Thank you so much for trusting me with your memories! My hope is that we capture not only some beautiful images, but that when you look back on these photos, you have beautiful memories to go with them.
I know picture day can feel stressful. This guide is designed to help you get super prepared for your session so that you can feel calm, confident and relaxed for picture day. I will walk you through some of the most common questions and concerns that come up - like what to expect at your session, what to wear, and how to deal with less-than-enthusiastic kids (and partners!)
Preparing for your session
As you're probably well aware by now, my sessions focus more on connection and authentic moments rather than "posing" or "perfect portraits". Most of my family sessions take place either outside in nature, or in your home. No matter where your session takes place, you can expect that there will be a little "warming up" period - especially if your kiddo(s) is shy. That's okay and totally normal. We will take some time just getting used to the camera and find a groove as we go along.
In order to create (and document) authentic moments of connection and laughter, you can expect that we will be moving around quite a bit during your session! It is a good idea to make sure that everyone is wearing clothing that is comfortable enough to move around in.
For outside sessions, make sure that you take the elements of nature into consideration - I recommend lots of bug spray in the summer time, and warm (but stylish) clothes in the cold months. There may be times when I ask you to interact with nature in a way you weren't expecting - perhaps putting your bare feet in a stream or sitting down in the grass. I often go with the flow during sessions, and respond as inspiration strikes. However, if there is ever something I ask you to do that you are not comfortable doing, please don't hesitate to say "no thank you"! I promise you won't hurt my feelings :)
In Home sessions
Don't stress about having your house clean on my account. Remember, these photos are about documenting your life as it is right now... in all the messy glory. That being said, feel free to clean up - or not - totally up to you!
For in home sessions, I will often use a flash - especially if your home does not have abundant natural light. It is good to plan activities near a natural light source, but definitely not necessary. We will get beautiful photos either way!
Do's (and don'ts)
1. DO relax! If you follow nothing else in this guide, do this one. Your kiddos will mirror your energy - so if you are happy and relaxed, they are much more likely to be happy and relaxed too! Remember, these photos are about capturing real moments with your family. You want these memories to capture the best in you, not the stress in you. (And I won't judge if that means you have a shot of tequila before you show up - you do you, boo).
2. DO make sure everyone has a full belly. Hanger doesn't photograph well.
3. DO have bribes on hand. No shame. No guilt. Just great photos.
4. DON'T try to force your kiddo(s) (or pets) into poses or activities they're just not in to. Not only will it stress you out, it'll make them unhappy, which makes for unhappy memories, which makes for not so great photos. I have lots of experience getting good images with kiddos that aren't having it - we just have to do what works for them.
4. DO give gentle encouragement and positive feedback to your kiddos during the session (and your partner if he/she is not overly thrilled to be there)
5. DO wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can move around in.
6. DO Be open and silly. Be yourself and have fun!
My kiddo is super shy?
I have photographed lots of kids over the years who are less than enthusiastic about being in front of the camera. I am pretty good at getting them to warm up to me, and haven't had a session yet where I couldn't get any usable images of a shy kiddo. My approach is to honor them where they are and follow their lead - and we usually end up with some great moments!
My kiddo has a meltdown or acts up?
First, meltdowns don't scare me. It's part of life with kids, and it's real. Usually, I just keep photographing through it so that you can look back and laugh at the chaos of raising kids (even though it might suck in the moment).
Remember - your kiddo likely doesn't really care about these photos, and would much rather be doing something else. That's fair.
My approach when kids are "acting up" is to let them - kind of. We will honor where they're at, and try to engage them with something that is fun or interesting for them - whether that's exploring the nature that's around us, playing a game of tag, or having them show me their favorite toys.
As long as we remember the golden rule, and honor them as little people with their own agenda, we can usually turn it around and have a great session. And when all else fails, there is no shame in using bribes to snag a few great images ;)
We get sick or the weather isn't ideal?
I can (and do) reschedule sessions for illness and less than ideal weather.
If you or anyone in your family is not feeling well in the days before our session, please let me know so we can make other plans.
While I believe fun and beautiful photos can be made in any weather, I totally get that you may not want to stand in pouring rain or sub zero temps. We can either reschedule to a different day, or move our session to an indoor location.
If we have to reschedule due to weather or illness, we will simply compare calendars and find the first available date that works for us both. No biggie!
What to wear
Tips for style and comfort
1. Choose your outfit first - Pick something that makes you feel super confident, and something that feels comfortable on your body. Again, you want to choose something that you can move around in (and is appropriate for the weather).
2. Coordinate, but don't match - Once you have your outfit picked out, choose outfits for the rest of the family that coordinate (similar/complimentary color palette), but don't dress everyone in the same exact color. It is also a good idea to put everyone in colors of a similar brightness. For example, don't dress everyone in pastels, then put dad in a dark navy shirt. Too much contrast in the colors can get distracting.
