Plan Your Family Portraits

Local Photographers Share Their Expertise for Getting Successful Family Photos Worth Treasuring

Photos capture people and important moments like few things can: newlyweds, newborns, beloved furry friends, grandparents, graduates, family in all its forms. Freezing our nearest and dearest in time is what portrait photographers do, and finding the right one for your family can make all the difference. 

“My advice is to interview your potential photographer. Because there is no licensing for our industry, it is up to the client to research and interview prospective photographers who may be a good fit for them,” says April Sova, owner of Remember When Portraits based in Maineville, Ohio. 

Talking with photographers will help you get to know how they interact, what the experience will be like, their specialties, as well as costs and details about your final product. 

“One of the reasons I do the consultation prior to the session is to help ease my clients. I find that we work out a lot of the jitters simply by building a relationship before the camera ever comes out,” she says. 

You may also want to find out how long they’ve been doing portrait photography, their editing style and take a look at their portfolio. Finally, it’s a great idea to discuss your intentions for the photos, location and any styling, hair or makeup questions. 

“I want to know as much as possible about what you want this experience to be so I can best curate the perfect session for you,” says Leon McDonald, owner of Janel Lee Photography, a portrait photographer who specializes in magazine-inspired photo shoots.  

“I bring the celebrity photo shoot experience to the everyday person,” Leon says. “From the moment you come into our studio, it's all about you. We cater to your every need. You go through hair and makeup, and my assistants give you detailed attention to make sure you look perfect in every image.” 

Not all photographers have experience shooting pets, young kids or older people, so be sure to ask about that, too. April, who also has a degree in veterinary technology, is a mother of three (two of her children have special needs) and once ran a daycare, is very comfortable working with families with pets and kids of all ages and abilities. 

Although photography can be a luxury item, family photos are also prized possessions that give you a window into special moments and people you love the most for years to come. 

Location Tips  

  • Indoor shoots are the best way to avoid rescheduling due to unpredictable weather. “I also like shooting indoors because I can control the light,” April says. 

  • “Outdoor sessions can offer more visually,” Leon says. You might also want to opt for outdoors if you have a meaningful location or want a more seasonal look. 

  • Natural light is beautiful and can be used to create stunning images. A good photographer should also “have a working knowledge of flash and how it can be used to enhance or even replicate natural light,” Leon explains. 

Tips for Kids and Pets

  • If you know your animal is anxious and gets wound up in public, take them for a long walk or play ball hard prior to the session to wear them out. Don’t forget a toy or treats!

  • Consider capturing milestones when children are small because they grow so quickly. “For my own children, I followed this schedule: newborn, sitting (4–6 months), crawling (7–9 months), walking/first birthday, 18 months, then go to yearly for individual photos,” April says.

Remember When Portraits 


Janel Lee Photography


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