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  • Writer's pictureMaranda Walsh

Preparing for your Family Photo Session

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Family photos are a special occasion, and I want to make sure everything goes as smoothly a possible! Here’s a comprehensive checklist that will walk you through every step of the portrait process to help you feel confident and prepared for your session.

Things To Do Before Your Session:

  1. Plan your outfits at least a week or more 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.

  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 Maranda on Saturday!” and keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual. Families have shared that this tip is especially helpful if they have a shy child.

  3. Brainstorm about specific props, mementos, or special types of images you want captured. Some families bring heirloom quilts, a sign, 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. Make sure everyone gets a great night’s sleep and eats a good meal beforehand.

How to Dress for Your Session:

  1. 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 complimentary color palette, such as earth tones, and neutrals.

  3. Please no tennis shoes, T shirts, or shirts with writing on them.

  4. Be careful about undergarments. While I am very experienced at Photoshop, editing out bra straps or panty lines is difficult and time-consuming. Choose clothes that properly covers your undergarments, in all types of movement scenarios.

  5. Go for the 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.

  6. Bright or chipped nailpolish will show up so please go ahead and remove it. .

  7. Take bulky items like phones and car keys out of pockets before we start.

What to Bring to Your Photo Session:

  1. Any personal appearance touchup items you might want, including things like lipstick or a hairbrush.

  2. Water if its a warm day and ifnecessary, 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 candy card! They’ll usually perk right up then!) Also, make sure the treats won’t stain lips or fingers!

  3. 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 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!

How to Pose During Your Photo Session: This is the most important part of this whole blog post, so be sure to read carefully!

  1. I WILL POSE YOU. Don't worry about what to do. We will have posed and fun movement shots.

  2. No need to ‘Cheese’! I’m chasing natural interactions. I strive to capture and encourage authentic expressions. No need to coax your children into fake smiles!

  3. Laugh, play, tickle, and snuggle. I will give a few prompts for you.This is how we’ll capture the REAL moments. Help me create more candid shots by interacting playfully with your children.

  4. When in doubt, just smile and look at your family lovingly.

  5. 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! Just snuggle your kiddos and we can still capture beautiful images :)

  6. Expect me to move you around to different spots and poses to capture images.

What to Expect After Your Photo Session: After your session, your work is almost done! You can let your hair down, put your feet up, and relax a little bit.

  1. After your session, I will be working hard behind the scenes to cull the best photos (eliminating duplicates, blurs, and blinks) then the edits start! Your gallery will be ready by 14 days from the session.

  2. A preview will be posted in 5 days.

  3. Look online for ideas about wall gallery displays. There are tons of beautiful ideas for every style and budget. In your online gallery, you can conveniently order high quality prints, framed photos, and canvases.

Last step to complete your portrait experience: ENJOY YOUR GALLERY and pleaaaase print out your photos! I am passionate about printed art because then you can see it and appreciate it in your home every single day. 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. Thank you for choosing me as your trusted photographer. I can’t wait to love on your family and leave you with images to enjoy for decades to come.

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