Now that you're booked and your session is quickly approaching, I'd love to share some tips and tricks that I've found help clients during their photography session. Follow this guide and you'll feel more prepared and less stressed in the days leading up to your special day!
CLOTHING - This is an important component to consider when planning your photography session. Planning in advance, however, tends to take this potentially stressful preparation out of the mix. I like to tell people to consider what look you're going for. Because we are a studio experience, you don't need to plan for a specific season or event. I enjoy creating images that are timeless and chic. That way, when your portraits are adorning your home, you're not reminded of "Fall Pics" or "Springtime".
Keep clothing cohesive. Try to coordinate based off of one outfit. Prints can be busy and cause the viewer's eye to be drawn to a specific print instead of the subject's faces. If using an outfit with a print, choose a color in that print to plan your other outfits. Try to choose 1 color and pick coordinating outfits. Keep accessories intentional, and not overwhelming. (Don't use earrings, necklaces, bracelets, belts, scarves, etc. all in one outfit.)
Try to not choose clothing with any type of logo, emblem, or words of any type. This dates your photo and can take away from the subject. You want your loved ones to be the star of the show, unnecessary words and competing clothing prevents that.
Side note on Clothing - When you arrive at the studio, I will ask that all subjects please remove all keys, wallets, etc. from pockets. I even have a basket just for these items. This also includes hair ties around wrists.
MATERNITY SESSION CLOTHING - The above is helpful for planning when choosing the outfits of those who will be posing with you. In regards to your outfit, you'll have the opportunity to choose from our exclusive Client Closet, if you desire. This contains quite a few gowns and clothing options that will help eliminate the need for you to purchase any maternity-specific clothing you might not wear again. We offer boutique dresses specifically tailored to maternity sessions in order to create a form-fitting, flattering look for your maternity photos. Our closet also includes some unique and creative pieces to give your gallery a wide variety of images to choose from and showcase a different style. Some of these unique pieces include: Flowing/draped fabric; elaborate necklaces; bodysuits; etc. These items, paired with our gorgeous gown options, will create a beautiful and unique gallery of maternity portraits you'll feel confident in.
MAKEUP, NAILS, AND HAIR - This is another key component in creating a gorgeous image. Please make sure all nail polish is either fully applied, or completely taken off. This small detail can seriously irritate you for years to come. ;)
In regards to hair, try to keep flyaways under control. If your hair coloring isn't up-to-date, this is definitely noticeable. Please remember, taking care of these small details will vastly enhance the beauty of your images.
If you or your child has a small bruise, pimple, blemish, etc., NO worries! I can take care of these during editing. I want you to feel confident and will do everything in my power to enhance your and your family's natural beauty without adjusting any permanent personal traits.
GLASSES - Sometimes, glasses tend to create a reflection from our studio lighting. If this is problematic, I will capture some shots of you or your loved one with and without their glasses. Then, I will edit them correctly to ensure your photo is without any distracting reflections.
SUSTENANCE - Please make sure you allow you and your children/family members enough time to eat prior to your session. (This does not include newborn sessions. Please refer to the Newborn section for that information.) Making sure you and your loved ones are fed can drastically improve your photo session. NOBODY wants to be fighting hunger! :)
PLAN AHEAD - Give yourself and your family enough time. Try to avoid rushing around right before your portrait session. If you feel rushed and stressed out, this will definitely be reflected during your session. This tip is especially for Moms. Planning ahead as much as possible will help your session day go smoothly.
CHILDREN - How exciting is it to capture your children and their precious selves?! I want to capture your child at their best. Pressuring them too much to "smile and say 'cheese'" can actually be counteractive when trying to elicit real smiles and happiness. It's ok to prompt your child to smile, however, pressuring them makes them just as stressed as you and might make your session an unhappy experience. We want your kids happy. Feed them, love on them, and tell them what a fun experience they're going to do today! This gives your child a sense of excitement. If they see your excitement, they, too, will be ready and happy to take pictures.
*Also, during family photos, I always ask the parents/adults to focus on their own facial expressions and I will work on the kiddos. If you, as the adult, will focus on you, I'll be able to make sure your kids are doing what they need to do. ;)
DADS - Now, this isn't always the case, however, I wanted to add this for those who might be affected by this affliction.
