Let’s face it getting photos taken of your family can be stressful, first you have to find the perfect photographer, then its finding clothes that coordinate and look good on everyone, figuring out a location, trying to ensure your little ones are going behave, getting everyone ready and there on time, there is always a shoe missing or a pair of pants that you thought fit and don’t and oh my goodness you just realized one of your kids doesn’t even own dress shoes! and now your on your way out the door, late, your grumpy which has made your husband remember why he hates family photo day, you all arrive 15 minutes late, grumpy and not ready for family photos. After the session is finally over you wait a few weeks for the images and receive a bunch a digital files. You throw a few up on Facebook and then for the next 6 months you say to yourself “I really need to go get those printed”….Sound familiar? Well if this has been your family session experience in the past I am here to turn it all around for you!!!
In this blog I am going to share a timeline for your photo session that will help take away the element of stress and chaos and help you have a fun experience that you actually want to remember with photos!!! So without further ado, here is how to plan a stress free family session!
1 month or more before the desired photo session date
Choosing your photographer
Choosing the right photographer for your family is one of the biggest ways to eliminate some of that stress. A few things you want to look for when choosing your photographer are their style, do they specialize in the type of photos you want, and how much experience do they have working with kids?
First, flip through their portfolio, read their website, and get a better idea of who you are hiring. Can you envision the type of photos they take hanging in your home? Do they specialize in working with families in the type of setting you want? For example, my family sessions are all outdoor in beautiful locations, if you were looking for someone to do an in home documentary style session you would not want to hire me no matter how much you love my outdoor style, because in home family sessions are not my specialty. On the other hand if you are looking for beautiful outdoor family portraits, and you have young kids, you probably don’t want to hire someone who specializes in working with teenagers or couples, you want someone that knows how to interact with kids and get the best images from them. You will also want to look at style as far as are most of their portraits posed portraits looking at the camera or something that captures the families personalities more? Are their images similar to the style you want?
One more thing you may want to look at is the products that they offer. If you are notorious for taking forever to go get your photos printed after the session you may want to look for a photographer who does this for you. I personally have chosen to offer both printed wall art and digital files because I understand wanting to have the freedom to share your images online, print extras later and turn them into a gift for grandma if I want to but I also understand as a mom you are busy and finding time to print your images and get them ready to display doesn’t always happen right away. I have designed my packages for the busy mom to make sure you can enjoy them on your walls not just on your computer screen!
Once you have found the perfect photographer for you, you will want to contact them at least a month, sometimes longer before the desired session date. Not only can session spots fill up quickly be also as photographers we have a lot of work to do before the session to plan it and make sure everything runs smoothly. Things like getting permits to shoot in the location you chose, helping you plan clothing and making sure everything is all set for an amazing session. Make sure to plan for plenty of time to get this all done.
Picking a location
This is the next thing that I recommend doing in advance. Often it can take several weeks to apply for a permit to shoot in many of the local parks and open spaces, and the more populated the Denver area gets the more park rangers have been cracking down on having a permit for your photo shoot. The good news is that when you book a session with me I take care of this for you and permit fees are included in the price of your session. However you still want to make sure you give me plenty of time to get the permits required.
Ok now I know your asking how to I know where to have my photo shoot? Around 80% of my clients come to me with no idea where they want their photos taken. Don’t worry, I keep lists of both places I love to shoot and places I would love to do sessions in the future. I would love to help you choose a great Denver or Boulder photo shoot location. Here are some locations I have used in the past, However if you are looking for something a little more adventurous contact me for a list of mountain locations!!!
This is another thing I recommend starting at least a month before your session. It can take some time and you don’t want to be throwing together outfits the week before the session. I recommend choosing a photographer who is willing to give you feedback on the clothing that you have chosen and help you find just the right thing. I have my clients text me images of their clothing ideas so I can help them find the perfect look! Need a little more help getting the perfect clothing? Here are a few resources I have put together for you!!
Schedule your makeup artist to have your hair and makeup professionally done
Want to take some extra stress off, have someone else do some of the work!!! I can recommend an amazing makeup artist (She does hair too!) who can not only do your hair and makeup but will come to the shoot to make sure your looking amazing from start to finish! Find out more about her here.
One week or more before your session
Double check the clothing
Have EVERYONE in the family try on the clothes, shoes and everything else they will be wearing the day of the session. Make sure everything fits properly and is clean and stain free, that everyone has shoes that fit and match the look of the session and that you have all of your accessories chosen and ready to go. Then hang everyone’s clothing together in a spot where it won’t get moved and will be all ready for your session.
The day before the session
Pack a bag
Put together a small bag of things you may need at your session. I recommend a comb, hair clips or ties (even if you don’t plan to use them, they are good to have in case it is windy), a snack for the kids that won’t get them messy, your kids favorite book (for some more relaxed images of your family together) a toy or stuffed animal if you have little kids but make sure its one you don’t mind making an appearance in the photos, and some baby wipes for cleaning kids if they get messy.
Go get your nails done
When planning a portrait session its important to remember that the details will show. Make sure to pamper yourself a little go get your nails done, enjoy some time to yourself (hopefully) and look amazing at your session!
Double check sessions details
Make sure you know the time and location of the session, ask your photographer now if you have any questions about the session to make sure you are prepared. If you feel you need to this may even be a good time to drive to the location and make sure you know where you are going.
The day of the session
Don’t plan any other big events that day
I recommend trying to make this an easy relaxed day if possible. If you try to do your session on a day that you have a lot of other things planned you are setting yourself up for a stressful day! Keep it simple and make sure to leave yourself and your family plenty of time to get ready and get there on time.
Plan to arrive early
Plan to arrive at the session location 15-20 minutes before your session time, earlier if you plan to get your small children dressed when you arrive. It is better to be there early and have time to relax then to be late and rushing because of something unexpected. Unfortunately you can’t control traffic so just expect the unexpected!
During the session
Relax and have fun!
I know its hard to turn the stressed mom off but now that it is session time try to just relax and have fun! If you have chosen a session with me you can be confident in the fact that I have photographed hundreds of children over the past 10 years as a Denver family photographer and I know how to coax the best images out of your child! So don’t worry about them being wiggly, or if they take a few minutes to warm up to me, this moment is about having fun with your family and capturing that moment.
I hope this helps you with planning a stress free family session, I would love to be your photographer and help you plan the perfect session. If you are ready for more information you can find my pricing and contact information here.
My name is Jennifer Tavera, the photographer behind Truth Photography. I am a Northglenn Colorado family photographer seeking imaginative, free spirited families who want more than just a boring family photo. I believe that your life is epic and deserves to be captured with photography! I specializes in creating unique photo sessions that will be an adventure for your child or family and turning the finished portraits into beautiful wall art for your home. For more information on my sessions visit www.truth-photography.com I can’t wait to photograph your next adventure!!
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