3. Avoid characters, logos, or clashing patterns - Blippi is awesome, but he can definitely be a distraction in family photos. When choosing outfits for the family, try to avoid anything that has a character, lettering or a logo on it. Patterns are ok for one or two outfits, as long as they compliment each other. Too many competing patterns will distract from what's most important in the photos - you and your crew.
4. Feel free to add accessories and shoes - it is definitely not required, but accessories (jewelry, hats, layering pieces) can elevate an outfit and help you feel more put together. And don't forget to pay attention to shoes - if you plan to wear them (I love some barefoot photos too!)
5. Put kiddos in something comfortable and weather appropriate - I feel like a bit of a broken record here, but we will be moving around, so make sure your kiddos wear something that is comfortable and gives them the freedom to move! And as cute as their outfit is, make sure that it's also weather appropriate - no amount of bribing will motivate your kiddo to be happy for photos when they're uncomfortable!
6. Check out Pinterest for ideas - Unless you live under a rock, you've probably used Pinterest before. Browse around and get some ideas, and feel free to create a board to share with me so we can collab!
7. Or just wear whatever you would on a normal day! - I'm all about real life - and the same goes for your wardrobe. Feel free to dress up, or just wear your comfy sweats that you sport on a regular basis to remember this fleeting season!
After your Session
After your session I will get to work on choosing the best of the best images (typically between 20-35) and edit them to perfection. Once they're ready and uploaded to your gallery, I'll be in touch to schedule your 24-hour slideshow window.
When you get the slideshow link, I encourage you to make an event of it! Put it up on the big screen, grab some popcorn and a yummy beverage, turn the volume up and snuggle up on the couch to watch it together. The first time you see your photos is always the best, so make the most of it!
Once you've seen your slideshow, you have 24 hours to choose and purchase your collection (A, B or C - if you need a refresher on those, click here). Once payment is received for your collection, your gallery will be open for a full 30 days to download your images and use your print credit.
Downloading your files:
Once you've decided on your favorite images for your download credit (or all images if you chose Collection C), then I encourage you to download those right away. The process is simple, and I will send you step-by-step instructions on how to download them from your online gallery. Once you've downloaded them, I highly recommend backing them up to a cloud service, like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Copyrights (and wrongs):
Once you've got your digital files in hand, you are free to print them when, where, and as often as you wish. You can use them for holiday cards, share on your social media, or send personalized gifts to friends and family. The only thing you can't do is resell them for commercial or business use - for example, you wouldn't be able to enter them into a contest to win prize money, or use them on the cover of your book (but if you are writing a book - please let me know! I'd love to read it ;). While not required, I do appreciate it when my clients tag me in photos they post on social :)
Printing your images:
While everything I offer in my store is printed in professional labs and guaranteed to be beautiful and long-lasting, I also recognize that you may want to print your images yourself for future projects, gifts, etc. - and thanks to those digital files, you can! However, not all photo printers are created equal. For the best quality and color accuracy, I recommend Rockbrook Camera (in Lincoln), and mpix.com for online printing. Be sure to de-select any "color correction" options, and upload the original files you downloaded (not copies of the files). The files you receive from me should allow you to print as large as you like.
What you do with your images is perhaps the most important aspect to consider when you're planning for a photo session - but it's all too often the part that's overlooked.
You've invested time and money. You deserve better than photos gathering dust on a hard drive somewhere (or worse yet - lost in the digital ether). You will never get the same feeling looking at your photos on a screen as you will seeing them on your wall or flipping through them in an album, so I include a substantial print credit with every collection. Below is a sample from the print store
PROFESSIONAL LAB PRINTS
These are not your typical drugstore prints. You will fall in love with these luxurious silk like prints that are true to color and fingerprint resistant. Gift prints are perfect for sharing with friends and family, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll last for a lifetime (plus some). Add a hard-back mount and display anywhere without a frame
Starting at $8
Keepsake boxes are perfect for the sentimental person who loves to hold onto physical treasures as well as printed photos. Each keepsake box is custom designed and can include names, dates, birth stats, a meaningful quote, etc. Then, you choose 5 images to be included as 5x7 prints inside your box.
Starting at $185
Choose from a variety of small shelf and desk displays, from acrylic blocks to unique barnwood metal prints. These make great gifts or office decor!
Starting at $40
Your photos are printed on heirloom quality fine art paper that lays completely flat when you open it. The pages are nice and thick to stand the test of time (and little fingers). Your album will hold up to 30 of your favorite images, and can be customized with a full photo cover or your choice of cover materials and colors
Starting at $600
I can't wait!
"She captured emotion in every moment perfectly."
- Hannah, Lincoln NE
I am so excited for our session together and can't wait to capture some magic with you! Please feel free to reach out to me via phone, text or email if you have any questions at all. See you soon!