A Sweet Life with Style

Motherhood || the life. the style. the joy.

How To Tips + Advice

10 Tips for the Best Lifestyle Family Pictures; From a Mom

As fall is briskly making it’s way into our season of life, a good portion of us mom’s are out here planning + prepping for those coveted fall family pictures to happen. To help ease some of that planning stress, I have made a list of 10 Tips for the Best Lifestyle Family Pictures to turn out as magical as imagined!

A quick little note;
Over the last few years I have come to the realization that I’m really not a cheesy cheese smile-at-the-camera kinda gal.

What I really love, are the images that
f l o w.
That you can literally feel moving before your eyes,
while looking at a still image.

The images that you can f e e l the movement of the kid running towards their dad or the soothing sway of the mom holding her babe.
Or my personal favorite, where an image alone whether it’s a mom + dad holding hands, or a baby’s sparkling smile that creates such a tidal wave of emotions that it takes my breath away.

That. is my jam.

That is called Lifestyle Photography.

and that my friends, is where the magic happens.

It is important to mention that having a [Lifestyle specific] Photographer who is extremely talented is crucial in having the best Lifestyle Family pictures. This post is written by me, – a mom, for other moms to have some guidance in preparing and taking lifestyle photos.
That said, I am not a photog, but my girl, Ashley Frisk is and she is amazing!

Check Out her work right HERE!

10 Tips for the Best Lifestyle Family Pictures ; From a Mom


Location is fairly important. Pick something that suits you + your family. If you are not comfortable sitting in the grass or fields and/or have major allergies then maybe going to an open field isn’t your best bet. Try a mountain or water-y type area instead.

If you ARE an outdoorsy person or at least one for a good shot, then be sure to reach out to the photographer and see if you need to bring anything such as a change of shoes, a blanket, etc. Most photogs will already have this info, but if you haven’t heard anything, it doesn’t hurt to touch base and confirm this.

Also, take the time to Google Maps your location before the day of. Be sure to do so from wherever you are leaving from, the day of the pictures. The important part of this is to factor in travel time for traffic, potential meltdowns, and also giving yourself a few minutes to get back together after traveling in the car.

2|Eat beforehand

[I forgot my own advice + this little man was cranky towards the end of the shoot.]

As a mom of three and a fellow sufferer of being hangry, this is a fairly important tip. Especially for those younger children, but also just as important for mom + dad. It doesn’t have to be a big meal, just enough to keep everyone’s blood sugar up so no one get’s snarky.


3|Consider the Time of the day

Most photographers have the timing down to the millisecond for that magic shot to happen, so definitely heed their advice on this. Your part comes in by keeping in mind how the time of the pictures “interrupts” your daily schedule.
Is it at dinner time? Is it at nap or bedtime? Is it at their fussy time?
If it’s during one of these critical times and you can’t seem to rearrange your own schedule to make it work, then don’t hesitate to talk to your photographer and see what your options are for moving the time around!

If you lean more towards a warmer or cooler toned aesthetics, you can choose from a sunset light for a warmer tone + a sunrise tone for a cooler one.

I didn’t know about this until this photoshoot!

4|Coordinate but Don’t Match

I find that creating a “family look” and cultivating a general cohesive vibe does a lot better for making that magic happen versus matching all the colors to one another. (Stay tuned for a post on How to Style the Family for family pictures.)

5|Flowy + Fun for Mom

I am very much aware that not every mom, lady, or woman is feminine and loves getting dressed up but there is something about having mom be in a flowy + fun dress that creates an element that allows for some really good pictures to happen. I feel like it gives the mom a real mother earth vibe.

These are some great flowy + fun dresses

6|Be Okay with Bribery

[Why yes, those are cinnamon Red Hots. They happened to be in the car + saved the day too!]

I am all for this little trick. It might bite you in the butt later but this can keep a smile on a face just long enough to get the job done. And I mean, that’s all that really matters anyways, right?

7|Give a Pep Talk

Let the kids and (probably more importantly) the husband know that this is only a few hours in the day that you want from them. Explain that it means a lot to you for them to cooperate and how special it is to have these little moments captured forever. These little moments to keep + remind you of how much you love them when they are acting like total fools… errr, how much you love them all, so much, all the time… *smiles with sarcastic eyes*

Setting some general guidelines and expectations are super helpful to keep everyone on the same page.

8|Discuss Ideas BEFORE the Day Of

Send + spam your photog all the ideas that you want before you actually get together. Pick one or two that you really want to try. Really try to avoid attempting something extremely elaborate last minute. Bets are, it will throw everyone way off and end up, well, not great.
Generally speaking, it’s just not worth it to force it.

Dial in your exceptions and set them to reality for this part. Pictures on the internet, especially those that are heavily trending, are also (typically) heavily edited and fabricated images that took hours to make happen. That’s not to say that you can’t make something trendy + amazing with authenticity but just be real in your ability to recreate something in the exact same way as someone else … and plus, you are you. So just be you.

9|Let the Photog do their Job

She said stop +look over your shoulder…
I did and… magic.

Yes, you may have taken 1000 family pictures before, but lifestyle shooting is really about creating a vision that sometimes you don’t always see as the “model”. There isn’t a lot of “posing” but more of guided directions of what to do. So let go of control and let the photographer do what they do best.
It’s what you are paying them for anyways!

10| Enjoy the Experience

And finally, and slightly on that same thought. Just let it flow
Posing is great and has it’s place for sure, but I find that the pictures I love the most and hold near + dear to my heart are almost always the ones that we are in a physically moving, genuine, simple moment. It’s like the authentic love and happiness shines through in those images and the magic just appears.

So basically,

just be you, have fun + that magical ish will shine!

And now here is a massive overshare of our session because I LOVE these photos so much!

|| Shop our looks

Share the love

Leave your thoughts