Planning Your family
tips for what to wear, managing kids and more!
Hi there! I’m so excited to be working with your family and can’t wait to see you soon! If we haven’t met before, I’m Karla and this is a picture of me with my family from last spring. My boys are 11 and 13 now, which means I not only have 10+ years of experience of being a photographer, but also 13 years of experience as a mom planning our own family pictures each year. It’s completely normal for moms to feel a little anxious (maybe even overwhelmed) when planning your session, but I’m here to help make this as stress free as possible!
I hope this guide will help answer all of your questions and help you feel fully prepared for our session together, but if you have any other questions or if you need advice, please feel free to reach out!
Managing litte ones
One thing we’ve learned over the years is that our experience of our children is different from what others experience. For example, if you’re at the grocery store with your three year old son and he starts yelling, you probably think he’s irritating other customers more than he is. Most likely, those other customers just see a cute (slightly loud,) three year old.
The same holds true for photo sessions. Your child is in a new element and a stranger is holding a big camera in front of their face. They’re likely not going to entirely be themselves. They may show off more than usual or your extrovert may suddenly become shy.
Rest assured, it’s all okay.
The best thing you can do for your kids is to go with the flow and stay positive. The more you relax and have fun with things, the more likely your little one (or big one,) is to get on board.
It can also be helpful to pack a few treats and bribes for younger children. Favorite toys, special snacks and the promise of ice cream afterwards work wonders.
We’re incredibly patient with kids and that we have a few tricks up our sleeve to help get even the smallest ones to cooperate.
Here are a few tips to help ensure your session goes as smoothly as possible.
Have outfits picked out well in advance and make sure everyone tries them on to make sure they fit.
THE LITTLE DETAILS
Don’t forget about the little details, such as having clean nails (no chipped polish!)… Treat yourself to a manicure before the session… a neutral/ nude color nail polish work best. Don’t forget to get highlights/ hair color touched up in advance too! Please avoid using self tanners before your session– this will result in an unnatural skin color that will look unflattering in photos.
WELL RESTED KIDS
Tired and hungry kids are never in a good mood so…
You’ve likely realized this by now, but babies can be a bit messy. It’s always a good idea for all members of the family to plan an extra outfit just in case.
Please try to arrive on time to your session so we don’t cut in to your session time. AND SNACKS
TIME & LIGHT
Is there a "good" time to take photos?
We’ve found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. We normally plan sessions based on a particular “look” our clients have in mind, spring flowers for example, or based on schedules.
Sessions typically last about an hour and a half and when when we can—we love to begin sessions about two hours before sunset. We prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first two hours after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot.
We schedule sessions during what we believe will be the best light of the day – which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets more harsh as it rises.
Sunset & Bedtimes
In the warmer months, sunset sessions often fall during the witching hour. They may even fall during or after bedtime.
As much as we love a consistent bedtime routine, in order to capture the best light during “golden hour”, we’re like going to need to throw off your schedule a bit.
If our session takes place close to dinnertime, we recommend feeding kids (and yourselves!) before we begin shooting.
If your little one is going to be going to bed later, consider pushing their nap a bit that day, letting them sleep longer or packing pj’s so that you can quickly tuck them into bed as soon as you get home.
If your session takes place in the fall, while it might be tempting to dress your little one in a pumpkin costume to eternally remember the cuteness that babies in costumes in giant piles of leaves holds, we advise keeping attire a little more neutral.
Yes, that image would crush it on the ‘gram, but if you’re hoping to print these images for your walls, will you always want to see that pumpkin costume?
The same holds true for images taken for Christmas cards. While those red and green sweaters might be worthy of the Minted hall of fame, are you really going to want to look at photos of yourselves in holiday sweaters in the summer?
If you’re looking for outfit advice, feel free to send ideas our way! We’re happy to help curate a wardrobe that not only feels coordinated, but that looks beautiful for years to come.
A few things to keep in mind during each season:
OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOOT
CLASSIC & ELEGANT
Maryland State House
An old mansion
The Narrows (Kent Island)
The Narrows (Kent Island)
Jonas Green State Park
Tree & Flower Farms
Kinder Farm Park
Quiet Waters Park
Patapsaco Valley State Park
Sailing / Boating
Managing furry ones
We know that some family members just happen to be furry and we love when families choose to incorporate pets into their session. Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet friendly location.
We recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and having a friend take them home. We won’t use the pet in every single photo so it’s also nice to have someone available to hold him or her in between shots.
If you’re going to bring a pet, we recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pets favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot.
It’s typical for us to schedule two session dates. A primary date and a rain date. Having two dates helps us make sure that your photos happen in a timely manner. Coordinating schedules can be tough and we’ve found that the best way to make sure our families get the look they have in mind for their photos is to schedule two dates at the same time.
We’ll check in the week of your session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. We know it takes a lot of time to get ready for session and it’s the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain. Let us know what works best for your family, but if the weather looks like it won’t be great, we typically try to make the call at least 12 hours in advance.
"What do I do with my hands"?
When it comes to posing for your session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! We’ll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If we tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because we know it’s going to make everyone laugh – and that’s the photo we’re actually looking for.
Throughout your session, we’ll keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. We want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy your time together!
Extended Family Sessions
Please send us all family groupings ahead of time so that while we’re shooting, we understand who should be photographed together.
While you don’t need to draw us a family tree (although bonus points if you do!) something like this would work well:
Grandma – Jean
Grandfather – Max
Sam (son of Jean + Max) and Tina.
Their Kids: Jason (10), Julianne (5) and Jack (2)
Elizabeth (son of Jean + Max) and Paul
Their Kids: Austin (9) and Claire (6)
When it comes to choosing outfits for larger families, we recommend coordinating with one another ahead of time. Photographs typically come out best when families choose a color palette or a few colors over wearing the exact same thing (think: the white polo and khaki photo uniform of the 90’s.)
Outfits that feel a bit special (your “Sunday best”) but that you still feel comfortable in generally result in the best images.
If you need any advice in this area, just let us know!
When it comes to choosing a location for larger groupings, there are a few extra elements to keep in mind. Locations should be easy to access, limit walking and be safe for young children.
While we can get away with shooting small families in a downtown setting, for larger families, we’ll need a bit of space to spread out. Family homes with larger yards (and open shade), parks and outdoor settings typically work best for extended families.
Following the session, we’ll deliver a gallery with the edited images. Please let us know ahead of time who should have access to this gallery. If you send us a list of the email addresses, we can set those up at the time of delivery to give all necessary parties access.
FREQUENTLY asked QUESTIONS
When to expect
Bring Your Images to Life with prints
We’re big believers that images aren’t meant to solely exist in a digital space. One day, most likely, Instagram will be gone, your phone will be replaced and images that you can physically hold in your hand will be the best way to remember those precious moments we captured.
Think about this fact: fifteen years ago, if we had delivered you digital images, they would have been on a floppy disk. With the fast updates to technology, you would have no way to access those images today. Even the online galleries we deliver will eventually fade away.
But prints? Those last. I bet your family still has images from your grandparents (maybe even great grandparents.) And that was likely from a time period when cameras were expensive and prints were harder to come by.
Prints & Wall Art