Niagara family photographer


Everything You Need to Know About Your Family Portrait Session

How Old Are Your Family Photos?

When was the last time you had family photos

At a wedding? (with drinks in hand) Last Christmas morning before you had time to get ready? (Afterall, there’s “candid” shots, and then there’s just the “caught off guard” shot as you see your face mid-yawn and think, “Is that really what I look like when I’m yawning???!!!!) 

You’re not alone if the family photos on your wall and in your albums are out of date. Many of our clients who come to us say the same thing! Life is busy, and it’s hard to be the one who always has to have your phone at the ready, or prints new photos (that you actually like) to share with the family. 

We get it. You deserve to just enjoy the moments life sends your way without the pressure of always capturing it too. 

We wanted to take some time to talk about family photos and family portrait sessions in this blog so you can get some updated photos for your walls and finally make your parents and grandparents happy with the printed-out, not-on-your-phone family photos they’ve been begging you for. 

Having a scheduled family portrait session takes the pressure off of feeling like you have to document every little moment of your life so you don’t miss that “golden-shot” opportunity. We’ll get all the perfect shots you need for your social media, your family albums, Christmas cards and wall portraits. That way, you don’t have to worry about missing the other moments, and you can truly just be present to experience them. Rest easy knowing that if you don’t get to your camera in time, you still have a set of meaningful, beautiful family photos waiting for you. 

Here’s what we’re going to cover in this blog:

  • Who should get family photos?
  • Why get family photos?
  • How to use your family photos? 
  • How long is a family portrait session? 
  • What to wear to your family photos?
  • Where to get family photos?

We want to create a memorable time for you during your family photo session so we can capture you in the moment, experiencing the real joy of your life in this season. Read on to see how we do it! 

Telling Your Story With Family Photos:

In our years of photography, we’ve had the privilege of following many people through milestone stages of their life, from engagement to wedding photos, to first pet photos and newborn photos and finally to family photos. We love getting to document the various chapters of your lives. 

It’s always while we’re taking family photos that we remember this – no single milestone is the culmination of all the others. Your story always continues on to a new stage, even after this exciting one you’ve been looking forward to for years: a wedding, honeymoon, pets, anniversaries and babies. Every new day brings change, transformation and new pages to fill your story. 

This is never more apparent to us than in family photos, where we see children become grown-ups practically overnight. Or where we see first babies become big brothers or sisters. Or where we see a couple look at each other on their anniversary, thinking of everything that has happened since their wedding day. 

This is why we can’t just be wedding photographers. Your wedding day is incredible, a sacred chapter in your story, but it isn’t the end. There is so much more of your story to come as you go through life together, and all of us at Morning Light are honoured to help you capture it. 

Who Are Family Photos For?  

We know that if you search “family photos” in Google, you’re going to mostly find parents with young children. But we want to open up the phrase to include more descriptions of how we all experience a sense of family. After all, you get to choose whether your family is: 

  • Parents with grown-up children
  • Generations of family (Grandparents, parents, grandchildren – maybe even great grandchildren!)
  • A couple on their anniversary 
  • Aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews
  • Pets 
  • Cousins
  • Roommates 
  • Friends

The list goes on and on! 

We know that family evolves, meaning different things in different stages of your life. Let’s capture what family means to you in this season. 

Why Get Family Photos?

There are a variety of reasons why our clients have family photos taken. 

  • Document the Growth of Your Family and Life: 

Kids change so quickly. Never was this so clear as during the 2020 pandemic, when even after a few months apart, you noticed the biggest changes in your littlest family members. 

You want up-to-date photos of your children, nieces and nephews and grandchildren to document their growth. (Scratching height measurements of your growing kids into a wooden door frame is fun, but it’s not usually something you want to display throughout the house). 

  • For Nostalgic Experiences in Years to Come: 

Do you remember as a kid, spending hours flipping through old family photos? 

There’s always a mysterious intrigue about seeing ourselves as babies or toddlers, seeing ourselves in a time we can’t consciously remember. (Or even better, seeing photos of your parents before you were born, and remembering they had a whole life before you arrived!) These family photos can remind us all that we’re part of a story, with context and history. 

  • For a Sense of Meaning: 

Everytime we hang out with the kids in our lives, we love seeing how curious they are about seeing themselves when they were younger. It’s so fun to flip through albums and tell them stories of who they were as babies: the funny things they said, their favourite toys and the adventures (or mis-adventures) we had together. 

Actually, David Krauss a licensed psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio has done a lot of work on “phototherapy” and argues that: 

It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level. (Krauss, Phototherapy and Mental Health). 

We agree that this is our job as photographers. We know that every photo we take is going to be part of the stories you tell within your family for years to come. We want to reflect the love, the fun and the joy you experience together. 

How to Use Your Family Photos:

As we talk to our clients, we hear a lot of creative ways that you all like to use your photos, as artwork for your walls, storytellers and as gifts. 

  • On Your Walls: 

Your family photos are the most beautiful art your home can have. 

