Preparing for your Family Session

I'm so excited that you have chosen to work with me to create these beautiful memories for you and your families, that you can enjoy for years to come!  I have created this page with the intention of helping you plan and prepare for your session, understand what to expect, and have a seamless experience from start to finish!

Timeline of what to expect:

  • I am excited to announce that I now am taking all of my bookings through my booking website, linked HERE!  These dates are my available evenings, so you can see what I have open in real-time.  Once you are ready to book a date, simply select from the available dates on my calendar, fill out your contact information and questionnaire, sign the contract, and pay your $50 retainer fee to reserve your date!  I will be notified as soon as you book, and I will personally reach out to you via email or text message within 24 hours to confirm that I have received your booking, and we can discuss location and exact session timing from there.
  • Day of session:  Hooray, the day is finally here!!  Take a deep breath, and get ready to have a lot of fun! :)  Please ensure that you are on time or slightly early, and allow plenty of time for final wardrobe touchups.  Bring your best smiles, and I will take care of the rest!  Sessions average 30 minutes for mini sessions and 45-60 minutes for full sessions, and I shoot with two cameras to quickly move between different lens styles to get a variety of close-up portraits, and wide, landscape style shots.  It is important to me to make this a positive experience for everyone (kiddos and dads especially- who possibly don't always want to be there ;)), so by working efficiently and directing poses, I can get a wide variety of images for your gallery in that amount of time.
  • Within one week following session:  I will email you a proofing gallery of unedited images from your session!  These are in full resolution, and may be downloaded as they are for you to have as a keepsake.  Please note that because they are unedited, they will not look like my typical finished product, and I ask that you do not share or print these proofs.  From these images, you will "favorite" your top images, which will compile a list for me.  If you choose any images beyond the number that is included in your session, I will email you an invoice for any additional images ($10 per extra image).  
  • Once you send me your list of favorites, I will complete the final editing process!  This process typically takes about one week, but may take 1-2 weeks during peak busy season (summer and fall).  Once the final edits are completed, I will send you a new online gallery with the final, polished images for you to download!  From there, you may share them on social media, save them to your computer and devices, and order prints and products!  You are welcome to order prints right on the link in which I send your final gallery, and I will have them shipped directly to you from my preferred professional print lab.  You are also welcome to order prints on your own.
  • That's it!  I hope you enjoy the process, and don't forget to have fun!  I hope to see you again for more photos as the years go by!!

Tips for preparing for your family session:
  • Start working on coordinating outfits as early as possible!  It often takes some trial and error to get the perfect color and pattern scheme, ensure everything fits well, and more.  Iron your clothing and have everything ready to go, several days prior to your session.  Online ordering also does take some time, so I recommend doing this as early as possible in the planning process.  Please scroll to the end of this page to see more useful tips on what to wear, and how to style your session!
  • Keep the day of your session as stress-free as possible!  This includes having all of the clothing pressed and ready to go well ahead of time, and keeping your schedule as open as possible that day and free of other commitments.  Plan for plenty of time to get ready, and allow for possible extra traffic to and from the session.  Consider the time of day for the session, as babies and toddlers may not do as well with a late evening summer session, for example.  I typically shoot 1-2 hours before sunset, so the time of day can be important if you are working around nap and bedtime schedules.
  • Eat before your session.  This especially applies to kids.  If they are hungry, they usually won't be as cooperative.  You can always plan on going out for a little dessert afterwards as well!
  • Bribes are always helpful for kids!  I do try to bring some treats on hand for the kiddos (Smarties or Dum-Dums), but if your children have a particular treat they love, it always helps to have some handy right with you at the session!  I even give my own teenagers some cash for cooperating for my own photos, and everyone seems to be happier! :)
  • I am a pretty good entertainer on my own, with my squeaky toys and everything else I try to help keep everyone attentive and engaged!  But if you have another friend or family member who would like to help and tag along, who always gets your baby to smile the biggest, feel free to bring them along!
  • Leave your phones, wallets, sunglasses, keys, and anything else in the car, or bring along a tote bag to set any items in that can be set aside.  These items always show up in photos, and are bulky and visible in peoples' pockets.  Remove anything off of your wrists that you don't want visible as well, such as hair ties, Fitbits, and more.  I try to help remind people at the beginning of the session of this as well.
  • If you wear transition style glasses, consider bringing a backup pair of glasses that have regular clear lenses, whenever possible.  Another option is to have a case or dark pocket that you can put them in until we are ready to shoot, and then quickly put on the glasses (but they usually still have some dark tint to them).  You may also consider just taking off the glasses for photos, but if you typically do wear glasses, it will look more like you to have them on.  
  • Bring some wet wipes, and do one last check of everyone's faces, noses, etc before you head out for the photos!  Brush teeth before you leave home.  Also check clothing, zippers, buttons, makeup, etc. one last time before we get started.
  • I am often asked if dogs or other furry family members can be included.  Most definitely!  Please just have a plan in place to contain the dog, or have someone to help with your dog, for the photos in which we will do just your family without the pet(s).  Dog treats are helpful, and a lot of patience as well. :) Please be aware that Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons, among other locations, do not allow dogs.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
  • If you are driving a considerable distance to your session, it may be worth it to wear a different change of clothes on the way to your session, and then change in the car at the location.  This will help so you can avoid creases and wrinkles on your clothes, spills from kids, etc.
  • Bring along anything that you may feel to be helpful on location, including but not limited to:  Hair brushes/combs, hair spray, safety pins, bobby pins, lint rollers, a change of shoes for walking in if needed, and more.  Chapstick is useful to keep lips looking hydrated.  Bring water and any treats your family may like. 
  • Bug spray is a must if you are going to any mountain or lake locations (especially in the summer heat, and especially just after rain storms).  I strongly encourage bringing some along, and spraying everyone just before the session so it is a more enjoyable experience!
  • If your session will be during a cold time of year, I recommend bringing coats or blankets that you can set aside just prior to photographing, hand warmers, and a thermos with hot chocolate, soup, or other warm liquid to have handy to warm everyone up afterwards!  I do try to work quickly in colder conditions, and allow for breaks to warm up in vehicles as needed.
  • Most of all, try to remain relaxed and happy as much as possible!  I know that family photos can be a stressful time, but the more relaxed you are, the more it shows in photos.  It is totally okay and expected for kids to run around and play.  My sessions will capture a variety of posed and candid images, so just enjoy the moment and enjoy your time with your family!  We will have a great time, and I am so excited to work with you!

