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Taking Family Pictures in Charleston; 5 Local Photographers Share Tips

Fall is coming! Can’t you feel it?! Oh, it will be here soon and all of the fun things that come with it. The fair, pumpkin picking. football season. There are so many amazing traditions that come with the change of seasons, but there is one in particular that I had no idea about until I had children of my own. Family pictures. I know that there was some sort of reaction in your soul as those two words popped up on your screen. Capturing those memories are so important, but the time, the place, the financial implication…THE WARDROBE!! It can all be so overwhelming!

Fear not though, we are here to hep! Five local photographers were kind enough to share a few pointers that could help this stressful rite of passage become enjoyable and fun. They are offering tips with their favorite spots to photograph, as well as some helpful things to know to make the day easier.

Tip #1 from Celess of Southern Vintage Photography:

Taking Family Pictures in Charleston; 5 Local Photographers Share Tips

We love a location with lots of versatility. We tend to favor White Point Gardens and Hampton Park as they offer so many different backdrops in a close vicinity. It’s always satisfying when we can present our clients with a gallery that looks like we covered the entire state of South Carolina in an hour!

Here are a few things we suggest when scheduling a family session:

  • Choose the right session. Not sure of the length? Start with a mini-session and see how it goes.
  • Consider meal and sleep schedules. Early mornings and evenings are recommended, but happy families are always the priority!
  • Don’t rush. Rushing to get ready might leave everyone frazzled and stressed
  • Test drive the wardrobe. Let the kids spend some quality time in their adorable attire before your family photos. That way everyone knows what to expect, and you have plenty of time to pick a new outfit if your first option just isn’t working out.
  • Reward great smiles. Make a game of the session, practice their smiles and silly faces, and let them know that a sweet treat may be in their future.

Celess and Jackie have a goal to capture the uniqueness and beauty of your family with photographic memories that will last a lifetime, whether you are commemorating a milestone, or are just looking to update the family portrait.

* Bonus for you CMB MAMAS! The ladies of Southern Vintage Photography are offering a 20% discount for future clients if you mention this blog! Contact them today at

Tip #2 from Caroline of Caroline Ro:

Taking Family Pictures in Charleston; 5 Local Photographers Share Tips

My favorite place to photograph families in Charleston would probably be Hampton Park; it’s the perfect mix of the romantic part of the South, but also has so many places to explore without having to go too far. However, I usually suggest to families that we shoot their family portraits somewhere that has significance to their family story and that usually ends up being in their own home. It’s where the kids are most comfortable and is the setting for so many (if not most) of their memories over the years. If the goal of having family portraits made is to capture a season of life for their family, why not capture everyone in their element, doing what they actually do as a family. That may be making breakfast together, reading books, playing in the sprinklers outside, or simply hanging out on their well-loved living room couch.

My biggest tip for parents: Don’t take your portraits too seriously. I’m a firm believer that family portraits should be real. Years later, you’ll want to remember this season of life as it actually was, not as mannequin dolls all dressed the same (the 80’s called and want their matching jeans and white polo shirts back) or with kids gritting through their teeth with fake smiles. That means letting your kids help choose their outfits, not losing your cool when kids aren’t fully cooperating, or if a small stain gets on their shirt. Family photos aren’t to show the world how picture perfect your family is (don’t lie, I know you’re gonna post them on social media), it’s about capturing your family in the good, the hilarious, the chaos, and the mess.

Caroline Ro ( is a wedding photographer, occasionally documenting families in-between the chaos of wedding seasons. Her goal is to capture couples and families as they truly are, not just a pretty version of them.

Tip #3 from Jan, of One Boy Photography:

Taking Family Pictures in Charleston; 5 Local Photographers Share TipsThere are so many beautiful areas in Charleston to shoot, how can I possibly choose a favorite? One of my favorite ways to determine a shooting location is to choose an area that has special significance. For me, living on the island is especially significant. I really want to capture my son in his natural element where he grew up. I want him to be able to look back on these images and have each image stir a memory of a special moment in time.

Professional Tip: Wherever you go, I would definitely suggest doing your research before you show up for a photo shoot around Charleston. Many of the local areas, including the beaches, have very strict photography regulations…and the fines can be very steep.

Jan is a Clickin’ Moms Mentor and and she is the instructor of Click Photo School’s “Camera Basics for the New Photographer”. Her e-learning breakout, “In Life and Dreams: Envision Your Storybook Life” is currently available in the Click & Co. Store. You can follow her work at:

Tip #4 from Rebecca of Rebecca Hess Photography:

Taking Family Pictures in Charleston; 5 Local Photographers Share Tips

My favorite spot in Charleston would be Azalea Park in Summerville.

It has flowers and color all year round. It is always very well kept with plenty of open spaces, benches, statues, and walls. It’s fun! I also like anywhere with a cobblestone street.

My Tip for Moms: Remember that cloudy days are perfect days for outside photos. Clouds are God’s softbox on the sun.

Rebecca is a story teller with her camera as her writing tool. She is a lover of all things beautiful, and she believes that ALL things are beautiful. Check her out at

Tip #5 from Molly at E. Bea Photography:

My favorite spot is in the family’s home. No question. Or if we can’t shoot at THEIR home because they are visiting here, any place that is special to them where they can still be captured in a lifestyle manner, interacting with each other, as opposed to just staring at the camera.

Stop telling your kids to look at the camera! And parents, stop worrying about looking at the camera, too! Look at your beautiful children. Find happiness in the faces of your loved ones, not what you think is your perfect smile. And don’t be above bribing little kids to get them to do what the photographer is asking of them!

Molly believes family, togetherness, and creating memories is everything (whether simple or life-altering). These are the reasons she specializes in family portrait sessions. Enjoy her work at

Last, but not least, why I love family pictures!

Family pictures has truly become one of my favorite times of the year. I can look and remember what was going on each year and how I was feeling at that time in my life. When I look back at our photos from last year, I see the stress and rush of the day, rather than all of the beauty that was captured for us.

When my husband had a heart attack in January, one of the first things that crossed my mind was that we are definitely having pictures taken this year! It became even more important to document our family and the season of gratitude we are in.

Now, because I’m the author, I think I’ll throw out some of my favorite photo stops:

Mt. Pleasant Old Village– fun houses, streets, and shops
Naval Yard / Riverfront Park in North Charleston– industrial and hard edges that look great against a sweet family
The old Pitt Street Bridge– great water views without the sand
Park Circle– great colors and modern design elements

Where are your favorite places in Charleston to take family photos?

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