WELCOME TO YOUR FAMILY SESSION GUIDE!
Here you will find everything you need to know from picking the perfect location to how the session is going to play out! Please read this all through when you first receive it and a day or two before your shoot! The more prepared you are, the better this session is going to be! And prepare to have a lot of fun, and to make fun of my dance moves. I promise I will probably bust a move at least once!
The goal of this session is to capture your family as it is, chaos and all. Whether you have one little baby or five teenagers, we want to make sure that everyone is represented in who they are! Parents, please do not stress out if your baby, child, or teenager is not behaving how you had imagined for the shoot. I have three kids of my own (7, 5, and 3) and can handle the tantrums and running around like crazy, in fact, you might see me run around like crazy too! I work around the kids and their temperaments instead of trying to get them to work for me. For this shoot, the kids are in charge!
So let’s get to it!
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The first thing to remember when it comes to picking a location for your family session is figuring out the vibe you want. Do you want to go on an adventure or have a quiet snuggle session at home? Do you want to splash around at the beach or frolic in the fields (where ever we are, I promise there will be frolicking!) When you know the vibe and style you want, that makes it easier to narrow down your location choices.
My advice to you is pick something your kids will enjoy. The more excited they are by their surroundings, the happier they will be. If they don’t particularly like getting wet, then maybe the beach isn’t the right place for you. If they love throwing rocks into water (what kid doesn’t?!) then we can find a cute creek! The key is finding somewhere that is interesting enough to keep them happy!
If you are booking an in-home session, here are a few tips:
Pay attention to the light in your home right after booking, that way we can find the best time of day to shoot.
Have your house cleaned. This may seem a little daunting, but it will be less chaotic if your whole house is at least tidied, and that also means that there won’t be piles of laundry in the background… unless you want that! You could even fold your laundry as a part of the shoot! Real life right?!
Make sure your kids know well ahead of time that this is happening. Even letting them lead me through their house and showing me their favourite spots helps them feel in control and like they aren’t being forced into pictures.
Leave the lighting to me. Almost any place you pick, I will be able to work with. Once you have chosen your location, let me know and then I will help you determine the best time to go so that we can get the best lighting for you! Just remember that your location will affect how the light looks. If you want pictures that are brighter with lots of natural light but you picked a movie theater (which is a great choice!) your pictures will be darker and moodier. So just keep that in mind. If you have chosen more than one location, we need to make sure that they are fairly close to each other. Nothing disrupts a photoshoot flow like travel!
If you are still stuck and have no idea what you want then that’s where I come in. As long as you know what kind of vibe you want for your session, I can help you find a place that is perfect for both of you! You are definitely not alone!
WHAT TO WEAR
LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD
You might be REALLY tempted to go out and buy a whole new outfit (believe me, I’m all for an excuse to buy new clothes!) but you might consider wearing some of your favourite pieces that you already have! Feeling comfortable in your clothes is going to make such a huge difference to how you act in front of the camera. Wearing something that you already know you love will give you that boost of confidence that you might need! Especially for kids. Make sure they wear the outfits you want them to wear in the photos, wearing new clothes can sometimes be uncomfortable!
So then, what to wear?!
We’ve established that you must feel fabulous in whatever you’re wearing, but if the outfit doesn’t come immediately to mind, here are some tips that might help you out!
Think about the location. It might be hard to manouver through a waterfall in heels! Make sure you’re dressed in a way to make it easier to move (there will be a lot of moving around!). If your signature look is a pair of heels, remember to bring a pair of sneakers or slip ons in case we are going on an adventure to get to our location!
This isn’t the time to try out a new style. Wear something that you would normally wear. If dresses are not your thing and you hardly ever wear one, don’t feel pressured to wear one if you want the photos to look sophisticated! There are other ways to achieve that look without going outside of your comfort zone! You want to look like yourself in these pictures. Remember, feeling comfortable and confident is key!
Solid colour outfits tend to look better than prints, which can be distracting and overwhelming. If you do go with a print, make sure it’s not too loud! If you are a bold person, opt for a super fun pair of shoes or showcase it with your accessories, rather than a bold print!
Start with a neutral base and build from there. Neutral tones are typically more flattering and cohesive than bright colours. Pick two or three neutrals to start with and then add little accents of colour if you want!
Avoid tight fitting clothes that might highlight areas that you’d rather not have highlighted. For example, I have a mommy tummy, so I stay away from really tight shirts when I wear low riding pants, or I layer with blazers, and tend to tuck my shirt in on one side. You’ll find out that that is my signature look!
Consider the weather! Make sure you’re prepared with cute coats if it’s rainy or snowy!
Do not match. Avoid wearing the same outfit (especially the classic white-t-shirt look. I can knock that look because that is what my husband and I wore for our engagement pictures!) and avoid putting your kids in the same shirt, it’s tempting because it’s cute but it doesn’t make each child stand out! Instead, try to coordinate. Mix and match the base neutrals that you picked out. You should also look like you’re all going to the same place.
When trying to coordinate outfits in a family I find it easy to do one outfit first (when getting our own pictures done I usually plan the entire wardrobe around my outfit!). Take that outfit and use it as inspirations for other outfits. Use the same base neutrals and find different ways to incorporate your pops of colour in the other outfits. Remember to think of your location. Try to coordinate with the setting, you don’t want to clash with the trees or even with your own home decor.
