Family Session Guide
First of all, thank you so much for finding your way here. Whether you have been recommended from a friend, found me on social media, or searched your way through seemingly hundreds of photographers to find your way here, I am so grateful for the chance to connect with you.
Finding a photographer you resonate with is a journey worth taking and I am so glad you found something in my work that sparked a little light within you. Taking photos is my passion and I would love to be able to showcase you and your loved ones in a way that sparks that same joy within you when you receive the final images that will freeze the moments you look to preserve.
This guide is here to help you get to know me a little more and understand what the experience of working with me is like. In viewing this guide, I hope you feel that little spark shine brighter as you read about how incredible your experience has the potential to be. If that spark tends to dim out as you continue, I know there is another photographer out there who will be better suited to let your spark burn bright! I want to be sure we have the same vision for your session so you are left with both beautiful memories and timeless images that you will cherish forever.
Here's the gist: my most favorite moments captured of my own family are the ones you can actually see and feel the connection. Super posed and fake smiles are not my jam. I want to create a fun experience which will naturally unfold authentic interactions. -THAT is what I want to capture for you.
Lifestyle photographers aim to capture authentic moments and connections. We do not sit with a long list of poses from a Pinterest board to direct our clients into. Rather, we take the time to guide you into genuine moments to capture the genuine smiles, booming laughter and soft affections. As a lifestyle photographer, I am here to document the everyday moments that all add up to create the big memories you look to cherish most. This is my passion and I have done the work to ensure your session is as comfortable, carefree and memorable as it can possibly be to create images that show your life well lived.
We have two general options for the location of your shoot; in your home or at an outdoor location. Both of these options are beautiful and you should make the choice based on what you’re hoping to get out of your images. Are you looking for a more carefree, hanging out at home with your family feel? Or perhaps spending the day at the beach/lake or out on a farm is your family’s favorite past time? Are you hoping for a few romantic shots of you and your partner in your home? Or are you hoping for more windswept and natural? Take some time to think about what you’re hoping to get out of these images before choosing your location and read below for more insight into indoor and outdoor locations.
*Please note, I do have a natural light studio located in Valley junction Iowa. White walls, tall ceilings, lots of yummy light, and hardwood floors.
There can be nothing more comfy and carefree than shooting a family in their own home. Just imagine your kids jumping with glee on your bed while you come in with your partner to all collapse in the blankets and pillows in a heap of laugher, cuddles and tickles! If you choose an in-home session, I am thrilled to be part of your everyday interactions. An in-home session often allows children to relax more and gives space for the family pet to photobomb as much as possible! I can capture you reading stories, making pancakes, having a kitchen dance party or just hanging out together. The options are endless. The best time of day for an indoor shoot is morning to midday, so please keep that in mind if you are working around schedules.
I love outdoor sessions purely for the opportunity to take advantage of the most beautiful lighting. I truly believe in the transformational power of beautiful sunlight. I understand that having your children up early for sunrise, or having them stay up late for sunset, may affect their mood and sleep schedule slightly, but it has always been worth it.
For outdoor sessions, we can discuss a variety of options that match you and your family’s personality best. Do you like going for walks in the woods, or enjoying picnics in a meadow? Does your family love the water and are you all willing to jump in? Outdoor sessions can really bring a magical feel to your images. Some of my favourite places to shoot are the woods, a field of tall wheat grass, a farm, a beach or stream, an apple orchard or a field of flowers! What is your vision and what outdoor area really captures your family best? Let’s discuss your ideas!
As a lifestyle photographer, I am all about taking time to guide you into authentic moments with your loved ones during your shoot. I will not be focusing on the “look-at-the-camera-and-say-cheese” types of images during our shoot. I typically capture a few of these for you, but it is just to capture the more generic posed images one might want for a holiday card, to send to relatives, or for more professional use.
Truth be told, you’ll only have to look directly into the camera if prompted to do so! I’m here to calm your nerves and I ensure even the most ‘camera shy’ individual will ease into relaxation to capture beautiful moments. I will direct you into pretty light, ask you to walk hand-in-hand, suggest you all tickle the littlest member of your family, or even play ring around the rosy! I will get silly with your kiddos during the shoot and will encourage them to fully unleash their unique personality.
I love when families take over after one simple prompt and allow their interactions to unravel honestly. Sitting back and capturing these moments and natural connections happen in front of my camera is my absolutely favorite. While I can guide you, I love watching your personalities mix, and defined characteristics of relationships with each other reveal themselves. Be assured, I also know when to step back in to continue to guide the session, if needed.
What I really ask from you is that you really allow yourself to be just that-- yourself. I’m not here to make judgements; I’m here to capture you at your most honest self. That’s the version of you your loved ones know and that we are looking to preserve in our session.
