Family Session Prep Guide

Capturing Memories

I’m so glad you’ve decided to book with me! I am excited to work together to create some beautiful memories for your family to enjoy for many years to come.

This prep guide is full of information I’ve gathered over my 6+ years in business. It contains pretty much everything you’ll need to know to make the most of your time with me: from what happens before, during and after your session, to what to wear, to tips I’ve found to help create a successful session for everyone.

More About Me

Preparing For Your Session

  • Make sure everything is all ready the day before so you aren’t scrounging up your clothes in the morning, you don’t want to be flustered before your shoot! One time, before we had our family pictures done I forgot to do this and I realized all the pants we were going to be wearing were in the washing machine. I was definitely frazzled and it was not great.
  • Don’t get your hair cut/coloured right before the shoot, the best time to do it is about a week to two weeks before.
  • Try on your outfit a couple days before the shoot, you want to make sure that you still feel great in it. If you don’t feel great, change it up!
  • Talk to your kids about the session before. It’s best not to surprise them with it, if they know what’s coming they can prepare themselves (even children as little as 2 need some warning!). You can show them my picture and tell them that a silly friend is coming to take their pictures, but not to worry because they aren’t going to have to sit and smile for an hour!
  • Bring snacks, water, a blanket, jackets/cardigans (if it's cold), more water and snacks, and extra change of clothes in case someone gets too messy for the car ride home.
  • If you have any questions about your session (that isn’t answered in this guide) send me a message!

Day Of Session

Getting photos taken shouldn't be stressful. The good news is that you're dealing with a laid-back photographer. I'll guide you through the entire session. My goal is to make you as comfortable as possible.

  • Have fun! This is so important that you and your kids enjoy this experience because it will show up in your photos if someone just isn't having it. Relax and love on your family.
  • This time is about you and what makes your family special. We'll spend the first little bit getting to know each other. We'll knock out the "Christmas Card" photos (ones where everyone is looking and smiling), and then set off. 
  • Moments over poses: after we get the poses out of the way, you don't have to look at the camera anymore. You totally can if you want, but it's not required. 
  • Always touching: be sure that your always touching someone. Whether it's a hug or snuggle, or just a tender hand on the shoulder. Make contact with your family. This shows connections and love.
  • Don't stress!

Working with Kids: Telling your children how important the photos are, or how they need to smile or act a certain way, causes a lot of unnecessary stress on little ones. Believe it or not, family photo sessions are meant to be fun! Set them up for success by making it as casual as possible, and just encourage them to be their (best) natural selves. If they need to run around, I’ll let them run and be silly before being still to capture the shots we need.

Saying the word “cheese” actually creates a very fake smile, so I ask that you do not encourage your child to say it. I will “perform” and sometimes do some crazy things behind the camera to get authentic smiles & genuine laughter out of your kids. Having FUN is so important when working with kids! I love interacting with the kids to get the genuine smiles you know and love.

When all else fails, bribes usually save the day. Be prepared by bringing some sweet favorites like candy or gummies! We can take quick breaks if we need to throughout your session. It's also a good idea to make sure their bellies are full and they are well rested prior to the session!

After Your Session

You will receive your photos approximately 3 weeks after your session.

I do not deliver every image taken during the session, instead I choose the best photos (where no one is blinking or looking away) and hand edit each one. My editing is an art form that I take very seriously to ensure that you have gorgeous photos to cherish, and I want to make sure your photos look beautiful, so I like to take my time with each and every photo during the editing process. When I am finished editing, you will be e-mailed a private link to your gallery where you can download, share, and print your photos. Your gallery will be available for 30 days, so please be sure to choose your photos within that time frame.

Depending on which package you have chosen, you will have a certain number of digital images included. However, you do have the option to purchase additional digital images if you would like. Pricing is as follows: Individual digital image(s)- $25 per additional image, $75 for 5 additional images, or if you decide to purchase the entire gallery, you will receive a discount of 35% off the remainder of the gallery! 

Health & Safety Protocols

My clients health and safety is my number one priority! Please DO NOT come to your session if you or any of your family members are feeling sick. I am happy to re-schedule your session when everyone is healthy. My studio is rigorously cleaned and disinfected after every session.

Please remove your shoes when entering the studio. If you would like to wear shoes in your photos, bring a clean pair to change into.

Thank you for your cooperation! 

Click on the photo below to check out my "What to Wear" Pinterest Board for inspiration!

Styling Tips


Coordinating: As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” In fact, we recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits” together. This will create more visual interest and allow each personality to shine through.

Mixing Colors: The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. We encourage you to think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.

Remember, I recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white.

If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bow tie, while the other one wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.


