About Your Portrait Session

So you've booked your family portrait session. Now what?

The first thing I'd like to do is learn a little bit more about your family and how you're hoping to display and share your portraits.  Please take a few minutes to answer some questions that will help me better prepare and capture exactly the images you're hoping for.

Over e-mail, we'll select an ideal location either in your home or at one of the many iconic spots in the Gorge.  We'll also discuss wardrobe options, and answer any questions you have.

Custom photography is unique because it not only captures what you look like at a certain point in time, it captures who you are. I aim to capture honest photos of your family and children. The goal is not to get a stiff, posed shot with everyone looking straight at the camera, but to capture the true essence of your family. I take a documentary approach to photography and use my understanding of my equipment, natural light and posing techniques to create images that will become works of art that you can hang in your home and pass down for generations.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your session.

Location:  Together, we will decide on the best location for your photos. We can shoot in your home as long as your home has adequate natural light. Many clients prefer their home because of the intimate and personal feel it provides. I have many locations that I love to shoot at regularly but I am always open to new locations as well. You should choose a location that fits your style and personality. I can help you along with this decision.  Here are some things to consider when choosing your location:

  • What does your family like to do for fun? How do you all like to spend your time?  Make sure you are choosing a location that will best suit your families personality. For example, if you love hiking together we may want to head out to the mountains. 

  • Consider the ages of your children.  If you have super young kids, an urban location may not be a great choice because you don't want to have to worry about cars and other people to distract your little one. Perhaps an open field or park may be the best location. 

  • Take into account the season your session is scheduled for.  There are some gorgeous parks in the fall that really show the beautiful autumn colors off. If it is going to be warm on your session date, going to the beach and letting the kids get their feet wet might be super fun!

Time:  If we are shooting in your home, I prefer late morning, because that is when homes are usually lit up the best. If we are shooting outdoors we will shoot either in the morning or in the evening. The light is typically too harsh mid-day. If your children are up for it, shooting one to two hours before sunset provides gorgeous light and atmosphere.  The images in my portfolio look the way they do largely because of my use of light and the time of day your session takes place is a big factor.  Many families tell me they simply have the kids take a late nap or have some down time prior to their evening session.

Length Of Session:  The good news is, I am super fast!  My portrait sessions rarely last more than an hour.  I can easily get a beautiful and varied collection of images in that time.

What To Wear:  Wardrobe should be comfortable and reflect who you are. I do not recommend matching but rather coordinating. Here are some essential tips to help you decide what to wear, and I'm also happy to consult you directly or recommend a personal stylist:

  • Most important. Be yourself. Lifestyle photography, especially from an artist like myself, is meant to be authentic. If you don't usually wear dressy clothing, don't. If your daughter hates dresses, don't put her in a dress. If your son can't stand wearing button down shirts, don't put him in one.
  • Coordinate, don't match. There are rare occasions where everyone in the same color works, however generally you want diversity in colors and patterns.
  • Stay away from graphics and florescent colors. Graphics tend to go out of style so I suggest staying away from them.
  • Make sure the clothing you choose fits. Kids grow fast and you want to get the most out of each clothing item, but this isn't the time. It doesn't look good when kids clothing is baggy or rolled up to fit.
  • Dress in layers. Layers add interest but also allow for removing clothing if it gets warm. Think scarfs, hats, vests, cardigans, tights, blazers, jackets....

Props:  I generally do not use props during my sessions, however if you have something in mind please let me know.  If we'll be shooting outdoors, it's nice to have a large blanket that we can throw down on the ground.

Your Children:  Children are not usually fond of being told to pose or smile. It's best if we give your children time to relax and just try to capture their natural self. Don't worry if your child is running around and active, most of the images you see of young children on my site were taken while the kids were busy playing and exploring. To get family shots, I usually direct the adults to simply "be" with their children, or hold them and we go from there. To get the most out of your session, make sure your little one has rested and has had adequate snacks and water. We can take breaks for snacks and play, however, I will probably continue to shoot during the breaks. Bring dry, non-messy snacks so their smiles stay clean during the session.  You can help prepare your child for the session by letting them know that a friend will be taking some photos of them, it's best not to surprise them. Here are some additional tips:

  • Trust your photographer.  You will be sensitive to all the minor misbehaviors that are happening but I see right through that. Lifestyle photography gives you the freedom to relax and let go of perfection.
  • Tell them what will happen. I am a firm believer in being very upfront with children. The days leading up to the session tell them that a friend is going to be taking your family photos. Tell them that we are going to go to a really fun park or beach and that we are going to play.
  • Show them past family photos. When kids know that this experience will result in a series of fun photos of themselves, they may be more excited. Even if you only have iPhone photos to show them, the effect is the same. Most kids LOVE to see photos of themselves. 
  • Make sure that they are fed and rested. I know. We just talked and I said we had to shoot at 7 pm to get the best light. But this can be remedied by putting them down for a late nap that day or if they don't' nap, clearing your schedule on photo day to allow them to rest before the shoot.
  • Offer a little reward for tolerating the session. Notice how I didn't say bribe. I actually see that back fire a bit when parents say "remember that ice cream cone?" In a super frustrated voice. And trust me. I have been there many times as a mom. Instead before the shoot say "as a family we are going to go out for burgers and shakes after the session is over." Or whatever sounds good. Just make the whole experience one of bonding and fun.
  • I will never make your child smile. If they smile, it will be because they are actually happy. I am okay with honest, pensive portraits of children. I also will never make your child leave your arms if they don't feel comfortable.  I will capture them exploring and being them and then sneak in some portraits along the way. 
  • Show them a picture of me. Head to my website  homepage and show them a photo of me so I am not a strange face to them. This will make me seem more human and relatable.

Please arrive on time or be ready to start:  Remember, your session is scheduled around the best natural light.  It's important that we start on time, so I recommend arriving a few minutes early.  

I can't wait to capture your family!  Don't hesitate to email or call me with any other questions.

See you soon!