How to Prep for your Outdoor Family Session

My approach

My family sessions have a fun and relaxed vibe. I start with the whole group for an "everyone look at the camera" shot, then give a few prompts to get you interacting and engaging casually with each other. Finally, I try for a bit of documentary style. Then we repeat the process for each combination of family members (just kids, just parents, adult 1 with kids, adult 2 with kids, just individual kids, etc.). If you have little kids, please don't stress about them misbehaving or not looking at the camera, I TOTALLY understand that most kids aren't that into photos, and I'm happy to chase them around capturing all the cute things they do when they think no one is looking. The best photos happen when everyone is relaxed and being themselves, including parents!

How long will the session last?

Outdoor sessions are best done in the "golden hour" before sunset. The light is more flattering then and everything feels a little more magical. We don't always get that magical light here in the Pacific NorthWest, yet I always time it so that we get it if possible. Please be on time for your session, the sun doesn't wait for anyone, so if you are late we will have less time to get the images we need. We can have a quick chat and then head to the best spot to get started. Depending on the light and what sort of mood everyone is in, we can usually get all our shots in within 45 minutes, if you're up for a longer adventure or everyone is happy playing, I often stick around for some more candid/documentary style images at the end.

What to wear

I've put together a handy guide with a few things to avoid and pointers if you feel you need it - click here for more information. And you can always utilize my online styling tool, Style and Select.

What to bring

Feel free to bring a stroller or bag of water bottles and emergency snacks (a photogenic bag if you have it!). If you are planning to bring any food or toys as rewards/bribes (no judgement) for good behavior, you are most welcome, yet it's probably best to leave it until the end of our session so they are not in every photo! If you'd like some shots kicking a ball, building sandcastles, collecting sea glass, reading books, feel free to bring any equipment desired. Sometimes people like to bring a photograph or ultrasound to include in images, which is fine by me! I do request that you bring a blanket (coordinated is a huge bonus!).

Some Other Stuff

Don't stress about your kids misbehaving.

I have kids, I get it. Sometimes they are angels, sometimes life happens. I'm more than happy to go with the flow and let them run the show. I might make suggestions on what to go or what to do next, but if they aren't up for it, we can change it up and try to do whatever you would do in your normal day. Otherwise negotiations, tears and tantrums are absolutely a part of the everyday story, so I might respectfully photograph that too!

Your mood affects your photos.

I know it's hard, trying to get your kids, your partner, your house, and your SELF ready. But once we get started, it's time to leave all that behind. This time and space is for you to connect with your family. Have fun with them, laugh with them, ask them questions, play. If you're having fun, so are they and it will come through in your photos.

Don't forget to show affection to your partner.

Don't force it, but don't be shy because I'm there. I won't ask you to kiss or do anything cheesy, but if you might normally hold hands or put your arm around them, any kind of physical affection makes for a much nicer photo than standing 6 feet apart. Remember, you might just be in the background of photos of your kids too, so the less dirty looks you give each other the better! ;-)

I also have a questionnaire you will receive, if you can please answer as much of this as you can (any time before our session), it really helps me to create the best photos of you, that truly show you and your family as you really are.

If you have any more questions at all, check out my FAQ's or you are welcome to e-mail, DM or call me to chat!