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30 Questions to Ask to Create an Experience in Your Family Sessions
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Creating an experience for your clients during a family session can be a little bit challenging, and at times, somewhat akward.  I want my clients to walk away from our session not only excited about their photos,  but also with pleasant memories of those hours spent together with their family.

I focus my sessions on getting the family to interact with each other, not me. I want them to talk and laugh with each other.  That creates natural interactions and connections which I love to capture for them.

The main way I facilitate this is through a series of questions I have memorized.  I ask them to the group as whole, sometimes I direct them at one person and sometimes the questions spark a conversation between two people.

30-Questions-to-Ask-During-Photo-Session

Here are some questions I use:

1. What is the best thing to di together as a family?
2. Where is your favorite place to go together?
3. Who is the silliest?
4. Who gives the best hugs?
5. What is your favorite memory together?
6. What was the best vacation you took?
7. What is your favorite book to read together?
8. If you could do anything together, what would it be?
9. If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
10. What is the best thing about your Mom?
11. What is your favorite thing to do with your Dad?
12. What is the best thing to do with your brother/sister?
13. What is the best thing about having your brother/sister?
14. What is the best meal your Mom makes? Your Dad makes?
15. What do you want to be when you grow up?
16. What is the funniest thing your Dad does?
17. What is the prettiest thing about your Mom?
18. How do you know your Mom loves you?
19. How do you show your Dad you love him?
20. Show me how you show your brother you love him. (these boys were serious about this question!)

DSC_1812-2

21. Where is the best place to go in your car?
22. What is the funniest thing your brother/sister ever did?
23. What is your favorite game to play with brother/sister? Mom/Dad?
24. What is your brother/sisters favorite toy?
25. What is your favorite holiday to spend with your family?
26. If you had $100, what would you do with it?
27. What is the best present your Mom/Dad ever got you?
28. What is the best present you got them?
29. What is your favorite TV to watch with your family?
30. What does your Mom/Dad do to make you laugh?

Watch them get excited about the answer. They will all try to answer at once, they will look at each other when the memory is sparked and they will smile while they reminisce.  Obviously certain questions will spark a connection between just two of them (Mom/child, sibling/sibling). 

You get so much mileage out of one or two poses when you are throwing questions out there which alter the behavior of your clients.

In addition to how it benefits you as the photographer,  watch what it does for that family! I’ve had parents say to me they learned so much about their children and what makes them happy! That is an amazing thing to provide your clients.

Question to older boy: “What is the best thing about your Mom?”    Answer: “Her hairbrush!!!”

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Go the extra mile
Wait! There is still more you can do with those questions. I like to provide my clients with more than I promise. I believe in going the extra mile.  So, I memorize the answers to the questions. As soon as I get to the car from the session, I jot the answers down.

I then order 4×6’s from my lab of the best shots from the session (I only offer digital photos in my package-so they are not expecting any prints at all) and I place labels on the back of each photo that includes one of the questions I asked and the answer from the family member.  It is always a welcome surprise and one of the reasons I believe I’ve been rebooked and referred.

Tell us in the comments: How do you create an experience and go the extra mile in your family sessions?

Read more photography business tips:

Setting parameters in your business
7 things customers look for in a photographer
3 tips to brand your business

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28 Comments
  • May 2, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Wow! Great advice! I can’t wait to try this! Thank you so much!

  • May 2, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Wow! Great advice! Thank you so very much! I will be using these questions tomorrow!

  • Yvonne
    May 2, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Wonderful ideas! I don’t think I can remember all of them, but even a few will be great. Thanks for the help always!

  • May 2, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Love this! :)

  • Tara
    May 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    I love this idea! I’m always trying to figure out a way to get families (especially those with teenagers) to interact and look natural with each other on camera. This sounds like a great technique! My husband once gave me the suggestion when I’m photographing elderly couples to ask the husband what car he drove when he first started dating his wife, and that gets him talking and engaged right away. :)

  • May 3, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    I do mostly newborn photography (and babies), so I really appreciate these ideas when working with older kids and families! Beautiful images, too :)

  • May 4, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    I love this!! I have a bunch of questions and leads for couples but never really knew how to go about it with families before. This is going to be such a help. Thank you :-)

  • Jaime Lowry
    May 6, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Such an awesome read!! Thank you!

  • May 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    I really love your last tip about going “the extra mile.” I plan on only offering digital photos to clients as well, but your idea with the answer on the back so sweet. I will have to give it a try. Thanks!

  • Stacy
    May 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Great questions! Gives me ideas to improve my work.

  • May 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    What a great idea! I haven’t done a lot of family sessions, but it’s something I’d like to improve upon. This is a great way to get them to interact naturally and not have those fake, cheesey smiles for every. single. picture. Not only does that get boring to edit, but the clients don’t necessarily like them as much either! Thanks for the great read!

  • May 6, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Those are perfect questions and I love the idea of posting the questions & answers on the back of photograph!

  • May 7, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    wow! I must try this cause my kids run away from me when I’m with the camera… lol! :D

    • Ashleigh
      May 7, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      That’s a really great idea! I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for all your great tips!

  • May 12, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    These are amazing tips!! I’m so glad that you shared these – can’t wait to try them! Adding the 4×6 shots with the questions and answers on the back is a lovely touch and very thoughtful idea for your clients – loved this!

  • Jessica
    May 14, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I love this article! A woman I work with wants me to do a session with her and her 5 y/o neice,I will deffinetly be using some of these questions. {the quotes on the back is a super sweet idea}

  • harshit
    May 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Wow.. This one’s really interesting… Am sure gonne try this..! :)
    I am soooooo sure… to get some great expressions and twinkling eyes with such an exersice…! And the a photgrapgh with the question and answer thing… sure sounds like a magical touch..! :D

  • milana
    May 29, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    I have a photo shoot coming up with a family (father, mother, son) that had just lost their daughter a few years back. I offered to do this complimentary for them to encourage them to still take photos. I love all these questions – but feel, in this case they might bring more sadness than happiness. Any advice on how to get them relaxed and enjoying themselves as much as they can?

  • Kira
    June 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Wow! I love this! Such great questions. I’m going to try this at my next session. And I love the idea of labeling their pictures with the memories as well. That would be such an awesome surprise as they first see their photos!

  • June 7, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    This is a cool list. I never considered asking questions while taking pictures, but now I can see that it helps and makes sense to do so! I am going to print this post out and “file it” for future reference.

    http://www.mysimplesignificance.blogspot.com

  • June 19, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I am looking forward to using these questions the next time I have a family session. :)

  • September 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    This couldn’t have been more timely. I have 15 Family sessions over the next month! THANK YOU!

  • September 13, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    What great advice and I LOVE the idea of putting the question on the back of the photo. What a surprise that is for them.

  • September 17, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    What a great idea!!! I definitely will try it one my next family session. Thanks for your ideas!

  • November 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  • February 19, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Great advice! Thank you :)

  • Candice
    February 19, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    I really enjoyed reading this! These are great questions to make a session fun and interactive. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tracy P.
    April 17, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! Jackpot! Thank you so much.

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