Dress It Up: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! Wear that beautiful dress that hangs in your closet, or that flower crown that you thought you would never find an occasion for.

However, if jeans is more your style, I just recommend getting a fit that you really love and feel great in. If you choose to wear something more casual on the bottom, then think about dressing it up on top. A beautiful flowy top can make your outfit feel special for this occasion. When it comes to make up, keep it natural. You will want to avoid using very heavy makeup, but a bit of color on your lips, eyes, and cheeks will help bring you to life in photos. Quick Tip: Bring a pair of easy-to-kick-off flats to wear when moving from place to place in between photos. 

Flatter Your Features: In my experience, every woman, regardless of her shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.

Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms. Heels elongate women’s legs, making them look fabulous. Closed-toed heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe.

Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension and pop to your images. Try a statement necklace, earrings, or flower crown for fun!


The Fit: Long, fitted pants or jeans and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine look for men. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts and sandals at home, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants, jeans, or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos as we don’t want to take the attention away from him!

Layers and Details: Layers on men look great on camera, so even when it’s hot outside, adding another layer will bring extra dimension to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats are the best choices. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers!

Brown leather dress shoes compliment almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit, jeans, or a blazer and colored pants. Ties, bow ties, pocket squares, colored socks, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp compliments to any outfit for men and boys.


I always suggest dressing the little ones in something more dressy instead of their casual play wear. Dressy clothes, even on kids, will automatically make your photos stand out! Remember, there is no such thing as “too dressed up” for your portrait session, so have some fun!

I know they may be little, but many of the tips For Her and For Him still apply to the kids. (They’re basically little adults anyway, right?) For the girls, dresses and accessories are perfect! Maybe add a fun flower crown or bow for an extra pop of beautiful. For the boys, layers are adorable! And don’t forget about the cute details like suspenders or a fun bow tie! 

Location, Location, Location

The first thing to remember when it comes to picking a location for your family session is figuring out the vibe you want. Do you want to go on an adventure or have a quiet snuggle session at home? Do you want to splash around at the beach or frolic in the fields? When you know the vibe and style you want, that makes it easier to narrow down your location choices.

My advice to you is pick something your kids will enjoy. The more excited they are by their surroundings, the happier they will be. If they don’t particularly like getting wet, then maybe the beach isn’t the right place for you. If they love throwing rocks into water (what kid doesn’t?!) then we can find a cute creek! The key is finding somewhere that is interesting enough to keep them happy!

If you are booking an in-home session, here are a few tips:

  • Pay attention to the light in your home right after booking, that way we can find the best time of day to shoot.
  • Have your house cleaned. This may seem a little daunting, but it will be less chaotic if your whole house is at least tidied, and that also means that there won’t be piles of laundry in the background… unless you want that! You could even fold your laundry as a part of the shoot! Real life right?!
  • Make sure your kids know well ahead of time that this is happening. Even letting them lead me through their house and showing me their favourite spots helps them feel in control and like they aren’t being forced into pictures.

Leave the lighting to me. Almost any place you pick, I will be able to work with. Once you have chosen your location, let me know and then I will help you determine the best time to go so that we can get the best lighting for you! Just remember that your location will affect how the light looks. If you want pictures that are brighter with lots of natural light but you picked a movie theater (which is a great choice!) your pictures will be darker and moodier. So just keep that in mind. If you have chosen more than one location, we need to make sure that they are fairly close to each other. Nothing disrupts a photoshoot flow like travel!

If you are still stuck and have no idea what you want then that’s where I come in. As long as you know what kind of vibe you want for your session, I can help you find a place that is perfect for both of you! You are definitely not alone!

Final Notes

Please arrive on time: Your session is timed for optimal sunlight & to fit in my schedule and I cannot guarantee that we can go past our allotted time, so please arrive at least 5 minutes before we are due to begin. 

Weather: As we know, Vermont weather changes quickly. I will consult with you about the weather one day before the session if it looks like we could have rain/snow/extreme cold/etc. Generally, unless it is raining at the time of our session, we will go forward. 

Cancellations: Except for emergencies (yes, sick kids count!), cancellations must be 24 hours or more before your session in order to reschedule without losing your deposit. I’ve blocked out that time for you, so please do your best to make it.

Accepted methods of payment: At this time I accept Cash, Credit or Debit, Venmo, & PayPal.

Lastly, I can’t wait for our session together! Hopefully you found this information helpful. If you have any questions or concerns leading up to your session, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My goal is to serve you the best that I can! This is going to be a fun session, so don’t stress. Relax and enjoy making these memories with your family that you’ll get to treasure forever. See you soon, and please don't hesitate to contact me if you still have questions!