Preparing for your photo session

Here are some tips so you can feel confident and prepared for your portrait session!

Not everything here applies to every person and situation, and rules are made to be broken, so just go with the points you think make sense for you! The main thing is to think about these things beforehand.


1. ADVANCE PLANNING Plan what you'll wear and how you'll want to do hair and makeup in advance. Anything you can do to reduce stress the day of the photo shoot is good! 

2. KIDS If you'll have kids in your portraits, talk to them about it beforehand so they know it's coming and get mentally prepared for it. Depending on their age they may not understand what a photo shoot is about, so you can talk about it in a way that's fun, like you'll be going to a park to play together. It's especially helpful to prepare kids in advance if you have introverted or shy kids who may not open up easily in a new situation or with a new person.

3. PROPS Think about whether you'd like to incorporate any props into your photo shoot. If your family are die hard Vikings fans, why not take a few photos with that theme while we're there! Or if there is a favorite toy or memento that could be good too. 

4. POSES YOU WANT Let me know in advance if there are specific types of photos you'd like. Like for example if you love the 90210 promo photo where they're all laying on the ground overlapped, let me know ahead of time so I make sure to bring a ladder so we can try to do that! 

5. PET HAIR If you have furry pets at home, chances are some of their hair will make its way onto your clothing and it could be visible & distracting in the photo, and it can be tedious to photoshop it all out afterward. If you have a lint roller, bring it along so you can remove pet hair from your clothes when you arrive!

6. BRUSH & FLOSS YOUR TEETH No I'm not a dentist, but if you have icky stuff on or between your teeth, it could show up in the photos and is tedious for me to edit afterward. So take care of your dental hygiene!


1. COMFORTABLE CLOTHES The most important thing is to dress in comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes. If you're uncomfortable it will show in the photos. 

2. COMFORTABLE SHOES Wear shoes that are comfortable for moving around in. If the shoes you'll wear for the photos aren't comfortable, bring along a comfy pair of sandals or flip flops or something to wear to walk around between locations. 

3. MATCHING? Unless you are intentionally going for a specific matching look (matching ugly Christmas sweaters anyone?), it's usually best not to have everyone wearing matching clothes. Wear colors from a complimentary color palette. It's best to avoid shirts with writing on them that can be distracting to the overall photo. T-shirts are probably not the way to go, again unless you think it through and decide that's the look that makes sense for your family. Layers can be a good way to get photos with different looks with your different layers. 

4. DRESSES Dresses can be great - they can capture movement in a way that adds interest to the photo. Dresses or skirts that are short can be more difficult with sitting poses so keep that in mind. We'll be moving around to different poses so think about what clothes will work for different sitting and standing poses. 

5. ACCESSORIES Accessories are good! Hats, umbrellas, purses, etc. You probably won't want to use them in every photo but having some photos with accessories can give them more interest and uniqueness. 


1. MUSIC Bring some music that you love! Music can be relaxing and create a great mood. That will show in the photos.

2. SNACKS & TOYS If you have kids that will be in the photos, be prepared with your best tricks for keeping them interested and responsive! Snacks or  treats are a great thing to bring. For babies or small kids, favorite toys, stuffed animals or books can be good to either use in the photos or for the photographer to dangle near the camera to keep them looking in the right direction! 

3. BRUSH UP It's good to bring things like a hair brush, lipstick, etc. in case you want to do any touching up.

4. CHANGE For kids, bring a change of clothes in case anyone gets dirty. We'll get better photos if they are interacting with their environment, but that might mean some clothes get dirty that you might want to change!

5. MORE SNACKS Snacks are OK for grown ups too, not just kids! 


1. MIRROR Bring a mirror or use your cell phone to check your appearance right before we start. Some things that could affect your photos are easy to fix at the time but are harder and time-consuming to fix with Photoshop afterward. Things like out of place hair, lipstick on teeth, shirt not straight or tucked in right, undergarments showing, etc. 

2. GOOD SIDE If you have a 'good side' you prefer or features you'd like to emphasize, let me know beforehand. 

3. POSE We'll do some posed shots -- I'll give some prompts for how you should pose. Look on Pinterest or other places online beforehand for poses you like that we could try.  But lets not get too posed -- these are not mug shots or portraits from the early 1900s -- we don't just want everyone faced forward staring deadpan into the camera or doing a fakey smile like in our school yearbook photos (unless that's what you want of course!). 

4. AUTHENTIC I want to try to capture authentic smiles, laughs and interactions. Help me get beyond stiff poses and fakey smiles to get more candid smiles and looks by playing and joking around with your kids and each other. The photos I get documenting that will be great! Photos of you laughing and interacting can be more powerful than a photo with everyone posed and staring at the camera. We'll do some shots with you looking at each other, or with everyone looking at or interacting with one person (everyone hug mom!).

5. CLOSE I'll want to get some shots of your family posing close together. Really close! Hug! Snuggle! Smush your heads together! 

6. SPACE But I also want shots where everyone isn't squished together so much that some people get lost. So we'll do some poses where there's space between people.   

7. RELAX! Stay relaxed. If kids aren't posing like you had hoped or have a meltdown, or if something isn't how you had planned, it's ok! Let things play out and we'll roll with the punches and get great photos of things as they develop! The best photos come from just being present with your family and letting me capture that.

8. MOVING AROUND I'll be asking you to move around for different poses, and I'll be moving around too. I'll be moving to get different light and angles. I will also pause at times to change the settings on my camera to make sure we're getting the best photos possible. 


When we're done taking the photos, then I get to work picking out and editing the best ones! I'll generally have your photos ready within two weeks of your session. When they're ready, I'll put your full-resolution images in a private gallery on my website. From there you can view, download, and share them.  You can then post them on social media and share with friends and family. I appreciate a link back to my photography page when you share them.

Finally, you can order prints and wall art! After we did all that work to create beautiful images, it's a great idea to order prints that you can proudly hang on your wall so it's not just a file buried on your phone or in the depths of Facebook like so many other photos that rarely get seen.

On my website you can order prints of different sizes. You can just order the prints to later frame yourself, or you can order them framed or on canvas or other formats. 

That's it! Thank you for choosing to work with me for your portraits! Let me know if you have any questions. 

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