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FAMILY PREP GUIDE

Ok…I Admit…This is Long…

But it’s necessary and helpful, I swear!!
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.
This guide is designed to help you get an idea of what to expect and plan/coordinate your session.

What Can You Expect?

Basically capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving on each other is totally my jam. I will always do my best to get that desired shot of everyone looking and smiling, but get ready for giving piggyback rides to your kids, dads showing off their kid-flipping skills, having little ones give moms their BEST hugs EVER, and fun stuff like that. Just be prepared to have fun!

***Every client has access to a free, personalized styling service. No more running store to store and no more guessing! Read ahead for more tips or ask about your styling session!

Styling Tips

1. Find a focal point.  When you begin your shopping, look for a patterned piece that must come home with you. It could be a top that makes you feel amazing, or an adorable little floral print dress for your daughter.  Whatever that piece may be, commit to it and work from there.  I always suggest finding the mother’s outfit first.  As moms, we tend to forget about ourselves in the planning and we become an afterthought.  Of course you want your kids to look cute, but you deserve to look and FEEL awesome in your pictures!  Take that extra time and I promise it will pay off for pictures.

2. Choose a color scheme.  I would suggest choosing three main colors to work with.  This will give you more flexibility when it comes to dressing the entire family, but doesn’t become too matchy either. You want to coordinate, NOT match.  By this, I mean choose the color(s) you want to work with and find different pieces that incorporate some or all of the colors you’ve chosen.  Also, keep in mind that not every person has to have on every color you have chosen.  Split the colors up.  It makes the photo more playful and less uniform.

3. Play up your strengths.  Let’s be honest…most of us have some insecurities about our bodies.  But, my best advice to you is to WORK what you’ve got!  Know your body type and what styles will flatter your figure- and if you don’t know bring your BFF and have them help you. Back to one of my previous points- I want to make sure you feel as amazing as you are!

4. Layers on layers!!!  When putting together an outfit, layers are what make the outfit look polished and complete!  Add a vest, jacket, cardigan, bowtie, hat, scarf, suspenders, belt, jewelry, etc.  This also gives the composition much more depth!

5. Mix it up.  Do not be afraid to mix prints and textures. For example:  You could choose a piece with polka dots and a piece with stripes.  You could put a denim top with a corduroy pant.  Your prints and textures don’t always have to come from your main pieces. By doing so, you will begin to showcase the different styles and personalities of each member of the shoot.

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Wardrobe Tips

  • Timeless always has a place. I love when my clients show up to a shoot with simple and timeless of outfits. A smock dress that belonged to Great-Grandma or simple neutral colors with a classic touch like a bow or suspenders. Even a plain diaper cover works! These outfits will always stand the test of time, and will never go out of style.

  • Shoes are a very important part of wardrobe. Stay away from character shoes, flip flops, crocs. My recommendation for shoes are boots, leather sandals, Converse All-Stars, Toms, Sperrys, Joyfolie, Mary Janes, and Willits. And always, barefoot is an adorable option, especially with babies.

  • Dress your kiddos in clothes that fit perfectly, not with room to grow. 

  • Layers are just as important for child wardrobe as it is for yours. Hats, glasses, vests, bow ties, cardigans, tights or leggings under a skirt. I recommend making the outer layer (blazer, cardi, jacket) fit snugly.

  • Hair piece tips. For babies, toddlers and older girls, I always recommend keeping hair accessories simple. When they are too big it distracts from their faces. Avoid super large Southern bows- but flower hair wreaths are always a yes.

  • The most important part of putting together your child’s wardrobe is allowing their personality to come through. If your daughter has a favorite pair of boots, let her wear them (at least in a few pictures). If your child loves to wear hats and sunglasses, bring them! Whatever makes your child their own adorable, individual self, let’s focus on those things. Let them have a little bit of input when planning their wardrobe as well. And never say “no” to bringing their favorite things along- watching the grow with their favorite things is really amazing.


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. Get creative!

Helpful tip! I’m here to offer advice and styling help. Just text me!

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Location & Weather

lets find the perfect spot for you

  • Timing. 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.

  • Location. 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? 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.

  • Bad Weather. 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.

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.

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Illness

what to do if someone is sick

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 or text me. I will cheerfully offer a reschedule no problem!

