Bay Area Parent asked me to write an article HERE for their December 2021 digital magazine after winning first place in ther 'Best of the Best' contest. Here are some tips that I've come up with over the many years of photographing families. Enjoy!

Choosing the Right Photographer 

When selecting a photographer, first consider if they are a good fit stylistically. Do you prefer posed or candid, fun or moody, traditional or artistic? Start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. Look through websites until you find a photographer’s style that resonates with you. If you love what you see, there is a very good likelihood that you will love the images that they create for you. 

Children have short attention spans and can be happy one minute, sad the next, and then laughing again. For this reason, I recommend going with a photographer who specializes in photographing families. Their years of experience, patience, and deep pocket of tricks to keep your children engaged will be well worth it.

Budget is another consideration, so it is good to inquire beforehand about pricing and packages. If you would like to get a feel for the photographer, a phone call is best and often more efficient in getting your questions answered quickly. Once the date is booked with a deposit, the creative part of envisioning what your portrait session will look like begins.

What to Wear

After the location is decided, the next step is to choose outfits which are appropriate for the site, weather, and time of day. If your session is in a field then boots and jeans may be appropriate, whereas a session in a studio could be dressier. Have fun mixing and matching complementary colors, textures, and solids with soft patterns. Stick with clothing that is timeless instead of trendy. For parents, the one thing to keep in mind is to choose clothing that makes you feel confident. Since moms are usually doing the planning, I recommend starting with her outfit and building the rest of the family’s ensemble around hers. If mom is happy everyone is happy!

How to Prepare for the Big Day

Tell your children how fun the photo session is going to be, and that these photos will be on your walls that they can look at for years. It is totally fine to include a fun activity or reward afterwards to get them excited! Well-rested children with full tummies are a great way to get the portrait session off on the right foot. Bring water and healthy snacks that do not create crumbs and juice stains – my favorites are cheese sticks and grapes. Be mindful to not overload your kids with too much stimulation such as sports, playdates, and birthday parties to help ensure that they are energetic for their session. And feel free to bring a small toy, stuffed animal, prop, and blanket to personalize your photos.

Go with the Flow

The best portrait sessions are those where the children are free to be themselves. My goal is to create an atmosphere of fun for children to play and act their age. When parents are less concerned with their children sitting still in front of the camera, the images tend to be more authentic and memorable. Finally, plan on getting close, with lots of hugging and laughing. Your portrait session should look like a fun day out with your favorite people on the planet!

Angela Lang is an award-winning professional who has photographed over 4,000 Bay Area families and 200 events. She holds a B.A. in Photojournalism and used to be professional photojournalist. Her work has been featured in various newspapers, magazines, blogs, television, Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and an international Penguin Random House book. Angela Lang was voted Best Children and Family Photographer in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021.