If you haven't had a session with me before you may not quite know what to expect. It's important for you to know that you are not here to perform for me or live up to my expectations - I have none other than to make this time with you feel comfortable and magical where you can forget the outside world for a bit and be yourselves. I'll request you turn off your phones, stop worrying about how your hair looks, and get on your kid's level - literally and figuratively. We live in such a busy world with constant noise, this is a rare chance for you to shed all of that and just BE. For most of us it's been a long time since we've done that . . . My biggest wish for your time with me is that you leave feeling a little more grounded, a little more uplifted, and remembering a little more what life is truly all about.
As you scroll down you'll see all sorts of advice on what to wear, how to handle your kids, etc., but the #1 overall bit of advice I can give you is to let go of the expectations and control, be in the moment, follow my lead and trust the process. The beauty you see in my photos wasn't created, it was found. It already exists, and together we'll create space for YOUR unique and magical beauty to shine through.
I will arrive at the location 30-60 minutes early to scope things out and get my creative wheels turning. Aim to also arrive about 10 mins early to do any last minute bathroom breaks or touch-ups.
Throughout your session I will do a few posed photos, and I usually like to start with these more "formal" to ease into the session. If anyone has any jitters this is a great way to help put those at ease - all you have to do is stand and smile. It's also *typically* our best opportunity for that smiling at the camera shot before any kiddos start to lose interest (or get dirty ha). Once we knock some of those out of the park we'll move into the more fun stuff, and as we go along I may pause for a couple more posed shots throughout.
The unposed portion of your session will be the majority of our time together and where the most magic happens. We'll spend a lot time just hanging out, going slow, playing, etc. I'll guide you along the way as needed, but I'll also spend a lot of time being quiet and observing. The more you can ignore me, the better!
After your session I'll shoot you a reminder email of when the gallery is due, and on occasion I send a sneak peek of a handful of photos. You'll receive an email 3 weeks from your session with the link to your gallery and instructions on how to navigate it all. I'm available to you anytime afterwards for help with ordering or editing requests!
Ahhh children. We’d do anything for them . . . If only they would do the same for us (like cooperate for family photos maybe?! Lol!)! Just so you know – I am a mom. I get It. On top of raising a very spirited little girl, I’ve been doing photos of children for over 15 years. I “get” kids, and because of that I have a number of little tricks up my sleeve to help them through your photo session with minimal stress and lots of fun!
- HAVE THEM HELP – Whether it’s help in choosing outfits (potentially dangerous lol), coming up with photo ideas, or help in choosing a reward for good behavior, getting them involved makes them feel important, included, and in control.
- GIVE A PEP TALK – Explain what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, how long it will go, and what they get for doing well.
- BRIBERY – I am not above a good ole bribe, and this is the perfect time to implement one! It can be a treat for after the session, a fun activity, a toy, bubbles during photos, or whatever works for your family. For younger kids it can work well to bring along a not-messy, easy snack suck as puffs – anything small and that you can feed one at a time works great!
- YOUR ATTITUDE – I know photo sessions have the potential to be a little stressful – you have to get everyone ready, be on time, and not be awkward in front of the camera (I’ve been there too – it’s hard!). Do your absolute best to stay positive, joyful, and laid back throughout it all. Not only will it trickle down to the kids, but photo sessions are a collaborative effort and your mood will totally help me do my job and give you the best results! Also, if you have a partner who is less than thrilled about taking photos, please communicate this advice to them. Grumpy adults are no fun for anyone!
- TAKE A STEP BACK . . . This one is tough for parents, I GET IT – you want your kids to behave and so you step in to try and help, but this is where things can sometimes fall apart. When kids have too many people telling them what to do they start to get overwhelmed and shut down. That is the #1 reason I’ve seen why kiddos get in a mood during their sessions. Do your best to not fret, take a step back, and just enjoy someone else being in charge for a while! 🙂
- TRUST ME AND FOLLOW MY LEAD – I’ve learned that sometimes we can’t outright tell a child what to do – we have to instead create a situation that will cause the reaction we want from them. During sessions I try to get on the children’s level and build a relationship with them. We will go on adventures, look for bunnies, inspect pine cones, walk like elephants, run/jump/twirl/etc. Sometimes the things we are doing aren’t the most photogenic, but trust me – I have a plan. For example: I may ask a child to show me their grumpy face, but that’s because I know right after they will laugh and I’ll get an amazing shot! Please do your best to not interfere and just trust the process – I’ve had parents yell over my shoulder to their child “Smile!!! Stop making that face!” Not knowing I had literally just asked their child to frown for me. The kiddo was doing a great job listening to me but then got conflicting feedback because parents were “trying to help.”
- STEP IN WHEN NECESSARY – Safety is priority #1, if your child is doing something unsafe you are of COURSE allowed to step in and I would actually prefer that you did! Also, If they are grabbing or trying to touch my camera equipment without permission PLEASE PLEASE intervene!
- PS – If your kid melts down and we need to take a minute to give them a break, It’s totally ok. Don’t stress! I’ve learned it’s better to pause for a bit, regroup, and then go from there rather than force our way through it. Remember, I’m a mom and I’ve been there MANY times. I’m not phased by kids who don’t want to cooperate, so don’t worry! We’ve got this. 🙂
What to Wear
• Time of day - Outdoors
Outdoor portrait sessions will be scheduled as close to sunrise or sunset as possible (this Is called the "Golden Hour"). On sunny days the couple hours after or leading up to the sunset/rise are when the light Is PRIME for photo taking! Photo sessions midday on a sunny day can present a number of obstacles for me (shadows, squinty eyes, colors are off, etc.). Overcast days have more flexibility, but since we can't predict what the weather will be ahead of time I always aim for that golden hour time frame. I know this can at times cut it close to bedtimes, so consider scheduling your session in the spring, fall or winter to get an earlier sunset! However, often times kids are so distracted and having fun they don't even realize it's close to bedtime until we're done.
• Time of day - Indoors
For indoor sessions we actually DON'T need to worry about the golden hour - later In the morning or afternoon will work great, and sometimes better as Indoors has less light and we will want that later-in-the-day sunlight advantage!
When you first Inquire about scheduling a session I will ask you about the "vibe" or look you're going for - open field, pines, city, hiking, Indoors, Ice cream shop, etc. I will then ask which city you're located In so that I can try and find us a location near you that will match the said vibe. I'm always open to your location suggestions but also have no problem coming up with one for us! There are a few things that I look for when deciding a location - easily accessible (unless you're up for an adventure!), open spaces, variety, safe, not a ton of people, and fees.
• Location fees
Some locations DO require a fee be paid in order for us to take photos there. Certain parks and nature reserves require a permit be purchased, studios have rental fees, and privately owned locations may also have a fee. I will let you know in advanced so you can decide If It's worth the extra cost or not! If a location requires a fee it is not something we can try to avoid - getting caught may mean a ticket and a fine for my business, plus it would end your session and I'm just not willing to risk that! I do have a couple annual permits for some of my favorite parks, so those are available at no extra cost to you. Any other location fees will be your responsibility to pay!
• Poor weather
The weather is something we defintiely cannot control or predict, so the days leading up to your session I will be keeping my eye on the weather and if things looks sketchy I'll reach out to you to discuss a backup plan! Since the weather can change so quickly, I prefer to wait until as close to your scheduled time as possible to make that decision. Winter sessions will be rescheduled if temps are below 20 degrees (windchill included) or if driving conditions are unsafe. In the warmer seasons we will reschedule if it rains, there is lightening, or temps are above 90 degrees.