I am so excited to be working with you!! Thank you for choosing me to capture these memories for you. I am honored to be your choice. It is my job to make the session fun and having fun comes when all the little details are already handled. This guide will walk you through the process so you feel confident when it is time for us to take that first picture.
The tips below will allow you to have the best possible session. Remember, no single session is perfect, and it doesn't have to be! As long as you're having fun, that's all that matters. My sessions consist of mainly candid moments and interacting. I like to shoot a number of different things, like mom and dad together, kids together, parents with each kid. You'll of course get those shots with everyone looking but I'm really looking for connections with family members. I'll go over everything from wardrobe to how to get the kids (and dad) ready. I'm so excited to work with you and your family!
This guide will help you prepare and then I will take care of the rest. I am also always here for you to contact with any questions. If after reading this guide you still have a question please feel free to email, text or call me. Your only job the day of is to be yourself, laugh a lot and let me create beautiful photos you will love forever.
The hardest question everyone asks themselves after booking a photo session is: "What will we wear?". I totally understand! And I'm here to help!
When you start styling your session, I suggest starting with Mom and then working out from there. Whether you want to purchase all new clothes, or you want to use that dress you love, it's a great place to start. You don't have to start with mom's outfit though. Just pick one item first. Then you can pull your colors and textures and build up from that starter piece. Another good starting point is to think of the colors in your home (these images will be on your walls after all) or maybe your favorite color, then go from there.
Kids love to run around, and happy kids make for better photos. Don’t choose a place where the kids aren’t allowed to run on the grass, touch things or have a lot of rules to follow. Let the kids explore a little bit, find places that they enjoy and keep their interest, and take advantage of these moments. Choosing a spacious location also helps to keep random people from getting in your photos because you can move to the less crowded spots.
The possibilities are endless and honestly. Brainstorm locations that mean something to you as a family. Places that excite you or take your breath away are a good place to start. This is a good chance to think outside the box. Do you know anyone or have access to any places others might not? For example, maybe you, or someone in your personal or professional network, can secure permission to a location that would other wise be off limits, like a beautiful private estate, country club or resort. Maybe it's a family ranch, upscale hotel or even a boat, airplane hanger or a rooftop view. The sky is literally the limit. Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around. You'll be surprised with what you might come up with. Plus, if something seems out of reach, just remember: you never know until you ask! Have fun with it. I have some great go-to locations around town that we can always hit, too. Just let me know which type of session you would love and we will go from there!
Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? Remember: there is no such thing as "too dressed up" when it comes to your portrait session, so don't be afraid to have fun (are you seeing a theme yet)! If you don't want to add a permanent piece to your collection, a lot of clients love Rent the Runway for their session because its such an affordable way to feel like a million bucks. Other clients love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet!
Dresses and skirts look the most stunning because they really flatter every female body. I recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session and saying yes to the dress or two instead. Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like the dessert, forest, plains or beach. Consider soft fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images.
Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most woman's outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos.
As you're coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don't actually "match". In fact, I recommend that you avoid thinking about "matching", and instead think about what "fits" together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you're not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to think about planning each outfit with "dominant colors" and "accent colors" in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while the accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate. When you are planning each family members outfit, if you can aim for each person to have a different dominate color, and then tie in and vary accent colors, it's going to look great all together.
For example, if you are wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being the dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant color). Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt (making soft blue her dominant color) while your son wears light beige pants with navy suspenders and a white button-down (making white his dominant color). Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the others that will pul all the looks together. This will break up the color visually and highlight each personality. Most of the time, moms choose their dress first, and then build the rest of the families outfits based on that.
If you have multiple children, don't feel like you need to put them all in the same outfit (unless that is your family statement). For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other pone wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.
Remember, I recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with light neutrals like heather gray, cream, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. The softer color palette fits beautifully into a neutral environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.
Littles get hangry just like grown-ups. Pack a bag of snacks, water and maybe a treat to bribe them with (make sure this isn't something that will melt or transfer onto their outfits). Food can be a great motivator. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat for after the session if they are good listeners, like an ice cream cone, for example.
Stuffed animals, funny nose makers or any object that might help us get their attention when it's time to look at the camera can be great.
I know that all of this is a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your family session experience something you'll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won't matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to me, and I want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it!
Be together. Smile through everything. Laugh a lot. And I'll take care of the rest.