Who Should Book a Family Photo Session?

March 12, 2020 Estimated reading time: 7 min

The fact that you're reading this blog means that you have a desire deep in your heart to freeze time. We go through life in a hurry. We love our kids, yet we're mostly running on task, going off the script seems desirable yet sometimes so complicated.

A family photo session is an opportunity to do just that, to prioritize to slow down and dedicate time for memories. The photographer will facilitate the session, but it's your family's essence that will shine through. You'll get memories of the most important people in your life with YOU in the frame; isn't that the best gift for a parent's heart ten years from now?

Estimated Reading Time: 9 min

Expecting parents; big families; extended family with maybe a grumpy grandpa. These are your people. Investing in memories is so worth it.

Maternity Pregnancy Boston Family Photographer tiny-6

I wish the family photography industry was more established in the 80s back home in Venezuela. I crave photos of me as a toddler with my dad or as a teenager hugging my mom. Sure, I have plenty of pictures under the Christmas tree with my big family looking at the camera, but that's mostly it. Candid memories were not recorded back then, it was all about classic portraits 💛

I'd give anything to be able to look back at my childhood through family photos, showing it to my kids as we walk through memory lane. If this is something you're craving, then a family photo session is right for you.

Types of Family Photos According to Your Family's Size

Parents & their kids

This is the most common family session booking I get. Your favorite people on earth, your immediate family members ❤️

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Beach Boston Family Photography (tiny)-36

Your most intimate and adored people will spend a sunset/sunrise together, enjoying each other and creating memories. This session flows like the wind. There is no script, and each family has an essence that makes them who they are. Throughout, my goal is to understand what makes your family tick and run with it. The hugs, the snuggles, the human interaction that naturally takes place on an intimate session opens up for the most breathtaking candid portraits.

Suitably, in a small family session, there is little to no tension, and there is one leader — usually Mom. Her desire to be there is SO tangible. If the other partner was hesitant for photos, usually by the time we meet or shortly after the session begins, they are all in! The hearts melt looking at how happy mom is. They open up and realize that there is no posing or direction involved, they get to be who they are, and I'm just there capturing what my heart feels.

Why does this transformation and willingness to participate happen? Small families book me when they're HAPPY. No one books a family photo session during their lows as a couple or family. So, even if one of the parents is initially hesitant, as soon as they see their significant other delighted, in their zone, kissing and laughing with their kids, it's contagious, and they start smiling too!!! Seeing the person you love the most being happy makes you want to participate and give in.

Beautiful deserves to be remembered. The goal is not to make perfect work. It's to embrace the perfect beauty in who they already are.

Expecting Parents ~ yay for a maternity session!

Moms-to-be have a special glow! It's such a lovely time in your life. Documenting your pregnancy and having this moment in time frozen will be the best gift to your kids! 

Sometimes it's just mom, other times the couple! When there are older siblings, they join us as well to celebrate the pregnancy!

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Boston Family Photographer - Maternity Fairy Tale 8

Yours, Mine, and Ours

It's not uncommon that a family is mixed. Meaning maybe a second marriage for one or both of the parents. The memories will be breathtaking, and the session unforgettable.

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It's super exciting to capture the love of a mixed family, and I love it. My family is one of those! My dad married my mom, and they had my twin sister and I; I have four siblings - with whom I literally talk every day - that you would never tell that we don't have the same mom. The love and respect are intense, we love each other SO much, and there is no drama.

So, mixed doesn't mean drama yet if it does, the key to a happy experience will be logistics during the photo session execution. The photographer needs to know the exact family tree to make sure comments and guidance apply correctly. It will help create the photo combinations that will make every heart explode with love. Being assertive as a photographer is critical when families are mixed.

Extended Families

This type of session has many possibilities. It can mean immediate family + 1 set of grandparents or + 2 sets of grandparents. It can be grandparents with all their kids and grandkids. Or maybe three grown-up siblings that get together with their kids for a cute cousins' session. These sessions are incredible if planned the right way.

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But, Do Family Photo Sessions Work for Extended Families?

Pricing is the biggest hassle when booking an extended family session for two reasons: first, not everyone's budget is the same. Second, everyone values memories in different ways and is willing to invest a different amount of money towards memories. You'll be surprised when the family with the smallest budget prioritizes photo investment above all and are willing to pay a premium ~ I see it often.

It's essential to have the money conversation from the get-go, so you don't get your hopes high and lose time. I've seen families approach me, spend many cycles discussing potential days/times/locations to only walk away when one of its members doesn't want to invest that amount of money.

Provided that your family agrees on the money investment from the start, you can filter out local photographers based on your real budget. It will get the booking going smoothly and reduce the drama behind the scenes. Remember that it's all about being happy by the time you get to the session!

