FAMILY PREP GUIDE: FAMILY | MATERNITY | LEGACY
Thanks so much for allowing me the honor of creating beautiful photos for your family. It is my hope to create a fun, personal experience for you and your family so that when you receive your finished photographs, you’ll cherish not only the images themselves, but also the memory of creating them. If you are relaxed and happy during your session, that will shine through in your photographs as we capture the moments that share the heartbeat of your special family.
My style is photo journalistic, I love capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving on 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.
All sessions are shot in the evening for optimal lighting - the time frame of this will depend upon the season and the sun. We will discuss this more in detail if we haven’t already.
Please take some time to read through the following information as you prepare yourself and your family!
Looking forward to meeting with you!
PRIOR TO YOUR SESSION
I always like to talk with every client before pictures. It can be a phone call/skype or simple texts and emails. At this meeting I will learn about your family, and we can go over all your ideas. This planning phase is so fun and important. I will also send out a family questionnaire to help me get to know you even better. I can’t wait to find out the heart beat of your family and tell your story!
Preparing your kids for our session as much as possible often takes the timidness out of the evening. Please 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 laughing 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!) is always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement. However, please don't bring sweets for bribing during the shoot. They tend to end up being a distraction.
Moms, I’m speaking to you. Is your husband feeling less than thrilled about your upcoming photo shoot? A little bribery seems to work well here (though maybe something better than ice cream!) as well! But seriously, 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 savor the moment!
Mom & Dad
During the 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.
Location & Weather
Typically, I have a few set locations I use for our session- I know the spot well and the lighting. Location address and meeting time will be communicated to you after booking and after we have discussed what look/feel you are going for with your pictures. If you have a specific location in mind, let's discuss it! Consider the places that mean the most to you – where did the most special moments of your life take place? What location says something about you, who you are, and what you love? Choosing a spot that evokes memories or emotions will help you to be relaxed during the photo session, and it will add an extra layer of depth to your portraits.
A quick but important note: if the weather turns out warmer/cooler than you anticipated when putting together outfits, please adjust what everyone is wearing. Doing a session when it's sweltering and kids are over dressed is never fun. Likewise, if a cold front comes through unexpectedly, please put sweaters on your children, as I can't photoshop out goose bumps and blue lips. I will most likely cut sessions short if I think the kids are too cold/overheated.
In case of rain, I will be watching the radar all day. If it doesn't rain, but is overcast, we will do one rescheduled shoot. If the second day is overcast with no rain, we will have to shoot without full sun.
Just as important as the weather is that everyone being photographed be feeling 100%. There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera. At the first sign that your kids aren’t well, please give me a call.
Props & Heirloom Items
Featuring an object in your photos can add interest and character to your photos. In choosing what it include, it’s important to consider what objects have personal meaning for you and your family. Whether it’s something with historical meaning for you, an item that represents a hobby or passion, or something that communicates an idea that is important to you, your props should help convey what is unique about you. A good prop might be a family quilt, an item of jewelry or even a family pet. Whatever you choose, it should be something that evokes emotion or makes a statement about you.
- bug spray
- baby wipes
- favorite snacks/drink, toy, or game
- makeup for touch ups
- extra change of clothes
Ah, the age old question always associated with photo 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, Ashley Newman's 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 ball 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.
*Side note: Stay away from gaudy gerber daisy flowers in neon colors and mesh hats with rhinestones, they look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features.
Head to toe. Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! No scuffed Reeboks for boys, but fun shoes like Converse, "boat" shoes, or boots. Same for girls, no Dora crocs, but more traditional Mary Janes or boots work best!
Coordinate. As you think about your color palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Each person/outfit will bring together a feeling of formality and coordination. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue - think about what accent colors might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue plaid shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colors of his plaid shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the plaid shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with an awesome jacket and fedora. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots, leggings and darling dress that (again) coordinates with the family color story.
When in doubt, remember, I am here to help! We can design a visual board on Pinterest, I'm available via text or the phone to look at and discuss your ideas. Please do not hesitate to ask for help on your outfit choices.
What NOT to Wear
What NOT to wear. Remember to Olan Mills look of everyone in khakis + white button down shirts? That isn’t the kind of matching I’d like you to do. Again, think coordinating without matching perfectly. Dads, instead of defaulting to a plain ole polo - look for fun colors, stripes, plaids. Texture photographs amazingly. Get creative!
Helpful tip! Head into your local GAP (or the like) and mention you’re styling for family photos. They are happy to direct you - and free of charge! No need to pay a stylist when you have knowledgeable fashion advice right there in the store.
Mom, I know it's easier to pick your children's outfits first...resist! Can we take a moment and focus on you? We can build the entire family session off your outfit, so let's make it a good one. I want you to feel comfortable and beautiful in front of the camera. Check out these resources for looking your best, and consider getting professional hair and makeup done for the day of.
Hair & Makeup: Bethany Elyse Hair & Makeup | The Bronze Body | Polished by Jessica | Ashley Granados Makeup Artistry
The Day Of
On the day of the photo session, we will meet at the selected location, and the creative fun will begin. It’s important for you and your family to be yourselves so your photographs can communicate who you really are. A fun and relaxing photo session results in great portraits you can treasure.
2-3 Weeks After
After the photographs have been taken and each image has been professionally retouched, you will experience the moment you have been eagerly awaiting. Sneak peek images may be posted to Facebook and/or the blog for your family and friends to view. Next, we will set up a viewing at your home or local coffee shop, to show you the full gallery. I will review each shot with you, answer all of your questions, and offer my professional advice as you choose from the prints, albums and other products available. The end result will be heirlooms that you will cherish forever.
4-6 Weeks After Printing
Your printed products and artwork are ready to be picked up!
Keep your hands busy: Hold your child's hand, give kisses, brush their hair behind their ear, play and dance, chase and ask questions, pick flowers, tell secrets, start a tickle fight. Keep moving and enjoy the process with your children. Activities you enjoy doing with one another will help tell an authentic story and capture your true personalities.
Stay patient and positive. Children tend to go at their own pace – and that’s fine. On the day of your session, we will work with you and your family to make sure everyone has an enjoyable, relaxed experience. If that means your preschooler needs to take a break for a snack, or your baby needs a new diaper and a change of clothes, you should feel comfortable to take the time you need. We know that a great photo session takes flexibility and patience. Accept the unpredictable: Embrace the chaos of the moment and this season of life. Honest connections and candid connections create real and specific memories. Be vulnerable and open in front of the camera and your family's story will begin to pour out.
And so the adventure begins...
Whew! I know that is a lot of info!! Don't hesitate to ask questions of visit this page to re-read it.
I can't wait to spend time with your family! Each family I get the honor of working with is etched on my heart forever. Please know this process is very important to me and I value the true heartbeat of your family.
Have a question or need some help? I'm here and ready to help make your session come to life!