We’re so excited to be working with you and we can’t wait for our time together during your session. It’s normal to be a little anxious about your session. You're a busy family with quite a few things on your plate.
That's actually one of the reasons why we put together this guide. It covers things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a location, outfits, prepping kids and more.
Hopefully it helps you feel fully prepared for our time together, but should you have any other questions or if you need advice, please feel free to reach out!
Tips for timing, choosing a location, outfits, managing kids and more!
PLANNING YOUR family
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.
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.
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.
In the warmer months, sunset sessions often fall during the "witching hour" for kids. They may even fall during or after bedtime, especially in the summer season.
As much as we love a consistent bedtime routine, in order to capture the best light during "golden hour", we're likely 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.
Most of the time, it's not a huge issue, but keep this in mind while scheduling your session so you can prep them as well as yourself. We've found that most kids are totally fine but it never hurts to spend a little time setting your session up for success!
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 holiday cards 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.
If your session takes place during the winter, we could begin shooting as early as 2:30pm to catch the sunset. We recommend dressing in layers so that in between photos you can warm up. Pocket warmers and thick socks hidden in cute boots can help keep everyone warm without showing up in images.
snowfall, hot cocoa and cozy coats
Even though Spring begins in March, we typically don’t begin shooting for another 6 weeks because the weather in our area is still pretty chilly. When we schedule spring dates, we typically schedule both a primary date and a backup rain date because #aprilshowers.
fresh flowers and sunny days
In spite of the heat, we’re big fans of summer sessions! Because of the later sunset, sessions sometimes begin as late as 7pm. If you’re taking your photos during the summer, we recommend bringing extra makeup and a few towels to make sure you stay fresh throughout your session.
pool parties, bbq's and bonfire sunsets
Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year here in Nebraska and because of the perfect weather, our schedules typically book up quickly! If you have your heart set on a fall session, we recommend scheduling early!
"AND AUTUMN A MOSAIC OF THEM ALL."
A few things to keep in mind during each season:
We know that some of your favorite 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. And we totally get it, sometimes with the locations we use it's impossible to snag an extra friend, so just grab a leash and we'll find something close to tie them up next to. That way they can still see us but we know they're safe.
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.
When picking outfits we recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” For example, if Dad is wearing a blue and pink pastel plaid shirt, then Mom may want to choose a long, soft blue dress. It can also be a great idea to choose “color-families,” such as pastels or jewel tones.
A good rule of thumb: pick 3 or so colors and spread them throughout the family. Don't be afraid to mix a few subtle patterns or textures (such as linen).
And always keep the location in mind. If we're shooting in a green field, light green dresses might blend in too much with the surroundings.
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Heels lengthen legs but if your heels aren’t comfortable for walking or we'll be in grass, bring an extra pair of shoes to slip into in between shots.
We love the way larger patterns and textures (like linen) photograph - just be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy.
Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin.
For the ladies
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Statement jewelry is a great way to add color or pattern to a simple dress. Lace and tulle look amazing in photographs.
And dresses with sleeves are a great way to help slim arms. Depending on your location, you might want to consider a fit and flare or a flowy dress.
They look great in walking and photos with movement. Choose an outfit you feel comfortable in, but don’t be afraid to dress up!
For the ladies
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Pink Blush (Maternity)
Baltic Born Clothing
Kate + Grace Boutique
Pink Lily Boutique
For the ladies
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shop our Amazon favorites
We think it’s so important that you look and feel your best for your photos. Spend a little bit of time finding what works best for you. Now probably isn’t the best time to try out that new contouring technique you saw on TikTok.
We recommend going with a timeless, classic look for make-up. Go a little heavier than your normal daily make-up routine and add a little extra hairspray to your hair to help with the humidity.
If you’re planning to do any spray tans or waxing, schedule those for a few days before the session to give your skin time to recover.
For the ladies
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You can’t go wrong with crisp button up. Or consider layering a blazer or sweater with jeans with this look.
Be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photo look a little too busy.
Softer, pastel colors tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin. Cozy sweaters layered over button ups are a great way to stay warm and stylish during the cooler months.
Make sure you have nice shoes on. This can easily elevate any portrait session.
For the gents
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Nebraska weather can change as quickly as a toddlers attitude. So, weather reschedules can happen.
We’ll check in the week of your session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and we'll look into the upcoming 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 6+ hours in advance.
what to do if it rains
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.
Sometimes kiddos can get antsy, that's when we like to start playing games and might even ask you to step off to the side so we can catch their attention. We all know kids are often angels for others but won't cooperate with parents. We're not judging you, we promise we know that kids can be sour patch kids!
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!
If you have booked an extended family session (more than one household, grandparents, etc), we have a few tips to help make photographing this larger group a bit easier on everyone.
Please send us all family groupings ahead of time so that while we’re shooting, we understand who should be photographed together. Most of this info should be laid out in the questionnaire we send to you prior to your session.
While you don’t need to draw us a family tree 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 schedule an ordering session. We've found that bringing a few from each family set works best but we know it can be hard to coordinate schedule so if a few can come that's great. We will send out the entire gallery once an order is made and others can add their orders together to combine and save.
In order to have a timely turn around we'd prefer that, but we're not locking you into any decisions you aren't comfortable making.
03. Do we have to order anything at our ordering session?
After your session our typical turn-around time is 1-2 weeks for the editing process when we then schedule your viewing session. Your prints and products will take 2-3 weeks to get in once the final payment has been made on all products and the contract is signed.
02. Does my session fee include prints, products or digital images?
Your session fees cover my time, talent, props and full edited images in an online gallery. It does not include digital files, prints or other products. Those are sold separately in create your own collection packages or a la carte at your viewing and ordering appointment after your session.
01. When will my photos ready to be viewed and ordered?
We do offer specials mini sessions from time to time, and the best way to find out about those is by signing up for our email newsletters, they get first dibs to any upcoming mini sessions before they're released on our social media!
03. I only need a few images, do you offer family mini sessions?
We typically plan about 90 minutes for sessions. While we likely don’t need to be shooting this entire time, this does give us the flexibility for location changes, rowdy kids and time to warm up.
05. Will you retouch our images?
We do light retouching on all of our images. This means that if there are any glaring objects that should be removed (such as a bump from the tumble your toddler took that morning) we’ll remove it. Larger editing is done upon request.
04. How long should we plan for the session to take?
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.
It's extremely important to us to not only give you the service of creating photographs but also provide you the opportunity to print customized prints and products.
Perfect for those who value legacy. These heirloom albums are a great way to house a large number of images in a beautiful way. Leave them on display as coffee table books or protect them with a legacy box.
Our framed and matted prints are the perfect way to fill your walls with memories. With a variety of frames to choose from, we’ll help you select the perfect image pairings for your space.
Details for ordering will be delivered after your session
Easy to hang and easy to change out. Canvases are one of our favorite ways to decorate a space. They also work great on little easels placed around the home.
We know that this guide is long and hopefully it covers everything you need to know to prep for your portrait session. However if there is something we missed, or you need other recommendations feel free to reach out and email us.