So, you’ve done the easy part and booked your session! Now comes what most say is the stressful part-PLANNING - - Then panic sets in - - OMGOSH! What do I wear? What does he wear? What do the kids wear? What if my kids don’t behave? and so on, and so on, until we loathe booking a session again. Well fear no more! I have a complete session guide with tips and tricks to ease your mind and make this a seamless, stress free, and even a FUN (gasp!) outing for you and your family!
Now, I personally think that photo sessions should be mostly interacting with each other, with a few beautiful, smiling, posed photos sprinkled in that your whole family actually looks forward too! So with that, let's just get right into it!
What do we wear?
I’m glad you asked! It’s actually a pretty simple concept, however I do have photo sessions of my own taken and I do the same pondering as if I knew nothing at all! So here’s what I typically recommend:
Coordinate over “matching” if you’ve seen any portrait session from the early 90s and even some recent where everyone is decked out in black turtlenecks and light denim, or all white T-shirts and khaki shorts, you might not cringe as much as I do, but I really recommend against this because I don’t want you guys looking like one big black or white blob with 5 heads if that makes sense? You can’t really make out where one person ends and the other begins and it’s just unflattering for everyone. The only time I say there are exceptions are for themed type shoots: Christmas jammies, plaid has actually been pretty cute in my opinion recently, or if you’re on the beach, maybe the white tops and khakis aren’t horrible, but unfortunately this is Ohio and there are no beautiful beaches super close anyways! There are always exceptions, so if you have an idea please don’t let me scare you away! You can feel free to ask my opinion, or just do it! Have fun with it and own it :) Not sure what goes? Checkout the color wheel, colors across from each other are complimentary! Some good examples of coordinating are below!
2. What season is it? Dress for the season! - This one can be a little confusing, because sometimes we hold sessions before the season to ensure you receive your photos when you need them, so best tip is still dress for the session you signed up for! Sometimes it’s 90 degrees in October in Ohio, but for fall sessions, I still recommend wearing fall-type clothing, especially for mini sessions - you’ll only be there 15-20 minutes, and your style will match the setting! Here are some recommendations for each season!
FALL - ahhhh the coveted photography season! That’s why I list it first :) For fall think jeans (maybe even distressed jeans if it fits your style!), plaids, scarves, longer sleeved maxi dresses (short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, long sleeve), cute vests ( or MANLY vests for the guys!), pullovers, etc…For color schemes think mustard, navy, maroon, reds, greys, etc…for more inspo, I’ve created a Pinterest board complete with color scheme recommendations, amazon links, and some really good examples of colors to stick with and how to coordinate over matching. tap the button below to head over there!
*Extra little tip - scarves and poncho type tops are great but they can sometime make us look larger or like we don’t have a neck, so when you’re shopping just be aware of how large the scarf is, how you feel in it, and for the large poncho type tops, maybe even add a belt around the smallest part of your waist to add some shape!
WINTER - Another of my favorites! The cold air just begging for cocoa, blankets, and cuddle sessions! There are many different options for these as well, and depending on the session you can go more for silly/quirky, or classic. So, for those Christmas jammies sessions, little ones meeting Santa, movie-themed sessions, CHEESE IT UP!! Be extra cheesy, have fun, embrace those quirky outfits, and don’t forget to get extra prints to show future dates when the kids get older, haha! For those outdoor family mini sessions, if you’d like to stay more classic some ideas are flannels - these can be coordinated REALLY well! I’ve really seen these done great, even incorporating some flannel hair bows, leaving a couple people’s flannel unbuttoned so we don’t get the blob effect I mentioned earlier, flannel dresses. etc…another suggestion would be a beautiful long/wool skirt, sweaters pullovers/henleys for the guys, red plaid, etc…Color schemes can include reds, greens, greys, blacks, etc…And you guessed it, there’s a Pinterest board for that!
*Extra tip! If it’s cold, be sure to dress for it! Even if it is only 15 minutes, children don’t tend to know or get it (I probably wouldn’t either!), so they get cranky, their little hands get red and cold, so just plan ahead and if their big snow mittens don’t really go with your outfits, be sure to take that into consideration, and maybe pickup some cuter options for hats, gloves, and scarves!
