Ten Tips for Your Family Session (PART ONE)

In the midst of family session season, I decided that my family session blog post deserved an upgrade. That is why I’ve decided to revamp and reshare my top ten tips for your family session. I can’t wait to see what new families I will meet in the years to come. If the last few are anything to go by, it’s going to be so rewarding to serve you and your family. I’ve been really focusing on how to make your experience before, during, and after your family session be relaxed. I want you to look back at your session with happiness and gratefulness so that you will not dread doing that again.

What follows are some tips that I have gathered in the last few years, that should make this year’s session one to top all the past ones! This will help me deliver you images that you have come to expect of me, and will allow me to capture your family, just the way you are. I know this seems cliche, but it’s what I strive for. Every. Single. Time!

ten tips for your family session - kids swinging baby at waterford trails

TIP ONE | Clean Spaces + Lots of Light = Beautiful Photos!

The secret to getting images that you expect from Dianne Velthove Imagery is a very important one: Location, location, location! I have shot in some amazing locations in Canada and Europe, and the ones that render the most beautiful images will always be my favorite! There was a castle in the Netherlands…, okay, I won’t ask you to travel that far! 🙂

But seriously, a location where there is great open sky and an interesting background will give you images that you will cherish forever. Some of my local favourites are Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, Mill Race Park in Cambridge, and a little trail very near my house (I’ll ask you to park at my house). The reason I love these locations is that they provide timeless captures that have lots of neutrals, so the focus is on you and your loved ones!

ten tips for your family session - pickering beach family on log mom kissing daughter

This session is an absolute must-see!!! Click HERE for the cutest kids by the bluest water…

TIP TWO | Let’s Chat on the Phone Before Your Session

Whether you have reached out on social media, email, telephone, or we happened to meet in town; I’d love to just have a 10-minute consultation with you on the phone (no guarantees that it doesn’t turn into a 30-minute conversation, though). At that time, we can discuss exactly what you are hoping to get out of your session. After booking I will send you a questionnaire to help me be the most prepared that I can be. This includes questions about kids ages to topics that would make your teenagers smile. So there is no need to go in depth, I promise to study before we have your session, wink, wink!

We will also discuss whether you fear that there will be any hurdles that we could be facing. This can include a super-shy or a highly energetic child. You are the expert on what the best way to respond to your children is, and I would love your help.

ten tips for your family session - brantford conservation area family walking on riverbank

TIP THREE | Take Time to Plan Your Look

My most important tip in this department is to have Mom pick her look first. As ladies, we are the most likely going to be judgmental about the way we look, and I really want you to be confident at your session. That being said, I know you will look amazing no matter what! A great colour scheme to focus on is “2+1” or “3+1”. What that means is that you pick two or three neutrals. Then add one accent colour that gets used minimally by the family.

I advise you to stay away from neons; especially bright reds, greens and oranges. They create unflattering colour casts and will alter the quality of your final images. When it comes to your little ones, I’d avoid fussy outfits or accessories. For example, if your little girl absolutely hates headbands (I know she looks adorable with one, but believe me), it’s best to find something else to put in her hair. We want her to look adorable, but if she’s screaming, your gallery will not be as big as it could be. And hopefully if she enjoys it this time, she will look forward to next year’s session!

As a DVI client, I email you a Portrait Session Style Guide when you book with me; this will really help you with a lot of these decisions!

ten tips for your family session - byron london styled family in field

TIP FOUR | Pack Light

I know it’s always great to be prepared, but here are some of the only items you will likely need. Surprise, surprise, they don’t include your phone (although you’re so welcome to capture some of your own images if you’d like. Or even email me a behind the scenes shot that I can use to laugh at myself).

  • Some of the things I do recommend are:
    walking shoes (for those who are wearing heels, this is especially necessary if we are on rougher ground a ways away from your vehicle)
  • lip gloss or lipstick, if you’re using that, to keep your makeup looking fresh
  • non-messy snacks that we can use to reward (or bribe!) your kids (some great ones are raisins, mini crackers, or non-chocolate granola

I recommend taking a large tote (my favourite are sold at Thirty-One) and packing it all in there. This is also a great place to put your phone in. That way I don’t have to edit that out later or do retakes if I notice on time. It’s happened that they’ve ended up in my bag, and I go home with them! Not something you want…

ten tips for your family session - gunn's hill family hugging and laughing


I love capturing children. It’s definitely one of the top three things I love most about my job. However, your children are going to enjoy it even more if their Daddy comes along. Dads tend to bring the funny side out of their kids. In addition, Dads often work hard to provide for their family. We really believe he belongs here just as much as Mom! Once in a while, I meet a Dad who seems like they’re not really sure that they are excited to be at the session. Never have I heard a Dad say that he didn’t absolutely love the experience and the final images. They capture how much he loves his family!

I hope you’ve loved getting a look at the first part of my best ten tips for your family session. The amount of clients who absolutely love the help that I give them during the planning process surprises me every year. I don’t think I could ever give it up, so for now, you’re stuck with me!

This is a re-publication of a former blog post. It has been updated to reflect new business practices and more recent images.


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