What to Expect During a Typical Family Photo Session
Generally, my sessions are very relaxed and natural – I want to capture who you are and what you love to do.
At the beginning of our session, I get to know everyone. This step is especially important for sessions involving children. It is my goal to make them feel comfortable (with me and with my camera) and create a fun environment. This way I am able to connect with them during a session and capture their personalities in the images I take. There is no rushing this step, which is why I allow at least two hours per photo session.
That being said, I normally start with a couple loosely posed group shots and then begin to evolve the session into a really relaxed experience as everyone begins to feel more comfortable. I may choose to have the family jump onto the bed or even bake some cookies together. I do not force moments. The best images come from those unplanned moments when everyone is having fun
My overall goal for your session is to be more than your family’s photographer. I want to be a friend with a camera who is witnessing and documenting your story, and transforming it into a piece of art you will hang on your wall.
Age Specific Information
Newborn:I strongly recommend doing an “at-home” session within the baby’s first three weeks. It is a familiar environment where everyone is guaranteed to be comfortable. As long as you have a window that faces outside I will have enough light to capture those amazing little baby photos. I focus on the little details of being a newborn that last for just a few weeks and also get images of you interacting with the baby.
These sessions are very flexible due to the possibility of early or late arrival of the baby. I still ask that you reserve a date for the session sometime in the first two to three weeks after your due date, but I am happy to move the session if the baby has a different date in mind.
Important Things To Remember:
- Your home does not need to be spotless. I will be focusing on the baby, not your home, so please don’t stress about cleaning up for the session.
- Crank the heat. This will keep them calm, happy & often put them to sleep.
- Fun blankets, wraps and baskets can make for great props.
Toddlers-Grade School: Often morning sessions are best at this age. You know your child and when they are happiest. I have found that sessions right after nap-time are the most successful. I often hang out for the first 10 min without taking a single picture, even if there are really cute moments happening. This is to establish that I am friendly and care about them – building a connection and listening to them is essential to capturing their personalities in my images. I have also had great results when parents introduce me to their children as “our friend Ezra”.
I like to take some family portraits right in the beginning so we can be confident that we have some strong group shots before we transition into playtime. Moms and dads, you know this age oh-so-well. I want to be able to capture those unpredictable moments and turn them into the most amazing candid images. It is important for them to feel like they have some control over the situation, so you will often see me asking them what they want to do, where they want to go or even what pictures they would like me to take. The goal is to make the photo session exciting so I can hold their attention. We may play peek-a-boo or run around in circles – what ever it takes to document their passion for life.
Older Kids: I have found that preteens and teens basically want to look cool and have good Facebook photos. I treat and photograph them as adults. For this age range, I recommend doing activity based sessions – this helps them to forget that there is a camera pointed at them and allows me to get more natural images.
Choosing a Location
I am an on-location photographer, which means I come to you. Whether it be your home, your favorite winery, a walk through a downtown area, or a nearby park – the sky is the limit for finding great locations to do a session! The goal is to find a locations that really fits your family. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to make this decision, but I am here to help. I have listed some of my favorite locations below and am always available to discuss any ideas you may have. Please feel free to think outside the box!
The Park: Parks are great locations for a family session. There is a ton of room to run around and play, and, of course, the beautiful scenery makes a great background for your images. Most parks are also pet friendly, so if you are planning to bring any furry friends along, this may be a great way to go! If you have a park in mind, perfect! Otherwise, here are some of my go-to parks in the area: Vasona, Oak Meadow, or Bachman Park in Los Gatos, McClellan Ranch in Cupertino, Saratoga Heritage Orchard, and Shoup Park in Los Altos.
Down Town Stroll: I love to do sessions where I can document your family in their natural environment. If you are a Sunday-morning-coffee-and-farmers’-market kind of family, this may be a great location for you. Whether we go hang out at your favorite frozen yogurt shop, the farmers market, a local café, or even go for a simple stroll around the block, these sessions are a whole lot of fun. Downtown areas are usually packed full of awesome textures and fun colors. Some of my frequent locations include: Down Town Los Gatos, Campell, Willow Glen, The Alameda, San Pedro Square and Los Altos.
Your Home: Photo sessions in your home can be the perfect location for a family photo session. Taking photos in your environment is one of the best ways of making the photo session comfortable and unique.
Adventure: Evening at the boardwalk, horseback riding, tailgating as a family, trip to the the zoo, bike ride with the family, picnic at the base of the golden gate bridge, hiking through the redwoods, surfing in Santa Cruz…
What Should I Bring?
Family Session Essentials:
- Snacks – Over the years, I have learned what a valuable tool a snack can be. They appease cranky babies (and adults, for that matter) and allow for a couple of quick breaks during our session.
- Tissue/Wipes –Drool and snot are inevitable with babies and toddlers. It is always best to be prepared!
- Blankets – great for outdoor sessions and absolutely necessary for infant sessions. Solid colors work the best.
- Props – I love when families bring props! I have had clients bring guitars, baskets, toys, kites, Frisbees… you get the idea. If it’s fun, bring it along.
- Costumes – Kids love dressing up, but it can also be great to photograph. Feel free to bring tutus, cowboy boots, fairy wings, or last year’s Halloween costume.
- Pets – Assuming you have chosen a pet friendly location, feel free to bring Fido along. After all, our fuzzy friends are part of the family, right?
What to Wear
This is definitely my most asked question. I do have a few simple suggestions to help your family photograph well.
Clothing: I recommend that people stay away from matchy-match clothes while doing a family/group session. It seems cute in theory, but you will get a much more pleasing image if, instead, you lean towards coordinating outfits that accent each other. A very simple rule-of-thumb is to create your family’s “look” just like you would choose a single outfit. You want everyone to complement each other, rather than blur together. Bold colors will be the main focus of the image. This being said, if you want to highlight your children during session, bold colors and patterns can be a lot of fun. On the flip side, it is probably good to stay away from bright or neon colors during a group session because it can be very distracting.
Last of all, I love layers! It is a great idea to bring some sweaters, jackets or even a change of clothes along if you want some variety.
Make up: I recommend that you avoid shimmery make up. It just doesn’t translate well to images.
Glasses: Glasses photograph just fine, so please feel free to wear them during your session. My one request is that you stay away from transitional lenses. Eyes are the windows to the soul, so I want to make sure I am able to see them in the images.
The most important thing is to be comfortable. If you have any specific wardrobe questions, you are always free to contact me.
What Happens if We Need to Reschedule?
If someone In your family is sick or we decide the weather is too extreme I have no problem rescheduling. My goal is to make sure you get the best possible photos so I have no problem making sure that it happens.
Framing, Books & Cards
During our 30-90 min consultation we can go over different framing options so you receive your artwork ready to hang on your wall or place on your coffee table without needing to drive all over town.