The time is almost here, so I’m writing this post to help you with some last minute details as you prepare for your session. As much as I am able, I’d love to convince you to NOT STRESS out. In fact, you could have every last detail worked out to perfection, but if you and your family arrive completely stressed out, it would be worse than a few imperfections but a relaxed crew ready for the camera. So I’d like to throw out a few details to help you with last minute preparations, and then a couple of hints for helping children before and during the session. These are in no particular order, but are things that have come up in past sessions.
Posed and Un-posed Lifestyle Images: So much of what I photograph is less about you looking at the camera and more about your connections with each other. Will we get that Christmas card image where everyone is looking at the camera? Of course! But I also want to capture you laughing and playing and snuggling with your people. So instead of forcing that smile, relax and enjoy your time! I will let you know when I want you to look at me and smile, trust me. So let your family know that the stress is off and your only job is to love on each other and have a great time!
Weather: Obviously, if it is a sheer downpour or thunderstorms with no break in sight, we will certainly reschedule. But given the complete unpredictability of weather playing out according to forecasts, I usually plan to go ahead unless it is almost certain it won’t go in our favor. Often rain before the session leads to some of the most beautiful sunset skies–and those are always my favorite conditions to photograph anyway. So if things look uncertain on the day of, then we will be in touch. If the weather is chilly, please bring extra blankets/jackets for your kids. That way they can warm up between pictures if they need to. If you happen to have a blanket that coordinates well with your outfits, bring that along as well.
Wardrobe: Don’t hesitate to call or text me with last minute questions. And if you’re still unsure over a couple of items, throw them both in and we can decide when you arrive!
Morning Dew: One thing with morning sessions is usually the ground is wet with morning dew. So be prepared to have your shoes get wet. If this is something that you think will bother your child, consider putting on shoes that won’t let the water through. And you might want to throw in an extra pair of shoes for the car ride home!
Hydration & Snacks: It is always a good idea to throw in some water bottles just in case anyone gets thirsty. And if the weather is hot, you certainly want them there! If other drinks or snacks would be helpful, just keep it limited to things that won’t stain or show up if there are spills. I usually have a few Smarties (candy) on hand just in case a little bribery might needed for little ones. These tiny candies are clean and quick and work in a pinch. But certainly if sugar is off limits, I won’t bring them out. Speaking of bribery, promises of an ice cream stop or some special treat after the session is over can go a long way!
Bug Spray: It is probably a good idea to bring some along in case you need it.
Finger Nail Polish: Okay, this sounds goofy, but it has happened on more than one occasion. Be sure to check fingernails before you leave for the session. I’ve had more than one mom not realize their daughter’s hands had bright green nail polish or half-on, half-off polish that didn’t match their wardrobe choices.
Pockets: Empty them!! Phones, keys and other items stick out like a sore thumb in pictures, so put those phones and keys someplace else for the session.
Clothing/Skin Mishaps: The wonderful thing about still photos is there is some room to fudge. I like to tell moms this especially, as bumps or bruises are common on little ones and acne can easily pop up on older kids and adults. Now, I’m not saying to smear your child’s face with chocolate or red juice before the session, but I am well-versed in photoshop and you’d be amazed at all the things I’ve fixed along the way! So again, if your little one trips in the dirt after getting out of the car, don’t sweat it–just keep smiling and we’ll get it worked out!
Child Behavior: Your child or children may not know me, and they probably already are sensing that family pictures are a big deal. It may take them awhile to warm up to me, and that is certainly okay! I want to give kids a little space to get comfortable with me. With young children especially, I sometimes find I get the best pictures when we just let them be free to do their thing. With children 4-years-old and under, we often have many un-posed portraits that are very beautiful. Let me show you what I mean…
Yes, I will pull out all the stops to make sure we get a great posed ones as well, but I don’t want you to stress out during the process. Every child is different, and I will assess their personality and try to match their pace. What I love getting is authentic smiles and expressions, so it’s best not to tell them to say “Cheese” when the camera is going. But you are certainly welcome to get right on my shoulder (so that they are looking at the camera) and make silly faces or whatever it takes to get those genuine smiles! If your child has some favorite things they like to talk about (favorite cartoon, games, etc.), let me know those things so I can try to fit into their world. You are more than welcome to tell younger kids that we are going to spend some time playing, because we will and that certainly sounds more fun than only taking pictures!
Sour Attitudes: When it comes to adults and older children, it might be the case that not everyone is thrilled about taking family pictures. And I get it, I’m sure there are a million other things that sound more fun! As much as I am able, I try to keep things clipping along. I’ve had more than one reluctant dad or teenager leave my session saying that it wasn’t so bad after all–and even a number of them say that they had fun! But of course, if needed, you are more than welcome to throw a little bribery their way as well. I know my teen boys respond well to a promise of pizza and soda on our way home!
Image Count: I am an unapologetic over-shooter! I will take countless images so that I can get exactly what I am wanting. Of course, I weed out all the duplicates, all the out of focus shots, and all the blinking eyes pictures as I’m culling through the pictures to decide which images I will artistically edit. I shoot what seems like hundreds so that you will have a gallery of 35-50 or more gorgeous images to choose from in your final gallery if you have booked a full session.
Your Photographer: Yes, me. Just a word of warning…I show up dressed and ready to PHOTOGRAPH your session. If it’s hot outside, I’ll usually have my hair pulled up and no make-up on. I like to tell my families that my job is to make them look beautiful, and I come dressed to make that happen. So if I’m wearing boots to wade into puddles, you’ll have to forgive my lack of fashion!
And that should wrap it up for last minute details! Let me know if you have any final questions. I’m excited to meet your family soon!