Set Yourself Up For Success

By: Jennifer Little

Today is all about making your shoots at home as successful as possible. I hope to offer you some tips that will make your family shoots work for you so that you are happy with your photos for years to come.

Clear the Clutter

Keep the background and foreground simple and free of distractions. Let the focus of your photo be on your subjects. Remove miscellaneous toys, laundry, snacks and groceries from the photo. Feel free to keep large-scale architectural elements such as lamps, accessories and artwork in the photo as long as they don’t render all the attention. Clean photos will give you a fresh modern feel.

Clean + Rested

Dress everyone in clean, stain-free clothes. Think simple too. Steer clear of logos. Instead, focus on coordinating color and pattern. Don’t confuse coordinating with matching though. Consider outfits consisting of two to three colors or select a monochromatic palette with multiple shades of one color. Let each family member’s personality shine through. When possible, pull out your camera when your kids are well rested such as early morning or after naptime.

Access to your Camera

Keep your camera easily accessible for the unpredictable. Create a special safe spot just for your camera, but make sure you can get to it quickly. Think of adding a photo basket to your desk, your kitchen, or a safe place in your living room. Keep batteries charged up and ready for shooting. Don’t be afraid to use your iPhone for quick shots too. 

Natural Light

Survey your home for great natural light. Lightly colored rooms usually prove to be better than those with dark walls since they reflect light. The same theory holds true for white or lightly colored fabrics such as window treatments and bedding. When you think you have found your go-to spots, open shutters and window treatments to allow the maximum amount of soft natural light to flood the room. Also, refer back to the tip about clearing the clutter. Once you know the locations in your home with great light and very little clutter, you will be ready to snap away. Encourage your kids to play together or with a favorite toy in these areas for wonderful captures.

Cloudy Days

Take advantage of cloudy days at home and get the kids outside. Cloudy or overcast days provide beautiful soft light without harsh shadows. Capture your family on the swing set, the woodpile, or playing chase without worrying about the sun. Your backyard activities will change with each age progression so be sure to photograph them all. Remember the sand box days, swinging, bike riding, and mud-pie making. Get in close to catch those great expressions and watch for moments when family members interact with one another.


  1. Clear out the clutter even if it means shoving it into a closet to capture a clean modern shot
  2. It never hurts to have clean, well-rested kids ready to have their picture taken, but dirty, muddy kids are pretty cute too
  3. Don’t pack up your camera in your camera back and keep it on the top shelf of your closet because you will never be able to get to it when you really need it
  4. On bright, sunny days turn off the incandescent lights that give off an orange glow and open up the shutters and window treatments and let the natural light fill the room
  5. On cloudy days, makes sure to take advantage of the nice filtered light outside and grab those shots in the middle of the yard that usually have harsh shadows