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Utah Family & Wedding Photographer

How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Family Session

Heather Smith Photography | Utah Family Photographer | Utah Family Session | Alpine Utah

How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Family Session

Family portrait sessions are such a fun and exciting thing to prepare for. However, they can also bring feelings of stress and anxiety as you think about outfits, when to take them and if you have kids, will they behave?

I am here to tell you to relax and don’t worry! While yes, family sessions take a little bit of planning, they should be something you look forward to and enjoy! My goal at every family session is for everyone to have fun and be themselves. If you do have young kids there is always the possibility that someone may have a melt down or won’t want to smile; however, I am there to help and believe me there is always a solution, even if it takes a little time and maybe even a snack.

I have put together some helpful tips that will help you plan ahead and tell you all you need to know in order to prepare for your family session.

Outfits ::

I know choosing outfits can feel like such an overwhelming decision. I have been there! Start by thinking of what you feel most comfortable in and what you feel is the most flattering on you. Sometimes it helps for mom to pick her outfit first and then move onto dad and the kids next.

I recommend choosing soft neutral colors and soft flowing fabrics. You will want to avoid anything to bright or bold, these colors tend to stand out too much in the photos and can be a distraction. A softer color palette will fit beautifully into a natural environment.

Don’t be afraid of patterns, they can add some variation and interest to the overall style. Just remember to keep the patterns soft. Nothing bright, bold or too busy.

You also want to avoid having everyone be “matchy, matchy.” Instead think about what fits together. Try breaking up colors and shades so everyone isn’t wearing the exact same colors on top and bottom.

A bonus tip for choosing outfit colors is to think about your home décor. Will you be hanging your photos in a specific room? Think of colors that will work in that room or throughout your home, again those soft neutral color palettes usually work best!

Time of Day ::

There are times of the day that work best for portraits. The best times are either in the morning, just after sunrise, or in the evening, a few hours before sunset. That evening golden hour light is pure magic! However, if you find that these times don’t work well for your family or your kids then we can certainly work around the time of day that you feel would be the best option.

What to Bring/Preparation Tips ::

  1. It doesn’t hurt to have some snacks and water on hand for your kids. Oftentimes someone just needs a quick break, a snack or a friendly bribe! (Don’t worry, we’ve all done it!) I do recommend snacks that are easy to eat (avoid chocolate) and that won’t change their mouths a funny color. I always have a stash of smarties to share with the kids.
  2. Arrive a little early. It always takes a few minutes to straighten shirts, touch up hair and wipe faces. I also like to arrive early so I can scope out the location and to be ready whenever you are.
  3. Things to help the photos look better : keys/phones out of pockets, sport watches removed, no hair ties on wrists, kids nose & eyes wiped and clothes ironed.
  4. Get the kids excited by telling them you’re going on an adventure with Miss Heather. Let them know we are going to take some pictures but we are also going to play some games, explore a new area and have fun as a family!

Have Fun ::

Remember to relax and have fun at your family session. You’ve put a lot of work into getting everyone ready and to the location so now let yourself have some fun.

Let your kids be kids, laugh and be silly. Don’t be afraid to pick them up and throw them in the air, snuggle, kiss and tickle them. I want to capture everyone’s personalities and how you interact with each other.

Remember these photos are meant to capture your family as you are now! So if you have a toddler that likes to make silly faces or just wants to explore with you, let’s capture those moments.

Moments Captured ::

I love capturing candid photos of interaction, giggles, kisses, and laughter. Within these photos you can see a family’s personality. I like to give prompts that help create these moments but often times they happen on their own as a family tells jokes, plays a game, or squeezes in for a cheek to cheek hug. In my opinion, these moments are pure gold!

Along with these candid photos I also know how important it is to get a picture of everyone smiling and looking at the camera. I have found that these shots are the easiest to get at the beginning of the session. This is when everyone is clean, fresh and still working on relaxing and feeling comfortable in front of the camera.

I also like to do smaller breakout sessions. These include photos of the kids together, mom with kids, dad with kids, individual photos as well as mom and dad together. I always enjoy getting to know every member of the family and letting them each have their own “movie star” photo shoot.

I know setting up and getting ready for family photos is no quick and easy task. I am here to help make the day go as smoothly as possible. I have seen a variety of situations and worked with kids of all ages and personalities. Your family is special and unique and I can’t wait to work with you.

I am also happy to be flexible with your family and their needs. If someone ends up being sick don’t hesitate to let me know so we can reschedule. Let’s find another time that works so everyone can feel their best and enjoy the session. I do not charge a rescheduling fee. I am also happy to reschedule if the weather just isn’t cooperating. No one wants to take pictures in the pouring rain!

If there are other questions or concerns you have please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love family sessions and I want you and your family to love them too!

I would love to work with you. Please contact me to book your family session. To view more of my work follow me on Instagram.