7 Tips for a Stress-Free Picture Day

Stress-free family smiling and walking along the beach

When it comes to family picture day, a lot of stress is typically associated with days leading up to the session. I’m here to help you relax and be prepared all at the same time. Here are 7 tips for a stress-free picture day:

Plan Ahead for a Stress-Free Session

Find the outfits you want everyone to wear a month in advance and set them aside somewhere safe. Try them on a week ahead of time to ensure everything still fits comfortably and that you didn’t miss any stains or holes that you couldn’t see until they were being worn. Simple preparations will help you avoid stress the day of.

Get Organized

As soon as your family changes out of their photo attire, make sure it is clean and pressed to be ready for the big day. Set the clothes together (sorted by person) and place them somewhere free from harm and dirt. Remind everyone that these are picture clothes and not to be worn until picture day. This will help to be sure that no articles of clothing go missing. Don’t forget about shoes, jewelry, belts, and other accessories.

Conversation is Key to be Stress-Free

Kids smiling at camera during family photography session

About three to four days prior to your family session, start talking with your partner and kids about the session and what will happen and how they should behave. If you plan to use a bribe, now is a good time to set that in place. Continue to talk to your children daily to prepare them for the session. Your children will feel if you are anxious, so it’s better to help them avoid stress as well.

Behind the Scenes Necessities

Two days prior to the session, pack a bag of everything you will need on picture day – snacks, props, bribery, etc. and put it somewhere you can grab it and go. Be sure to include wipes in case things get messy, an extra hairbrush, and other “emergency” items, such as bobby pins and a backup lipstick.

Snacks are your Friend

On the day of the session, make sure everyone is well fed, but not overfed. We don’t want sick little tummies from overeating, but we don’t want anyone getting “hangry” (angry because they are so hungry) either. Refrain from dressing your family in their photo clothes until after they have eaten and brushed their teeth. This will prevent spills and other messy accidents.

Avoid the Mess, Avoid Stress

Avoid any colored drinks for young children the day of the session until after we are finished. Nothing screams “stress” like a Kool-Aid spill. Also, get them to wear a bib or drop cloth if they drink anything on the way to the session to save their shirts from wet spots or stains. This will keep the trip and the pre-session to-dos stress-free.

Relax and Enjoy

Happy family on beach with parents kissing


Once you get to the session, try to relax. If you have set a bribe, please let me know so I can use that throughout the session if the children get restless. Trust your photographer – know that I will take care of things and will deliver amazing photos of your family.

Remember, your photos are going to turn out great; I am here to make sure of that. But keep these 7 tips for a stress-free picture day in the back of your mind. Peace of mind is important, for your sake (and mine, lol).

If you’re ready to update those family photos, reach out or book now! I can’t wait to get started creating memories with you and your family.

I'm Erika and I am a maternity, newborn, and family photographer based near Wilmington, NC. I'm also a mom to two cutie boys, lover of backyard gardening, candles, chocolate and Amazon Prime.

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