How Far in Advance Should I Schedule My Portrait Session?

How Far in Advance Should I Schedule My Portrait Session?

Answer: As far in advance as possible!!!

I shoot approximately 25 Weddings and 100+ Family Portrait Sessions per year.

This means that most of my weekends during Wedding Season {May-November} are booked with Weddings or Wedding related Portrait Sessions.

Which also means that my available weekend dates {especially in the summer/fall} are a HOT commodity for my Portrait Clients!

So, I would strongly recommend booking your Child Photography or Family Photography session date as far in adavance as you can to ensure my availabilty for you!

I also shoot {actually, I prefer it} on Weekday evenings as well! :)

During the summer months, we're lucky because we have much more daylight to work with, so we can shoot after work/dinner, etc!

I typially shoot 1-2hrs before dusk at any time during the year.

Timing is Everything!

Timing is Everything!

In the summer months, we're fortunate because we have more hours of daylight to work with!

During the summer months, I typically shoot portrait sessions between 6-8pm'ish to catch that warm late afternoon/early evening sunlight, often referred to as "Magic Hour" because the light during that time is so warm & beautiful for photographs!

What if you have babies who go to bed around that time?

No Problem, I am flexible and we can make it work! We'll simply shoot earlier in the day, usually during the time that's best for your little ones! We'll choose locations that will accomodate {light wise} for us to shoot at whatever time of day we need to, to ensure the best possible outcome for your session! :)

This may mean that you need a weekend date {if your little one is happiest after a mid afternoon nap & work schedules won't allow for you to take off and shoot for an hour during the day!} :)

What is a Pre-Session Consultation?

What is a Pre-Session Consultation?

A Pre-Session Consultation is a Phone, Skype, Facetime or In-Person Consultation Session where I'll ask you questions about:

  1. What kind of portrait session you envision?

  2. Your Child/Children and/or Family to help me choose theme, locations, props, timing etc.

  3. We'll discuss possible locations

  4. We'll discuss schedule and timing

  5. We'll also discuss Wardrobe & Props

Why do we need to do a Pre-Session Consultation?

This is a Custom Portrait Experience!!! Making a plan, choosing the right locations, choosing the best props, the perfect clothes & the right time is absolutely necissary to acheive the kinds of images that you've seen on my website & the best possible outcome for your session!

Where do we Shoot?

Where do we Shoot?

We can shoot ANYWHERE!!!

During your Pre-Session Consultation, I will ask you if you have anywhere specific in mind?

If the answer is no, I will ask you: "When you envision this portrait hanging on your wall, where are you? What does the background look like?

If you have no idea, I will ask you questions about your children/family to help me get ideas for choosing cool locations that 'make sense' for your session!

What Should We Wear?

What Should We Wear?

Rules of Thumb for Choosing Outfits for your Portrait Session:

If your goal is to frame or hang these photographs in your home. Think about the color scheme in your home!

{If you're home has a neutral color pallet, you can really go in any direction, a pop of bright colors on your walls could be fun!} :)

On the other hand, if you want to hang a large family portrait in your red living room, pastels might not be the right choice for your wardrobe!

  1. Spend some time thinking about what you want to wear. Go through your closets, if you don't have anything you'd love to wear for your portraits, go out and buy something new!

  2. Stay true to yourself! If you're not a dress kind of gal, don't wear a dress! :)

  3. You want to look & feel your best! If you feel uncomfortable in what you're wearing, it will show in the expression & body language in your photos.

  4. For Family Photography, choose wardrobes like you would choose throw pillows or drapes for your living room:

{You would choose one person's outfit: {maybe it's a colorful plaid shirt for your son or husband} as the anchor & then choose everyone else's outfit by selecting colors from that shirt. If the plaid pattern has blue, red, and white in it, maybe you wear a red dress and your other child wears a white jumper!}

We'll discuss wardrobe specific to your family, in more detail, during your pre-session consulation!

Props?

Props?

In the last several years, I've moved away from using too many props!

BUT, I'm always open to suggestion & I'm certainly not opposed to using props if they look great & make sense for your portraits! :)

I'm ALWAYS a fan of props that are special or meaningful to your family!

