How to Create Magical and Whimsical Family Photos

Client Experience

So you've booked family photos with Becks Photography, how exciting! You have taken a great first step in capturing your family but we still have some things to consider, and I'm about to give you some great tips on what your next steps are!

What to expect

A family session with me is laid back and relaxed, I really want you to enjoy this time together. I come prepared with many poses for your session and walk you though them by telling and showing you how to do them. I will help guide you into posing but I encourage you not to push your children and to let them gently lead while you play and love on them. To put you at ease, you should know that your sessions aren't riding on time. If you've book a "full" session I schedule 45 minutes, if you've booked an "extended" session I schedule 60 minutes. These times are generous and I can typically be flexible. Sometimes kids need a little bit of time to warm up but in my 5 years experience, kids almost always warm up to me right away and are normally done cooperating with posed photos after 10 minutes. After these golden 10 minutes we play games, cuddle, tickle and laugh together! Come ready to love on each other and play!

what to wear

Let's talk about what to wear to your family photos. Believe it or not, the outfits that you choose for your family pictures have a huge impact on the mood and outcome of your photos. HUGE. Choosing which outfits look best isn't easy but it's so important. If your dream is to create magical and whimsical family photos, consistent to the work you see on my website, follow these tips.

  • Creams and beiges are timeless and photograph best
  • If you like colors, wear pastels or muted tones
  • Bold, bright, and neon colors do not photograph well, I highly suggest avoiding them
  • Avoid patterns but incorporate textures
  • Dress up but keep in mind that a family session involves play
  • Remove apple watches, along with everything in your pockets

When it's time to pick out an outfit, please take the time to read my full style guide (<--click the link). I now offer customized style inspiration to help you choose outfits that flatter you, photograph well, and complement who you are! Let’s elevate your look to create photos that reflect who you are while also creating a stunning visual story. If you are interested in this fill out the form that I sent in your welcome email.

If you have any questions at all, please reach out to me and I'd be more than happy to help you choose the most magical outfit!

where to go

Second, you need to choose a location. Lucky for you, I've created a huge location guide for you to choose from. Each location on my guide creates a different but beautiful backdrop. You will want to not only choose a location that you love, but also one that suits your family. It's also important that you consider the season that your photos are in. Check out my season based location guides...

Please reach out to me if you have a vision and need help picking the right location to achieve your vision. Keep in mind that in you choose a nature setting, you will be in nature. There may be bugs, dirt, animals, goose poop, etc. We will also be taking photos standing on grass and gravel, which will make it difficult to walk in heals.

Location scouting is a huge part of my job. I have been to all of the locations on my guide multiple times and know all of the perfect spots with the most beautiful lighting! Occasionally I will receive requests to come to a clients yard or a park by their house that they love. Although this location may be beautiful, it may not be the best location for a photo shoot. As a professional photographer, it's important for me to spend time at a location during sunrise and sunset before having a paid session there. Lighting, background, distractions, and the direction of the sun all play a role when choosing the correct location for your session. I want to deliver to you dreamy and whimsical family photos that you can cherish forever. With all of that being said, in order for me to be the best photographer that I can be, please choose one of the locations on my guide for your session. I hope that you can understand that I have your best interest in mind, always.

Rochester local like me? Check out my Rochester Michigan location guide for the best spots right in your town!


I am a lifestyle photographer who loves to capture authentic moments and emotions. Arguably the most important tip I can give you is to come into your session with the right mindset. Be patient, and have a great attitude, come ready to have fun with your family. Your children can sense stress and frustration, it's so important for you to be calm and joyful. I always start every family photo shoot with a few posed photos. The first 10 minutes of your family photo shoot are when we normally capture all of the posed photos for your session. After that, you will play and spend time connecting with your children while I capture truly magical candid photos. Kids will be kids, they want to have fun and feel loved. When you are looking back at the family photos that we took together, do you want negative memories of being upset at your children for not standing still or do you want joyful memories of playing with your children and enjoying family time?

