Lori Pickens

An old man, her daughter and his two grandchildren posing and embracing while laughing together.

5 Tips for a Laid Back Family Photography Session

Welcome to Lori Pickens Photography, where we specialize in capturing authentic and heartwarming family moments amidst the stunning landscapes of Parkersburg and the Mid-Ohio Valley. As a lifelong native of this area, I understand the value of preserving cherished memories in settings that hold special meaning. In this blog, I’ll give you my 5 best tips for a laid back family photography session and even give you some tips on planning and booking your next session!

4 collage pic of family waling, hugging, laughing with each other

5 Tips for a Laid Back Family Photography Session

  1. Choose a Relaxed Location: Opt for a setting that is comfortableand familiar. Consider parks, beaches, or even your own backyard. A familiar and comfortable environment helps everyone unwind and be themselves.
  2. Embrace Candid Moments: Allow your photographer to focus on candid shots that showcase authentic interactions. These unposed images often capture the heartwarming, genuine moments that tell your family’s story in the most beautiful way.
  3. Wardrobe Comfort and Style: Select outfits that match your family’s personality while prioritizing comfort. Coordinated, rather than overly matching, attire works well. Natural tones can contribute to a cohesive and relaxed look.
  4. Timing is Everything: Opt for a time of day when everyone is naturally at ease. The “golden hour” around sunrise or sunset brings in soft, warm light, enhancing the overall mood of your photos.
  5. Let Go and Have Fun: Relax and enjoy the experience. Interact with your family as you usually would, and let your photographer capture those authentic, laughter-filled moments. The more natural your interactions, the more stunningly genuine your photos will be.

Remember, the essence of a laid-back family session lies in embracing candid interactions, genuine emotions, and the joy of being together. Trusting your photographer to capture these moments will result in a collection of images that truly reflect your family’s unique bond.

Featured Session: The Yllemo Family

Receiving the message, “We prefer to have non-posed photos (walking, hugging, laughing),” was truly music to my ears. The day before our session, my cherished childhood friend Jess sent me this text, and instantly, I sensed that our time together would be nothing short of enchanting. While the classic everyone-looking-and-smiling Christmas card photo has its charm, I hold the firm belief that a photo session can also be a joyful and relaxed experience, devoid of stress or forced poses. This philosophy guided our session, and the resulting images beautifully encapsulate the genuine connections and candid moments that unfolded.

Extended Family Photography Session in Parkersburg WV with grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, son and daughter

Exploring My Photography Style

At Lori Pickens Photography, I hold a deep sense of pride in creating photographs that stand the test of time – candid, relaxed, and a true reflection of the love and connections within your family. My goal is to capture those genuine smiles and interactions that authentically portray your unique bonds, all while avoiding stiff and forced poses. Feel free to explore my portfolio, where you can truly grasp the essence of my approach and signature style that brings out the heart and soul of every captured moment.

Choosing the Best Location for Your Session

As a local, I’ve come to understand the significance of selecting the ideal location to create a perfect backdrop for your family session. Our area is teeming with hidden gems and picturesque spots that I’ve personally discovered over the years. Whether it’s the tranquility of a park, the rustic charm of a farm, or the allure of a downtown alleyway, we’ll collaborate to pinpoint a location that goes perfectly with your family’s unique personality. I even have a couple of locations that only MY clients get access too. Be sure to ask about these when you are scheduling your session!

How to Book Your Family Session

To secure your family photography session with Lori Pickens Photography, the process is straightforward. You can easily reserve your spot by visiting our website’s “Book a Session” page. There, you’ll find a user-friendly form where you can specify your preferred session type, desired date, and the location of your choice. I encourage you to share any specific ideas or preferences you may have in the comments section. Once we receive your inquiry, we swing into action. Expect a prompt response as we’ll swiftly reach out to you. Our aim is to confirm all the session details, ensuring everything aligns with your vision. Additionally, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss any questions or special requests you might have. I’m here to make sure every aspect of your session is tailored to your liking.

Parkersburg WV photographer lori pickens captured moments with father and son and father and daughter

The Day of the Session

On the day of your session, I advise arriving a few minutes ahead of time to acquaint yourselves with the surroundings and settle in comfortably. Throughout the session, count on me to lead the way. I’ll expertly guide you through a blend of candid interactions and gentle poses, fostering an atmosphere of ease and authentic connection. The primary focus is on capturing your family’s unique dynamics and the warmth you share. My goal is to create an experience that’s both enjoyable and stress-free. With this approach, your family’s true colors and personality will naturally come to the forefront, resulting in photographs that capture your love and authenticity.

Post-Session and Ordering

Normally, in a span of a few weeks (I always provide a tailored timeline for your session), I’ll present you with a handpicked gallery of your edited images. Accessible through a secure link on our website, this gallery empowers you to see and choose your favorite photos. From that point forward, you have the option of to get print and digital products, letting you showcase your memories in the way the best suites you. Whether you prefer physical prints or digital formats, I’m dedicated to helping you choose the ideal options that reflect your family’s story and capture the essence of your memorable session.

Family Photography Session with Mom and Daughter and Dad and daughter in parkersburg WV

At Lori Pickens Photography, I’m dedicated to capturing the heart and soul of your family in the beautiful landscapes of Parkersburg and the Mid-Ohio Valley. With a focus on genuine connections and cherished moments, our laid-back family sessions ensure a stress-free experience that leaves you with timeless memories to treasure. Let’s embark on this journey together – reach out today to start planning your unforgettable family photography session.


Lori Pickens is a Mother, Wife, and Tech Geek from Parkersburg, WV. She is a true lifelong local and has been photographing in the area for over a decade. Lori is also a Click Pro Elite and Click Community Mentor. When she’s not capturing pictures or spending time with her kids, she enjoys organizing her lists and spending time on her family farm!


I have a few tools in my toolbelt that will help you grow into the photographer you’ve always wanted to be!  Whether you are prepping to be a Click Pro Elite or you are just ready to start leveling up and making new goals check out these resources to help you grow!

Becoming A Click Pro

The Click Community

Must Have Tools for your Photography Business

What’s in my Bag – Cameras, Lenses, and More

Fearless Indoor Light – a Self-Paced course

Indoor Light Challenge

Film Challenge
(for the challenges, you must be in the Click Community)

Be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest for more tips, tricks, and resources for photographers!

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