How to End Up with Gorgeous, Magazine-Worthy Images AND Have the Best Photo Session Experience EVER in Lebanon and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Do you ever look at a photo and think, "How'd they do that?"

They look so happy and effortless, so beautiful and carefree. I am here to tell you ALL the secrets to achieving that kind of fun family vibe. It's not as hard as it looks, but it does take some intentionality and teamwork, not only between parents but also between you and I. Think of your photographer as the coach. I know where we're trying to go, but it's up to you to help push it in the right direction.

Bonus: If you're looking for a family photographer near Lancaster or Lebanon, PA who can give you that sort of relaxed, fun experience, I'm right here!

Little boy gives his mom a kiss while she smiles for family photos

Parents, put on your carefree face

This is the first secret: Usually in photographs it's not the kids I have to worry about. It's the parents. Even when they're scowling, kids look cute. Parents on the other hand? Not so much. So when those kiddos act up (and they usually do), I want you to turn your face to them and act like they are doing the cutest thing EVER. Put on your carefree face and let NOTHING phase you.

Not only are you going to let it roll off you like water off a duck's back, you can take this opportunity to turn every little thing your child does into play. Is that two-year-old running away from you as fast as his little legs can go? Well run after him and when you catch him, flip him upside-down! Turn it into a game. But no matter what, don't let any naughtiness get to you.

Trust me, I understand how difficult this may be at times. Your photos will thank you.

And so will your kiddo. 90% of the time your child will start laughing and want to be part of the party with mom and dad. (Have I mentioned this makes great photos?)

Mom and Dad at Union Canal Park follow their toddler on a walk at sunset

Be affectionate

For the love of everything beautiful, PLEASE touch and be close to each other. Stroke her hair. Kiss his cheek. Smell that tiny baby head. This is the best way that your photos will feel like you. If you snuggle up together like you do on a daily basis, you will feel the connection you have with each other come through in your family photos. You don't want to just remember your faces, you want to remember the feeling you had with each other. So GET CLOSE.

Mother snuggles her son at an orchard in Lancaster, PA
A father gives his small son a kiss on the cheek in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Get help with your clothing choices

Ok shocker here... most of the time, those stunning outfits that you see in magazines are chosen for the families by the photographer they are working with.

I believe strongly that your photos should look like YOU, so I'm not about to go changing your family's style into some orange boho look simply for the sake of a photo on your wall. HOWEVER, certain clothing will photograph better than others. That's a fact. You can leave the neon shorts and the all matching white shirts with jeans at home!

When you book with me, you will receive access to a styling service that will help you to choose beautiful outfits for the whole family that are complimentary to one another. It's not essential to buy everyone a new outfit, but taking some time to consider how all the pieces will photograph and fit together as a whole (AND reaching out to me for a second opinion) will serve you well.

Maternity clients have access to my exclusive client closet which has a number of gowns guaranteed to photograph well and fit a variety of sizes.

Lastly, I highly recommend reading up on my styling tips and tricks in the client prep guide you will receive once booked.

Pregnant woman is sitting with her husband outside in Lebanon, PA
Woman wearing maternity gown smiles as her husband hugs her

Think of ways you can make your kids laugh

I promise to be your most fun family photographer ever. BUT... no one knows your kid like you. You alone know what will bring out that giggle or smile. So be attentive in the weeks leading up to your photo session and notice which phrases, songs, or actions might tickle their funny bone. Does a fart noise make them laugh? Or talking about a dancing hippo? Jot down some notes for yourself on a card for your pocket and pull them out when you need something to whisper into their ear. Pro tip: Dads love this stuff!

Dad smiles as son laughs for family photo session

Set yourself up for success

The last thing you want is to show up for your photo session stressed and frazzled (been there). No one wants to play and have a carefree attitude at their photo shoot after fighting with their family members an hour beforehand. It will feel fake and forced.

So here are a few small things that you can do that will really help:

  • Eat a full meal beforehand, not sugary snacks
  • Make sure everyone knows what they will be wearing a few days ahead so there will be no surprises the day of the session
  • Lay out everyone's outfits the night before, shoes and accessories included.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get everyone together and do your hair. It may take longer than you think.
Family laughs in a wildflower field in Lebanon, PA

Get the most patient, fun photographer ever

If you live near Lebanon, Lancaster, or Harrisburg, THAT'S ME! I will never scold your kids, tell them they have to behave or that they have to smile. I have patience for days. All my family sessions are naturally fun and interactive. That's how we get those beautiful organic smiles and playful moments.

I wouldn't have it any other way and, after experiencing a photo session like this, I think you'll agree.

Check out my sessions page to see all the details or use the contact form below to get in touch!