Holiday Family Photo Shoot + Tips For a Fuss-Free Session with Kids

I can’t believe it’s taken this long, but we finally had our very first family photoshoot!  I’ve been wanting to capture the whole family for a while, but it’s been hard getting a professional shoot scheduled and then there’s the scheduling.

I am beyond happy with how they turned out and I’m even more happy that Ava was in a good mood.  If you’ve followed along for a while, you know my baby is not too keen on taking photos.

Big sister Olivia, however, never met a camera she didn’t like.  We tried to schedule naps before the shoot so they would both be rested and ready to go. Unfortunately, Ava had other ideas.  She went down for maybe 30 minutes…and I was freaking out!

I was already anticipating the tantrums, screams and the complete waste of time and money.  Lucky for us, Josh grabbed a big bag of gummi bears on the way to our shoot location and it was a lifesaver.

We decided on a nature shoot and picked Hermann Park in Houston’s museum district as the perfect locale.  The overhanging trees and dirt trails made for a beautiful backdrop. It also helped that the weather was very comfortable 70 degrees.

Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot

Dress & Shoes // Olivia’s Dress

Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot
Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot
Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot
Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot

Our photographer also brought a few props that were perfect given the season.  A plaid blanket on a wood crate was an adorable bench for the girls to sit and pose.

I wanted to have the shoot early in the morning as the sun rose, but my photographer had different plans.

She suggested a 4:30 pm time and I’ll admit, I was kind of against the idea.  I pictured a photoshoot with harsh lighting and a crowded park (it was a Sunday after all.)  She mentioned that the lighting would be ideal and so I went along.  I’m so glad I did!!

The lighting was so beautiful because it was nearing sunset and it just created a beautiful glow.  Leave it to a professional, right??!?

Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot
Houston blogger Maria Munoz with family during photo shoot

It was an amazing experience and I’m so happy to have these memories that I get to hang on our walls at home.  I did learn a few things that will definitely help going into our next shoot.

Family Photo Shoot Tips + Tricks

  • Bring Snacks — when you have two little kids, snacks are king!  Apple slices, crackers, candy — whatever it takes.
  • Remember they are just kids! –  When dealing with young children you cannot get upset if they start to act up.  Instead, try making it a fun experience.  In this case, we told the girls we were going to the park.   Most of our shots are use strolling down the trails or just sitting on the bench.  We did take a few of the girls by themselves and we noticed the more we tried to get Ava to pose, the more she would act up or just get up and run.  When we let her do what she wanted, she cooperated and followed Olivia’s lead which was great!
  • Sunset lighting is amazing — An afternoon photo sesh in the summer may not be ideal because of the heat and humidity, but it’s perfect in the fall and winter.  After daylight savings, sunsets usually occur around 5:30p (in Houston) so an hour before gives you time to get some really good shots with the best light.  You could try a sunrise shoot, but then you may risk having some really cranky kiddos.  Just make sure naps are taken a couple of hours before so they’ll be fresh-eyed and bushy-tailed.
  • Have Fun! — If you get too worked up about getting the “perfect shot” you’re not going to truly enjoy the experience.  Sure we see the “perfect” shoots on Pinterest and Instagram and try to emulate, but those people are not YOUR family.  You want to capture your family’s personality in the photos and you don’t want it to come off too staged or fake.  Enjoy the moment, laugh, have fun and smile!

I hope these tips help you during your shoot.  I am by no means an expert, but these tips and tricks did help a great deal during our first family photoshoot.

There’s nothing better than capturing memories of your loved ones and being able to see them for years to come.

The kids will also enjoy seeing their younger selves as they grow older.  So go ahead and book your photographer and go out and create memories.

If you’re in the Houston area — our awesome and super patient photographer was Morgan.

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