1. When will my session take place?
I prefer to schedule outdoor sessions as far away from midday as possible. This could be early morning, or in the last hour or two before sunset; these times have the softest light.
Lifestyle and newborn sessions at your home are best scheduled closer to midday, to have the most light available indoors. Due to their length and their unpredictable subjects, I like to schedule newborn sessions for mid-morning.
That said, all the beautiful pre-sunset light in the world won’t help if the kiddos are cranky, so we also factor in when is usually the happiest time for your children.
I am generally available on weekends and weekday evenings, booking about 1-2 months out depending on the season.
2. What do we wear to our session?
For a family session, pick one or two main colors. For example, blue/green, blue/pink, green/pink, red/yellow, purple/green, navy/red, etc. If you have a larger family group being photographed, you could add a third main color into the scheme for variety. Everyone should wear an outfit with at least one of the main colors, and put together the rest of their outfit with neutrals (jeans, white, khaki, navy, gray, cream). Additional pops of color are great, add interest, and can be added with accessories. The goal is to get your family to look coordinated but not too matchy. I personally don’t mind patterns as long as you don’t go crazy with them. The stricter your color scheme, the more formal the photos tend to look.
When I’m putting together outfits for my own family photos, I start with the children’s outfits and build out from there. For example, I’ll pick the girls’ outfits from a collection at a store; a lot of children’s stores have coordinating collections for both genders and those are a great place to start. Then I’ll ask my husband to wear a shirt with one of the main colors, and jeans. Then I’ll layer my tops – one with another main color and one neutral. I’ll also try to bring everything together with a bright necklace or a scarf.
For an in-home session, think more simple and more neutral. Dressing comfortably and feeling good in your outfit is vital to a lifestyle session. You’re not buttoned-up or squeezing into your goal-weight jeans at home on your couch, and I don’t want you to feel uptight when I’m there either. Simple: jeans or pants, a blouse, a polo shirt, a loose sweater, a casual dress – a polished version of your most comfortable self.
If you’re struggling with this, it’s because it’s really hard. Pinterest has a ton of great articles and ideas for family outfits, but it’s a lot harder than they make it look. Hang in there; it’s worth the effort.
3. What is a newborn session like?
I do newborn sessions in your home, and there are two main components to my sessions.
The first are photos of just the baby. This can include typical studio-type, posed, beanbag or prop photos. I provide a set of backdrops and props that will make up a cohesive final gallery, but I am absolutely open to your ideas and incorporating your family’s meaningful mementos. I also take a series of close-ups – those fingernails and toes will get so big so fast!
The second type of images are photos of the new family in the nursery, in the bedroom, and around the house; through diaper changes, cuddling, rocking, and other daily moments. I try to capture everyday life with a brand new baby, albeit an idealized version in which everyone is showered and gazing peacefully upon their sleeping newborn. 🙂
Newborn sessions usually take 3-4 hours, although the actual picture-taking time is much less. There’s plenty of time for feedings and soothing built in there, and I know babies won’t be rushed!
4. What do I need to do to prepare for my session?
All I really need you to do is show up clean. Beyond that, you can be as involved as you want to be. I LOVE incorporating client ideas – after all, it’s your session! I’m happy to kick around thoughts, browse your Pinterest boards, and work with you on props. That said, I will take the reins if that’s not your thing. I like to confirm your goals for the session and go from there, but if at any point you feel like we’re getting off track, please bring it to my attention.
Most of your work will be before the session, letting me know your goals and thoughts. I constantly scout parks and different areas around St. Louis, so I can suggest outdoor locations convenient to you. Once we settle on a location, I’ll typically get out there shortly before your session and map out a route with different posing and backdrop ideas. Once you show up for your session, your job is done. I love connecting with the children I photograph, and it helps them if only one adult is directing, so I’ll take over the job of coaxing poses and smiles out of your little ones. As parents who will be in the photographs too, I just need you to relax and enjoy the company of your family.
5. What is a family session like?
I love both in-home sessions and park sessions, and I’ll happily do whichever you prefer. Sessions are either about 30 minutes, or 60-90 minutes, depending on which session type you choose. I usually go prop-less or very light on props, with perhaps a blanket, wagon, or chair. I always check out locations ahead of time so I can come armed with a plan. I would take your family through my suggested path in the park or your home, snapping photos as we go. It works best to get the more formal, posed shots first, then I’ll follow the kids around to get the candid photos.
That said, I love styled sessions too, do them frequently with my own girls, and I’d love to work with you if you have a particular vision in mind. Get in touch with me if you’d like to chat about a styled session.
6. I can’t decide between a regular session or a mini session. What works for what?
I offer mini sessions for families who are looking for updated family photos and pictures for holiday cards. They utilize one location and do not allow time for whole outfit changes. They’re a great length for young children who aren’t amused by photos for very long. I restrict these to locations within the 270 loop.
Full sessions are perfect for families looking for anything more. For example, if you want family photos ending in a cake smash, or park photos plus lifestyle photos at home, or photos of your extended family, you need a full session. They allow for more variety in the final image set, since we can spend more time changing clothes, walking around, or changing location altogether. There are also more possibilities for locations, since they are simply limited to anyplace within 20 miles of St. Louis.
7. Do you do other types of sessions?
I do head shots and sessions for older children – teens and seniors – too. These flow similarly to the family sessions, except with a lot less unpredictability. I’m happy to discuss anything outside the baby/child/family box with you.
8. What happens after my session?
In about two weeks, I’ll email you a link to your password-protected gallery. You have the chance to review your edited images and request any changes. Once you’re satisfied with the set, they’ll be made available for your download. Once they’ve been downloaded onto your computer, you can do what you like with them; you can save them in the cloud, burn a DVD, or upload them to a site for printing. You will also be emailed a print release.
Please contact me if you’re having any trouble with your photos or if you’re searching for photos from your session awhile ago. I save backups of my sessions, so I’m happy to help out if I can, although I cannot guarantee I’ll still have what you’re looking for.
9. Will I be able to print my photos or do I need to buy prints from you?
I offer a print release with all my image sets. You will be able to print and use the photos, and you are under no obligation to purchase prints from me. I can either point you in the direction of high-quality print labs or help you obtain other photo products (canvases, wood-mounted prints, etc.). Just drop me a line to let me know what you’re interested in.
10. I don’t know if I want to book a session yet. Can I just talk to you without feeling obligated to book?
Absolutely. I know it’s not a small investment, but I am a small shop. I’m more than happy to discuss your ideas or concerns. I want you to be enthusiastic about booking a session and to feel like it’s money well-spent, and I completely understand if you’re not there yet. Contact me in whichever way you feel most comfortable, and we’ll chat.
11. What if I am ready to book?
Let me know and we’ll get your session on the calendar. For a la carte, I ask for a deposit in the amount of my session fee to hold your date; for packages, I will get you on my calendar at any point but require the session fee five days before your session. I do occasionally adjust pricing based on demand, but your price will be locked in at the time of booking.
12. I don’t want my photos on your website or Facebook page.
No problem. Just tell me.
13. I love the photos! What do I do now?
Other than enjoy them, my business is built on referrals and a large part of that is referrals through social media. Liking my Facebook page and tagging yourself, or sharing your images through Facebook, a blog, or Pinterest is huge for me. You’re under absolutely no obligation to do so, but it makes me squeal when I see client shares.