Preparation: What makes a successful photo shoot? Special people and a little bit of preparation. I have photographed clients with many different ideas and each can work. Head Shots, proposals, newborns... you name it. Each session is unique and I want your location to suit you. Attire depends on time of year, location, background, lighting, and how many people are in the shot. Talk to the photographer in advance to understand your shoot location so you know what to bring. Don't dress for an alternate season and risk being too hot or too cold, it is not usually worth it. Ask if there will be a place to change.
Booking Times and Days: Don't worry about the lighting, let me handle that... choose a time that makes the most sense for your family. This is not always going to give you the most exciting natural light but it still important! Aim for fed, rested, and not overtired kids. If you are sensitive to the sunlight, do not pick a midday session. Young children typically do best at morning or early afternoon times. Engagement sessions are ideally done at the end of the day.
Quick Changes: You can get more from your shoot with a few outfit changes OR simple adjustments. Pack coats, hats, sunglasses, shoes, scarves, lipstick, hair up/down, etc. Make it easy to carry, we will be moving!
Weather: Research and anticipate what the weather might be like on your shoot day. I know this sounds obvious but being comfortable in the conditions present is a big deal, especially to kids. If it is going to be cold at your shoot, embrace it with hot chocolate, blankets, cute coats, hats and scarves. Bring tissues and be prepared to cuddle. For a portrait session we can reschedule if need be. If it is really warm at your session, think about “theming” your shoot with a picnic, lemonade, hand fans and light weight clothing. If it is really windy I will typically try and reschedule. If we don't reschedule on a windy day, please dress accordingly by avoiding dresses and come with an option to wear your hair back.
Props: Not needed. BUT. Props and special touches can make your portraits more unique and interesting ~ just let me know what you intend to bring so I can try to use it. If we are doing your session at an open field or in the mountains where there is a lot of land, a large prop could be a fun addition. Wooden wagons shoot well, as do wooden sleds, antique couches, classic cars, big textured blankets and large baskets (for babies). Avoid plastic or cheap looking props with large branding or intense graphics. Make sure whatever you bring is something you are able to easily move. Other creative props to consider are: his/her magazines, children’s books, guitars, empty picture frames, high heels or ties (used in children’s shoot), signs (saying what you are experiencing or announcing), umbrellas, kites, helium balloons, seasonal drinks (wine/lemonade/coffee), flowers, seasonal details (ornament, santa hat, wreath, or pumpkin) , chalk to use in artistic shots, etc.
Taking Pictures on your own: On shoot day, just don't do it. While you are at the shoot, double don't do it. I don't care if it's with your phone or a nice camera you pack along. Don't do it. Kids are distracted and don't know where to look. If you have a short photo shoot with your phone before you meet with me, you are going to wear out the authentic smiles we could capture doing your booking time (which you are paying for). So, why do it? AFTER we are done, go nuts. Please take this opportunity to leave your camera in the car, feel some sense of freedom from these devices and have some trust in who you hired. I got this. (For weddings, go for it I'll be there all day.)
Mini Shoots: Read through this BUT, mostly, don't over do it. Sessions are fast. Make the photoshoot a priority for that day and you should do fine!
Young Children: Make sure your child is fed, rested and in comfortable clothing. When we get to taking pictures... kids typically do better if they can hold something. With that in mind, think about giving them a flower, stick, pinecone, or bring something special to the photo shoot. I suggest colorful balloons, large lollipops, their initials (wooden, hobby lobby stuff) to hold, or having them hold a sign that says something cute. Coloring a pre-made sign is also a good idea, we can get some fun shots while they color and play! Obviously children do not enjoy having those items taken away so be prepared to offer something up and then have it in your photos.
Try accessories and clothing on your children well in advance and see how they do, and how it looks. Nothing “new” on shoot day. Color and texture are encouraged. Know your kid. If they do not like changing outfits, start them in what you want them to wear and don't expect too much in terms of clothing changes on site. The more we adjust, the less fun they have and it will show in the shots. Be realistic about what your child might do... if your child is not a smiler, smiling on this day is not likely to happen. Embrace and celebrate it, this is who they are right now.
Families: I do not recommend directly matching outfits. Be authentic. What you will see featured on my website are outfits that are complementary in color and/or tone but are not the same. Like, everyone wear cool tones OR all greys and greens. Avoid eye catching graphics, busy pattens or reflective designs. Wear clothing you are comfortable squatting or sitting down in. As far as kids... do your best to have them in a good place when you start but, if you have a terrible toddler or hormonal teenager on your hands, celebrate it. It can be funny in your images. These authentic attitudes are treasured many years from now.
Newborns: Feed and burp your newborn right before I am scheduled to arrive. Change them and have them in the outfit you most want photographed, consider having a bib or something protective on top. Have the house a little warmer than usual if we are going to be doing naked baby shots. Clean their faces (noses/eye boogers) as best you can, those little details show up in these sessions. Please do it well before the shoot so that are not agitated and crying when I arrive. Have blankets ready and a hair dryer near by, if there is a lot of crying we might need to use it! I often shoot in the master bedroom and the family hangout area, as well as any area in the house that has good light. Be prepared for me to look around your home for a good spot.
Bring or have ready multiple changes of clothing for you and your baby, especially for newborn shoots. Pack a plain white onesie, an outfit with some personality, and some accessories. For girls you can find great headbands, clips, hats, tutus, wands, and scarves. For boys look for hats, ties, and bring things that are dads (big as they are it can provide a fun sense of scale).
Babies: While lighting is important when picking a shoot time, it is best to time the shoot so that your child has the best chance to eat and nap. Bring noise making devices to get their attention and be prepared with a snack, just in case. Clean their faces/eyes well in advance and be sure to give them non-messy snacks on the drive over. If your child is not yet sitting up, bring a bopee (sp?) chair and a thin, simple blanket to put over it. Bring their favorite noise making toys to get their attention and be sure the first time they hear the noises is at the photo shoot.
Engagements: Bring a formal and informal outfit for each of you. Do not try and match but think about colors and textures that compliment each other. Study images online and pick outfits based on looks you like. Ladies... consider getting your hair, nails and makeup done (I will likely be taking hand shots). Think about hats, scarves, jewelry or whatever that will add a little pop to your images.
Head Shots: Bring formal and casual look. For men this can be full suit and then the same look without the coat and tie. If you are doing a portrait session you will have more time to play, for a mini shoot, only bring clothing you can change in and out of easily, and in public(!). Most shots will be from your waist up, dress accordingly. Bring light/white and black/dark colored tops. If the backdrop is light, I aim to photograph you in both top choices. If these images are to be used in your marketing portfolio, consider booking a professional hair and makeup session right before your shoot.