Family Session Prep Guide

Preparing for your family session

You've just booked your session with me {Heather Michelle Photography}, and you're super excited (as am I). But you're probably wondering: "what's next?" This guide will help walk you through the steps you need to prepare your family for your photography session with me. I'll go over everything from wardrobe to how to get the kids (and dad) ready. I'm so excited to work with you and your family. If you have any questions along the way, please just let me know. 



Wardrobe: "What will we wear?"

The hardest question everyone asks themselves after booking a photo session is: "What will we wear?". I totally understand! And I'm here to help! 

When you start styling your session, I suggest starting with Mom and then working out from there. Whether you want to purchase all new clothes, or you want to use that dress you love, it's a great place to start. You don't have to start with mom's outfit though. Just pick one item first. Then you can pull your colors and textures and build up from that starter piece. Another good starting point is to think of the colors in your home (these images will be on your walls after all) or maybe your favorite color, then go from there.

*****This images does not belong to me nor do I own copy rights, this image is only used to give you an idea of color tones**** 

*****This images does not belong to me nor do I own copy rights, this image is only used to give you an idea of color tones**** 

Things to keep in mind:

  • comfort: you want everyone to be comfy at your session. We'll be moving around on our adventure, so make sure you put yourself and the kids in something that moves with you and isn't itchy or too tight. You'll be hearing about it all session, trust me.
  • accessorize it: hats, scarves, jewelry, blankets, headbands, suspenders, etc. All these things are a great way to add another layer of your style into your session.
  • patterns: I love fun patterns, but my favorite is florals! Mixing patterns is a great way to add interest to your photos.
  • textures & layers: Layers add texture and textures add interest. Denim, chunky knits, lace, cords, etc. I love the way a chunky cardigan looks. Or a denim shirt tied at the waist. These are all great ways to incorporate your style.
  • color: make sure the colors you choose compliment each other. Colors that will stand out best are muted, earthy tones. Some examples are: mustard yellow, mauve pink, browns or khaki, dark blue, hunter green, dark reds/oranges
  • MAKE IT YOUR OWN: this session is about you! And it's so important to make sure that your family's personality shines through in every aspect. 
  • Patterns & textures always help to add another layer to your photos. The main thing with patterns is you want to make sure whatever the pattern is, it isn't fighting with the rest of the outfits. Plaid is always a safe bet-- plaid flannels always photograph well and break up solids so nicely. Sweaters, jackets, cardigans-- all great as well to break up solids and to give a little bit more depth!



Also think about your location. A lot of people wear blues to ocean side sessions-- they probably think it's a place with a lot of blue, blue will look nice. But really all they're doing is blending into their setting. In more dynamic images, the subjects usually choose colors that create a contrast between themselves and the backdrop. Usually picking jewel tones achieves this without fighting skin tones.

Things to avoid:

  • giant logos: shirts that have giant logos on them can distract from your beautiful faces. Just say no.
  • neon colors: just say no to hot pink and lime green
  • matchy-matchy: matching outfits are super cute, I know, but they can also seem very redundant and dare I say boring. Having different colors, patterns, textures, etc is super important to create interest and diversity in your family's images.

Places to shop:

  • Old Navy, Ross, TJ Maxx, Forever 21, Target, Charolette Russe , American Eagle, Dollcake, My Little Jules, Janie & Jack, 

What to expect: "What will our session be like?"

My main focus is to capture your family in this season of your lives! I want to capture moments not poses. And I want to embrace all the beautiful imperfections. At our session, we will play, adventure, snuggle, run, jump, and maybe even get a little dirty. We'll start off our session by getting that perfect posed "Christmas Card Photo" out of the way. I usually like to do one standing and one sitting pose. And then we'll start our adventure.  Be thinking of things that you like to do together as a family, little games or small things you want to remember. An example would be how my daughter doesn't like to get kisses on the lips, so we kiss on the cheeks and forehead. 

I like to start my sessions about 1 hour before sunset, and they usually last roughly an hour or so sometimes less, honestly it just depends. I have a few locations picked out at the beginning of each season, and you'll get to pick from those. But if you have a spot for your session in mind (maybe it's special to your family, or you just love the way it looks) I want to know! I love going to new places and experiencing new things. And adding that special element to your session is what makes it more unique. 


The week before:

"How do I prep the kids for our photo session?"

The week or two before your session, start bringing me up in conversation. You can refer to me as Heather or even just the photographer lady. Tell your kids about the fun adventure we'll be having. I am totally not above bribery. A fun ice cream date after our session is always a big hit. Just make sure you let the kids know we're going to have fun! If they get worried about behaving perfectly then it will show in the images. I love taking time to connect with your kids to get those fun images of them.

"How do I prep dad for our photo session?"

Tell dad we're going on an adventure too! Let him know that all he has to do is relax and have fun loving on his wife and kids. Take the pressure off. He'll do great!

"How do I prep myself, mom?"

Relax! Pamper yourself. Get your hair or nails done (if that's your thing). Don't stress, and remember to just have fun with your family. This is the time to be your true self with your beautiful family, enjoy it.

Need help? Just ask:

I am here to help in any way that you may need, from helping with wardrobe choices, or deciding between whether or not to bring your child's lovey. I want to make this session awesome for you, and I love getting involved in all the details. So if you have a question about anything, please don't hesitate to ask. You can email, text (205-219-8480), or send a facebook message.



    Session Day: "It's finally here!"

    The day of your session is here! We've picked out the perfect time and location, and your wardrobe is ready to go. You've spent weeks preparing, and it's finally time. I'm getting just as excited as you are.

    Things to remember:

    • Have fun! This is so important that you and your kids enjoy this experience because it will show up in your photos if someone just isn't having it. Relax and love on your family.
    • This time is about you and what makes your family special. We'll spend the first little bit getting to know each other. We'll knock out the "Christmas Card" photos (ones where everyone is looking and smiling), and then set off. 
    • Moments over poses: after we get the poses out of the way, you don't have to look at the camera anymore. You totally can if you want, but it's not required. 
    • Always touching: be sure that your always touching someone. Whether it's a hug or snuggle, or just a tender hand on the shoulder. Make contact with your family. This shows connections and love.
    • Don't stress: if your kids are nervous or acting a little wild, that's totally ok! I embrace children in every aspect of themselves. We're focusing on moments, so a shy kiddo can get extra snuggles and a wildling can have extra run time. It's all about your family in this season! Remember that. 
    • Bring snacks, water, a blanket, jackets/cardigans (if it's cold), more water and snacks, and extra change of clothes in case someone gets too messy for the car ride home. 
    • Have fun and don't stress!


    After the session:

    "How long do we have to wait to see our photos?"

    That is a great question! I take great care to go over all of your images and pick out the perfect moments. When I get home from our session, I immediately back up your images so they are safe. Also, I don't delete the images from my memory card until after I have edited your pictures. Once they are safely backed up, I pick my favorites. Then I edit one or two for a sneak peek. These will be posted on my facebook page in the day or two following our session. My turn around time for your full gallery is between 3-4 weeks. Once I've finished editing your session, I will upload it to PIXIESET. This is a photo gallery hosting website. Then I send you the link and you are free to download, print, and share your images. Once you have reviewed your images you may place a product order with me to insure you're getting the top quality products for your cherished memories.