SPRING - ahh…winter is over! Let’s get hoppin’! So, I typically do two different minis for these as well, one for just the little ones with a more Easter type theme, and a family spring session. As I said in the winter section, CHEESE IT UP for those little one minis, I always think it’s a right of passage to have some of those crazy outfits, instead of perfectly coordinated. complete with strappy sandals, and giant bows for 2 year olds (super guilty of this too, though!) haha! So if you want to cheese it up, dress them like a chick, put them in an adorable fluffy dress with ruffled bloomers, whatever you want! You could go either way with this one too, though, so just follow your specific style here! For the family sessions, think pastels, it’s spring, so think the cold shoulder tops, short sleeve button ups or polos for the guys, plaid or khaki shorts/pants, button ups, feel free to bust out the little button ups and ties for little guys, too, even rolled sleeves! - it’s sooo cute! Suspenders, long, but light skirts, cardigans etc… For colors, think pastels, mint and pink go fabulous together! Pastel yellows and blues, and whites! Just think about what you’d wear for Easter, that’s a great start!
SUMMER - I LOVE those golden hour sunset sessions sooo much! These are great for lifestyle-type sessions as well, they’re outside, we can laugh, and play, and run free for a bit, the little ones love it! However, again,- we’re in Ohio, so that humidity can be killer! That’s another reason I typically only shoot at sunset, it can still be pretty hot though, which for me, means my hair frizzes - so don’t be afraid to go natural with your hair! Mine is naturally curly, and as much as I usually like it best straight, it would turn into a lion’s mane in about 2.4 seconds flat, so just be sure to take that into account if you have that hair type! As far as outfits, you obviously don’t want to be sweating either so think light and airy, short dresses, jean shorts, khaki shorts - these can be just the flat front shorts that are either khaki, navy, or otherwise colored, short sleeve polos or button ups for the guys, strappy sandals, Sperrys, light maxi dresses, natural, and earthy colors are great as well as bright and bold for these!
Maternity: This is such a special and once in a lifetime session, and I want nothing more than you to feel beautiful and celebrate this beautiful experience! So a few tips for this one:
Go all out if you’re able! I fully support (and encourage) outfit changes! Options can include a cute pair of jeans and fitted t-shirt, a summer or maxi dress, sports themed outfits/props, or even a beautiful flowy gown!
This probably should’ve been my number one tip, but since we’ve already covered outfits, this will go right along with it! I HIGHLY recommend spanx, or some sort of smoothing undergarment, bellies carrying new life are beautiful, and sometimes those beautiful flowy gowns have a tendency to show things such as bumps and other not so flattering things, so it’s probably best to wear some spanx under your outfits!
Props! Feel free to bring any props that celebrate that little newcomer: little shoes, special books or other unique items to your new little family! If you have any questions or ideas feel free to let me know! I can help sort things out, if you are unsure!
This is another once in a lifetime session! These often don’t go as quickly as we might think, so plan for up to 2 or so hours even if we only actually get to shoot 30-60 minutes, we’re on baby’s time for this one! Pop up feedings, changing, and fussiness can make it a little longer, but don’t stress, I’m used to working with little ones, I block out extra time for these sessions, so don’t at all feel like we have to rush or stress, the last thing I want to do is add stress to a new mama, so it’s all about you and baby!
For outfits on this one, choose whatever you feel your best and most beautiful in! If you want to be a more homey/lifestyle session, feel free to wear a cozy sweater, leggings, etc.. feel free! These are super cute and cozy! Or you can also feel free to hop in a cute flowy dress, or back into those maternity pants - I totally wore mine for a good 6 months after I had my child! lol
If the session is in your home, a few little tips I can give are making sure it’s warmer than usual so it’s an easy transition into each outfit and they don’t get chilly! Have a binky ready, if your little one uses one, it can be a great soother in between shots! Feedings usually need to happen at some point during the session, I recommend planning to feed them right before or when I arrive that way their belly is good and full and they’re good and sleepy!
Props/Outfits for baby - you can definitely put your unique spin on your session and add in special touches from grandparents, blankets, etc… for outfits, swaddles are a necessity if you’d like those cute swaddled photos, outfits with words are adorable and often funny, but sometimes they are difficult to make readable in the photos, so I can recommend smaller words that way we don’t have to be sure the entire outfit is laid out perfectly straight to get all the words in! Other cute outfits with hats, cute little booties, etc…are always adorable as well!
These sessions are all about celebrating you and the culmination of your high school years, and even entire school career up to this point! So here are some tips for your session!
Props! Bring whatever makes you, YOU! Whatever makes you smile without trying, what you truly enjoy, and what makes you feel like you’re on top of the world! These can be anything from items from sports you’re involved in, other school activities, or something you enjoy in your free time! Reading, playing musical instruments, listening to music, your animals (livestock, dogs, etc!), hunting, etc…the list is endless, but totally unique to you! So bring whatever you’d like and we’ll incorporate it in your sessions!
