Anna Kraft



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Preparing for Your Family Portrait

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(Aren’t the Q and R Families just gorgeous?! They were a delight to photograph and have in the studio.)

Preparing for a family portrait is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve done it even once, you know this. It’s not as easy as it looks, is it? Especially if you, mom, or dad, are the ones with the nice camera on a tripod with a timer, trying to get everyone to look AT THE SAME TIME!? HOW HARD CAN IT BE, RIGHT?

I feel your pain. I’ve done it myself. Good times.

I work with an all-star team and our goal is to make this annual family tradition (or bi-annual, quarterly, or once-every-quarter-century tradition) as smooth of a process as possible. So here are some tips to prepare for your photoshoot at the studio.

1) Don’t freak out. Step number-one-point-A: chill out, mama. Forehead wrinkles only look good on Russian teenage male models. We’ve got this. I block out an entire day for every family photoshoot. My hours are YOURS. That 4-year-old won’t look at the camera? We don’t force; we wait. We talk. We play. We draw pictures of dogs and cats on reflectors. We interact. My team is made up of moms just like you and we. get. it. So trust the process. Enjoy it. 

2) Read this post. Don’t overthink it, but do start to consider your hair, your nails, your skin. That goes for dad, too,  and also the kids, where applicable (looking at you, teenagers).  

3) Outfits are actually pretty simple to coordinate. A few rules of thumb:

  • Have a color palette that works with YOUR home and YOUR walls, not what the trendy fall colors are on pinterest or instagram, or what other people think you should wear. Check out these color palette generators: Colormind, Coolors, Canva, PaletteFX. Also, this mood-board will give you ideas on how to display your photos in your home
  • Solids are best, EVERY TIME. (skip the stripes, the polka dots, the graphic tees. We are going for a cohesive look. See the link in the next point for inspirational solids.)
  • Texture is great, even awesome! (Think lace, fur, leather, linen, denim, silk!) Don’t shy away from these. As long as it is in the color palette you’ve chosen, most textures work well together. Here’s another mood-board full of inspirational solids and textures.
  • Go casual and formal – sure, wear your denim and white, but also bring a tux or gown for some magazine-inspired portraits! Another fantastic idea is to bring any of your family’s cultural clothing like a kilt, a kimono, or a sari for example. This is a great time to proudly embrace your heritage!
  • Don’t have a gown? Try for a plethora of outfit options. 
  • Don’t go crazy on shoe options; bring a pair or two that work, but 75% of the time your feet aren’t in the shot.
  • I am always available via email or text to give my opinion on your clothes.

4) Bring the necessities. I’m talking about blankies, teddies, books, trucks – those things kiddo can’t live with out. It’s okay if Barney is in a few photos. We believe in negotiation during hostage situations. 

5) Eat before you come. And feed your family. And bring snacks. Your hangry face ain’t your best look. Bonus tip: There’s a kid’s toy store and ice cream shop across the square from the studio. This is a great bribe to pull out during a meltdown.

6) Plan for naps. Does the baby nap mid-morning? No problem. Bring a blanket and her bottle; we’ll take photos of her before or after her snack.

Do you have any questions? Did I miss anything? Let me know! Email me at!


comments +

  1. These are really helpful and amazing tips about family portraits. Loved the picture gallery and also looking forward for more like this.
    I do appreciate the tip about putting nice clothes is a thing which can bright up and make more beautiful family portraits. Matching clothing apparel and professional photography at right place and right time cam be more than amazing.

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The W family had their reveal last night and so now I can finally show these off - and one of these is a gorgeous 36×36” portrait above their fireplace!

modern family portrait

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