The first that I do when I come over to your house is ask for a tour! I like to get a sense of the light in the house and decide where we might want to photograph. I’ll start turning off overhead lights and lamps and opening all the curtains and blinds. (Feel free to get a headstart on this before I come over) Please don’t stress out about your house needing to be spotless for photos. Take a few minutes to do a quick surface tidy, but you don’t need to scrub the shower in time for your photoshoot.
I always do at least a little styling! Sometimes I just hide phone chargers and trash cans and sometimes I grab pillows from all over the house to dress up the bed.
If we are meeting in an outdoor location or heading over to location number two, I will plan a walking route and some different locations for some different & beautiful scenery. If we are shooting at a location with rough or wet terrain, I highly suggest bringing a pair of shoes for walking and an additional pair to be photographed in, just in case!
What to Expect
your portrait session prep guide
What to wear?
Texture vs. Pattern
Patterns are beautiful, we all love patterns, but it can be difficult to coordinate a variety of patterns. Instead, choose a single pattern and mix in various textures. Knits, leathers and lace are just a few examples of subtle pattern within texture.
If you are a baby, the answer is easy. Nothing! For at least some of the time. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction. Please, let me know if you would like to help me further narrow down your list of ideas or answer any questions you have about something you pick out! I love fashion! Don’t be afraid to dress the way you really want for your session.
Adding accessories is an easy way to show off individual personality within a coordinated set of outfits. Choose your own scarves, hats, belts, wraps, ties and/or jewelry.
Coordinate, not matchy-matchy
The days of khakis and white shirts for family photos are finally over – yay! Instead, choose a coordinating palette of 3-4 colors and dress your family in shades of that palette. Pick one outfit for inspiration, for example, the new floral dress you want to wear, and build the family’s ensemble around that.
What about props?
I love to incorporate sentimental items into my sessions. Perhaps we could have a picnic on a special, handmade quilt, or your child could be photographed holding their most precious lovey. This is your session. I love to fill it will moments and memories.
Keep things mainly neutral with pops of color. For example, choose grays, browns, creams, or ivories – with shots of rust or green or navy. Steer clear of brights or neons as they do not photograph well and often cast unflattering colors on various skin tones.
It is important to consider colors and textures when choosing what to wear for a family session, but the most important tip I can offer is to be sure that everyone is comfortable. You and your family are going to feel the most at ease if you are comfortable in your clothing. Choose to be stylish and practical at the same time! And babies can always just be naked:)
Meals & Snacks
Get some rest
Be sure to allow for an early evening the night before your family photoshoot. A good night’s sleep makes for happier children and a well-rested adult is ready for anything, right?
You and your family are creating memories that will last a lifetime. It is easy to focus on the end result, but be sure to remember to enjoy yourself in the moment. You are in good hands!
It is important that everyone eats a good meal before the shoot. It is tough to smile with an empty belly, this is especially true for small children and fathers. Be sure to bring granola bars, carrot sticks or something easy & clean to snack on just in case. No no candy that will turn your child’s mouth blue!
Start planning the outfits for your session as soon as you book, but get dressed at the last possible second – just in case!
After your session
After your session, I will get to work on culling your images down to the very best of the best (typically between 40-60 images/session, then editing those images and getting them up into your gallery. Once they’re ready, I’ll be in touch to schedule your 24-hour slideshow window. When you get the slideshow link, I encourage you to make an event of it! Pull it up on your tv or a large computer screen. The first time you see your photos is always the best. Once you’ve selected and paid for your collection, your gallery will open for thirty days, preloaded with your print credit, and set for you to download the number of files that corresponds with your collection.
Downloading your files
Once you’ve decided which images you’d like to use for your download credit (no need to choose if you go with collection C), I’d encourage you to do that immediately. The process is simple: select the images and use the down arrow in the upper right corner of your gallery – click on that and the system will walk you through the download process. The images will download as a zip file, which you can double-click on to expand. I suggest you make a second copy of the expanded files, then save the two copies to two different locations – I generally recommend that one copy be saved to an easily accessible drive (either on your computer or on an external hard drive), and that the other get saved to the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.).
Copyrights (and wrongs)
Once you’ve got your digital files in hand, you are free to print them when, where, and as often as you wish – you can use them to make holiday cards, share on your social media pages or personal blog, etc. The only things you can’t do are related to the resale of your photos or use for commercial/business purposes. For instance, if you authored a book, you’d need additional permission to use one of the photos on the dust jacket, and you wouldn’t be able to enter one of the photos into a contest and win prize money for it. Otherwise, you’ve got free reign.
Printing your images
While everything that I offer in my store is printed in professional labs and guaranteed to be beautiful, I also recognize that you may want to print your images yourself, and thanks to those digital files, you absolutely can! I recommend mpix.com for online prints. Be sure to de-select any color correction options, and be sure to upload the original files you downloaded, not copies.