Tips to Getting Timeless Family Photos: Lavi + Eddie

momma holding her toddler baby boy in her arms.

You booked a family session and decide that you don’t want to shoot the same cookie cutter, cliché, and basic posed family photos. Instead you want to shoot timeless family photos full of life and movement that truly capture moments and preserve time. I can help you with that!

I’m sharing my favorite tips and tricks for making your family sessions come out timeless every single time. Make sure to follow along on my instagram and website for more inspiration!

The Knowledge Base

Before I would shoot in a “timeless” manor, I did what everyone else did. I “over posed” my clients. Rotated through 3 or 4 poses throughout the session and moved them around whichever location we were shooting at.

Everything changed when I realized how much power I had when handling my camera. It’s not about the camera or the lens (although they are still important). It all starts with what you want your photos to portray. Do you want a basic Christmas card or do you want your clients to feel the emotions that they were experiencing at that time. For those perfect timeless family photos you need to capture the real moments of amusement, laughter, tears, and just all around joy that encompasses a family.

The Details that make Photos Timeless

The timeless and “frozen in time” aspect of photography is truly an art. To be able to understand which details are important and which are just passing fillers is key. A baby’s hand will never be that small again, a momma will never be able to hold her child in that way again, and the waddle of a walking toddler will never again be as unstable. Capturing those “never again” moments and details is so so vital.

I capture photos not just to give families treasured memories but to give them art that ultimately become family heirlooms. A printed photo that gets passed down from generation to generation that will outlive even the healthiest of us, forever preserving our memory long after our names are uttered one last time and people forget who you are.

I shoot timeless photos to make even the most self-conscious and shy woman feel beautiful, to make even the most cranky toddler laugh when they see themselves in the camera. Don’t ever underestimate the power your camera has.

The single most important thing with this is: know your clients. Get to know them by either sending a questionnaire or meeting them before, maybe in person or over a zoom call. What do they love, what are they passionate about. That will help you with understanding the emotions they feel and what details are important. Is their daughter wearing a dress that her mom made? Is the dad or husband wearing his grandfather’s watch? Getting to know them will also make them more comfortable with you and that will show in your photos. It will help your draw our those raw emotions that will transform your work into those desired timeless family photos.

Timeless Family Photos: The Editing

The last tip I have for you is to keep an eye on your editing. Extremely sepia photos used to be popular, not they’re severely outdated. Keep that in mind when you’re editing your photos. Black and whites are almost always timeless as far as editing goes but where most people have trouble is the color edits. I know there are “trends” and everyone wants to join the crowd but those trends and fads pass and leave your work looking dated. When you’re going with the motions and doing what everyone else is doing then you’re having the opposite effect. Instead of timeless photos you’re pinpointing a time when that specific edit was popular and making your photos seem tacky.

Instead of following the trends, Keep your colors true to life, not extremely orange, not extremely purple or green. If it’s a cloudy day and you usually shoot at golden hour, challenge yourself to experiment with that, keeping the colors true even if it seems lifeless but look for the beauty in those photos and experiment with black and white editing. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and step out of your comfort zone because in my experience, that is PRECICELY where your best growth happens.

To achieve this romantic and timeless look I use the Dawn Charles Presets and add my own tweaks onto them to make them more of my own look. Presets are a great way to achieve that uniform look that will help you make your portfolio flow so that timeless look encompasses your entire brand.

Technique, Prompts, and Outfits

I started out scrolling Pinterest for inspiration before every shoot… aaannnddd I’m still doing that! There’s no telling how a shoot will go and no matter how long you’re shooting for, your brain still blanks sometimes mid shoot and it helps to have a reference to get you a jump start on your inspiration. Sometimes it helps to have that go-to but don’t let that hold you back. Don’t be afraid to experiment with poses, prompts, and bokeh. It’s not always about who is in focus because art comes in all shapes and sizes.

The difference between poses and prompts can many times be the difference between basic photos and lifestyle, timeless family photos. Some of my favorite family prompts are:

  1. Mom and Dad hold a blanket up and shake it, kids play catch under it.
  2. Everyone play ring around the rosie.
  3. Follow the leader; Mom leads the family in a single file line with the kids following and dad at the back. (You can mix up the order!)

Outfit choices are so so important when creating and shooting. For all of my couples and families, I send them a few choice tips and tricks to help them when deciding what to wear. I always recommend that they stick to neutral or pastel colors. That makes the photos so much more romantic and it doesn’t distract from the subjects whereas a bright yellow or neon pink would stand out so much that it would take away from that timeless feel. My second most important tip is complementing not coordinating. Photos flow so much better when you aren’t matching exactly. Instead of having a family photo where everyone is wearing blue jeans and matching sweaters, direct your couples or families to wear colors that complement each other but don’t match exactly.

Timeless Family Photos but Make them ART!

In the end, you should always follow your love. Everyone has a different perspective, a different style, and sees details, love, and laughter differently. Your photos are unique, your vision is unique and that is what will make clients book with you. If you get stuck on every inquiry that doesn’t book with you then you will never grow. Have the confidence to say “my work is art and not art is appreciated the same by everyone” then step back and take a look at all of the couples and families that took a chance on you and for whom you were able to bless with your point of view. Your timeless family photos and my timeless family photos will be different but as long as you have this post in mind, follow the guideline and trust your artistic brain then your photos will be amazing!

Believe in yourself and make sure to share your favorite timeless photos to inspire your artistic community and help others grow!


Andreia Danielle

Featured Categories