Preparing for Your Shoot
What Should I Wear?
As you gear up for your session, it’s important to consider the way in which clothing and color choices will impact the final outcome of your photos. First and foremost, wear what you feel good in. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show.
Dress for the weather, season and location. It’s always best to dress appropriately for the weather. If a subject is sweating profusely in a sweater or freezing in a tank top during a shoot, it will reflect in the final images. If your session is scheduled for a chilly time of year, consider layering – layers not only add texture to photos, but they also enable you to shed articles of clothing to create different looks and they offer a nice, more photogenic alternative to a bulky jacket. You may also consider allowing the location to assist you in determining the style and color scheme you’re aiming for. For example, autumnal hues would be appropriate for a fall session in an apple orchard. However, bear in the mind that unless you’re planning on using your photos for one specific purpose (Christmas cards, for example), it’s best to avoid clothing that is super seasonal. So pick a style and color that will look nice when your photos are framed and hanging on the walls of your home year-round.
Be stylish. Don’t be afraid to mix prints and textures. If you’re choosing outfits for a family session, I always suggest beginning with an inspiration piece. Start with one outfit that you really like and build from there. And if there are multiple people in your party, choose a general style and stick to it. If dad’s in a suit and his son is in a tee-shirt and jeans, both with look out of place.
Be mindful. Consider the way in which accessories will stand out in your photos. Belts, hats, vests, bowties, leggings, simple hair accessories, cardigans, necklaces, blazers – all of these elements can make for a dynamic look, while clothing that contains text or graphics distract from the subject and, therefore, are not optimal attire. If you’d like your images to stand the test of time, opt for clothing that’s classic rather than super trendy. And… don’t forget about your shoes! They will appear in some of the photos, so choose wisely. Or just go barefoot.
Consider color. It’s best not to dress everyone in the exact same color; it can make a group of people positioned in close proximity fade together and get “lost” in the photo. I suggest choosing two or three main colors to work with. This will give you more flexibility when it comes to dressing the entire family. It will also make your photos pop. It’s always a good idea to coordinate, rather than match, so choose the colors you want to work with and find different pieces that incorporate some or all of the colors you’ve chosen. And keep in mind that not every person has to have on every color you have chosen. Splitting the colors up among everyone’s outfits will make your photos look more playful and less uniform. A few other tips on color: a) Steer clear of florescent; they will cast an unflattering glow on subjects’ faces. b) If you plan to include your pet(s) in your photo, be mindful of the color of their collar and leash. c) Avoid wearing a lot of green if you plan to have photos taken in grassy/wooded areas. You’ll want to be sure you stand out among the greenery, so choose colors that compliment: blues, purples, etc. d) I strongly suggest choosing shades of blue. They are flattering to all skin tones and they compliment all types of backdrops in every season. I assure you, you can never, ever go wrong in blue.
Think about the kids. With children, you can never go wrong if you go timeless. A white lace dress with a simple bow, a plain diaper cover, or even no clothes at all (for babies) are looks that are bound to stand the test of time. Dress your kiddos in clothes that fit rather than outfits that have room for them to grow into. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jacket, blazer, or suspenders, tend to overpower your child and make them appear lost in their clothing. But most important of all: choose outfits and/or items that allow your child’s personality to shine through. If they feel good, their truest character will come alive and be captured in the photos.
If you’d like to incorporate a few outfit choices into your shoot, I am happy to accommodate clothing changes.
Click here for a guide that may be helpful in assisting you to coordinate outfits for those in your party; download the app Family Threads to your phone for a step-by-step buying guide to customizing your look; and or peruse the selected photo journal entries below to collect some inspiration!
What Should I Bring/Have on Hand?
