Session Prep Guide

So you booked your session. Now what?

Via e-mail we will discuss location selection, wardrobe selection, and answer any questions you have.

Custom photography is unique because it not only captures what you look like at a certain point in time, it captures who you are. I aim to capture honest photos of your family and children. The goal is not to get a stiff and posed shot with everyone staring at the camera blankly, but to capture the true essence of your family. The laughter, the authentic smiles, the tears, the sweetness - my approach to photography and my understanding of my equipment and natural light allow me to create images that will become works of art that you can hang in your home and pass down for generations.

To follow is my session prep guide to help you prepare for your session with me.


Together, we will decide on the best location for your photos. We can shoot in your home as long as your home has adequate natural light. Many clients prefer their home because of the intimate and personal feel it provides. I have many locations that I love to shoot at regularly but I am always open to new locations as well. You should choose a location that fits your style and personality. While I can certainly help you along with this decision, remember it's not the WHERE, it's the WHO - read more on that in my post on Why Location Doesn't Matter...


If we are shooting in your home, I prefer late morning, because that is when homes are usually lit up the best. If we are shooting outdoors we will shoot either in the morning or in the evening. The light is too harsh mid day. If your children are up for it, shooting one to two hours before sunset provides gorgeous light and atmosphere. The images in my portfolio look the way they do largely because of my use of light and the time of day your session takes place has a huge impact. Many families tell me that they simply have the kids take a late nap or have some down time prior to their evening session.

Length of Session.

The good news is, I am super fast! My family portrait sessions rarely last more than an hour. Don't worry, I can easily get a diverse and more than adequate gallery in that time.

What To Wear. 

Wardrobe should be comfortable and reflect who you are. I do not recommend matching but rather coordinating. Ten ideas for what to wear to your family session.


I do not use props during my sessions with the exception of a throw or blanket for seated shots. However if you have something in mind please let me know. For natural, in-home newborn sessions, I bring along a fur blanket/rug, a few swaddle wraps and a posing pillow. I keep it real simple so your sweet baby is the star of the show.

Your Children.

Remember that children are not usually fond of being told to pose or smile. Please, no "cheese" - the response is never natural. It is best if we just give the children time to relax and try to capture their natural self. Don't worry if your child is active, the sweetest, most authentic images are the ones I capture of your little playing and exploring.

To get the family shots, I usually direct adults into a natural pose and then ask you to simply "be" with the child. There is no need to coax kids into poses that are unnatural or forced.

To get the most out of your session, make sure that your little one has rested and has had adequate snacks and water. We can take breaks for snacks and play, however I will probably still shoot during the breaks. Bring dry, non messy snacks so their little faces stay clean during the session.

My style of photography embraces real life and the perfectly imperfectness of family life - let your kids be kids and you just enjoy them. In the years ahead, you will be so thankful that I’ve captured your tribe in a real way instead of the nervous deer in the headlights with forced "cheese" smiles staring blankly at the camera. Don’t be intimidated (and please don't apologize) when your kids become lively, I love capturing their personalities! Try to go with the flow and let your kids guide you and the session. It also helps if you allow them to bring their beloved stuffed animal or blankie if it makes them feel more comfortable - especially if they insist, it's just not a fight worth having, ya know ;-) Instead, think of it as another adorable childhood trait you'll have captured to reflect on later.

You do You.

Family portraits with me are all about capturing the honest moments that make up your family.  You, my friend, just need to relax and in the surprisingly enlighted words of Elsa, just "let it go." Let the kids explore and play. Let your hubby resist if he wants. But YOU set the vibe for the entire session. If you are happy, chill and excited... your tribe will fall in line.

Your vibe impacts your tribe! #truth

When you are in front of my camera, it is fair game! ;-) Make sure you are smiling the whole time, you never know when one of those in between moments is going to be your favorite photo.  Just keep reminding yourself how fleeting and precious these moments are with your children... and keep on smiling.  You do you, girl and let me draw out the smiles from your littles! ;-) Want an extra game day tip, check out my post on How to Look Slimmer in Every Photo.

Well, that just about wraps up this portion of the session planning...if you have any other questions, feel free to jump over to my FAQ's to get answers to some commonly asked questions or shoot me and email - I love chatting about my work and business!

I'd also love to have you join my VIP LIST, to be the first to hear all about the happenings at SweetLife and as well as session announcements and deals I only share with VIP's!