Family Photo Sessions Work for Extended Families


Small-size Families

Family sessions (regardless of the family size) are usually shot at sunrise or sunset, during the delicious golden hour. To be able to really capture the true essence of your family with sweet candid moments, kids need time to warm up and be themselves. The 3 types of family sessions that ATP offers (Journey, Fairy Tale, and Voyage) will have the 1-1.5hrs format that allows for the most emotive moments to unfold! 

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Extended Families

It all depends on what's the ultimate goal. Is the goal to have photos of everyone together or are you looking for each family to have their own portraits as well. If you want separate families, don't panic; it won't be more than 2 hours (give or take and not everyone needs to be there the entire time, especially grandparents. The session duration will be adjusted depending on the goals. The best light is always during the golden hour yet for extended families, sometimes this is not doable due to the multiple schedules. 

Your photographer will guide everyone through the logistics. We develop a plan, and families can take turns. We usually start or finish with the elderly, so they can just relax and watch the show behind the scenes, or they can take a break and leave once their portraits are ready. Photographers always spoil grandparents; I adore them!

Family Photographer Boston


How to Pick the Right Place/Time for Everybody

  • Studio vs lifestyle.

For small size families, you have the option of doing the photo session in a studio; for large families, I highly recommend you meet outdoors. The reason behind it is that a confined small space can get crowded quickly, moods can swing and crash. Meanwhile, in the outdoors every family member can just be. Kids run around; others walk to explore the location; some might just love the behind-the-scenes and just follow the photographer around; for example, during a Fall Family Photo Session, your kids can play with the foliage, and that provides spectacular shots!

There are other things that you must keep in mind if you want a family photoshoot, which becomes even more critical in large groups.

  • Local vs adventure locations

For your immediate family photo session, if you're dreaming about an outdoor location. You have 2 options! Local hidden gems vs. adventure/epic locations! It all depends on the experience you're after. Both are magical! If you stay close to home, the logistics are more simple. If you dream of fairy tale locations such as Lavender Farm or the beach, then drive is involved, you can make it a fun road trip with the kids! 

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Extended Family Conflicts and Other Hiccups

Here is some personal wisdom when drama affects behind the scenes of your family photo session:

  • Estranged family members. On extended family photo sessions, this is not unheard of; a family member might not be your cup of tea. However, I'm sure there is a more significant reason to agree to do the photoshoot. See the silver lining and embrace your time together!
  • Members are running late. With small families, this is not an issue; a Mom who books a session and pays tons of money will do a tremendous work back schedule. Yet for extended family, lateness can create conflict. You can't control your brother-in-law being on time, but if your small family is there, then make the best out of it. The photographer will start the session, and whoever is late will just participate in what's left. It's their loss; you go with the flow and enjoy your candid moments with your loved ones.
  • Emotions are running high in the session. Usually, emotions run high when many kids from different families are running around. Each family has different rules, and I get it. My recommendation is to just focus on your kids, don't try to control your nieces/nephews. If each mom provides love, attention, and comfort to her kids, the session will flow amazingly well.

Here is my all-time favorite extended family session! We had such a great time. Grandparents, 3 siblings, and all their combo families! It was such a blessing to capture this family all together celebrating Bruno's birthday! Meet THE most adorable grandpa! ❤️

extended family session

Wondering what to do with your family photos?

Last, But Not Least: Your Photographer Needs to Know About Your Family's Dynamic

The answer to who should book a family photo session is simple: everyone can. It's not exclusive to immediate or extended families. It all depends on who you choose as your professional photographer and what leads you to book a professional family photo session in the first place.

The photographer will want you to have an unforgettable experience, and he or she will pour her/his soul to have everyone feeling awesome! The goal is to capture your family's essence, share your story and open your heart. It's only in that vulnerable moment that magic happens and we get to capture the beauty of who your family really is. 

My most important advice would be to make sure you do your research on the different styles of family photography. Both in terms of personality, location, and editing style. To be super happy with the results, you need to understand ahead of time what's your photographer's signature style for family portraits.



Style away this spring with these tips!



Andre Toro is an award-winning family photographer based in Boston, MA. She calls her style Real Art Photography, which she defines as Fine Art inspired by candid moments. Andre is a passionate soul, obsessed with human connection, and emotive storytelling. She believes love is raw, messy, and beautiful. To inquiry about booking a photo session, please contact her at andre@andretorophotography 




About Andre Toro Photography

Andre Toro is an award-winning family and personal branding photographer based in Boston, MA. She calls her style Real Art Photography, which she defines as Fine Art inspired by candid moments. Andre is a passionate soul, obsessed with human connection, and emotive storytelling. She believes love is raw, messy, and beautiful. To inquire about booking a photo session, please contact her at andre@andretorophotography.com

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