When dressing kids for sessions, keep these things in mind:
Avoid character themed clothing. Their favourite show might be Paw Patrol or Ninja Turtles but stay away from logos, images, or graphics. Even though it might be their favourite shirt, it will be a serious distraction in the image.
Make sure they have matching socks!
Being able to move around in their clothing is a must!
If you’re still stuck, head to pinterest for inspiration and you can send me pictures of your outfit(s) if you want my opinion! When in doubt, ask!
You might be thinking, “okay, we’ve got our location and we know what we’re wearing, what else is there to know?”
There are a few things you can do to prepare so that our session goes smoothly and we can all have a great time and get great pictures!
Avoid foods the day before your shoot that make you feel bloated (fast food, foods that are high in salt or fat or sugar). Trust me, being bloated is not going to make you feel pretty during your shoot!
Speaking of food, keep it light the morning of as well, bring some snacks (especially if we are adventuring!). For children, make sure they are well fed and watered and rested before the shoot! Bring non-mess snacks. Avoid gummies, chocolate, or crumbly items, instead opt for cheerios, raisins, even mini marshmallows, white cheese (in case it gets stuck in their teeth), or a promise for a bigger treat later… I am not above bribery!
Make sure everything is all ready the day before so you aren’t scrounging up your clothes in the morning, you don’t want to be flustered before your shoot! One time, before we had our family pictures done I forgot to do this and I realized all the pants we were going to be wearing were in the washing machine. I was definitely frazzled and it was not great.
Don’t get your hair cut/coloured right before the shoot, the best time to do it is about a week to two weeks before.
Try on your outfit a couple days before the shoot, you want to make sure that you still feel great in it. If you don’t feel great, change it up!
Talk to your kids about the session before. It’s best not to surprise them with it, if they know what’s coming they can prepare themselves (even children as little as 2 need some warning!). You can show them my picture and tell them that a silly friend is coming to take their pictures, but not to worry because they aren’t going to have to sit and smile for an hour!
If you have any questions about your session (that isn’t answered in this guide) send me a message!
What to Bring
I’m a better-bring-it-just-to-be-safe kind of person so I will usually have a lot of back up stuff with me. However, here are some handy dandy things that you might end up needing!
Water bottles (especially for those summer sessions or hiking sessions, it gets hot!)
A brush, hairspray, and/or gel. Do you trust your hair to stay how you want it for 1-2 hours? I definitely don’t trust mine but you’re the one who is in front of the camera!
On that same note, bring a little makeup bag for touch ups. Make sure to include some type of towel in case anyone gets too sweaty.
Please don’t bring gum! But definitely bring tic tacs or something.
Umbrellas, because weather.
A change of clothes. You might want to switch it up (and you are more than welcome to!) So don’t forget to bring that with you. It also helps to have a back up in case you fall (or get pushed) into a puddle or something.
Your children. As tempting as it is to leave them at home (or send them away from home), it won’t be that bad!
Okay, now that you are ready for your photo shoot even during the apocalypse, I have some great extra tips and tricks for you! This will help you with my shooting style and give you an idea of how your session is going to go.
I do my very best to make sure your pictures don’t look “posed.” Instead, I will give you a direction and tell you what to do and then you make it your own. I won’t be telling you exactly how to place your hands or exactly how to stand. My directions are often vague which leaves you free to be yourselves! Plus, I don’t need to tell you guys how to be a family, you’re already a pro at it!
Never. stop. moving. Seriously, the more movement you give me, the more pictures you are going to get. When I give you a direction and you stand still, you are going to get one shot from that pose. But if you take my direction and move around, you’ll get so much more variety. Don’t worry though, you’ll get the hang of it while we’re shooting! This style of photography works so well with kids because sometimes they don’t even realize they are getting their pictures taken! Feel free to take any liberties with any of the directions I give you, kisses, hugs, tickles are all welcome at any time!
We’re going to get really silly. I will be making a fool of myself all in the name of getting your kids to laugh and I expect silliness on their end, and that’s okay! I want to encourage as much personality as I can and I suggest you do the same. Nothing screams authentic quite like trying to do the chicken dance while hugging!
I can bring music to the shoot to help loosen everyone up. I have a playlist that I use but I will ask you if you have any specific type of music you’d like! If your kids have favourite songs, let me know, dance parties make for awesome pictures! Try not to think of this as a photo session, think of it as a family date and you just happen to look great and be getting your picture taken at the same time!
If you are uncomfortable in any of the poses or actions, stop and adjust. If you’re uncomfortable then the pictures look forced and we do not want that!
Be yourself! Remember, these are pictures of you so don’t try to be like that person from Pinterest. We will try a number of shots and not all of them will turn out and that’s okay. The ones that do turn out will be the most natural and beautiful versions of you and your family!
It is really important to arrive on time or be ready for me to come to your house on time. We are booking your session according to the light so we may be limited, especially in home, it is very important to start on time. It's best to plan to arrive early. I can't wait to capture your family!
And what do you do if you need more information?! Send me a message! I’m here for all of your needs!