How To Get Natural Family Photos

Gone are the days of formally posed family photos. I mean, I'll still snag a couple of you and your family all smiling at the camera - but a full hour of this just isn't possible (or all that fun).

In my five-ish years of photographing families, I have realized that the photos families love most are the ones that reflect their family - not just in the way they look - but in the way they capture the unique personalities of their kids. This can be challenging if your kids are shy. After all, they've never met me, so it's understandable that they might not feel comfortable to be themselves in front of me. The answer? A session that revolves around an activity! You may have also seen them referred to as "adventure sessions".

Choosing an activity that you and your family love and having me document it completely takes the pressure off! It distracts your kids, allowing them to immerse themselves in whatever you choose to do - and it relieves any pressure you might feel to have them on their best behaviour. This doesn't mean that one of your kiddos isn't going to get upset, or that they won't scrape their knee, or (as you'll see below) get ice cream on their shirt. But here's the thing - those moments are a part of your life - and will make you laugh years from now when you look at the photos. Rachelle, the gorgeous mama you'll see in the following photos, told me how happy she was that we captured Chloe's ice cream spill because that's "totally her"; she's the one who isn't afraid to get dirty, and comes home covered in bruises.

Activities we can photograph:

  • Baking something in the kitchen

  • A trip to the farmer's market

  • A trip to get ice cream

  • A trip to the beach

  • A hike on your favourite trail

  • A day by the pool

  • Fun at the cottage

  • Choosing your Christmas tree at the farm

  • ... and so much more!

What should we wear?

Another benefit of these sessions is that the activity you choose will often dictate what you're going to wear! That's less time worrying about picking (and possibly buying) the best outfits for everyone. But if that's something you enjoy doing, please do it! I love a stylish, coordinated fam & I've created a Pinterest board specifically for outfit inspiration: (

What time should we schedule our session?

The best time of day for photos is during "golden hour". Golden hour is the window of time shortly after sunrise or before sunset where the light is warmer and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. Photographers also refer to it as "magic hour" because the light is so heckin' beautiful. It literally makes you glow (check out the photo below of the girls examining the rocks on the shore)! This window of time changes throughout the year but I have a handy app on my phone that I can refer to in the days leading up to your session so we know exactly when we should begin shooting. Families with little ones who need to be in bed before golden hour: don't fret. We will schedule as close to the window as we can and seek out a location that offers open shade so we can avoid harsh light.

What if the weather isn't cooperating on the day of our session?

It happens. Mother Nature isn't always kind to us. When choosing a date for your session, we'll consider the season in which it takes place and decide if we should pick two potential dates. Once two dates are chosen, we will keep an eye on the forecast as we get closer and decide which date is best. Not every session is #blessed with golden hour - but overcast creates a whole other mood for your photos that's just as beautiful.

So, are you ready to book your session? Let's do it!


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 |   Guelph, Ontario   |   Wedding & Family Photographer