressure Off

Telling your children how important the photos are, or how they need to smile or act a certain way, causes a lot of unnecessary stress on little ones. Believe it or not, family photo sessions are meant to be fun! Set them up for success by making it as casual as possible, and just encourage them to be their (best) natural selves. 

Say Cheese! (Or Not)

For families with young kids, you can expect me to say or do silly things to get real smiles. As parents, for the posed shots, just keep looking at the camera and smiling while all that craziness is going on. Otherwise, follow my direction, play your kids and just have fun! For the times that you aren’t in the picture, you can stand back and let me interact with the kids so they’re looking right at me and not distracted. If I need some help, I'll let you know.

Some children take time to warm up or just feel a little shy around photographers with big cameras. It’s a very normal and understandable reaction! We never want to make kids feel bad for being unsure. My aim is to be adaptable when it comes to getting the kiddos comfortable; different things work for different families. For some, talking and playing with the kids will help; for others, letting you play and cuddle as a family while we capture those interactions is a better way to go.


With younger children especially, I'm happy to let kids run around a bit between posed shots. Letting them be little goes a long way in helping them warm up and I love capturing those candid moments. 

Above all else, I want you to enjoy yourselves during your family portrait session. I'll do my part to make sure you look amazing and will give you directions as needed. For the most part, you can relax and do what feels natural; if I need to make adjustments, I’ll let you know. Just have fun! Trust me: the “we’re actually having fun” smiles are always the best ones.

If you have any questions about anything written above, or just about the session in general, please do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to working with you soon!

After the session: "How/When do we see our photos?"


That’s a great question! Upon completing your session, your images are immediately backed up. Once safely backed up, I cull through and carefully choose the best images.


Then I edit one for a sneak peek. This image will be posted on my facebook business page within 48 hours of our session.


My turnaround time for your full gallery is 1 week. I try my best to over deliver, I just pick the best moments to edit and share with you but I do guarantee at least 15 images.


Once I've finished editing your session, I will upload it to Shootproof. This is a photo gallery hosting website. Then I send you the link and you are free to download, print, and share your images.

Victoria Griest Photography

1242 Lincoln Way E

Massillon, Oh 44646


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Massillon, OH 44646


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Victoria Griest Photography offers services throughout north east Ohio Including:

Alliance | Akron | Ashland | Canton | Cleveland | Cuyahoga Falls | Elyra | Massillon | New Philadelphia | Wooster | Youngstown