I recently got a question about how to make my models and clients feel comfortable in front of the camera (and I can’t stop thinking about how passionate I am about this).

When I first started photography, I was so worried about props and posing and locations to make my photos beautiful. I would transition from spot to spot so v quickly— but as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that posing and props are only accessories to a good photo.

Slowing down to allow people to breathe + feel is what helps them open up to me. We’re all just craving connection with someone and something in this fast-paced world. Let your clients connect with you and they’ll feel something when you send their gallery.

Capturing Real Emotion During Family Pictures
Slow, Intentional Feelings

Tender Moments

How Do You Make Clients Feel Comfortable During Photos?

Tony Grove is one of my top locations to shoot at. It really doesn’t matter the season, you can always find a spot to get great photos.

Tony Grove Winter Engagements

Jess and Matty were a dream to shoot. You can hear their laughter and playfulness in every photo. Which if I could bet, describes their entire relationship. They brought their puppy Frankie too, which is always a bonus. I love when people include their dogs. It brings a much different personal touch to the session. Plus, I get to play with a puppy so I’ve got zero complaints.

It was so much fun and totally worth it, even though we were all freezing by the end.

Matty + Jess | Tony Grove Engagements

Hunter is a dang goddess babe. This might actually be one of my favorite seniors to shoot to date. She is not only sweet and relaxed, she is just so easy to look at! 😉

We started outdoors at this mountain location in some edgy camo attire, and I was in love from the beginning. Those boots, her chill attitude, the whole thing. Then, she changed into the most beautiful flowy dress, which, combined with the wind looked like she was made for the mountains!

We ended with some gorgeous downtown and florals, and I’ve never been more giddy to get home and upload the photos. You can see exactly what I mean here… 😉

So grateful for the chance to get to know this family even more
Hunter, you da real MVP 😍

Hunter | 2020 Dreamy Senior Photos

1. Wear layers. Spring can be finicky in the sense that you can go from frigid to over heated in a matter of minutes. I suggest wearing layers — tank top, tee shirt, jacket, etc. That way each family member can peel off, or add, a layer as they see fit and remain comfortable throughout the session.

2. Location is a big deal. You better believe we’re going to take advantage of the fresh, warm air and all those bud popping up from the ground and in the trees. I have lots of suggestions, but if there’s somewhere you see that catches your eye, please feel free to ask if it can work!

3. Play into the colors of the season when choosing your family’s outfits. You can never got wrong with neutral and earth toned outfits. My suggestions are always, blues, grays, whites, greens, and soft pinks, then add a small pop of color. I recommend choosing a color theme for the whole gang, then slightly deviating from that with accessories to keep things interesting.

4. Speaking of accessories: wear them! Choose jewelry, scarves, or prints that play into the spring theme. Don’t be afraid to wear that flower crown or piece of statement jewelry.

5. Time it right. Book a session too early in the year and you may miss out on those spring buds. Book too late and you’ve already wandered into summer territory. In Utah, we have a very short window of green grass, wildflowers, and blooming trees. You can always contact me and we can figure out when the best time of year for a specific location will be.

6. Incorporate props, but always keep it simple. You don’t want the prop to over power you or your family. Spring offers some beautiful backdrops where props blend in perfectly. For example, old wooden chairs look stunning in a sea of blooming tiny flowers, and a quilted blanket is lovely on the fresh, green grass.

7. Really think about your footwear. Spring can often mean a soggy ground, so flip-flops or heels are not the best choice. Instead, wear something that’s comfortable and spring appropriate, like loafers, flats, wedges or boots.

Spring Family Pictures Styling Tips

Tips for Preparing for your Spring Family Session

Katie is one of my close friends who also happens to be a photographer. When my family moved into our first house, the Warners lived around the corner and took us in right away. We had the best neighborhood who were just so friendly and welcoming! I’m still so sad they moved away from us!

Unique Family Picture

Katie chose Trapper Park for their family session and I always LOVE the light here. It’s so dynamic and bright, but I love it! We can get so much yummy warmth in the photos when the area is open and bright! So grateful when other photographers trust me to capture their families. It feels just a little bit more special.

Warner Family | Trapper Park Magic

Shayna contacted me to shoot some yoga photos for her portfolio. If you’ve been following along my social media, you know that I’ve been working with local fitness gals, so this was so exciting for me. I love getting to connect with women, especially in the yoga setting, because it’s so calm and I feel so connected as we move through slow sequences and flows.

Shayna was pretty nervous when we came to our session. I reassured her that I would be there for her every step along the way, and I’m so grateful that she trusted me. She told me thank you multiple times through our session for making her feel comfortable and directing her.

I know how intimidating a session can be if you’re the only client in the photos. So many times as mothers, we are used to hiding behind our kids and use our interactions with them to take pressure off from us. I can promise you, though, when you come for your portraits that I will be there every step of the way to show you your own true beauty.

The Beautiful Shayna | Utah Fitness Photographer

Tips for preparing your husband for your family session:

If this is your first session together with the family now that the kids are mobile, let him know how you think the session will go and discuss your expectations. Also, if you have to bribe the kids, communicate this with him so he can help remind them of the bribery. I only shoot sessions around sunset, so most of my families opt to go to dinner after their session. This is a good incentive for everyone to cooperate!

Warn him that the kids will probably be crazy, but let him know that it will still be fine and to try not to get overwhelmed or worried. I am the pro at taking charge and directing the session, so let the chaos coordination fall on me. You guys don’t need to stress about telling your kids to look and smile… that’s why you hire me!

Ask him to help get himself and the kids ready. The less stressed mom is, the less chance of an argument between you arising. If you were having an argument earlier, it can make it harder to loosen up and get past it once we begin our session.

Remind him that the session is only one hour, and then it will all be over. This way, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel and can stick it out.

And most importantly – remind him that you love him (and that he loves you, and that’s why he’s cooperating with this). Tell him how much these photos mean to you, and him cooperating will make this experience more memorable.

Dads can love family pictures, too!

Preparing Your Husband for a Family Picture Session

Hey! I’m Tyff. I’ve been an associate under Ashton for just over a year now and absolutely love my job!! I work mainly with couples and weddings but also love an intimate self love session.

Ashton Leigh Photo Team

I grew up in Cache Valley, Utah and could never leave. The surrounding mountains have my heart! I’m married to the man of my dreams and a momma to two wild little boys & a bonus mom to one other.

I love hiking, traveling, a good iced coffee, the color yellow, and anything peach or coconut flavored. I have yet to find a street taco I didn’t consume in one bite and still can’t find a book that looks/sounds interesting enough for me to read.

Tonys Grove or Willow Flat have so far been my top favorite locations to shoot at, but I’m excited to see even more locations this coming year! Let’s connect!


Meet the Team | Tyfani Meacham

Big cottonwood canyon was the perfect location for this snowy engagement session with Kyle and Mira. When we first pulled in I could tell it was a popular spot, and by the end of our session I could see why. Even with a crowded parking lot there was plenty of surrounding pines and open space to capture their love.

I actually worked with Mira for a few years so it was fun catching up and seeing her and Kyle together. They’re both a super outdoorsy and spend a lot of time hiking, so being in the mountains for their photos made perfect sense. But it got me thinking…

You know what makes for an amazing shoot? It isn’t your outfits, how you’ve done your hair, or really even a stellar location (although those do come into play.) But really, it’s all about being yourself. Be goofy, giggle, cuddle like you’re at home watching your favorite show together, and kiss like no one is watching.

I’ll be there to capture the real & raw for you to look back on.

Kyle + Mira | Big Cottonwood Canyon Engagements

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