Family's are wonderful and were all a hot mess :) Whether it be from new beginnings, spilled baby-bottles, toddlers running amuck, kids acting crazy, or our teens hitting the aquward phase, we wanna capture ALL of those special moments, because they come and they go so quickly! If you want to capture photos of the kids before they grow or have a desire to get the family together, or even a need to exhibit how silly, fun and wild our family is to show generations to come, family photos are the perfect way to do it. I am not much about traditional posing when it comes to family photos, I like to keep them very candid to capture your family's specific dynamics and quirkiness. No two families are the same, so I will never perform the same shoot. I make my family photo sessions fun while keeping the littles amused and busy, all to 'get the shot'

Family Photo Tips

How to Prepare:

Make hair, nail, and/or makeup appointments for before your session - if so desired.

  1. Plan your outfits at least a week in advance—don’t wait ‘til the last day, trust me! You want to wake up feeling relaxed and prepared, so plan these details out early. Feel free to text me photos of your wardrobe if you’re having a hard time choosing! I’m happy to help.
  2. Prepare your kids (and husband!) with laid-back, low-key references to let them know what’s happening. Tell them you will be “hanging out with our friend Lauren on Saturday!” or “going to the park to play!” and keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual. (Families have shared that this tip is especially helpful if they have a particularly shy child.)
  3. Brainstorm about specific props, mementos, or special types of images you want to be captured. Some families bring heirloom quilts, a special stuffed animal, an embroidered keepsake, etc. Some families know they want a very specific type of photograph taken. If you have these preferences, be sure to brainstorm them in advance and let me know as well!
  4. And of course, make sure everyone gets a great night’s sleep and eats a good meal beforehand.

How to Dress for Your Session:

  1. Obviously, dress for the weather! We want everyone comfortable!
  2. Don’t wear matching clothes— no more jeans and matching shirts these days! Instead, wear colors in a complementary color palette, such as earth tones and neutrals.
  3. Avoid shirts with graphics or shirts with writing on them!
  4. Be careful about undergarments. While I am very experienced at Photoshop, editing out bra straps or undergarment lines is very difficult and time-consuming. Choose an ensemble that properly covers your undergarments, in all types of movement scenarios.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in. If your dress gets suddenly too short when you bend over, or your pants are too tight to sit down in, opt for more breathable pieces. Be prepared to move!
  6. Do opt for accessories! Bowties, suspenders, hats, flower headbands, chunky scarves, beautiful flowing dresses and skirts—these create visual interest and movement in your photos, and really help the images stand apart. Photos are a special occasion; take advantage of this fun opportunity to dress up a little more.
  7. If you have a little girl with bright nail polish on, go ahead and remove it. Neon pink and vibrant turquoise nails will almost undoubtedly clash with your beautiful wardrobe choice, and yes, it will show up in the photos.

What to Bring to Your Photo Session:

Moms are already super prepared, and you know your family better than anyone on Earth, so you probably have your own tricks for managing your little ones! But here are a few things you might want to add to your list:

  1. Any personal appearance touchup items you might want, including things like lipstick or a hairbrush.
  2. Snacks on snacks on snacks, and if necessary, treats to bribe kiddos with! (However, it’s best not to tell kids about the treats before the session; wait until the kids start getting fatigued before you pull out the candy card! They’ll usually perk right up then!)
  3. Walkable shoes. We will probably be walking short/moderate distances, often on unpaved trails, possibly with hills. Walkable shoes are a must! If you just love your wedges, bring them to change into before we start shooting.
  4. A change of clothes for the kiddos, in case anyone gets muddy or dirty. As a photographer, I love when kids interact fully with their surroundings, and I’m thrilled to photograph them playing in the water or running through the grass. As a parent, you might not be too keen to let them back into your car, covered in mud. Feel free to bring a change of clothes or shoes. Maybe even a towel. You never know!!
  5. A beer. Just kidding! (kind of!) But seriously, if a beer will loosen up hubby a bit beforehand, I totally support it :)

How to Pose During Your Photo Session:

This is the most important part of this whole blog post, so be sure to read it carefully!

  1. No need to ‘Cheese’! I’m chasing natural interactions and unposed moments. I strive to capture and encourage authentic expressions. No need to coax your children into fake smiles!
  2. On a related note, children around the ages of 5-10 will sometimes try to “cheese” in the photos, because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do when they see a camera! Help me create more candid shots by interacting playfully with your children.
  3. Laugh, play, tickle, and snuggle. This is how we’ll capture the REAL moments.
  4. Not everyone has to be looking at the camera. Actually, I usually encourage my gentlemen to NOT look at the camera. (they seem to prefer that, as well!) I like to especially encourage my dads to focus on their partners and their kids.
  5. When in doubt, just smile and look at your family lovingly.
  6. Stand close together. Actually, as close as possible :)
  7. Relax, slow down, and don’t force anything. Don’t feel pressured to make everything perfect! Just be present with your family and I’ll do the rest. And don’t stress if any of the kids get fussy! As a former teacher and thoroughly experienced photographer, I’ve seen it all before, trust me. Just snuggle your kiddos and we can still capture beautiful images :)
  8. Expect me to move you around to different spots to capture images. The more variety we get, the bigger your gallery and the more great shots we have the opportunity to create together!

Fur Babies

  1. Practice commands. If you don’t regularly use obedience commands, be sure to practice them a few days before the dog photo shoot to make sure your pup will do what you ask, when you ask. Make sure your dog responds to sit, stay and wait. If you want to incorporate any special tricks during the photo shoot, be sure to practice those, too.
  2. Please bring an extra person, while getting the dog into those family photos with you is fantastic, I completely encourage dog owners to bring your furry little friend. While we want photos with your pet, we also want to get some photos without your pet, so please bring a dog sitter to keep him or her occupied while we are doing photos without the pet.
  3. About an hour before the dog photo shoot, it’s a good idea to take a walk to burn off some pent-up energy. This will help make your dog more relaxed and photogenic. On the day of your photo shoot, take your dog for a walk first. That will burn off excess energy and make it easier for your pup to relax.
  4. Treats. If your dog is food motivated, consider bringing some along. But be cautious about using them. Some dogs become fixated on the treats and that can make the photos look unnatural and unfocused. It also can make your dog drool. Instead, consider bringing a toy your pup likes to play with. Don’t feed your dog too much before the photoshoot. If your dog is hungry, she’s more likely to be alert and willing to focus. If you feed your dog too much first, you may end up with a sluggish dog who just wants to curl up for a nap. And, if you don’t feed your dog too much, a food-motivated dog is more likely to respond to treats.

Photo Session Results:

After your session, your work is almost done! You can let your hair down, put your feet up, and relax a little bit. After your session, I will be working hard behind the scenes to cull the best photos (eliminating duplicates, blurs, and blinks) Your gallery is typically ready within 2 weeks of your session and a sneak peek on social media will be posted within 48 hours.

Last step to complete your portrait experience: ENJOY YOUR PHOTOS! I can’t wait to help you create something beautiful, timeless, and meaningful, just for your unique family. And that’s it! The complete checklist for guiding you through your family photography session. What to wear, how to pose, how to plan, and what to do afterward—all easy to follow! Thank you for choosing me to be your trusted photographer. I can’t wait to love on your family and leave you with beautiful artwork you will love for decades to come.