Did you see some cutsy little outfit or sign or something else on Etsy that you want to use? BRING IT!

Your child's favorite toy right now? BRING IT!

Have access to an old, awesome classic car? BRING IT!

Have your old antique high chair or rocking horse, or toy from when you were a baby, passed down for generations? BRING IT!

Did your grandmother make a quilt for you or your children? BRING IT!

Have a Cool, Antique Sofa or Chair that you'd like to use? BRING IT!

I've got some great things that I use from time to time, but I had to reign it in on the prop buying several years ago! It becomes an expensive obsession & you only really use props once/twice! :)

How to Prepare for your Portrait Session!

How to Prepare for your Portrait Session!

Shooting with Children can be tricky, because we're at the mercy of their moods! :)

Children ALWAYS dictate how well the session will go...

In order to ensure the most successful outcome for your session, I always recommend the following:

  • RELAX!!!

Children are VERY perceptive, so if they feel tension, anxiety, frustration or fluster from their parents on the day of the session, their attitudes will reflect that!

  • Prepare for Success!

Don't wait until the last minute to select outfits & props! Give yourself plenty of time, ahead of time to do that, so that on the day of your session, everything is ready to go and it's no big deal to get out the door! {See #1}

  • Be sure they're Full & Well Rested!

Hungry or Sleepy Babies are NOT happy babies! Be sure they get a good nap & a good meal before your session! Also, bring some snacks to your session just in case! :)

  • Sick or Teething?

Reschedule! You've invested a lot into this Custom Portrait Session! This only happens once, maybe twice {at best} per year. You want the very best possible outcome for your portrait session! If your little one is cutting teeth or is sick with a fever or congestion or stomach bug, please, RESCHEDULE! :)

  • Murphy's Law:

Change them into their Portrait Outfit when you arrive to avoid any disasters on the way to your session! If your child is mobile & curious, be sure to bring an alternate outfit, just incase your little one gets theirs dirty!

  • Comfort Item:

Sometimes it can be intimidating for little ones, meeting this strange lady, who points this giant camera at them... it's very different from their normal day to day life. So, bring a comfort item to help them through those nerves, just in case they need it!

  • Prepare your Child Ahead of Time!

Talk about me! Talk about what we're going to do! Make it something fun that your children/family is looking forward to! Show them my website! Show them other families/children's photos on the site! Show them where you want to hang the photos in your home! Do this, especially for children who are a little more shy, this really helps them to get comfortable with me & let's them know what to expect on the day of the portrait session, what it's for & what to expect afterward!

  • STAY CALM!

No matter what, during your session, PLEASE stay calm! I need you to be firm with your expectations of your child but please don't allow yourself to get flustered or frustrated during your session! {This is often a pitfal for the dads, because they're not chomping at the bit to have their portraits made to begin with & Babies/Toddlers/Small Children can be unpredictable & sometimes difficult during a session.} Please remember: this isn't my first rodeo! :) I'm used to it! I have some tricks up my sleeve to deal with them, distract them, redirect them and we can adapt! Just stay calm! It has been my experience that getting frustrated only makes things worse for everyone!

So you have a 2 Year Old...

So you have a 2 Year Old...

Almost 2 year olds, 2 year olds {especially 2 year old boys} and 3 year olds are the MOST Difficult ages to photograph!

I aplaud you for having the courage to try!

Don't worry, I've done this before {Successfully} & I have learned some tricks to deal with them, along the way!!!

You have an {almost} 2yr old who is ON THE GO?

No problem - We'll use baskets, buckets & chairs to slow them down for just a second! {That's all I need anyway!} :)

You have a 2 or 3 year old who's really head strong & defiant?

We'll plan for this during your pre-session consultation! We'll plan a session that will be interesting/distracting to them!

I always ask parents to bring their child's favorite toy to the session. I do this because it not only marks this moment in time {what your child was obsessed with at this moment, which will be really cute when they're 18!} But it also will {hopefully} distract them & slow them down long enough for me to get some photos of them for you!

If that fails, we'll bribe them! ;)