I'm so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your family session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. I always tell people that I still get nervous before having my photos taken - and I do this for a living!

This guide is for lifestyle sessions, which can range from family, children, maternity, quinces, teens, etc. These sessions are natural, gently posed, and more camera-aware. If you're considering a documentary family session, please click the link below for Day in the Life FAQs

There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning your family session and since I get asked the same things over and over again, I thought it would be the most beneficial if I put together a guide that walks you through everything you need to know. 

I'll cover what to wear, whether to bring pets & how to manage them, location ideas and more! 



Thanks to our year-round "season" here in South Florida, lifestyle family sessions can take place anywhere and any time! I've found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. I normally plan sessions based on a particular “look” a family has in mind, spring flowers for example, or based on schedules. 

Sessions typically last about an hour and when when I can—I love to begin sessions about one to one and a half hours before sunset. I prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first two hours after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot. It's typically cooler, too - we all know how harsh the Florida sun can be! 

I schedule sessions during what we believe will be the best light of the day - which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets more harsh as it rises. 

Is there a "good" time to take photos? 


Although not as relaxed as documentary "Day in the Life" sessions where you can literally stay in your PJ's all day, lifestyle family sessions are not stuffy, and a ton of fun! 

We'll get plenty of "camera-aware" photos and candids alike. I may even pull the children aside for some special headshots. In between, I'll gently guide you into poses and give fun prompts that'll highlight the connection you share. 

totally relaxed...



I love when families choose a location for their session that complements their lifestyle. For example if you're a coastal kind of family, it might be fun to spend time at the marina or take the boat out for a couple hours. Or maybe you're more traditional and just want a beautiful park with lush greenery. The best session locations are often meaningful places to the family; however, I'm also happy to make recommendations. From county parks to ice cream shops, the options for lifestyle family session locations are endless! 

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Fairchild Gardens
Spanish River Library
Worth Avenue, Palm Beach


Yacht Club
Jupiter Beach Lighthouse
Matheson Hammock Marina


Downtown Brickell
Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale
Downtown West Palm Beach


Hollywood Beach
Deerfield Beach
Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park


Tradewinds Park
Amelia Earhart Park
The Old Grove 


State Park Hike
Florida Springs
 Sailing / Boating 


The above locations are all beautiful but I also love exploring meaningful locations with my families!

I don't personally have a dog, (YET!) but I imagine they're a HUGE part of your family, which is why I love when families choose to incorporate pets into their session. Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet friendly location. 

I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and then either dropping them off or having a friend take them home. We won’t use the pet in every single photo so it’s also nice to have a friend available to hold him or her in between shots. 

If you’re going to bring a pet, we recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pets favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot. 




When picking outfits I recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” For example, if dad is wearing a blue and pink pastel plaid shirt, then mom may want to choose a long, soft blue dress. It can also be a great idea to choose “color-families,” such as pastels or jewel tones.

Generally families pick two complimentary colors for their family session like mustard and cranberry, or navy and yellow,  and then add in neutrals like denim or khaki. 

For beach sessions, tropical colors like coral, turquoise and even pink work beautifully on the sand. Please do not show up in white shirts and khakis - you don't want to dress like the beach.

Heels lengthen legs but if your heels aren’t comfortable for walking, bring an extra pair of shoes to slip into in between shots.

I love the way larger patterns photograph - just be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy.

Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin. I love bright, neon dresses, but I don’t love the neon reflection they add to your complexion. 

Wardrobe Tips

for the ladies


You can’t go wrong with nice slacks and a crisp shirt. 

Be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy. Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin. 

Try to avoid crew neck t-shirts, linen shirts that may wrinkle easily, and sports jerseys. 


for the gents

Inclement Weather

what to do if it rains

During the summer months, it’s typical for me to schedule two family session dates. A primary date and a rain date. Having two dates helps us make sure that your photos happen in a timely manner. Coordinating schedules can be tough and I've found that the best way to make sure my families  get the look they have in mind for their photos is to schedule two dates at the same time.

I'll check in the week of your family session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. I know it takes a lot of time to get ready for photo sessions and it’s the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain. Let me know what works best for you - but if the weather looks like it won’t be great, I typically try to make the call at least 3 hours in advance. (Or more if you need more time!) 

When it comes to posing for your lifestyle family session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I'll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If I tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because I  know it’s going to make you laugh - and that’s the photo I'm  actually looking for. 

Throughout your session, I'll  keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. I want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy your time together! 

"What do I do with
 my hands?"

"What do I do
 with my hands"?


Most family session galleries are delivered within seven business days. Weekends are usually reserved for weddings and photo sessions, so please be patient during peak wedding season.

When to Expect Your Images

I  know that this guide is long and hopefully it covers everything you need to know to prep for your family session! However if there is something I missed, or you need a recommendation feel free to email 



and lets have fun doing so.

Phone // 954-798-5118

Email // info@sonjuphotography.com

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