Please, show up open. Don’t be afraid to love on your babies or your partner as if no one else was there. I want you to laugh wildly, snuggle tightly, slide your fingers affectionately through their hair, tell them with passion and purpose how much you love them, and to keep connecting with your people each and every moment. You will never have to ask “is this okay?” because if it feels natural to you and how you connect with those you are being photographed with, then it is okay with me. Allow yourself to be in the moment as much as possible and enjoy the experience. Silliness and laughter is always welcome, tears of joy and small smiles of love are encouraged.
WARDROBE + STYLING
Let’s take a deep breath before we begin! The idea of picking out a wardrobe for you and everyone else who will be part of the shoot can seem a little overwhelming. I completely understand and have put together some helpful tips to make selecting outfits easy and enjoyable.
First, for in-home sessions, I want you to think comfortable and like you’re actually just hanging out at home. Think bare feet, comfortable clothing, jammies and remaining true to you!
For outdoor sessions, try to coordinate your outfits by color palette and try to avoid being really matchy. Remember cards in the 90’s where everyone would wear blue jeans and white t-shirt? That’s exactly what we want to avoid.
*I will send along a curated Pinterest board specifically for my clients once booked + a styling tool that will help you build your outfits for the whole family.
1. Stick with light, pale, neutral colors - avoid fluorescent or really bright colors
2. Layer your clothing and jewelry to add depth and texture - think hats, vests, scarves, bow ties, belts, suspenders, etc.
3. Be comfortable - steer clear of heels or clothing that is too tight. You want to be able to move around and feel good.
4. Flowy dresses work beautifully on women and girls - they show motion and move with you as opposed to staying rigid.
5. Plain v-neck t-shirts are always great for boys and men - polos and collared shirts can leave guys looking a little stiff.
5. No logos or words - stay timeless by avoiding words and logos that will date the images.
IN HOME SESSION PREP
When preparing for your in-home session, I highly recommend focusing on the master bedroom...
A few things I recommend is having a white or neutral duvet cover if at all possible. You can even use the duvet insert instead of a cover, use only white sheets, or sprawl a nice white quilt over the bed! Whites and neutrals will allow more light to reflect up onto your faces, will brighten all of your images, and create a timeless feel. If you don’t have something white or neutral, be sure to keep it as classic as possible. Remember that colors and patterns will eventually be dated, which makes neutrals our best for images you’ll love sharing for years to come.
If the images on my website and social media have drawn you in, try to make note of what you love about the images. If it’s the moody and neutral, take a look at your bedroom and see if the color palettes match. Please understand that your decor and clothing are going to sway the overall feel and vibe of your images. Soft tans and whites will be much brighter and softer than deep reds. In the end, these are your images so you are welcome to choose whatever you would like!
Another thing to remember for your indoor session is that I will often shoot toward the bed so if you have items on your end tables that you don’t want seen in the final images, please move them out of the bedroom or tuck them into some drawers out of view. If you do not have time to tidy up, I am happy to help you when I get there! I suggest you clean and declutter some, but please do not stress! I love lived-in homes and want to tell your story authentically.
OUTDOOR SESSION PREP
Preparing for an outdoor session requires a different kind of preparation that indoors. For your outdoor session, please bring with you a change of clothes so we have some variety to work with. If your session will be at the beach/lake, bring along a swimsuit and a change of clothes in case we decide to have some fun in the water!
For the kiddos, allow them to bring along a favorite toy or two of choice. Try not to censor what they decided to bring along as allowing them to choose a current favorite will help you remember exactly who they were becoming at this moment in time. If there are any other items you’d like to bring, like a blanket to lay on the ground to sit on, a guitar if someone in your family plays, or a favorite picnic snack, have these items all prepared and ready to go before we head out! You may also want to bring along items like insect repellent and sunscreen, just in case!
SO YOU READY?
I don’t know if I can say enough how much of an honor it is to be able to share with you my heart for lifestyle photography sessions; the ability to capture you and your loved ones right where you are at is such a gift to me and the images will be such gifts to you. If what you’ve read about my work resonates with you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me so we can connect and discuss an upcoming session! Connecting with you and brainstorming ideas for your session is half of the fun!
I look forward to hearing from you and bringing your vision to life in images you can hang on your walls that will tell the story of who you are; who you loved, what made your heart spark, and how you were more joyous together than apart.
What is included with the session?
You get up to two hours + online gallery with your edited images you will be able to download onto your computer, share with friends/family, and make prints through. - you do not have to make prints through there if you do not wish to.
CAn I add more time?
Absolutely! I charge $100/extra hr.
How many outfits?
You are welcome to bring as many outfits as you would like. With families - espeically little ones, I do not recommend changing their clothes for more than two times. If we are going swimming or playing in mud out in nature I would recommend bringing extra clothing.
How many photos do I get?
I do not give a set number of images to my clients. Each session is different therefore leading to a different amount depending on our events. You can expect anywhere from 30-60 images give or take.