Family Prep Guide
Thanks so much for allowing me the honor of creating beautiful photos for your family. It is my hope that together we craft not only awesome memories, but gorgeous, timeless images as well.
My style is photo journalistic, I love capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving on each other. I will always do my best to get that one desired shot of everyone looking and smiling at me, but will for the most part, be giving piggyback rides to your kids, encouraging dads to show off their kid-flipping skills, having little ones give moms their BEST hugs EVER, and fun stuff like that.
All sessions are shot in the evening for optimal lighting - the time frame of this will depend upon the season and the sun. We will discuss this more in detail if we haven’t already.
Please take some time to read through the following information as you prepare yourself and your family!
Looking forward to meeting with you!
Preparing your kids for our session as much as possible often takes the timidness out of the evening. Please make sure kids know that this is FUN! No threats, as they usually bring about tears and added stress. Don’t even bother telling them to be sure to smile or “be good”. My goal isn’t to get a picture of your child “being good” or just “smiling” but having fun and interacting. Some kids who have been coached to smile for the photographer get so nervous that they are fighting laughing and relaxing because they are so worried about having their picture taken or making their parents happy!
Instead, I’m a huge fan of bribery - (ice cream after!) is always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement. However, please don't bring sweets for bribing during the shoot. They tend to end up being a distraction.
Moms, I’m speaking to you. Is your husband feeling less than thrilled about your upcoming photo shoot? A little bribery seems to work well here (though maybe something better than ice cream!) as well!
But seriously, let your husband know that the shoot will be relatively painless and to try to focus on having an hour to play with the kids, hold your hand and just savor the
What to Wear
Ah, the age old question always associated with photo shoots. Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in, since I want you guys to still be you not, Mallory’s idea of fashion. But here is my 2 cents:
Think layers. Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look wow: little boys in a t-shirt, with a button up over it, along with a blazer. Throw on a fun hat (bowler, fedora, stylish ball cap) and you're set! Little girls: same thing, leggings, fun skirt, tank with a sweater and a tasteful (not too big and overwhelming!) headband.
*Side note: Stay away from gaudy Gerber daisy flowers in neon colors and mesh hats with rhinestones, they look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features.
As you think about your color palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Each person/outfit will bring together a feeling of formality and coordination. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue - think about what accent colors might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue plaid shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colors of his plaid shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the plaid shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with an awesome jacket and fedora. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots, leggings and darling dress that (again) coordinates with the family color story.
Head to toe.
Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! No scuffed Reeboks for boys, but fun shoes like Converse, "boat" shoes, or boots. Same for girls, no Dora Crocs, but more traditional Mary Jane’s or boots work best!
What NOT to wear.
Remember to Olan Mills look of everyone in khakis + white button down shirts? That isn’t the kind of matching I’d like you to do. Again, think coordinating without matching perfectly.
Dads, instead of defaulting to a plain ole polo - look for fun colors, stripes, plaids. Texture photographs amazingly. Get creative!
Helpful tip! Head into your local GAP (or the like) and mention you’re styling for family photos. They are happy to direct you - and free of charge! No need to pay a stylist when you have knowledgeable fashion advice right there in the store.
The Day of Your Session
Just a few thoughts on your kids + the big day!
I mentioned bribery. Love it! Keep in mind that most bribery snacks make messes and have dye in them to change your kids' mouths. Usually this backfires and all they want to do is eat instead of pay attention to me. I suggest keeping the goodies in your bag or car until after we’ve finished.
Please make sure your children go to the bathroom before leaving, as well as limiting their liquid intake beforehand. This allows us uninterrupted shooting time!
Sessions with younger children (18 months and under) typically last one hour. If your little one isn't accustomed to staying up until sunset, please adjust their naps as best you can, and rest assured that one night of staying up past their bedtime will be just fine as we will actually be having fun (I promise!)
As for older children, expect the session to last around 1.5 - 2 hours. With your older child, please don't say, "That's not your REAL smile". I know what a real smile looks like, so even if I'm snapping away, I'm just trying to loosen up your son/daughter! I promise I won't be giving you cheesy smiles for your finished order!
As with any age, I take my time and do my best to allow your kids to feel comfortable around me and know we are going to have a blast!
Mom & Dad
During the shoot, if you are not in the picture, please let me just interact with your child, unless I ask for help! Many parents will stand behind me trying to get their babies' attention and all it does is distract baby from me!
I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it's okay if they aren't giving big smiles right off the bat. Trust me and trust the process.
Mom and dad, as you focus on your children, don’t forget about yourself! Keep your posture good as well as ensuring your chin doesn’t pull in. These allow for the most flattering images.
Something else to keep in mind is to be watchful of your own expression as you’re trying to get baby to smile. Remember you are in the photos as well!
Rest assured I’ll be watching all of you and will definitely let you know if I see something out of place or looking off
A quick but important note: if the weather turns out warmer/cooler than you anticipated when putting together outfits, please adjust what everyone is wearing. Doing a session when it's sweltering and kids are over dressed is never fun. Likewise, if a cold front comes through unexpectedly, please put sweaters on your children, as I can't photoshop out goose bumps and blue lips. I will most likely cut sessions short if I think the kids are too cold/overheated.
In case of rain, I will be watching the radar all day. If it doesn't rain, but is overcast, we will do one rescheduled shoot. If the second day is overcast with no rain, we will have to shoot without full sun.
Just as important as the weather is that everyone being photographed be feeling 100%. There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera.
At the first sign that your kids aren’t well, please give me a call.
A Few Additional Thoughts…
If your little one brings along a "lovie" (stuffed animal, blanket, etc.) I’d love to use some time at the end to capture some memories with that special piece of their childhood!
It is my pleasure to be able to photograph your family and I look forward to the fun we will have! Thanks for taking the time to best prepare for your session, it will be amazing.