minnesota — beyond

It's looking at your wedding gallery and film for the first time and knowing that the images capture people's souls. It's never understanding how beautiful you are until you can see yourself fully, completely immersed in all of the little moments on your wedding day.

send inquiry

for photographers

podcast shownotes



My hope is to make wedding days less about crossing items off of a shot list and more about being present in the real, raw and unposed moments.

documenting the moments that feel alive.

you can call me bree

Crafting Safe and Engaging Family Photography Sessions

Manifesting Photographer Podcast Show Notes

Manifesting Photographer Podcast Show Notes

Family photography is an art that captures not just images, but emotions and relationships. It requires a unique combination of skills, patience, and understanding. A recent discussion with Elizabeth, a family photographer from northern Wisconsin, shed light on what makes family photography special and how photographers can enhance both the client experience and their art. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Establishing a safe environment is central to capturing genuine, joyous moments in family photography.
  • Interactive elements and play-based approaches not only engage children but also contribute significantly to the quality of the shoot.
  • Preparation, including style guidance and expectation management, is key to a smooth and successful family photography session.

Crafting a Feeling of Safety: The Heart of Family Photography

Safety is not a term commonly associated with photography, yet Elizabeth emphasized its significance in family shoots. A feeling of security can transform a session, creating a space for authentic expressions and natural interactions, especially with children.

“No matter what age or developmental stage the kids I work with are in, they just want to feel safe,” Elizabeth remarks, highlighting a universal need that spans all demographics. This insight points to the role of photographers as not just visual artists but also as facilitators of comfort.

Photographers are encouraged to build a rapport with children, sometimes engaging with them even before the camera is out of the bag. Allowing children to become familiar with the equipment and be part of decision-making fosters an inclusive atmosphere. As Elizabeth shares, “I will say hi and I’ll go sit down on the ground… I will let them watch me take my camera out.” This process helps to dissipate any anxiety and establishes a solid foundation for the ensuing photography session.

The Power of Play in Captivating Children

Engagement during family sessions, especially with younger children, is crucial. What sets Elizabeth apart in her approach is her use of play. “We will usually dissolve that down to playing eventually,” she explains, introducing a dynamic element to the shoot. Elizabeth cleverly incorporates games that subtly lead to picture-perfect moments, capturing both candid shots and those smiling portraits parents cherish.

The innovative use of a spinner app to select games injects spontaneity and excitement, which often results in natural laughter and interaction. This clever technique shows that the intentional introduction of play can enhance the quality of family photography by highlighting the personalities of the subjects and producing images that are vibrant with life.

Preparation Paves the Way for Family Photography Success

Successful family photography sessions require meticulous planning, which begins even before the families arrive at the location. Providing clients with comprehensive session guides and contract details in advance ensures clarity on what to expect, and more importantly, helps clients prepare adequately.

Elizabeth takes a two-pronged approach to pre-session planning, separating the practicalities of the contract from the excitement of the session guide. In her guide, she includes style tips and locations, which prepare clients for the session and build anticipation. The inclusion of a styling tool, such as Style & Select,” illustrates the importance of guiding families in their wardrobe choices to achieve the desired aesthetic for the shoot. 

Effective preparation extends into managing expectations throughout the session as well. Structuring sessions with a combination of posed and playful moments helps children anticipate what’s next. Moreover, this forethought in planning allows for both the fulfillment of typical family portraits and the capture of more spontaneous, evocative images.

Embracing the Evolution of Elizabeth’s Family Photography Journey

Reflecting on her career, Elizabeth underscores the importance of growth and pursuing passion as a strategy to prevent burnout. Her approach suggests that continually finding inspiration through education and styled shoots not only benefits the photographer artistically but also culminates in a deeper sense of personal and professional fulfillment.

Elizabeth’s transparent self-assessment and open-mindedness towards her future in photography are both refreshingly candid and educational. As she enters her planning phase at the start of each year, her strategy is a testament to the ever-evolving artistry and business acumen required in the industry. 

The conversation with Elizabeth serves as an invaluable resource for photographers looking to refine their approach to family photography. Her emphasis on creating a safe environment for families, integrating play to bring out natural interactions, and the significance of thorough preparation offer a blueprint for photographers aiming to elevate their craft and client experience. It’s these nuanced components of the family photography process that can lead to heartfelt, timeless images cherished by families for generations.

Bonus Episode Summary:

In this episode of the Manifesting Photographer Podcast, host Breeanna is joined by Elizabeth, a talented family photographer with a knack for making photographic sessions memorable and enjoyable. The conversation dives into Elizabeth’s unique approach to photographing families and children, offering valuable insights for photographers looking to enhance their craft in a similar niche.

Elizabeth shares valuable experiences from her journey of turning a cherished hobby into a profession without losing the joy of capturing moments through her lens. She emphasizes the importance of continuing education and styled shoots to keep the creative spark alive. Through her detailed explanations and engaging storytelling, listeners gain a deeper understanding of how to manage family sessions, interact with kids, and integrate pets into the mix.

Key points include discussions on preparing clients for a shoot, style guides, creating a comfortable shoot environment, and ensuring the well-being of everyone, including pets. With actionable advice and strategic insights, the episode provides photographer or humans who work with kids regularly with practical tools.

Notable Quotes:

  • “No matter what age or developmental stage the kids I work with are in, they just want to feel safe.”
  • “If you can empower kids or if you can make them feel important, they’re just going to have so much more fun.”
  • “Some relationships are teasy and back and forth and cute and adorable, and some are soft and intimate. And I love seeing how they communicate.”


About the Guest:

Elizabeth is a family photographer based in Northern Wisconsin, specifically in the Chippewa Valley area. With a profound passion for capturing family moments, Elizabeth specializes in creating photographic memories for families, including children of various ages, senior portraits, and couples. Photography started for her as a hobby from an early age. Elizabeth’s sessions revolve around the concept of creating a safe and playful environment for her clients, where her subjects, especially children, feel comfortable and engaged during their shoot.

Leave a Reply