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Favorite Places To Shop

Price points: $-cheap, $$-average, $$$-high, $$$$-expensive

Don’t forget-  I am here to help you in any way- from texting me outfits you find to helping you pick between one dress or another. I can set you up with a free and personalized styling service. Your styling is free and the style selector chooses from a wide variety of shops like Target and H&M making it easy and affordable to style your family. And it can give you ideas to use what you already have!
or
Shop on your own here:

Children

  1. Alice & Ames Fun, twirly, classic dresses for girls $$$$

  2. HM.com I consider H&M the holy grail for all things boy and men. Their price point is ridiculously low, and the clothes are my favorite. Their trouser pants are around $10 and are amazing quality. Amazing. Keep in mind that H&M sizes are a little different, and they run big. If your son is an average size 4, buy him the size 3-4 pants. The 4-5 seems like the obvious choice, but they’ll be too long and too big around the waist. $-$$

  3. Zara.com This site is not so much my secret anymore but I’m ok with it. There are so many adorable pieces and accessories. Check it out! $$-$$$$

  4. Jcrew.com Guys! I seriously adore their shoe collections for children and don’t even get me started on the kids line! $$$$

  5. Joyfolie.com So many shoes! For girls and women. And if you’re looking for layers- amazing dresses, jackets, caplets. $$$$

  6. Gap.com I love Gap for their “basics”. Just about anything you’d need, you’ll find on their website. $$-$$$

  7. Forever21.com Cute clothes for women of all sizes (and men!) on the cheap. I get a little lost here to be honest but their deals are too amazing not to check out. $-$$

  8. Fleuranddot.com The most adorable girls clothing you’ll ever find if you’re vintage-inspired in your look. Hands down. $$$$

  9. Remie Girl I absolutely love this shop so much- think Alice and Ames! $$

  10. Hannah Anderson All the basics for boys and girls in adorable fun patterns and colors. This is a go-to for me for sure (they even have family pj sets!) $$$

  11. Well Dressed Wolf Boutique quality, girly and vintage all at the same time. $$$$

  12. Tea Collection Has a similar feel to Gap but with different prints and more options. $$

  13. Shop James Vintage and timeless for boys and girls $$$$


Mama

  1. Alter Ego This amazing and fun store reminds me of Free-People but less mola! $$$

  2. Modcloth.com A fun, flirty and pretty affordable site for women’s timeless dresses, fun tops and the best shoes and accessories! $$-$$$

  3. Freepeople.com Free People makes my heart sing. Think easy, breezy, and boho chick. Plus there is now one in the woodlands mall! $$$-$$$$

  4. Anthropologie.com It’s a little bit more on the expensive side, but the clothes are quality, unique and last forever. $$$$

  5. Saved By The Dress From formal to casual or beach vacation- this online store has so many options at great prices. $$$

  6. Hazel and Olive From the perfect little black dress to a mini hat will make you feel amazing, this shop has a great variety of pieces. $$

  7. Zara.com This site is not so much my secret anymore but I’m ok with it. There are so many adorable pieces and accessories. Check it out! $$-$$$$

  8. Shop The Mint Southern to the max! $$

  9. Henly For the super hip chick, I sometimes think this place is too cool for me but also love their outfits so so much. $$-$$$$

  10. Sophie & Trey I think this store has a southern vibe to it and I just can’t hate them for that. From adorable sweater dresses to the summer maxi of your dreams. $$

  11. Piper and Scoot

  12. Roolee

  13. Wren & Ivory Classic outfits that do you justice and look good for any occasion. They double as nursing and maternity gowns too! $$-$$$

  14. ASOS $-$$$

  15. Altar’d State Guys! I love this store. You can shop them locally in The Woodlands Mall, or online. Think boho, vintage chic. Literally, they have everything. $$-$$$$

  16. Show Me Your Mumu

  17. Opal + June Rentals Rent a formal gown or a nice dress for any occasion from this amazing local vendor. $$$

Maternity

  1. Mama Bump Rentals

  2. FillyBoo Maternity

  3. Pink Blush Maternity

  4. Wren & Ivory

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Session Overview

  • Session Day. 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.

  • Sneak Peek. 2-3 weeks 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. You will get an email letting you know they are ready to preview.

  • Image Delivery. One week after your sneak peek, you will get the rest of your gallery via digital download through your client portal.

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Final Thoughts

The Cliff Notes

  • Relax. 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.

  • Keep your hands busy: You will hear me say this at the session- “No dead arms!” 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. 

  • Don’t match your clothing!

  • Stay patient and positive. Children tend to go at their own pace – and that’s fine. I promise even if it feels like a crazy zoo, it’s going to turn out way better than you thought. Just know that I am ready for anything and I have three kids of my own keeping me on my toes every day. if we need to take a break, have a snack, change clothes or a diaper- it’s all good! 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 or 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!

-xoxo Ashley