FAMILY SESSION GUIDE
I'm So Happy you're Here
Whether you are a returning family looking for a refresher on how to make the most of your session, or if this will be your first time working with me, this page will hopefully answer many of the questions you might have ahead of your session. All adults (yes, Dads too!) should read through this information as it will definitely help our session go more smoothly. Above all, I want you to relax and have fun. I am a true believer in the idea that "everyone has a story", and I look forward to telling yours! Now lets dive in with what to expect.
First things first
A LIttle Bit About Location
The first thing we need to decide is where to do your session. Often the location doesn't play a huge role unless it is an at-home session, or there is an activity involved. However, it does set the mood and the aesthetic for the images we capture together. Think about your style and what might suit you -- the beach, a garden, a rustic farm, or the city. If you aren't sure, let's chat about it. I have plenty of ideas.
What about At-Home Sessions?
I always remind clients not to dismiss their own home! I love capturing slices of real life mixed with some beautiful portraits. Not to mention it is the best place for a session with really young children (especially 3 and under) because they feel safe, happy and comfortable. Your home doesn't have to be architectural digest ready to host a family session. There is no better location to tell your family's unique story.
MY best Tips for a great session
The worst thing you can do is start your session stressed out because you are rushed and worried you're going to be late. Have your outfits laid out and ironed the night before, and leave your self more time than you think you need to get yourself and the kids ready.
Let your kids know what to expect
Some kids are camera shy, and others are complete hams! Let them know we'll be taking some family pictures. but don't put a lot of pressure on them to be perfect. Tell them we will have fun, and not to worry about saying "cheese". We'll work out the smiles in a natural way!
Kids Will be kids
Don't worry if your kids aren't listening perfectly. I promise, I'm not judging them or you. Remember I'm a parent too, and believe me I've been there! Let me try to draw them back in before you intervene -- and if you need to walk away and take a deep breath that's totally OK. If parents are stressed out (and especially if they yell - nope don't do that no matter how exasperated you are, and I know how that feels!) then things can go downhill quickly. I really do have a ton of patience, I have see it all, and you should feel confident that we will come away with photographs you will love even if it seems like your kids are bouncing off the walls. DEEP BREATHS. :)
Give them A break.
Sometimes kids will need a break in the middle of a session. If I'm seeing a lot of forced smiles or looking off in other directions, I might make that suggestion. Feel free to give them a drink or snack (nothing chocolatey, messy or colored with anything that will stain their teeth, please) and we can start up again once they've had a few minutes to be "off camera."
Sometimes no one can make them laugh better than you!
There might be times that I will ask you to act silly over my shoulder to get the attention of your kiddos, so practice those silly faces or think about the things you do that they think are hilarious! That said, it's most helpful to me if you not try to get their attention unless I ask you to. Sometimes they just don't know where to look or who to listen to if too many of us are working to get their attention.
If you want everyone looking at the camera
For those "everyone looking at the camera" shots. your best bet is to keep your eyes on me unless I tell you otherwise. Let me get the kids attention, and if you are looking at me when they are, then we've got it! Truth be told though, my favorite family photos are those where no one is looking at the camera! :)
Frequently Asked Questions
What should we Wear!?
Don't stress out about what to wear, but do check out my "What to Wear " guide for some helpful tips!
Should we Bring anything to the Session?
If your child has a special lovey/blanket/toy truck (whatever really!) that would make them smile and happy to have in the photos or that you want to document, then by all means, bring it along!
What if the weather Doesn't Cooperate
I will check in with you a few days before our session once we see how the forecast is shaking out. If its going to be rainy and miserable, or even super cloudy (not great light, and I really love great light), we can reschedule. Often, we can make the decision right up until the day of the session. I make an effort not to over schedule myself, so that I can be flexible in the event of bad weather or illness. If you are scheduled for a weekend session in the Fall, there is a chance that we may have to reschedule to a weekday, but I always try to accommodate my clients schedules as best as I can.
What If my child (or a parent) is sick on the day of the session
Shoot me a text or call me as soon as you know you can't make it and we will reschedule. 24 hours notice is appreciated but not mandatory. I'm a mom, and I know how these things go! You don't want runny noses or eyes with dark circles in your photos.
Can you "Photoshop" Me?
Yes, I have some photoshop tricks up my sleeve, and I'm willing to use them (sparingly). Listen, I get it -- I am my own worst critic. Yes, I have been known to photoshop my arms to make them look skinnier. Will I do it for you? Sure, if you ask me to, but remember you are beautiful just the way you are. I know, we all need that reminder every single day.
What do you mean by "sparingly"?
Can I make your arms a smidge skinnier? Yes. Can I "soften" your crows feet? Yes. Can I change the color of your hair from blonde to brown? Nope. Can I get rid of your fake eyelashes that your make up artist overdid. Nope. Will I erase your 10-year-old's braces (they are such a great time stamp!)? I mean, I probablyI could. But I have to draw the line somewhere (And yes, I've been asked to do those things.)
What happens after tHe Session
1. A soon as I get home from your session I immediately upload my memory cards and create backups on two separate hard drives. Both of those drives are then automatically backed up to the "cloud".
2. Often, within 2-3 days I'll post a sneak peek on my Instagram and Facebook so be sure to follow my accounts. During super busy times I'm not the best with social media but I try! If you want me to tag you, please remember to leave your Instagram or Facebook handle in the questionnaire.
3. Editing usually takes me 2 -3 weeks, depending on the season. I am picky, particularly about color, and honestly I think my work is best once I do one round of edits, and then put it away for a few days before finalizing with a fresh set of eyes. If you have a deadline you need me to keep in mind, please let me know.
4. Once your images are edited (color corrected, cropped, and I've retouched my favorites), I will post them to a password protected gallery and send you the link.
5. When I send you gallery I will provide instructions for choosing the images in your package, or ordering additional digital files or print products. If you prefer to meet in person or over zoom, I'm always available to do that, and I'm happy to share samples of printed products.
6. Once you've chosen the images for your package and your print products (if ordering them). I will give them one final edit and retouch as needed before sending you download links / ordering products from my lab.
Do you have INsurance?
I sure do! I am a tax paying, insurance carrying, legal business. And no, not every photographer is.
Any Tips for specific kinds of sessions?
About my Products
Just because you will receive digital images as part of your package, doesn't mean you can't also have beautiful custom products printed by the finest labs in the country. I offer a whole suite of products, and I'm here to help you plan the best way to display and enjoy your images. I'm always happy to chat on the phone or meet in person to look at samples: