Throw back Thursday


Just a little #tbt action for today; I took this picture of my daughter almost 6 years ago in one of her first photo sessions. She was the one I learned how to take baby Pictures on and she has always Been a great subject ;). Plus she is super cute!


Baby T newborn Pictures

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Baby T Newborn Photos Preview Little Baby T was welcomed to the world a few short weeks ago and I had the privilege of taking his newborn photos when he was just 4 days old.  Here is a preview of his session.

7 Tips to a great family photo shoot

©Paige Donahoe
Brother and Sister fun

Brother and Sister fun

You have done it.  You have scheduled your family photo session – Finally!  You can already envision the pristine beautiful pictures hanging in your house of your beautiful smiling kids and spouse and maybe even the family dog…all sitting, smiling, happy.  You can’t WAIT until you get to your photo session.

The day finally arrives…eeeek!  You get everyone up early. Shower, do hair, make-up, dress everyone’s new matching outfits.  Brush the dog, and off you go. Oops you forgot to feed them, and you forgot the dog! Oh well, AFTER you are done, everyone gets to go to lunch, dinner, ice cream, whatever and the dog…well he will survive. This is going to be great!!!!

You arrive at the designated location. It is perfect. Then the kids, who you think look great, say “Where are we? Why are we here? I don’t like what I am wearing, I’m hungry, etc”  You remind them that it is family picture day and it is going to be fun!

Family Shoot!

Family Shoot!

The photographer is ready, so you guys head out and start your session.  Then it all starts to fall apart.  The kids, whom you forgot to feed, are now hungry, whining and not cooperative.  The spouse, who is trying to calm the kids down, is now getting irritated.  The photographer is trying to get everyone to smile, but there are distractions on top of hungry tummies and you start to loose it. You curtly tell everyone to “Smile!  BIG! BE HAPPY for crying out loud!”  You bring out the bribes, stare down your spouse and try to pretend your blood isn’t boiling…and thus begins the family photo session melt down. There it goes,  your visions of that perfect family photo hanging above the mantle have dissolved into praying the photographer can get just one good shot of everyone smiling and not looking mad.

Grace was done and over the shoot. I got this great pic of her off in her own little world.

How do I know this scenario so well?  Well I am a photographer, so I have seen it play out; BUT, I also have had my family pictures taken, so been there done that!  Having lived on both sides of the camera, let me tell you this – THIS happens all the time.  I have planned the perfect photoshoot of my own children – all gussied up, on location, with props no less; the prefect plan for the perfect pictures.  We arrived all happy and smiling, the kids were running around skipping and as soon as we met with my friend with a camera in hand… POOF – the cooperation, smiles, anything symbolizing a worth-while picture adventure vanished. I have lived the parental nightmare of a family photo shoot gone wrong. I have shot the family photo shoot gone wrong – so I compiled a list of helpful hints to arm yourself with prior to the shoot.

Crazy personalities offer the best pictures!

How to prepare for a family photo shoot:

  1. Go with the flow.  Kids are kids. Simple as that. They do not have the capacity to reason.  If they did – parents wouldn’t be so tired all the time.
  2. FEED THEM!  Please make sure everyone has eaten. There is no getting around a hungry child. They are grumpy. Period.  Also bring snacks, treats, candy anything they like – BRIBE them!  IT WORKS.
  3. Use their personalities to get the shots. When I take pics I try to incorporate as much fun for them as possible. I have to do this with mine. I simply tell them “Look, I need to get some good normal smiling pics, once I do that – then just be yourselves.  Be silly – I don’t care, do whatever.” I get GREAT photos by doing this. I do it for clients too.
  4. Let them take breaks. Kids, dads, dogs, they need a break here and there. It makes for a longer shoot but smiling gets old.
  5. Be open to ideas.  This isn’t a fashion shoot, with models, hair and makeup and tons of lights,  it is your family.  Let everyone be involved with the shoot and participate.  This gets everyone actively involved and you might be surprised at the results!
  6. Get the shots you really want early.  Get the family, kids shots you really want first.  Often times the kids are cooperative for the first round of photos and that is the best time to make sure you get the pics you want. After you get the shots you “need” then let the photographer and you and your family get creative and see what you come up – it is fun and often rewarding in the end!
  7. Participate in the shoot. Don’t think that the photographer has all the answers – provide suggestions.

Other than that have fun, relax and have a great shoot.

Candids make great photos!

Candids make great photos!

I took the picture above when getting ready to head out for the day.  I thought it was cute the way my kids were sitting waiting for me – however once I pulled the camera out they became uncooperative and grumpy.  I went with it anyway and ended up getting a great picture of a brother and sister!

I’d love to photograph your family and see if they are as wacky and wonderful as mine!  Please contact me at 951-254-2805 or at You can also send me a message to my facebook account or leave a comment here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paige Donahoe

Twisted Branch Photography

© Paige Donahoe