Wardrobe tips and what to wear:
  • I usually tell moms to pick out their outfit first!  They are the ones who usually care the most, and I know from my own personal experience that if I don't like my own wardrobe in the photo, I tend to not feel as confident in general.  But if there is any family member who is a little trickier to find the perfect outfit for, start with finding their outfit, and then build from there.
  • Consider the season and location your photos will be in.  For spring sessions, try light neutrals, florals, pinks, khaki, and more.  For summer sessions, again the light neutrals are always a great option, or you can go with more bold colors, plaids, and floral patterns.  For fall photos, I love the deeper tones, like burgundy, navy, mustard, burnt orange, browns, black, and more.  But neutrals can look great in just about every season, so wear what you love and what goes with your home decor well!  Please also consider the season as you are planning out how warm your clothes are.  Babies and toddlers especially get cold and unhappy quickly if they are not dressed warmly enough for the season.
  • Another tip for babies and toddlers is to make sure they have a dry diaper on, and if they are wearing a dress, have a diaper cover or leggings on underneath.  Make sure that clothing fits well and looks good from all angles.
  • Make sure that you like every article of clothing, down to the socks, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, as all of these articles of clothing will be visible in some or all of the photos!  Double check everyone's outfits, and make sure all of it is what you want to be visible.
  • Pinterest or Google searching, for example, "spring family photo outfits" will bring up endless color combo options that look good together!  I tend to encourage families to pick a palette of 3-4 colors, incorporating patterns and solid neutrals, to style the family and give a diverse but coordinating color scheme.  Some stores, such as Old Navy, often sell seasonal clothes for varying family members, that all have coordinating colors and textures that go well together!
  • Feel free to browse through my portfolio of my past family sessions if you need some inspiration!  My clients over the years have shown up with great color combos, and often times people find great outfit inspiration just by scrolling through various seasons of my work!
  • Some of my favorite stores for clothing, dresses, and more:  Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Target, TJ Maxx, Downeast, Baltic Born, Called to Surf, Mikarose, Hope Ave, Neesee's Dresses, Joyfolie, Maurices, Bohme, Zara, and more.  Sometimes I have found great clothing options on Amazon as well.  Take a wander through your local mall, and you might be surprised at how many great options you can put together!  You may also find some great clothing pieces that are already in your own closet, that you can pair with a few new pieces for various family members.
  • Don't forget to incorporate layers and accessories, such as hats, jackets, belts, jewelry, and more!  Layering clothes, and wearing fabrics with textures or patterns can really add to the look of the session.
  • Consider investing in a hair and makeup artist to help you look and feel your best!  I recommend Katie Livingston, Heather Dear Artistry, or Beauty with Jocelyn, who can help you look photo-ready!
I hope this guide has been helpful as you plan for your session.  As always, I am an open book and more than happy to help answer any questions you might have!  Don't hesitate to reach out if there is something I can help with.  I am looking forward to working with you!