Caroline’s Holiday Family Photography Tips

As we’re gearing up for our yearly Holiday Mini Sessions (by the way, there are still spots left!) I’m sure there are plenty of families out there who feel daunted at the idea of dressing, preparing, and organizing their family for a photo shoot. If you’re stressing over the questions of where, when, and how…. stress no further! Caroline Winata, our fearless photography leader, shares her tips for making your holiday shoot adorable and worthy of giant, framed images for your mantle.

sacramento san francisco family photos

Timing is Everything

Schedule your shoot when your family is the happiest! Don’t interrupt mealtimes or nap times with a shoot – that will just make everyone cranky. Choose a time that works for your schedule, but make sure it isn’t high noon! The midday sun casts horrible shadows that even the best photographers can’t avoid.


Bring your Pets!

puppy family photo

As most of you know, Caroline has two Portuguese water dogs that go everywhere with her, and she encourages her clients to bring their extra family members as well! Pets add an element of fun to every family shoot, and often make children more at ease. Just be sure to let us know beforehand, so we know to bring treats!


Keep It Casual

Even though you may feel pressured to take “formal” family photos, your children won’t appreciate outfits that restrict their movement, can’t get dirty, or are fussy. Neither will you, for that matter! Take the time to look “nice”, but full suit-and-tie attire will just feel stiff and stuffy. If you need inspiration, check out a catalog from JCrew – they do “preppy casual” perfectly!


Bring Props!

Incorporate personal items from your kids’ arsenal of favorite things – special toys, stuffed animals, even a costume prop can make your child feel like the shoot is “playtime”, and not a chore.

Things that are special to you as a family – woven quilts, a special vacation purchase, or something that represents a shared hobby (think sports equipment like a football or baseball and bat, or even video game controllers!)

Think about the setting and the season as well – cute umbrellas and galoshes for fall, mittens and sleds for winter, big sunglasses and boogie boards for summer, and big flowers for spring! Let your imagination run wild!


Take Advantage of the Outdoors

holiday family photos

Going outside as opposed to a studio gives you space and multiple setting opportunities. Parks generally have stairs, benches, tall trees – all the basics for multiple poses and pretty backdrops. Even if going outside means you’ll be in an urban setting, we can find fun storefronts, well designed buildings, giant windows, fun stairs, and even street art that will add interest and design to your photos. Ranches, farms, and national parks can be amazing spots to shoot as well – get to know the nature around where you live!


Play with Colors and Seasons

When putting together your outfits, find one common color palette and choose outfits based on it, but don’t go all matchy-matchy! Fall has the best mix of colors that look good on just about everyone! Pumpkin orange, rich brown, off white, and gold is one of our favorite combinations, but we’ve seen our clients come up with the most awesome combos all on their own!



The best outfits call for the best accessories! Scarves, hats, belts, fun knee socks under boots or galoshes – the sky is the limit! Babies and small children look especially adorable with headbands or barrettes (depending on how much hair they have!).


Be Silly!

happy stylish family

The best photos are the completely candid ones! Run around, get goofy, do a dance! Even if your wacky antics don’t end up on the mantle, you’ll loosen up and give your kids (and yourself) time to relax in front of the camera.


Accentuate the Positive

Be your kid’s advocate the day of the shoot – bring candy or treats to reward them when they pose well or behave. Prepare them properly by telling them that they are meeting Caroline for a fun photo session, and that they’ll get to play with her before the shoot begins. If your child acts up during a shoot, remain calm and positive – Caroline is used to coaxing kids to get images you’ll love.

Just relax and say cheese!

Ready for your closeup? Want to schedule your shoot with us? We’ve got a special you’ll love!

xoxo – The Milou + Olin Team


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- We love documenting your journey. 
- We will shower you with our love and affection and laugh together! 



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