Depending on your style, you may choose to go with that perfectly-scattered collage wall: 

Or that sleek and simple “rule of three”: 

  • In An Album: 

Yes, yes, we all know we should back up the photos on our phone more often, or actually print out some of the photos we take. We can help you get that peace of mind with the perfect set of albums for your coffee table. Talk to us about our collections so you can find the album that matches your interior design and complements any albums you may already have. (For those of you who get annual family photos, adding a little note along with each year about any major milestones or memories can be a fun way of personalizing your photos even more.) 



  • As Gifts:

We’ve seen some really beautiful photo gifts for many different occasions. In addition to your classic Christmas card send-outs, we’ve also seen: 

  • Updated photos and prints for Mother’s Day gifts 
  • Celebrating big anniversaries (for parents or grandparents) with a compilation of new and old family photos
  • Housewarming gifts of new prints for your walls 

The way you use your family photos is a great way of reflecting the vibe of your family. We love incorporating your personal style into your photos so you can have pieces that will work with your home or the gift you’re giving. 

What Does a Family Portrait Session with Morning Light Look Like:

After we’ve set the date for your family photo session, we’ll start planning together so you can arrive at your shoot stress-free and feeling your best. 

How Long Is A Session?

Our sessions are usually about an hour-long so that we can capture a ton of beautiful photos for you. We find this is enough time to give you two wardrobe changes without asking too much of the little ones’ attention spans. But here’s the most important thing we want you to know:

Don’t worry about the kids. We know that children aren’t robots that can be perfectly controlled, and that’s what makes photoshoots with them so special. Our mission for each photoshoot is to help your kids feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera so we can capture them having fun and feeling good about themselves.

Plus, pro-tip! Making your family photoshoot into a fun afternoon is always recommended. Go out for ice cream afterwards, or a nice dinner where you can take advantage of everyone dressed up and put together. 

As for the best time of day, we’re totally willing to work around nap schedules and mealtimes. Whenever possible, we try to take advantage of the “golden hour” light

What Should We Wear to Our Family Photos?

This will depend a lot on your family’s vibe and style. We’re always happy to talk through this question with you, but here are a few questions to help you curate the style of clothes: 

  • Does your family feel best when wearing your casual, comfortable clothes or when you’re all dressed up in your Sunday best? … This can help you decide whether to go with the sweaters and denim look, or ties and pearls look. 
  • Would you describe your home decor style as rustic and vintage? Or minimalist and modern? Or maybe elegant and refined? … This can help you narrow down your colour palette, and any patterns or textures you want to include or avoid. (Ie. plaid, ruffles, bright colours, etc.)
  • Are there any favourite wardrobe items you want to look back at one day and think, “Oh that was one of my favourite dresses.” For some, nostalgia can play a key part in choosing your wardrobe. 

But when in doubt, we always recommend sticking to neutrals and pastels to help give your photos the light and airy-style we love. Some of our favourite colour palettes have shades of white, grey, beige, mauve and blue in them. 

Our only rule of thumb – don’t wear all matching clothes! In our opinion, the matching white t-shirt with blue jeans look can stay nicely tucked away in the 1990s photo albums. This is a time to showcase all the uniqueness of your family and the little details that bring out your personalities (a little bow here, bright coloured shoes there, the odd splash of pink… you name it!) 

Where Should We Take Our Family Photos:

Well, the real answer here is anywhere!

But our two favourite recommendations are: 

1.Your Home

If you have put a lot of work into making your home your own, integrating it into photos can bring an added layer of cozy, togetherness as you snuggle on couches, jump on the bed, look out the window … whatever your favourite little gathering places in the house are. The key here is to find a spot with great natural lighting!

2. An Outdoor Landscape

With over five years in the industry, we’ve scoped out the best photo locations Niagara has to offer. Whether it’s The Commons in Niagara-on-the-Lake or Balls Falls in Lincoln, we’ve got the lake and the escarpment on either side of us that we can play with for two totally unique atmospheres. 

When deciding where to go, just remember to keep comfort in mind – dress for the location and bring any snacks you might want with you. 

Want To Try a Family Session, Low-Risk?

If you’ve read all this and are feeling like you aren’t quite ready to say “yes” to the sesh, why don’t you try a mini session?

Our mini sessions happen on exclusive days throughout the year, and for half the price, you can experience a 20 minute family session and receive 15 photos to add to your collection. 

Our next mini session is happening on Saturday, November 7th at one of our favourite spots in Niagara – The Commons in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

We specifically chose this spot so you have a flexible background to work with. You could do: 

  • Christmas photos near the evergreen trees
  • Fall photos on the tree-lined walking path 
  • Or a seasonally neutral photo with clothes that match your style 

Sign up today, then pack up the family and pets for a little outside time – all following COVID-19 precautions. 


There are so many good reasons to have updated family photos around your home. They’ll help you tell stories of your life together. Remind you all that you are a team and can get through anything together. And make excellent gifts for the other characters in your story too, like grandparents, aunts and uncles. 

We’ve answered some of your most commonly asked questions in this blog post so you can start imagining your dream family portrait session. You can also reach out to us anytime with more questions. 

reader faves


browse by category






welome to my blog

I take wedding photos focused on joyful moments with an empathetic approach.  

Learn more




The Clover club Wedding guide

Dolor mixtape food truck Austin, assumenda Odd Future Carles ani Echo Park cillum.


© Morning Light Photography 2016 - 2024