Advice on Prepping for your Family Session

Thank you so much for visiting and considering me as your photographer!  After booking with me, we start by discussing specific things like the best time of day to photograph your family based on the location of the photo session.  There are several things you can do to prepare for a fun, memorable and relaxing experience.  Here are some things I find important to keep in mind in the days leading to your session.


The location for your family session is completely up to you!  Some things to think about is what you would like as the backdrop, what brings back fun memories or where you all like to go together. The beach and trail parks are popular So Cal options, but I encourage you to be creative!  Brainstorm a list of fun places that you all like to spend a lot of time at or enjoy going to together either on a frequent basis or as an annual trip.  Some amazing and personal places I’ve had the opportunity to photograph families have been local farms, public libraries, carnivals and even their own homes.  Some places you can consider are campgrounds, county fairs, local carnivals, a beach house, or even boat.  The possibilities are endless!


  • I encourage being coordinated, but not “matchy.”  Choose 1-2 colors that complement everyone and “pop” colors against neutrals like denim, khakis, navy, blacks, and grays.  Think about accessories, jewelry, different textures or tiny prints to give interest and personality to your look. I suggest looking at actual window displays of stores like J.Crew, Old Navy, H&M or the Gap to get ideas on how to coordinate your group’s clothing without being too matchy.
  • Stay away from large, busy patterns, branding and logos in your clothing.
  • Be sure your clothes are wrinkle and stain-free!  Plan on changing into your outfits when you arrive at the location, especially for the kids.
  • Dress for the weather and location.  If you’ve booked your session at the beach, plan to be barefoot for most of your session.  Likewise, if your session is at an open field or an urban location think about fun, closed toe shoes like boots, bright shoes, patterned tights or fun socks.
  • Ladies, please keep in mind your undergarments (yes, I mean bras and panties!) should be appropriate for your outfit choices.  I advise sheer tops be layered with full tank tops and bra straps are hidden or worn strapless unless it is part of your outfit and you mean for it to be photographed.
  • Accessories are fun and can really help individualize and polish up a look.  If you have a favorite necklace or hat, bring it along!
  • The most important thing is to dress like yourselves.  Your clothing choices should help bring out your personalities and lifestyle, especially if you’re dressing kids!
  • If you need inspiration on fun color combinations or clothing options, visit my Pinterest board.

Hair, Skin, and Nails

  • Plan on any haircuts and color/touch-up appointments at least 2 weeks in advance of your session.  This gives you time to either get used to a new style or help make the cut look a bit more “lived-in” as opposed to blunt.
  • For ladies, make-up for photography should be a bit heavier than your day-to-day.  Bring along translucent powder and lip color for any necessary touch-ups during the session.
  • For everyone, apply lip balm.  This includes children!  Nothing compliments a smile better than soft, pretty lips.
  • For everyone, nails should be manicured or clean and free of chips or dirt.
  • For everyone, remove any temporary tattoos, stamps, and Band-Aids, especially if they are half washed off.  Unless you don’t mind them being in the photo, it’s best to remove them at home.

Families with young children

  • Let them know a few days in advance that I will be taking special photos of them and the whole family.  It helps to show them a photo of me so I’m not a “new” face. Let them know what your expectations are for their behavior, but more importantly, it will be a fun, memorable experience for the whole family.
  • If napping is still a part of your child’s routine, stay on track.  Don’t make any drastic adjustments to their schedule as it’s a sure sign “something is up” and young children don’t do well with schedule changes.
  • Make sure everyone has had a meal or snack before the session.  In fact, pack a simple snack bag with water and something for everyone.  Make sure it’s not something that can stain their mouth, faces or clothing or is messy to eat.
  • Don’t forget to bring a special toy or blanket in case they need a little comfort.  Make sure it’s something you don’t mind being in the photo!

Newborn and Sessions At-Home

  • Newborns take the stage when doing a photo session at home. We will chat beforehand to discuss their feeding and sleep schedules.  The moments right after a nap, feeding and diaper change will be the best time to photograph them.
  • Your home will be the background, but I don’t expect it to be immaculate.  I understand that you actually live there!  However, I may move a few things around that may clutter the background, which may include moving small furniture close to a window, clearing off nightstands and coffee tables.  I may even give some pieces a light dusting…I just need you to make sure you have crisp, clean bedsheets on your beds!
  • The best place in your home to photograph your newborn and family will be the baby’s nursery, your bedroom and family room.  These are the rooms that will hold many memories for years to come!

Last, BE ON TIME.  It is extremely important to arrive ready and on-time for your photo session. Most photo sessions are scheduled based on sunset hour.

My goal is to capture your family at it’s best, authentic self and it definitely helps to come a little prepared!

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!