Thanks so much for trusting Vicki Zhou Photography to create beautiful photos for your family.

I love capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving each other. I will always do my best to get that one desired shot of everyone looking and smiling at me, but will, for the most part, be giving piggyback rides to your kids, encouraging dads to show off their kid-flipping skills, having little ones give moms their BEST hugs EVER, and fun stuff like that.

I will ensure to create beautiful memories that will last forever. To help, I have created a preparation guide to ensure that you have a successful family photoshoot and memorable experience. 



It’s super important to prepare your kids for our session as much as possible. Make sure kids know that this is FUN! No threats, as they usually bring about tears and added stress. Don’t even bother telling them to be sure to smile or “be good”. My goal isn’t to get a picture of your child “being good” or just “smiling” but having fun and interacting. Some kids who have been coached to smile for the photographer get so nervous that they are fighting to laugh and relaxing because they are so worried about having their picture taken or making their parents happy!

Instead, I’m a huge fan of bribery – (ice cream after or cookies!) is always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement. However, please don’t bring out sweets for bribing during the family shoot. They tend to end up being a distraction. So keep them in your bag please and if we get desperate we can discuss it there.


Moms, yes I’m talking to you. You may need to bribe them a little as well! In all seriousness, let your husband know that the shoot will be relatively painless and to try to focus on having an hour to play with the kids, hold your hand and just enjoy the moment!


What to wear

Ahhhh, the age-old question always associated with family shoots.  Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in since I want you guys to still be you not, Vicki Zhou’ idea of fashion. But here is my 2 cents:

Think layers. Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look wow: little boys in a t-shirt, with a button-up over it, along with a blazer. Throw on a fun hat (bowler, fedora, stylish cap) and you’re set!  Little girls: same thing, leggings, fun skirt, tank with a sweater and a tasteful (not too big and overwhelming!) headband. 

Coordinate. As you think about your colour palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue – think about what accent colours might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colours of his shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with an awesome jacket and hat. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots/shoes, a dress or jeans and top that (again) coordinates with the family colour story.

Head to toe. Remember to dress down to you and your family’s feet! No scuffed runners for boys, but fun shoes like Converse, “boat” shoes, or boots. Same for girls, no crocs, but more traditional Mary Janes or boots work best!

What NOT to wear.  Do not wear clothes with big logos or character tops (Thomas the tank, Frozen dress, etc), we want these images to be times. Another key thing is not to have everyone in identical outfits. Just think coordinating without matching perfectly. BUT if that is what you guys really want it’s your shoot and I will do what you want.

Remember as I said the best thing to do is lay everything out on your bed to see how everything looks together.

Family Styling Pinterest Board – I have selected a collection of images to help think about different ideas about what your family may wear.



During the family shoot, if you are not in the picture, please let me just interact with your child, unless I ask for help! Many parents will stand behind me trying to get their babies’ attention and all it does is distract baby from me! 

I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it’s okay if they aren’t giving big smiles right off the bat. Trust me and trust the process. 

Mom and dad, as you focus on your children, don’t forget about yourself! Keep your posture good as well as ensuring your chin doesn’t pull in. These allow for the most flattering images. Something else to keep in mind is to be watchful of your own expression as you’re trying to get baby to smile. Remember you are in the photos as well!

Rest assured I’ll be watching all of you and will definitely let you know if I see something out of place or looking off.

We have received so many testimonials on how fun my family photo sessions are. 

I am so excited to be able to photograph your family and look forward to the fun we will have! Thanks for taking the time to best prepare for your session, it will be amazing.

See you soon!


Vicki Zhou is a lifestyle family photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta. Vicki is available for in-home or on-location photography sessions throughout the Edmonton area.