Family Photos with a Toddler

HELLO! We’re planning family photos and I could not be more excited. We did two shoots in 2018 and haven’t done anything as a family since, so it’s time! We’ll be able to get a picture for our Christmas card – I am determined to send them out this year! Scheduling a shoot like this can be super stressful. There are tons of questions going through my head as we book it.

Is my child going to cooperate? Will they be cranky? Tired? Is it going to rain? Will our outfits look okay?

My favorite photographer, Kate Lemmon, inspired me to write this post. She recently did a series on Instagram Stories following her and her work for seven days. It’s really incredible to see all of the energy that photographers put into their work. Kate shot our family twice last year and we were SOO happy with the outcome. The shoots were an investment, but well worth it and the prints are hanging all over our house. Here’s a blog post she wrote about Everly’s first birthday shoot.

We are working with a new photographer on our upcoming shoot, so I’m excited to see how she will capture us!


The first thing that I think about when I book a family photo shoot is LOCATION. Our date is booked and now we need a great spot to get the pictures. There are so many awesome places to shoot in and around Boston. My maternity photos were taken at the Arnold Arborteum in Jamaica Plain — GORGEOUS in the springtime and perfect for families or maternity. We did our first family shoot in Seaport on the Boston Waterfront. You get the water and the city skyline in the background. There is a lot of green space over there – something we didn’t realize before this! Our last shoot for Everly’s 1st birthday was in the Boston Public Garden. If you live in Boston – you have to do one family session there. It’s always a recommended place from photographers. Our next shoot will be at Castle Island! This is special to us because it’s in our neighborhood – we take Everly here to play at the beach/park all the time. We can get shots on the beach, over looking the water, and in the grass.


Outfit planning for photos can be really stressful. I can get sucked down a rabbit hole on Pinterest and Google searching and searching for the perfect outfits. The best tip I have is to start with one outfit and plan everything around it. Do you have an idea for your kids or yourself? Start there with one. I found a Free People dress I was obsessed with – perfect for fall with a pair of booties – and I knew I wanted to plan everything around that. I then picked a solid dress for Everly and a solid sweater for Jake. I didn’t want to mix too many prints/colors and my dress is going to make a big statement.

My favorite stores to shop at for family outfits are Nordstrom, OldNavy, and JCrew.


When scheduling a shoot with kids it’s important to think about nap times, bedtimes, and sunrise/sunset. The best shoots are done in the golden hours (earlier morning and right before sunset). We have always done shoots later in the day before sunset, but I think the best time would be in the morning. You have fresh kiddos that aren’t spent from a day of activities, etc. I’ve also noticed that pricing on the weekends can be higher than during the week – if you have a day you can take off mid-week I’d recommend doing it! Locations will also be less busy mid-week so you won’t have to worry about people in the background of your photos.


Don’t shoot for too long. Everly has been a champ at our last shoots. We plan to shoot for only 30-45 minutes, so that she doesn’t get too cranky. Planning this out with the photographer ahead of time has been so helpful. She won’t last longer than 45 minutes, so any walking, setting up time has to be accounted for.

Don’t force it. Kids are silly and want to laugh and run around. Don’t force them to stay still for too long. It’s important to let them run around and get the sillies out. This is why it’s key to have an awesome, hands on photographer that can get it in a few shots.

Reward. I’m all for bribing my child! We like to plan ice cream after a shoot as a reward. By the time we’re done and can go get ice cream, Everly has usually forgotten about it, but you can bring toys or coloring books to keep your kiddos happy too.

Have a backup. On the day of our first photo shoot it was expected to be very rainy and windy. Jake and I were very nervous and talked with our photographer about rescheduling. We had a great plan in place in case we had to reschedule, but everything ended up working out. The rain kept people away from the Seaport and we had the Harborwalk to ourselves. It was windy, but never actually rained.

It’s amazing to look back at shoots and see how little Everly was. I love having these memories. Don’t stress too much and get it booked! You won’t regret it!

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites – so tough to choose!






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