Choosing the Vibe for Your Family Photo Session | Photo Shoot Inspiration

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Family Photography, Kiddos, Sessions

Choosing the perfect vibe for your family photos isn’t always easy!

If you’ve spent more than ten minutes on Pinterest I’d bet you’ve seen a million different things that would count as inspiration for family photography sessions. But you know how sometimes choice can just cause… problems? Instead of making things clearer, the open ended opportunities just make it more difficult to choose instead of easier.

I get that! So if you’re someone who can’t decide what they want their family photography session to actually look like when you finally get the images, I’ve got a few tips for you. They should help you be able to weed down the options, until you’re left with something that will absolutely work for you and your family!

four African American siblings wearing all white, seated in a lush green Minneapolis park, smiling

Go look at photo inspiration!

Step one? Well, technically I’ve already mentioned it! You need to go look at inspiration. Now, that being said, that’s not always just going to be Pinterest. It can come from ANYwhere! You can look at photographers’ presences and portfolios online, for example. Or you could go check out Instagram accounts from photographers local to you.

I really recommend sticking with profiles and portfolios from photographers who are actually in your region, because… well, that’s probably where you’re going to be when you have your session. The only exception is traveling photographers, or if you’re having a session done when you’re on vacation! Both of which are options, but… for a normal family session, the most likely situation is that you’re having it done where you live.

If you fall in love with images that involve mountains or coastlines, but you live in Minneapolis… I hate to break it to you, but that kind of a session is going to involve some travel. Photographers are pretty cool, but we can’t teleport. Unfortunately.

So gather some inspiration from the interwebs, and collect it somewhere useful! Whether that’s your “saved” posts on Instagram, or a pinboard (I recommend a pinboard because you can easily share that with your photographer!) just make sure they’re somewhere that works well for keeping track of things.

Two dads in neutral outfits holding their yound daughters in hot pink dresses, and smiling

Sort your inspiration

Once you’ve collected inspiration, it’s time to sort it! Now, depending on the kinds of images you’re most obsessed with, this might be easy. OR, it could be kind of time consuming if you like a bunch of different styles of images. But if you’re really struggling to choose, this will help!!

Go ahead and sort them by theme. If you look at all of the images you’ve collected as inspiration, and you’re seeing that basically ALL of them are outdoors with lots of green and flowers… then now you know the vibe you want to go with! But if it’s fairly split between, for example, some light and airy indoor images taken in a studio, then you’ve got choices to make. Once you’ve sorted, if you STILL can’t pick based on the different options you’re seeing emerge, we have some more ways we can weed things down!!

Family of four, standing together in their neutral, stylish Minneapolis home

Figure out whether you have the right wardrobe options

The first thing to think about if you still can’t choose after you’ve collected inspiration for your family photography session, AND you’ve sorted them into categories, is to think about wardrobe! You might notice a theme in the wardrobe items in your inspiration pictures. Are the wardrobe items all neutral? Are they bright? Or are they different between different styles of sessions that you liked?

Once you’ve taken a look at the outfits in your inspiration images… think about your OWN wardrobe! Do you have things in your closet that line up with any of the themes you’re really liking for the session overall? If you were super drawn to neutral wardrobe images… do you have neutral things in your closet you could pull out for a session? And if not… are you okay with going on a little shopping trip before your session?

If you have a single vibe that you’re absolutely loving, maybe a minimal neutral feel, and you’ve got neutral clothing items in your closet… then you’re good to go! But it might be easier to look at creating a different session vibe if, for example, you DON’T have any clothes that line up with the neutral look already in your closet.

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

What season is it?

Up next in your thought prompts here, is considering the season! This one is going to be a logistical step for almost any session you book, but it’s especially impactful when we’re thinking about the vibe for your portrait session.

If you love the summery greens and flowers in some of the inspiration pictures you’ve pulled up, but you want your session in December… that’s not gonna work. You see what I mean? So it might be that you put a pin in that plan, and schedule it for the coming summer, and in the meantime, you have a session inspired by some of your other favorites! In particular indoor favorites. Because who wants to spend time outside being photographed in December??

Two teens smiling at eachother during their Minneapolis MN senior photo session

Find a photographer that can achieve the look you want!

Once you’ve weeded down to a session style you like, and you’ve definitely nailed the vibe you’re going for, it’s time to find a family photographer who can make that happen for you! Now, if when you were looking at inspiration, you chose to look at photographers’ portfolios, you might already have a clear vision for who you want to work with.

But if not, then it’s time to go looking!! When you do, make sure you check out some of my favorite tips for choosing a family photographer so that you can make sure you have the best experience possible when you’re actually working with them.

We can talk about the vibe you want! 

If you’re still struggling to pick a vibe for your session, remember: you don’t have to choose!! You can book multiple sessions, or a session that includes wardrobe changes… anything is possible. And I’m always here to help you decide what’s going to be best for your family’s session. Just reach out, and we can chat about it!

Jessica Strobel holding multi-colored doughnuts over her eyes, smiling wide

Hey! I'm Jessie - 

And I'm so glad you're here!



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