I’M SO GLAD YOU’VE GOTTEN YOUR HANDS ON THIS LIL WELCOME GUIDE I MADE. WHETHER YOU HAVE HIRED ME FOR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY, A COUPLES SHOOT, ENGAGEMENT, OR JUST A BIG MILESTONE – WELCOME AND I CAN’T WAIT TO CAPTURE YOUR MEMORIES!
MOST OF US FEEL A LITTLE AWKWARD IN FRONT OF A CAMERA (PERSONAL REASON FOR WHY I CHOOSE TO STAY BEHIND MINE). HAVING THESE MEMORIES TO LOOK BACK ON IN THREE, FIVE, OR EVEN FIFTY YEARS’ TIME WILL MAKE ALL THE AWKWARD MOMENTS WORTH IT. YOU CAN SLEEP EASY KNOWING THAT THIS IS MY PASSION. I DO THIS ALL THE TIME, SO I HAVE LOTS OF LITTLE TOOLS IN MY TOOLKIT TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE FEELING AT EASE AND NATURAL DURING OUR SHOOT.
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve booked me to capture this amazingly special time in your lives. This is my jam, my bread and butter, my absolute passion. Thank you for trusting me.
Let me start out by saying, first of all, that your shoot is going to be awesome. 99% of the time the first 10 minutes of any photoshoot can feel a lil’ awks until you or your fam can relax into it and feel confident in front of the camera. I will help you do this! Trust me, I do it everyday. I’ll always prompt and direct you and never ask you to do something that feels wrong or weird or leave you hanging with no idea what you should be doing next.
I’ll be sure to provide you with specific directions to find the location (and me, if you don’t know what I look like) so you don’t get lost. I promise it will be fun and by the end of the session you’ll be total pros in front of the camera. But my objective isn’t just to take pretty pictures – it’s to capture this exciting stage in your lives, exactly as it is now.
WHAT TO WEAR
Look, I get it. Dressing yourself in the morning is tough enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Add having to dress a couple of kids and perhaps even your partner, and things can get a little complicated!
But the number one thing I want you to remember is that being comfortable is everything. It’s normal to want to shop for new fancy clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine if that’s your jam and you’re comfortable with that. But usually the best route is to go with something that’s tried and true. When selecting the right footwear, think about what’s appropriate for the location, and what presents the lowest risk of a sprained ankle. Maybe it even makes most sense to ditch the shoes altogether!
Wear something that’ll keep you cool in summer, warm in winter, and that’ll make you feel like the sparkly human that you are on the inside. Bring a couple outfits so that we can play with different options and combinations, and get a little sandy/wet/muddy if you’re game and the moment calls for it! If you have anything in your wardrobe that is textured, sheer, or billowy, fabrics that flow show up so beautifully in photographs because they capture snapshots of movement – avoid starchy, stiff-seeming garments that get crumpled in weird spots and need adjusting.
If you feel like getting a little glammed up, there’s absolutely no reason not to get your hair and makeup done. Just try to keep it as natural as possible. Fancy and intricate hairdos can sometimes look a little out of place if we’re tromping around a field, and I love the motion that is captured with hair blowing in the wind.
Be careful with prints, logos, and bright colors as sometimes these detract from the most important parts of the photograph – you!
Avoid matching and blending together into one monochromatic blob. In order for the components of your photograph to really sing, you’ll want to find complementary outfits that showcase a controlled variety of textures and colors so you can look good together without looking the same.
If you have time the day before the shoot, get all of your things ready and have them in the car so that in the morning of the shoot you and your family or partner have some moments to unwind together doing something that you love. Give yourself lots of time to get to the location so you don’t feel frazzled and rushed on arrival. When a family or couple shows up to a shoot having had to drive illegal speeds to get there, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself the gift of a relaxed session, allow plenty of time for showers, baths, grooming, and forgetting things.
In terms of when to shoot, I love to shoot when the sun is low in the sky (just before sunset or just after sunrise) because the kind of natural light that fills the sky at this time makes everything look magical. Depending on when the sun rises and sets, this window of time might not work for everyone. But let’s have a chat about when the kids are most alert and work according to their schedules.
Do you find it hard to get everyone dressed and fed and out of the house on time? Maybe you don’t have to! There is so much beauty in the everyday moments in a family home. From candid moments around the kitchen table, to rolling around in tickle fights on the bed, I am a huge fan of in-home sessions for the way they authentically capture a snippet of your family reality. When everyone is comfortable, snacks are on-hand, and the weather isn’t as much of a concern, we don’t have to worry about rain checks or hangry kids and can focus on the good stuff of capturing memories for years to come.
