"In truth, a family is what you make it."
Prepping for your session can be stressful. I'm a mom and a fiancé- I get it!
Family photos can be super stressful, especially the day of your session. You're running around to three different stores trying to find the perfect belt to go with your shoes because you could have sworn you already had one. Your husband forgot to shave the night before and now has razor burn. Or maybe your teenagers woke up on the wrong side of the bed- the list could literally be endless. I just want to let you know that I understand completely. Which is exactly why I am here for you and your family!
Just take a breath, and write down everything that makes you nervous, happy, and concerned. I'm serious. Taking 5 minutes to write it all down can really help you see your vision and goals for our session coming up! But also remember this: I am here for you and your family.
Capturing these photos are so important. Your kiddos grow so fast, your in-laws only get everyone together once every 5 years, and you just want to pull your hair out because it feels like so much to do in such a short amount of time. I know this just feels like this is just a blip on the timeline...
But let me tell ya: I'm so happy I get to capture that "blip" for you!
Before our big day, there's just a few things I want to touch base with.
Gentlemen, this is very important for you, too! I want these photos to reflect you. If you're family enjoys being outside and you had matching shirts made for your campgrounds, throw them on for a couple of photos; if your little one just graduated from VPK, bring their cap and gown! These family photos are not just suppose to look pretty, they are supposed to represent you.
I recommend wearing colors that complement your skin and hair, and also are appropriate for the setting. So if we're shooting on the beach, you're probably not going to want to wear 3 inch heels.
I encourage families to have more than one outfit (2 max) because it really brings out diversity in the photos. Of course, this doesn't make or break our session, but if you do decide on a second wardrobe choice, group your outfit choices as much as possible by putting them on hangers. Also make sure they're ironed before our session; I can work photoshop, but too many wrinkles I cannot do anything about.
More Pointers for Wardrobe...
1. Do not wear fluorescents.
Please. Fluorescent colors tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair. I always recommend versions of primary colors. Yellows, reds, and blues.
2. Start with one outfit that you really like.
From there, build from it for everyone else. Try to stick to four colors or less (not counting jean, khakis etc.) This helps with the flow of your session.
3. Wear what you are comfortable wearing!
I cannot stress this enough. Moms and dads, this tip is for you specifically. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, rock a pair of leggings. If you can barely walk in heels, there’s no harm in doing cute and comfy flats. If you can’t do heels, wedges are a great alternative, too.
4. Add layers!
Layers add dimension and depth. But it's summer time? Layer your dress with a cute belt and a statement necklace. In the fall and winter? Cardigans, belts, more necklaces, scarves, hats, blazers, etc. The possibilities are endless!
5. Wear clothes that fit.
I know parents love buying clothes that leave room for growth, seeing as they do grow fast. However, keep in mind that for pictures, too large of a shirt, saggy jeans, or a jacket that’s falling off the shoulders looks sloppy. You’ll be purchasing outfits specifically for these pictures, most likely, so choose something that fits perfectly, or even just a little bit snug. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket will not compliment your shape. It hides hips and waist for moms. If you typically wear a size medium jacket, try on the small. Even if it’s just a little snug in the shoulders, it should lay nicely around your hips and waist, creating a tailored look.
6. Coordinate your clothes- don't match.
We know your family is together, that's why I'm photographing you together. So, wearing the same colored shirt, pants, shoes, etc. looks a bit awkward. Coordinating color is what really brings wardrobe together! I would suggest choosing two-three colors for your wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of color. Also, mixing stripes with plaids is okay! Expression is important. We want to see your personality through your style.
7. Lighter colors if there is a newborn in your session.
This is the only time I will recommend wearing something simple. We don't want to lose the little one in the photos. I recommend wearing simple colors: grey, beige, ivory, black, and white. If we’ll be posing an older sibling with the baby, light pinks + blues are good colors that add a little something, but not enough to overpower the baby.
8. Make sure to dress for the weather, and be okay with changing plans.
Be prepared to be flexible with wardrobe, in case you have to switch it up last minute because the plan was for a summer photo, but the temperature dropped to 70 degrees. If you have plans for a cute sundress, and the weather ends up being 20 degrees colder than you were anticipating, switch it up a bit by adding layers. You can still wear the same outfit as planned, but maybe add boots with tights, or a cardigan with a slouch hat. Dress appropriately for the weather that day, even if it doesn’t go with your original plan. If your child is sweating in a sweater, or shivering in a tank top, they are not going to be happy, and it’ll show in the final images. I promise, whatever changes that need to be made, we'll make it work!
9. Dress for the occasion.
Just as dressing for weather is important, dressing for the occasion is just as important. If we've scheduled to book in a wooded area, please do not show up wearing heels with a beautiful gown. Formal wear would be more appropriate for a more "city" feel. Also, if I'm coming to your home for a lifestyle session, make sure you wear what you would actually wear sitting on your couch (of course, please take in consideration of bright colors). I tell my lifestyle clients to wear whatever it is that they’d wear at home. No coordinating or matching necessary. Those sessions are meant to be as normal, and true to life as possible.
Hair and Makeup
This isn't a necessity, but I always like to inform my clients that I do work alongside with Melissa Cook and she is fabulous in this department! A full portrait session with me does include a "Mommy & Me" Makeover already, but if you're in need of additional services, or if you are booking a Digitals Only Collection, we can just tack this to your retainer fee. But she's wonderful with capturing the "natural" look, and she can even make you look dramatic if that's what you're going for!
Otherwise, if you're planning on doing your own hair and makeup, here's a few pointers I recommend keeping in mind:
1.) If you don't do your makeup often, less is more.
- Makeup can be super hard to take off, so if you end up messing up, I'd hate for you to scrub your face until you're red just hours before your session!
2.) If you're thinking about changing your hair completely, I recommend doing so before 2 weeks from your session day.
- Any new colors or cuts that you've never done before, can end up in you not totally loving it! It also tends to look a little different when we leave the salon, right? Two weeks is plenty of time to walk around with your new look and figure out how you're going to wear it for your session!
3.) Bring a brush, a mirror, clips/headbands/hair ties, and hairspray to your session!
- It may end up being super windy, hot, etc., so always prepare for the worst! Also, style your hair a few different ways in case we do need to have your hair up and out of your face.