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Top Tips for Capturing your Best Family Portraits Ever while in Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado

Capturing family portraits in Vail and Beaver Creek is a priceless investment in your family’s story. These photographs cement memories of a singular time in you and your children’s lives; ones that will be treasured for generations.

That’s the ideal anyway. All too often family photos can bring feelings of regret – an unflattering outfit or colors that photograph poorly; memories of our own stress as we tried to corral unruly kids. These negative connotations can mar our connection with these moments, distracting from the special memories they were intended to capture.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to ensure that your next family portrait session is a great success!

We’ve combined our photography expertise with our years of experience in capturing families to bring you these tips on how to get family photos you’ll LOVE.

TIP 1: Wear the right things.

This might sound obvious, but wearing the right things isn’t just about wearing clothing you like. Choosing colors and styles that photograph well may be different than your everyday wardrobe selections.

If you are working with a professional Vail family portrait photographer, they’ll be able to guide you on what will flatter your family best in the setting where your portraits will be taken. So while your choices might need to be customized based on the location of your photos, here are some general tips to keep your family looking their best:


Wear pure white – it’s tough for the camera to capture and can wash out the subject

Wear clothing with too many patterns, it can be a big distraction

Go too matchy-matchy, not only is it outdated (acid wash jeans and white shirt anyone?), but it doesn’t allow each person their own individual expression


Wear black and dark grey, it’s slimming

Wear a top or dress that covers your arms and shoulders, it’s more flattering

Wear v-necks and scoop necks, for the ladies

Wear similar color tones to complement one another, you want to coordinate without being clones but also don’t want anyone sticking out like a sore thumb

TIP 2: Let kids be kids!

The best family portraits happen when everyone is relaxed, having fun, and being themselves. Do what you can to prepare everyone to look and feel their best, but once you’re in front of the camera, it’s important to let go and let the photographer work their magic. For example, seeing that moment when a shy child starts to open up as they peek around your leg is such a thing of beauty!


Be worried and upset over your kid’s behavior – the last thing you want is to have a worried or angry look on your face when the kids finally start smiling!

Fight a meltdown. A good Vail family portrait photographer will be patient and give kids the time and space they need


Schedule your session when your kids are typically at their best, factoring in nap times etc

Focus on yourself and let the photographer focus on the kids expressions unless asked for help

TIP 3: Photograph each individual

A family is the sum of its parts, so be sure to take individual photos of each family member. Each person is unique and deserves their own moment to shine and be recognized.

TIP 4: Family Vacation Portrait Photography – timing is key

If you’re scheduling a family portrait session while on vacation, timing is essential. Two Elk Studios recommends that during your visit to Vail or Beaver Creek Ski Resorts, you should capture photos the day after you arrive. This allows everyone some time to settle in and adjust to altitude, while minimizing risks like sunburns or injuries.

TIP 5: Rest/hydration/food

Look and feel your best by making sure everyone has had ample R&R leading up to the photography session.


Have a late night out (especially with alcoholic beverages) the night before

Eat a big heavy meal right before the session

Only bring candy as snacks for the kids


Lay out all your outfits the night before, doing any ironing or other maintenance ahead of time

Drink lots of water, especially if you’re adjusting to high altitude

Get a good night’s sleep

Apply sunscreen one hour before outdoor sessions to ensure it has soaked in

Bring light, healthy snacks that your kids like that won’t send their sugar levels spiking

Bring comfort items for your little ones like toys, stuffed animals or a special blanket. Not only will these items calm their nerves, they might even make a meaningful cameo in some photographs!

TIP 6: Hire an experienced professional family portrait photographer

You’ve put so much time and effort into preparing for this special moment, make sure that your photos are being captured by a seasoned professional.


Hire someone without seeing their work. You want to make sure you like their style and that they can capture your family in a truly beautiful way.

Go with someone who hasn’t photographed families before. It takes time and skill to understand the dynamics of capturing different ages and personalities


Look at a photographer’s product options. It’s not just about the photographs they capture, will the Artwork they offer be something you want to hang in your home as a celebration of your family?

Hire a seasoned family portrait photographer. They know how to handle family dynamics and will give you an amazing experience

Find a family portrait photographer who cares to take the time to find out what is important to you and helps you discover what you’d like to celebrate most

TIP 7: Photograph an activity

Capture the experience of spending time AS a family and not just WITH your family.

Consider an active portrait session by capturing your family in their element, doing something you love together. This can mean skiing, biking, fishing, hiking, snowshoeing – it’s up to you! Most family photographers are not able to provide this type of creative setting, but at Two Elk Studios our passion is to elevate your photos into poignant moments of real connection that truly capture what makes your family special.

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