HOW TO PREP
In the lead up to the shoot, get the kids excited about what’s to come. Show them some photos that I’ve taken, let them know that you’re really excited, that we’ll be playing lots of fun games, and there might even be delicious snacks on offer. This brings me to my next point…
Bring snacks. There are lots of variables in family shoots that are beyond our control. When photographing kids, I’ve learned relatively quickly that every plan is contingent on their mood. But snacks are an almost entirely failsafe mood booster for the little ones (and lots of adults I know, too!). Packing a stash of treats to bust out right when the kids need that slice of motivation buys us a lot of precious time and cooperation! Other forms of bribery might include a special treat like a movie or a trip to the ice cream shop after the shoot to get them looking forward to the entire day.
If you wear them and the location calls for it, bring some jackets or hats or other items that reflect this time in your life. If your kids want to bring their favorite stuffed toy or wear their favorite rain boots, let them! Authenticity is in the details.
If you already know where you want to shoot, that’s amazing – I’m always up for discovering new places. If you’re not so sure, then don’t you sweat it! I’ve got my own little index of locations for almost every scenario and we can go through them together.
Are you drawn to the mountains?
Do you love a lot of green trees that are hard to find in Arizona?
Is there something about the movement of tall grasses that speaks to your soul?
Do you love the edge of urban environments?
The romance of rustic country buildings?
Keep in mind that we’re looking for somewhere where there aren’t too many distractions, where the light is soft, and where there’s enough space for us to move around without breaking anything.
I know we’ll find the perfect spot for your photoshoot!
They are part of the family, after all! If you’re arriving with your a four-legged-friend in tow, here are some things to consider first:
C O N S T E L L A T I O N S
I’ll be sure to take some photos of you all as a family, as well as different combinations to capture all angles of the family dynamic. Let me know if there are specific combinations that you’d like to see captured and I’ll make sure to prioritize based on what’s most important to you guys. I’ve got tons of poses and prompts up my sleeve for any scenario, so all you have to do is relax and go with it!
If you walk away after reading this and only remember one thing, let it be this: have zero expectations. Embrace what comes – the wind, the rain, the laughter, whatever unfolds. Every shoot is unique, and we have no set shot list to tick off on the day. It’s all about YOU and capturing your life exactly how it is on the day of your shoot. We’re not here to mimic the shiny perfect families you see on your feed, we’re here to tell your unique story as it shows up on the day of the shoot – wrinkles, tears, joyous abandon, and all. Throw your checklist out the window and know that magic will naturally unfold. When it does, I’ll be there to capture it.
WHAT TO EXPECT
You can expect to have a wonderful time.
Remember what all of this is about in the first place – it’s not the Instagram post, it’s not the matching outfits, and it’s not for anyone else except you. Well, and future you, too! It’s a great excuse to clock some proper quality time together, invest in your relationships, your families, and be present for this uniquely special time in your lives.
During the photoshoot, don’t worry if you don’t know what to do because I will direct you!
Most people instinctively turn towards the camera, but you can expect me to tell you to look at each other. I want you to be immersed in each other and to be able to settle into the time you’ve set aside! I promise I’ll let you know when it’s appropriate to look at the camera. Know that there is no ‘right’ way to do things! If I tell you to hug each other, just do it in the way that you regularly do. Just trust me.
THERE WILL BE MOMENTS WHEN YOU FEEL AWKWARD IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, BUT I HAVE SO MANY TIPS AND TRICKS UP MY SLEEVE SO THAT FEELING WILL DISSOLVE FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY ‘CHEESE!’ MY GOAL IS FOR YOU TO FEEL AS AUTHENTIC AND COMFORTABLE IN FRONT OF MY LENS AS YOU CAN AND TO CAPTURE MEMORIES THAT YOU’LL CHERISH FOREVER. WE MAY DANCE, CHAT, WALK, AND LAUGH, AND YOU’LL BE SO BUSY ENJOYING YOURSELVES THAT YOU’LL FORGET THAT YOU’RE HAVING YOUR PHOTOS TAKEN.
REST EASY KNOWING THAT THIS IS WHAT I DO. I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU, AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SHOW UP AND WATCH THE MAGIC HAPPEN.
AFTER THE SESSION
I’ll send you the full gallery within two weeks via a downloadable web gallery.
You’ll be able to create favorites lists, share online, or print or download your images for framed prints to decorate your home.
I offer prints, canvases, albums, and cards, even ‘Save the Date’ announcements in the gallery.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this welcome guide!
Your photos are going to be amazing. I can’t wait!