Ashlie Behm


5 Tips for a Fun-Filled Family Photo Session | Portland, Oregon

Family of four dressed in light neutral tones with mom in mauve dress. Standing out in a field of golden grass. Mom is holding baby girl and they are smiling at each other. Dad is holding toddler boy and they are smiling at each other. Family Photography session tips for family sessions in Portland, Oregon.

Wondering about my best Portland Family Photography Session tips? Today on the blog I’m sharing 5 fun-filled family photography session tips for families with younger kids. 

Kids are free-spirited. They like to play and have fun. Run wild with their imaginations. These are just a few of the reasons why I love photographing children and why little ones have always held a special place in my heart. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is so magical. It makes you feel like a kid again yourself.

But being carefree and free-spirited also means they don’t always want to do the things you want them to do. Like during a family photo session for instance. Most children don’t understand the importance of family photography.

At the beginning of every family session I like to get to know each child a bit to help them feel more comfortable. Part of my job is to help people open up in front of the camera.This is even more important when photographing children.

There are also some things that you can do beforehand to prep your kids for their family photo session. And I have a few tricks for during the session too! You’ve spent all this time finding the right family photographer, picking out the location, choosing outfits, and getting everyone ready, let’s make sure it goes smoothly!

I am participating in a blog circle this month and am sharing a link to another amazing photographer in West London! Be sure to check out her link at the end of this blog post.

Portland Family Photography Session Tips:

1. Set Expectations Before you Arrive at your family photo session

Setting expectations with your kids before your family photo session is the first key to great photos. Sit down with your kids and talk to them about what you are going to be doing. Tell them how important family photography is to you and why you want photos of your family. Let them know that it’s going to be a lot of fun. You can show your own excitement for the day to get them excited too.

2. Go out for a Treat Afterwards

I’m not above bribery! Sit down together as a family and decide on something fun you can all do together after the session is over — a special treat for being good listeners. Like going out for ice cream, hot cocoa, or out to dinner at their favorite place.

3. Rest & Full Bellies Beforehand

It helps if your kids are well rested before their session. Outdoor sessions typically start during the two hours after sunrise or the two hours before sunset. During the summer this can be slightly challenging with bedtimes. But the challenge is worth the incredible light we’ll get in your family photos!  A good nap or some quiet time prior to your family photo session will set your children up for success.

Making sure kiddos have a full belly prior to your family photos is crucial. I encourage you to bring water and their favorite snacks along. I always plan a little extra time for a snack break if needed. But if we can power through without we’ll have more time to capture some magical family photos together.

4. Leave the Cheese at Home

I love cheese as much as any Wisconsin native, but when it comes to photography I say “no thanks.” We’ve all been conditioned to tell kids to say “cheese” at the camera. At some point people thought this was a great way to get kids to smile. But all it really does is produce cheesy (pun intended), fake, forced smiles. We want your family photos to be full of genuine giggles, laughter, and authentic smiles. So instead crack some jokes behind me, sing their favorite song, make silly faces, tickle them, or do whatever else you know gets your kids to grin.

Another trick for photographing children is for you to bring familiar objects along, like small toys or stuffed animals, that could help us get their attention and smiles.

5. Let Them be Kids at your photography session

One great reason for getting professional family photos taken is so that you can be in the photos with your kids. If your kids get distracted, we’ll go with it. This means you can explore with them, tickle them, spin them, dance with them. I’m looking to capture genuine authentic moments of you and your family. The best family photography tells a story that helps you remember this stage of life with them. I’ll help guide you to different spots and give you prompts to help start games. But it’s important for you to let loose and just have fun with your children knowing I’ll be there capturing memories as family photos. Embrace the tender + raw moments and snuggle your babies. I often find, that these interactions is where the true magic happens.

Final Thought on my tips for preparing your kids for your Portland family photography session

Remember to give your kids and yourself a little grace. Photographing children means letting them explore, giggle, and have fun. I’ll be there documenting your genuine interactions together and getting you some beautiful authentic family photos that you can cherish forever. My goal is to make family photography a stress-free and positive experience for you and your children. Photo sessions are not the time for discipline. Kids have more fun when they are not being yelled at and it will make everyone feel less stressed if we all just embrace the silly and fun. Chase them, pick them up and twirl them around, tickle them galore do what you would normally do at home to get them to giggle, and I promise you will create so many beautiful memories together.

Head on over to my contact form so we can start planning your next family photo session!

toddler boy in cream sweater smiling at the camera in a field of tall golden grass. Family Photography Session in Portland, Oregon.

Dad in beige sweater holding baby girl in pink dress and white sweater. They are both interacting with one another. Family Photography Session Tips

One year old baby girl wearing a pink dress with a white sweater and sitting in a Moses basket at outdoor family photography session. She is laughing off camera and sitting in a field of tall golden grass.

Mom in mauve dress sitting down and holding baby daughter on her lap. Baby girl is dressed in a pink dress with white sweater and covered up in a beige blanket. They are both smiling at the camera and sitting outdoors in a field of tall golden grass.

Dad holding baby girl and toddler son and their cheeks are all touching each other as they smile at the camera. They are all wearing light neutral tones and outdoors at their family photography session in Portland, Oregon.

Mom in mauve dress holding baby girl dressed in pink dress with white sweater. Outdoors in a field of tall golden grasses at Portland family photography session.

Family of four dressed in light neutral tones with mom in mauve dress. Standing out in a field of golden grass. Mom is holding baby girl and they are smiling at each other. Dad is holding toddler boy and they are smiling at each other. Family Photography session tips for family sessions in Portland, Oregon.

Family of four standing in a field of golden grass dressed in light neutral colors with mom in a mauve dress. Outdoors in a field of golden grass during fall family photo session. Family photography session tips for a portland oregon family photoshoot.

toddler boy holding mom and dads hands and looking back over his shoulder at the camera with a close-lipped smile. Boy is wearing a cream sweater and they are walking outside in a field of tall golden grass. Portland family photo session tips.

Remember to check out this London antenatal classes in West London blog post by Lisa about private antenatal classes in West London. She has some great recommendations for classes to take before baby arrives.

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Leave A Comment

  1. Lisa H says:

    Love those tips! They are sure to result in a fun filled session 🙂

  2. Shannon says:

    “Let them be kids” – so simple smd do true. Great tips!

  3. Love all the laughter in these images. Great family photography tips!

  4. Aleah says:

    I love your family photography session tips, especially the one on letting kids be kids! It really makes the session fun and natural for everyone

    • Ashlie Behm says:

      Thank you and yes it really does make it more fun for EVERYONE! Plus I love photographing their unique personalities that come through when you allow them to truly be themselves.

  5. These photos also just shout “FUN!” I love the “going for a treat afterwards” idea too. Such a great post! Thanks!

  6. Calli Wickes says:

    Your photos are STUNNING! And thank you for all of these great tips!

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