family group photo at the camp in costa mesa

Easy 3 Step Process For Planning Your Family Portraits

When you hire Christopher Todd Studios you get more than just a portrait session. You get an experience. Our easy 3 step process for planning your family portraits ensures success. My goal with each family is not only to create incredible photographs, but make the entire experience easy, and fun for everyone involved.

Speaking of fun for your family. If you haven't already seen our Facebook group FAMILY DAY ADVENTURES OC please join to get updates with local fun things to do with your family in Orange County.


From our first conversation about where you want to be photographed to helping you decide how to dress with our custom style guide. We help you to create your vision and plan all the details to make it happen. But it doesn't end there. We would like to become part of your lives for years to come.

I want you and your family to walk away with portraits that reflect your unique personalities and a great memory of the fantastic time we spent together.

We created an easy 3 step process for planning your family portraits.


woman on planning call for her family photo session

Planning Call Goals

  • Learn about your family.
  • Plan photography logistics.
  • Discover the best products, packages for you.
  • Schedule your photography, and ordering meeting.

In your planning call, we will get to know more about your family, and discover your vision for your images. We also discuss what products you're interested in and what to expect from your photoshoot.

We go over all the details to make your session special. Together we plan the location, talk about the color schemes, and the best style for your family.

You will receive a complimentary style guide to help you make wardrobe decisions. We discuss the types of portraits that will look great hanging on your walls to match your home decor.

Together we schedule a time and location to photograph your family, as well as schedule your ordering session. (Currently done on Zoom.) See our top 10 favorite OC locations now.


family portraits at san clemente pier

The best family photos show off personality and close relationships. As a result, we like to build your portrait session with this goal in mind. There are a few things we can do together to ensure we create images that blow your friends and family away.

Location: We usually photograph families on location in Orange County, but we can also photograph you in an Orange County studio if you are looking for an editorial look. View more family photos here

Duration: Family sessions typically last about 30-90 minutes.

Photo Session Goals

  • Be prepared.
  • Have fun, and don't stress.
  • Don't Give up.
  • Be creative.

Be prepared.

Success rarely comes without preparation. Little things like having your cell number for easy communication. Knowing your names because it makes people comfortable. Arriving early, to can take a breath and get ready. These truisms apply to both me and you, assuming you want the most out of our time together. Right? Who wants to be stressing out & running late, no cell number. Or even worse, lost. A little forethought and organization will ensure we get the best out of your family at your session, and your experience is excellent.

Have fun & Don't stress out.

This one is simple. The more fun your family has, the better the results will be. Photographers aren't magicians. The best images are truly a team effort. When your family is engaged in the process, you will not fail. Get the most out of our limited time together by staying in the moment, and having fun.

Don't give up.

Going the extra mile is the name of the game in portraiture. Especially when there are young children involved. Can't tell you how many times I was ready to end a portrait session when the breakthrough happens with Junior, and we start getting the best images. I get it, everyone has a different personality or can have a bad day. The question is how do you respond? For example, I like to solve puzzles. If you think about people's personalities like puzzles, you just need to find the right piece to see the entire picture. Pardon the pun. Put simply, it takes more time to get the best out of some people, but it is always worth the extra effort.

Be Creative

Creativity is why you pick Christopher Todd. It defines how your photos will look. Creativity is what separates amateurs from pros. We always get the safe shot first. You know the photo of the entire family positioned perfectly, with everyone smiling at the camera. Once we get that out of the way it's always a good idea to save time for more creative and candid portraits with different angles, and activities, that might capture more emotion and relationships and emotions of your family.

STEP 3. Virtual Ordering Meeting

Your ordering meeting is the one occasion where I might want you to cry. Tears of joy of course. You can see your family's love on display, what's better than that right? So be prepared to be blown away, and bring a box of kleenex.

How to prepare

Most ordering meeting last 30-90 min. You will need a laptop or desktop computer with a fast, and reliable internet connection. Please set aside a quiet place without distractions, and have all decision-makers present, so we can complete your order efficiently.

Ordering Meeting Goals

  • Blow your mind.
  • Answer all your questions.
  • Create a print for your wall.
  • Finish the job.

Blow your mind

During the zoom meeting, we get to show you all your magical photos from your photo session. Typically we show you 60-80 of the best portraits of your family. Here I guide you in the process of picking your favorites. This takes about 20 minutes. Seems fast but we have a simple system so you are confident in your choices.

Answer your questions

If you are like most people you might have some questions. Well, we have answers, to help you solve typical problems people run into when picking out prints for their walls.

Create a print for every client's wall

During your meeting, we talk about which products you love and wish to add to your collection. Setting time aside for you so we can help to create art for your home. This includes the right size portrait for your wall space or how to build an album that tells a story.

Check out our products here

Finish the job

"It always seems impossible until it's done".

Nelson Mandela

A big part of my job is making sure you cross the finish line. By the end of our meeting, I want your job to be done. Once we take your order we will get started retouching your images and moving your products into production.


We know how important family photos are. When you hire Christopher Todd, your portraits will reflect the personality of your family, and define your memories of your kid's childhood.

Our goal is to provide your family with the best experience with our easy 3 step process for planning your family portraits, and not quitting until you have your favorite photos on your wall.


Ilana and I are taking the COVID 19 pandemic very seriously, and don't see the need for unnecessary indoor meetings like we have always done in the past. With all the great technology it's now easy to conduct our ordering meetings online with zoom or google hangouts. So get your laptop ready.

Learn more about our easy 3 step process today!

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