What can you do?
  • be patient with your children
  • remember that your role during our photo shoot is to have fun with your family and enjoy their company
  • have an open mind when it comes to poses and prompts that I use
  • don't be negative or stressed, I promise to be patient with your precious family
  • DON'T, I repeat, do NOT come hungry. I think we all know that hangry is not good, lol (check out this list of local businesses with weekly food/play deals)

How can you prep your children?
  • talk to them about meeting me
  • prep them to listen well to my instructions
  • let them lead, keep a mindset of playing with them and making them happy
  • try to avoid bribery and instead explain to them that photos are a fun experience (because they will be!)
  • if having a perfect posed photo is important to you, consider bringing a friend or family member to stand behind the camera and help them smile/look my direction

My #1 goal during our session together is to create and capture authentic smiles from your children. In my experience, this happens easiest when the parents are also having fun! PLEASE smile, play, love on, and have fun with your children!


First of all, you should know that I come to every session very prepared with fun ideas for prompts and poses specifically for your family. My goal is to allow you to be you - and my prompts and poses help to guide you to do so! In your session, we will capture both posed and candid photos. With families, I always start with posed photos while I have the attention of the children, then we go into candid photos.

POSED PHOTOS are much easier if you bring along a friend or family member to stand behind me and dance/be goofy so your child(ren) will look at the camera with a big, natural grin. If you don't have anyone available to come with you, don't sweat it! I can normally capture 2-3 different photos with your whole family looking at the camera without help!

CANDID PHOTOS are less posing and more directing. For example, I may ask you all to cuddle up together and share your favorite things about each person in your family. Meanwhile, I step back and capture great moments of your family spending time together. Be prepared, a lot of prompts that I give families include running, tickling, throwing, and chasing, it's a workout but these photos always create the best photos AND the best memories. It's important to make these candid photos fun for your children.

Special Occasions

This section is for you if you are booking your session to celebrate your childs birthday!

It's easy to see that timeless photos hold their value longer than trendy photos. It's my goal to capture your families love and emotion towards each other without adding props. However, there are certain special occasions, like a birthday, where props can help capture authentic photos of your children. Incorporating props in your children's portraits is a fun way to celebrate their birthday or create an environment of play to capture their authentic personality. Some fun ideas I've done in the past include: milk bath photos with fruit, flowers or rubber duckies, cake smash photos, bubble machines for your children to play in, a special treat like a huge lollipop, cookie or ice cream cone! To give you an idea, a lot of families love capturing their childs 1st birthday. A really fun way to do so (and the most common) is by taking photos of them eating their first cake, or splashing around in a milk bath.

If you are interested in including a fun prop in your family session please let me know and we will do it one of two ways:

  1. Schedule a family session and the last half can be focused on your child.
  2. Schedule a session where we only focus on your child playing.

I do own a white galvanized tub that we can use if you'd like to do a milk bath with your child. Other than that, you will be responsible for providing any props that they may wish to use during their session!


Occasionally I have a family that wants to include their dog(s) in family photos! If that is something you'd like to do, please let me know ahead of time because it will however limit you in location options. Not all of the locations on my location guide allow dogs, and others are too crowded to bring dogs. As much as I personally adore dogs, I cannot properly capture your precious family if I have to focus on your dog or hold a leash while taking photos. Please bring a family member or friend along with you if you plan to bring your dog to our photoshoot. Thanks!

Consult Call

All of my sessions include a free consultation call. This is great if you have any complicated questions or concerns that are easier to discuss over the phone. This is also great if you are wondering what to expect in a session and would like me to run in through with you. If this is your first family photoshoot with me, or in general, it's a good idea to have a consultation call. This is completely up to you!


Now that you've read my family photo shoot guide, it's time for you to fill out your questionnaire! This is where I learn about your precious family! I prep myself for every family session that I have and each time I prepare differently depending on your answers. It's so important that you are descriptive when answering the questions so I can learn all that I need to know about your unique family.

I cannot wait for our session together!

If you follow this guide, I can assure you that we are going to create truly magical and whimsical family photos!

Have questions before booking?

Please fill out this contact form with all of your questions and concern and I will get back with you as soon as I can!