Family Session Guide

Family photos are a super fun way to make memories and celebrate the people you love! This year has looked a lot different for all of us, so grab your fam, get dressed up, and remember this year with holiday card worthy portraits.

My photography style is bright and fun. Sessions include posed and prompted photos. Posing ensures we get the smiling at the camera photo, while prompts lead to candid reactions that show off your personalities. I like to capture both, but focus on how you interact with each other as a family. 

This post is part style guide, part suggestions, and a bunch of sample images. Can’t wait to celebrate you and your fam and document this season. 

WHAT TO WEAR

Focus on outfits that go together that make you feel comfortable and confident. No need to be matchy-matchy. Jeans are cool, casual, they go with everything, and can be dressed up or down! Mix and match with gray/black/white and other neutrals like light blue, cream, or add a pop of color. 

You can get a bit fancy with dresses or button ups, think a bit more business casual. Consider the season we’re in and location of our session. Burgundy looks great amongst the fall foliage, and scarves/boots can be great accessories. Shades of pink and floral dresses are lovely for a spring/summery feel! 

Stay away from extra bright colors and crazy patterns. If we shoot at a park or place with lots of foliage, don’t wear green.

Pro Tips: I recommend pressing/steaming clothes the night before. If you have pets, bring a lint brush to the session. For families with little kids, you can always arrive to the session 15 minutes early and get your kids changed there to avoid any messes on the drive over.

You can always send me photos of outfits before the shoot, I’m happy to give suggestions.

LOCATION

There are so many lovely spots for family photos in our area, here are a few of my go-to spots:

Rock Garden at William Land Park is a beautiful park is located behind Fairy Tale Town. I prefer shooting there in the morning to avoid crowds, but you can’t beat the golden afternoon light if you don’t mind people around. There’s lots of lush greenery, a garden to walk through, and pond to walk around. (perfect for mini or full sessions).

Paradise Beach or Sutter’s Landing are beautiful spots by the river with dried/golden foliage along with trees and pathways. Requires a few minute walk over a levee and down a few minutes to get to the best spots, but it’s worth the colors and nature vibes. (perfect for mini or full sessions) 

Cactus Garden at Capitol Park is a small hidden gem adjacent to the rose garden. It has a variety of large cacti that is my favorite textured backdrop for portraits. You can sit along the edge of the planter, walk along the paths, and take photos with the beautiful trees at the park. (perfect for mini or full sessions) 

CSUS Arboretum is a small hidden gem near the front of Sac State. In the spring, there are tons of daffodils and new blooms, and lots of vibrant colored leaves in the fall.

Want photos inside your home? I always love south facing windows and will find the best light with the least amount of distracting elements. I’m being cautious about shooting inside right now due to covid, but let’s chat. If you have a lovely porch or garden, we can always use that as our backdrop.

Have something else in mind? Let me know! There might be a park or river access in your neighborhood. I love exploring new locations.

Please note that mini sessions usually have an assigned location, while full sessions you can pick the spot.

PROPSACTIVITIES

Props can be a fun addition to the shoot. They can help show your personality and tell a story. Lots of options here like hats, a bouquet of flowers, dogs, a letter-board with a fun message, or anything with significance. This is totally optional, so don’t worry about it if you just want to focus on your family. Could be something as simple as a blanket for you to sit on! 

What do you all like to do together? Perhaps it has to do with coffee, picnicking, games, donuts- or anything you just love as a family.  Having something to do during your session can be really fun, make you feel relaxed in front of the lens, and lead to genuine reactions.

REMINDERS

  • Stay hydrated and get a good night of rest before the shoot.
  • Eat 1-2 hours before hand and bring snacks to avoid hanger (especially for the little ones).
  • Press/steam clothes the night before. Be sure to get your outfits and props ready a few days before so you’re not stressed about it.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to the shoot 

FAQ

How long are family sessions?

  • Mini sessions are 20-30 minutes while full family sessions are 60-90 minutes
  • How many outfits should we bring?

  • No outfit changes on mini sessions, but for full sessions, you can do 1-2 outfit changes.
  • How many people?

  • Sessions are for up to 6 people. Additional people will be invoiced at $25 per person
  • When do we schedule?

  • ASAP! My fall 2020 dates are just about booked up. Reserve a mini session here.
  • When are photos delivered?

  • Your gallery is delivery in 1-2 weeks from the day of session. Photos are delivered in a bright and natural style. Retouching/photoshopping is an additional fee and can extend the delivery time.
  • What if it rains?

    • If it’s raining, I try not to reschedule until the evening/morning before, just in case there’s a break in the weather. A cloudy day can lead to moodier vibes. I have cute clear umbrellas if there’s a sprinkle, but if it’s pouring, then we’ll plan a back up day.

    Hope this helps in your family session planning and guides you to make the most of our shoot!


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