Outfits are a way to express yourself without saying a word! I highly encourage outfit changes as well! If you enjoy dressing up, bring a fancy dress or suit, or even homecoming/prom dresses! If you like to express yourself with bold colors, now is definitely not the time to stop change that! If you enjoy jeans, t-shirts, and converse shoes - by all means! This is YOUR shoot! While you should have a variety of outfits, you should feel great in all of them! If you need help on this, feel free to send photos if you’re unsure, I’m always happy to help!
Best Friend Shoots:
These are SOOOO much fun! So feel free to express that and embrace it completely!
Outfits can include cute summer dresses, cozy sweaters and leggings, custom t-shirts with some unique / silly saying unique to you guys, or if it’s a birthday celebration you can totally incorporate that into your t-shirts as well!
Feel free to bring other props or anything that will help your friendship shine through these photos! Pizza, wine, concert tickets, whatever is unique to you and your friendship!
Other tips and tricks! - Some of these might be repeated, but they’re important! :)
If you’re bringing little ones, bring their favorite books, toys, etc…I love some of the beautiful images I have gotten of them playing with their favorite toys, or being read their favorite books, mostly because as parents, we don’t typically take photos of ourselves at one of the most memorable times a child will look back on! Getting read to!
Bring anything special to you, I love incorporating special items into shoots, just makes it all the more YOU!
- Be sure that your clothes fit you properly - clothing too big can make you appear larger than you are while clothing too small can highlight those things properly fitting clothes would not. Remember, the only thing I am not in control of on the day of your session is your clothing choice, so if you’d like to send me photos of what you’re thinking if your unsure, feel free! I want you to look your best!
- I love scarves - I REALLY do, however, they can make your neck disappear and face seem larger than what it is! So if you’re not feeling your best, it’s best to ditch the scarf, if you’re feeling like you’re rocking it, then bring that and your confidence to your session, by all means!
- Okay, we’ve all seen them, the 90s black turtle neck and matching jeans family photos. If I even have to say it, I’m sure you would appreciate not looking like one big blob of stonewashed denim with a black ball, and a bunch of faces sticking out, right?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for matching with Christmas jammies, onesies, etc…but for family portrait sessions, it’s best to coordinate clothing, rather than match. An example could be, for those fall sessions, pick a patterned flannel for someone in the family and choose the colors that you find in that flannel to coordinate the rest of the family with, with more toned down patterns or solids!
- Hair and makeup - I offer professional hair and makeup services at an additional $90 per person, my hair and makeup gal ROCKS and will make you look your best the day of your shoot. That being said, be sure not to do or try anything too crazy the day of your shoot, naturally enhanced is my best way of describing what photographs the best! She will pick out the best things to highlight those amazing features of yours, and de-emphasize all those laugh lines you got from your little ones :)
- This tip is for those bringing little ones to the session! Let’s face it, sometimes our perfect little angels, as much as the camera loves them, they might not be feeling it that day. That being said, I’m not above bribery ;), bring snacks, favorite toys, etc…that way, we can break for a moment so they can see this whole thing may not be as bad as they thought! Well rested, well fed little ones usually have the most fun, but as a toddler mom myself, I know that the ONE day I need my little one to nap and eat a good lunch is the ONE day she refuses. Things happen, we’ll make the absolute best of it we can, and some fun memories along the way!
- SENIORS! This one is for you! I’m all about having fun, celebrating your big moment of stepping off into the real world, and I want you to do so as confidently as possible! So bring what makes you, YOU! Books, musical instruments, video games, heck, bring light sabers if you want to! (Love it, I will!* Yoda Voice*). I also offer professional hair and make up for these sessions for you! So just let me know ahead of time if you’d like that service so I can ensure she’s available!
HOW DO I POSE??!?!!?!? Relax, that is not your job the day of your shoot! Your job is to make memories! I offer guidance throughout the entire session creating moments, laughs, memories, and even a few smiling/posed images in there, I’m here to make you feel your best, look your best, and not treat this just as another thing you have to do, so we make it fun and easy!
- My last, and one of my most important tips is to HAVE FUN! Yes, my canon knows when you’re stressed or yelling at your kids to smile! haha, so just come ready to make memories, play, laugh, and be silly. Go with the flow, and I will guide you from there! Do not have one concern about your posing, that’s why I’m here!
- Be sure to look over the products I offer, picture them in your home, and feel free to ask any questions prior to your session! I use a professional lab, and the products I offer, I have in my home, and let me tell ya, every time we have someone over they always comment on them! So I recommend investing a little extra on these items, after all, you want these memories to last forever :) They will be available to purchase from your online gallery and shipped straight to you!