The only two things you need to bring to a photo session are your smile and a positive attitude*. If, however, you would like to bring along props that will help to achieve a desired look or feel, by all means do. Certain items can bring a great deal of character to a shoot and help to personalize your photos: a blanket knitted by your grandmother, your child’s special toy, a vintage bicycle…the list goes on. Please just bear in mind that anything you bring along (including your children’s toys) could appear in your photos. Keep this in mind before leaving home. Nothing distracts from a beautiful family photo worse than that brightly colored toy your child just doesn’t want to put down.
I am happy to find a way to incorporate special props into your session as well as offer some of my own custom props to round out your shoot.
*Parents of small children: it’s a good idea to have wipes on hand to catch the occasional spit-up or runny nose. Also, if your child requires snacks or bottle breaks, don’t forget to come prepared.
How Can I Best Prep for my Maternity Session?
When considering what to wear for your maternity session, you’ll want to choose an outfit that shows off the dimension of your belly. A belt, bow, buttons, or pleats at the top of your bump will draw the eye there and help frame your gorgeous figure. A long necklace that draws the eye downward can also help accentuate the main feature of your photo session. In my experience, a solid colored top with no accessories to draw the eye to your belly will create a figure-less effect; and rather than looking beautifully pregnant, a subject will simply look round. As for color, I believe you should choose something that brings out your glow and then coordinate everyone else’s look around yours.
How can i best prepare for a newborn session?
When should I have photos of my newborn taken? It’s ideal to photograph newborns within 10 days of their birth while they still have that ‘brand new’ look.
When should I schedule a newborn session? If you’re interested in scheduling a session, please be in touch with me as soon as you’re able. Once I know your due date, I’ll put it on my calendar so that I have a general idea of when your baby is expected to arrive. I’m happy to draft up a contract for your session and answer any questions you may have – that way everything is squared away and all that’s left to do is wait for your little one’s arrival. Most parents text, email or call me from the hospital or as soon as they return home and we set up a day and time for the session. Sessions take place during daylight hours.
Where should I have photos of my newborn taken? Your session can be held in your home or any other location of your choice, but since my newborn photo style is photojournalistic in nature rather than super posed, it's always most natural to capture you with your newbie in your own environment.
How can I prepare my house? The day of the shoot, keep the temperature of the house warm to ensure the baby’s skin doesn’t appear marbled in the photos. Warm temperatures will also ensure that your baby will stay cozy should you want to remove his or her clothing for some shots. Be sure the rooms you’d like the photos taken in are tidy and easy to move around in and that there's nothing present that you wouldn't want appearing in the background of your photos.
How long will the session take? Newborn sessions are generally a little longer as we have to work at your newborn’s pace. I like to allow for breaks for feeding, changing, and cuddling and I always take into account that new parents may also be tired/sore, so I don’t like to rush things.
How can I prepare my baby for the session? In the hours before the shoot, be sure to dress the baby in loose clothing; tight socks, or snug fitting clothing can create imprints in the skin that may show up in your photos.
How can I prepare for the session? If you or other members of your family would like to be photographed with your little one, you may find some useful information in the section above entitled “What Should I Wear?”. Colors that compliment the environment, as well as other colors within the frame usually work best. Remember, you don’t want the clothing to overshadow the precious little person that we’re showcasing or clash with color and patterns in the frame. I recommend grey, black, and white for these shoots. Also, be sure to have burp clothes, wipes, etc on hand to clean up any baby messes.
What else should I keep in mind? Although it’s always ideal to have a few ideas in mind for your photos, you’ll want to maintain reasonable expectations for your baby and yourself. Your new little one is just getting to know you and you’ll still be getting acclimated to his or her needs, patterns, etc. Your baby’s needs and comfort level will dictate the session from start to finish. Remember this and don’t sweat it. Newborns are incredibly intuitive – they will sense if you’re feeling stressed or anxious and they will feed off of that energy in unfavorable ways. This session should enable you some quiet time amid the commotion that surrounds welcoming a new one into the world. Breath, relax, enjoy it!
Feel free to Peruse the selected photo journal entries below for some inspiration