Session Prep Guide
Thank you for booking a session! I am so excited for the opportunity to photograph you and your loved ones and capture this beautiful time in your life.
Below I've expanded on some of the frequent questions I get asked prior to a photoshoot. I hope this better helps you feel at ease as you prepare for your upcoming session with me. If we haven't already, we'll confirm the day, time and location of your session via email. In the week or two prior to your session, I'll be in touch to confirm final details and meeting location.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out with any other questions you have!
The majority of my sessions take place outdoors at the location of your choice*. You should choose somewhere that matches the style and feeling you'd like for your photos. I am happy to discuss options with you if you need help deciding. Please keep in mind that I charge a travel fee for sessions further than 15 miles from 19460 and that some locations may require a permit or have other shooting fees. I am happy to research your preferred location to learn of any requirements for photography and will handle any permit applications .
I have listed some recommendations here if you are looking for suggestions or don't have a particular place in mind. The majority of my sessions take place at Valley Forge National Historic Park, which is one of my absolute FAVORITE places to shoot and is breathtaking year round. I also can come to you and take photographs right in your backyard if you want to keep it really simple.
*If you would like to do an indoor photoshoot based on location and/or time of year/weather, please let me know.
I usually schedule sessions in the evening hours before sunset or in the morning, just after sunrise, when the lighting is not too bright. The golden hour, just before sunset, also gives a beautiful magical glow to photographs. When we discuss timing, I may give you the range of hours I recommend based on the sunset/sunrise times that time of the year, but I also understand these hours might not work for families. We can still capture amazing photographs at all hours of the day, we just may be limited to shady locations on sunny days in order to get the best quality images.
Length Of Session
I plan 30-45 minutes for my standard family and portrait sessions. This allows us to adapt your session to your individual needs. I always want my sessions to feel fun and effortless, especially for children. This may mean having it be on the shorter end if they are getting tired and fussy, or extending it if everyone is enjoying the shoot to allow for additional locations. I try to work quickly to make sure it never feels tedious. I get it - it can be hard getting your photograph taken!
I usually set aside 1-1.5 hours for extended family sessions depending on the size and needs of the family. Other special portrait sessions, like engagement sessions, may also take 1-2 hours if multiple locations and/or outfits are desired.
What To Wear
First and foremost - wear something you feel comfortable and yourself in. If you love jeans, wear jeans. If you love dresses, wear dresses. Be as casual or formal as feels right to you. How you feel will come across in your photos, for better or worse. Same thing goes if you are dressing kids. I recommend choosing clothes that coordinate with each other, rather than ones that exactly match. This would mean clothes with similar colors or values, that all have a similar aesthetic vibe. Patterns, textures, and layers are great ways to add additional interest and movement to your photos. Natural and muted colors will complement the natural scenery better than overly bright colors or black. Ultimately these photos are for you and should reflect you.
And call out to all the moms - choose your outfit first! I know many of us tend to worry about ourselves last, so please take this opportunity to find something that makes you feel amazing and then coordinate everyone else.
What to Bring
I recommend bringing a neutral (beige, cream, gray, navy) blanket with you for your session for any seated photographs. You are also welcome to sit directly on the ground if you are comfortable. For milestone sessions, such as a first birthday, we can also discuss bringing a cake or cupcake to the shoot for cake smash photos.
In general, I prefer not to use props during sessions, but am happy to speak with you if you had something in mind and to make sure we can incorporate it in a natural and authentic manner. We can also consider locations that provide the opportunity to document an experience and interact with your surroundings such as a berry farm, flower field, pumpkin patch, or Christmas tree farm.
Have a furry friend? I love incorporating dogs into my sessions. Just check with me first to make sure your location allows them to join too.
What to Expect During Your Session
I try to keep my sessions fun, engaging and quick. Having your photo taken can be awkward, so I aim to create a relaxed and low keep environment to allow for honest moments. In general, I try to avoid too much stiff posing, but rather will direct you through some poses to create space for little loving interactions. I also may incorporate action to create movement and support my documentary approach. While we will take some traditional images of everyone looking at the camera, for the majority of the session I will encourage you to instead look at and interact with each other.
If you have young kids, I may create space for them to play, or use games as ways to keep them engaged and present. This often leads to more authentic representation of their personalities and will help them feel more at ease.
How to Prepare Your Children
If you are doing a family session, here are some helpful things to keep in mind when preparing your children for our shoot.
Don't stress! I have two young kids and get that they don't always act or react the way we wish and that's ok! I also know how easily our own mood can effect their own. I encourage you to not get frustrated by their behaviour or worry if they are refusing to smile (if anything I ask that you don't force them to smile). They'll need time to feel at ease in this setting and many of my favorite images are taken when they are off playing and exploring. If there is anything I need to know about their interests or personality that will help me make them feel more at ease, please don't hesitate to share.
Did I forget anything? If you still have unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to reach out!