When is the best time to have professional family photos taken?

This is a question I get asked on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis—when should we schedule our family portraits? Well, I can’t say there is a perfect time or age or season, but there are a few guidelines you could follow to determine what would work best for you family.

1)   Age is more than just a number – How old your kids are matters when it comes to portraits. For example, I like to photograph newborns in the first 3 weeks of birth, then again at 3-4 months, 6-9 months and the first birthday. You have to keep in mind the age difference between your children as well; two babies will be more difficult to photograph than a baby and a toddler, and if you’ve got three or more…having the older ones at an age where they can listen and follow direction will help make the session run more smoothly.

2)   Runaway baby – Is your baby crawling? Walking? Running? I always recommend scheduling a session before the baby is mobile—this is when we can capture great interactive shots but won’t have to worry about where the baby is headed next!

3)   In-studio versus on-location – Do you want timeless studio portraits that can hang on your walls and work with any décor, or would you prefer a fun on-location session at the park or beach? Answering this question will determine when and where you should have your family photos done. Beach sessions are great for the summer and park sessions are perfect for fall.

4)   Parents know best – no matter what the professionals say, you know your kids best; that means you know what makes them happy and when they need to nap. Your portrait session has to coincide with your daily/weekly routine—missing a nap, snack time or even ballet may not be a good idea if it means the kids won’t be in the best spirits for their close-up. Discussing these details with your photographer is important and will help you pick the best date and time to schedule your portraits.

5)   The perfect gift – Sometimes photographing your family aligns with the Holidays or a birthday and this is a great time to capture your little ones while giving a memorable, personalized gift that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Now that we’ve got the guidelines, remember that photographing your kids is important, whether professionally or via iPhone—capturing the spirit of your family is something you will never regret investing in, regardless of when, where and how you do it!

Guest post by Negin Sairafi of Negin Sairafi Photography in Toronto.