*For those Dads not afflicted with this aversion to photos, feel free to pass this section on by! ;) *
Dads...I get it, you don't like pictures. That's ok, I totally understand. Having said that, your grumpy attitude could be detrimental to your loved ones. Your kids can feel your displeasure, and your significant other will have more to stress out about. Suck it up, and get it done. This short amount of time will yield amazing images of your loved ones that you'll be happy you were able to capture...even if at that moment you wish you were anywhere else. ;)
LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST - Be excited! Portrait sessions are fun! We're capturing memories of your loved ones that you'll cherish forever. Be in the moment. I want you to be able to look back on these images with fond memories.
First, as soon as feasibly possible, please let me know when your little one arrives. Obviously, I understand that it won't be the first thing on your mind (lol), however, a quick message to let me know would be appreciated and helpful in order for me to accurately start planning your session date and time. Usually, I like to get baby in the studio within the first 5 to 14 days after they're born. This allows us more of an opportunity to capture all of those super cute poses.
On the day of your session, I always suggest that you feed your newborn right before you leave to come to the studio. If possible, try to keep them awake right up until you leave your house. This allows your baby to be as sleepy as possible when you arrive. While you will most likely have to feed your child again at some point during your session, this allows me to get started photographing as soon as possible. Please dress your newborn in clothes that are easy to remove, as well. An outfit that can be removed over the feet or unbuttoned/unzipped completely is best. The less we jostle, the more likely they will stay asleep.
Depending on whether baby is asleep or awake when you arrive will determine which poses we begin with. If there are any siblings present, we'll plan to start off with family and sibling photos first. Followed by photos with mom & baby and dad & baby, and eventually siblings with baby. Most times, if you have older children, Jason, (husband and partner in crime/business) will photograph elder siblings while I wrap baby. Capturing family and sibling poses first helps parents not have to worry about keeping outfits pristine for the entirety of your shoot, so you will then be able to relax when I capture your baby by themself. If we're capturing photos with siblings, it might be helpful if Dad or a caretaker plans to leave with your other children for the remainder of the session. Because newborn sessions can be long and tedious for younger children, this can help them to not become upset.
I'll wrap baby for your family photos in a corresponding color to match with your outfits. If you already have a desired ensemble, let me know the color scheme, and I can prepare appropriately. If not, I suggest wearing a color that will focus on the subjects and not the clothes. Neutrals allow the subjects to pop. My favorite colors that I feel are perfect for newborn family poses are: brown, black, white, and any color that allows the subjects to really stand out. Anything too bright will pop too much, though, and compete with the subjects for focus. We want to focus on your newborn and your new family unit. Matching colors or wearing similar color schemes helps keep the focus on your baby. We want to highlight you and your family. This also allows for a timeless feel when you display your portraits.
After family photos, I will immediately launch into photos focusing on baby solo. We'll be capturing photos with a multitude of set-ups and poses to add variety to your gallery. If at any point your child needs to be fed again, I have a private area in my studio for you to do so. However, it is my goal to attempt to soothe them myself. As a mother and newborn photographer, crying babies are commonplace and in most cases, I am able to calm them down.
The majority of solo poses will be with baby wrapped or in an outfit. This prevents your newborn from becoming too cold during their session and allows them to settle more quickly. I have a space heater nearby to help baby stay warm throughout their session. I will monitor their temperature throughout, as well, to ensure baby isn't too cold or too warm. Please be advised, our studio is warm during newborn sessions. This is for baby's comfort.
You are welcome to relax in our sitting area throughout the duration of your session. Some parents enjoy watching me pose baby and that's completely fine, as well. My only suggestion is if baby seems to be easily startled or unable to drift into sleep, I might ask mom & dad to step away. This sometimes happens because your little one can smell you and knows there are comforting mama or daddy arms nearby. Once they drift off, we can try again. However, most parents prefer the sitting area. It's a chance to relax and maybe drift off yourself.
My biggest suggestion would be to not stress out about anything. This will definitely affect your photoshoot. Be at ease as much as possible and things will go swimmingly. :)