Whether you’ve booked a session with me as your photographer or with someone else, you’re probably wondering what to do now to make that session as successful as possible. You’ve invested your truly valuable time and money into this experience so of course you want to be prepared. Here’s a few tips that I’ve found lead to both a fun session experience for your family and beautiful photos to remember it by.

Trust your photographer.

Hopefully, you’ve done some research, checked out some portfolios, chatted with a photographer or two and found someone whose images you find inspiring and whose style speaks to you. So now you can trust them to lead the way. My style, called Lifestyle Photography, involves letting your family really shine by guiding you into flattering poses and then letting you really just be with each other in a natural way. My goal is have you so focused on how beautiful your little boy’s eyes are or how amazing your baby’s head smells or how adoringly your daughter looks at you that you forget about striving for some kind of unattainable perfection. Sometimes it takes someone looking in from the outside to show you the absolute beauty of your family. And I promise you, I really do think your family is beautiful.

Tell the kids ahead of time.

Seriously. Spend some time in the days leading up to the session explaining, briefly, about whats going to happen and why. Show them old family pictures so they have an idea of what they will be doing. Show them pictures of themselves so maybe they will be excited about having their pictures taken. Even show them pictures of your photographer so they aren’t a complete stranger on picture day. It really does go a long way if the kids are all on board too!

Plan your outfits.

Yes, this was probably one of your first concerns even before you booked a session. If you’re anything like me, you’ve already started scouring Pinterest for inspiration and there’s lots there. In reality, my style of photography isn’t about the clothes, its about you so it doesn’t really matter what you wear. My tips here are just guidelines to help make the sessions successful but if you all show up in Santa suits we’re still going to make beautiful, albeit unique, photos. With that said, here’s a few basics to think about:

  • Weather/Season – dress your family in clothing that is appropriate for the weather so that no-one is freezing or too hot to have fun.
  • Coordinate but avoid matching – basically no-one should be wearing the exact same thing. It can actually be very distracting for a photo and tends to date photos since this was so very popular back in the 90s.
  • Think comfort & confidence – I actually recommend that mom picks out her outfit first then choose the rest of the clothes around that. Choose things that you can move around in and that make you feel beautiful. You do not want to look at these images and just think about how uncomfortable you were!
  • Choose at least 3 colors – When thinking about the whole family, choose at least 3 colors as part of your overall wardrobe. Not everyone wears all three necessarily but the variety helps create balance and beauty in the photo.
  • Avoid neon colors, over-the-top patterns, and words/logos – these all simply act as unnecessary distractions in a photo. Don’t let that yellow neon stripe draw attention away from your little man’s adorable face.
Cover the basic human needs: food and sleep.

No one, especially a little kid, cooperates well if they are hungry or tired. Feed everybody right before the session then wipe faces and hands if needed. Don’t forget to feed yourself and your spouse too – “hangry” is a very real thing. Do everything in your power to make sure the whole family has a good night’s sleep the night before and a strong nap during the day if needed. The hour before sunset is definitely the most romantic and beautiful time to have pictures taken because of the very special quality of light at that time. However, if you know that there is NO way your kids can handle themselves at that time of day, then schedule your session accordingly. You know your kids best so find the time that makes sense. Any professional photographer should be able to accommodate you.

Make it the main event of the day.

If you can, plan your photo session on a day when nothing else of note is really happening. Treat it like an exciting family outing because that’s what it should feel like! Don’t plan to run a million errands or have a playdate with friends right before your session. Give yourselves an easy day that ends with a fun, family trip that happens to involve someone taking your pictures while you play and talk and have fun. You can even plan to go out for dinner or ice cream after – not as a bribe for good behavior but just as another piece of the family fun for the day. How you think about it and talk about it really makes a difference especially with the little ones in your home.

Arrive on time and enjoy!

Sometimes it helps to arrive even 5-10 minutes early, chat with your photographer, wipe faces and noses, etc. This is especially important for sessions right before sunset because there’s only a limited amount time before the sun is gone. Then turn over the reins to your photographer. I want my families to feel safe and relaxed. I’ll give you guidance about where to stand and what to do then you just go with it. If the kids decide they want to run around, then great! I can totally work with that. If I want them to look at me, I will tell them but if they want to bury their face in your shoulder for now, that’s ok too. Forget perfection and just be a cheerful participant in the process!

So now that you know how to get ready, let’s get a date on the calendar! Contact me today because fall spots are almost full!