LIFESTYLE SESSION PREP GUIDE
( FAMILIES, NEWBORNS, MATERNITY, ETC.)
During your family session, you have full permission to have fun! Laugh together, tickle each other, just be silly! I can’t wait to photograph you and your little ones! Once you fill out your questionnaire, we’ll get a game plan on locations! In the meantime, here are a few tips:
• Bring 2-3 outfits. We’ll do an outfit change and if one isn’t working, it’s nice to have an extra option.
• Wear outfits you feel beautiful and confident in. Something you’d wear on a date or on a nice family outing or first day of school... but is close to what you all look like every day.
• Your wardrobe should be authentic to you, but it’s a great idea to kick it up a notch. Layers, accessories and textures add interest and make your photos more you!
• If one of your options is more formal than the other, start with that.
• Avoid clothing with strong patterns, logos, words, etc. (Think Zig Zags, athletic shirts, super tightknit plaids, etc.) For Children; avoid anything with logos or characters ( Ie; think Dora, Paw Petrol, Bob the Builder etc.)
• Don’t wear anything skin tight or super baggy.
• Wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind sitting on the ground with.
• Don’t forget about your socks! Make sure they match your outfit. NO WHITE TUBE SOCKS! Black or darker colored are best! Avoid patterns, or printed socks.
•Steam or Iron your clothes the best you can prior to the session. There is nothing worse than trying to edit out MAJOR wrinkles.
•If you’re wearing heels, bring comfortable shoes for walking in between locations. (If we are going to be hiking a bit to get to your location bring suitable footwear!) GUYS: Avoid baseball caps, flip flops & baggy shirts/polos. Button down shirts, dark jeans/slacks & close toed shoes look amazing on men!
• Avoid stark white, neon colors and busy patterns that create a moire pattern. Some patterns are OKAY…but keep in mind trendy fashion will translate in your images!
• I recommend neutrals, earth tones, pastels, jewel tones. We do a lot of walking so if you’re wearing heels bring comfortable shoes for walking in between locations. (If we are going to be hiking a bit to get to your location bring suitable footwear!)
• Don’t wear matching outfits please but be sure that your outfit colors don’t clash (sky blue /turquoise... ugh!)
• Avoid clothing with strong patterns, logos, words, etc. (Think Zig Zags, athletic shirts, super tightknit plaids, etc.) For Children; avoid anything with logos or characters (ie: think Dora, Paw Petrol, Bob the builder, etc.)
• I almost always shoot in two different locations, OR find areas that are walking distance within each other.
• Some location ideas: an area you love to go as a couple/family, your home (if it has lots of great natural light), where you met, a place you enjoy a hobby together, where you had your first date, etc. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
• If this is a session in your home, please be sure to tidy up any clutter you may have but don’t worry about making it look like a Pottery Barn catalog either. Find the room with the best, brightest light and we can work from there!
• If you don’t have a specific location that you have in mind, noooo worries… I know TONS great places. If we’re not shooting around the Finger Lakes, my go to area is a beautiful winery or downtown area. Whatever the case, as long as the light is great, I can make any location work!
*KEEP IN MIND: Sessions are scheduled around sunlight, so sunset is later into the evening. Mid-morning or afternoon does not provide optimal light so let’s try to avoid those if we can! Early morning light can also be beautiful, some locations take longer to get to than others, so be aware of walking time, driving time, etc. to get that great light!
NEWBORN SESSION PREP
•Keeping the area of the session super warm is important! Babies LOVE being warm and cozy, I will have a space heater I bring along as well. We may be sweating by the end of it, but baby will be very happy!
• Please be dressed and ready before my arrival, so that once we scope out the location of the session we can begin asap!
• Take note of any big windows, or brightest areas in your home..these will most likely be the areas we shoot in. Take a few minutes the week before and note what time your home/these areas are brightest…typically mornings are when we get the best light for indoor sessions.
• PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not feel that you have to clean your home from Top to bottom, as long as things are some what tidy and you have a laundry basket I can throw some stuff that is in the way in, and put it back when we are finished that is totally fine! Areas with the best light is where most of the shooting will take place, along with the baby's nursery. We will use what we have around us to capture those sweet moments!
• Wear neutral, comfortable clothing. Lifestyle sessions are a way to embrace your new family in your home, in your own environment just being together. We will not do many posed images, more so snuggling the baby, baby in crib, baby wrapped up and comfy, etc. Neutrals for sheets, bedding, etc is always best!
• Make sure baby is fed and diaper changed at least 15-20 minutes of arrival. Feed them until they do not want another drop! We are all happy when we have full bellies! After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really well. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.Stimulation before the session helps for a great nap time as well. This way we can get started quickly. Once the baby is fully asleep we will being photographing. If we need to take breaks to get baby back to being comfortable we will! Please block out a good 2-3 hour time frame to ensure we are not rushed. If baby’s skin is a little dry or flaky, try applying a small bit of baby lotion to those spots the day before our session.
•Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, hats, etc. We’ll go through these together to determine what will look best in the pictures. I love to use your own furniture and home accents in your session. It makes it much more personal, I do not supply props, or wraps or use them…we simply use what you have already and embrace your new life with the baby.
• Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. I will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he/she is giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when baby isn’t necessarily doing what we want.
•Your only job during the session is to RELAX and well snuggle that new baby of course!
ALL ABOUT THE EXTRAS
• DO NOT STRESS! Relax before your session, get a good nights rest, have a drink if you need to before hand or just simply start your day ready to be totally all about each other &your beautiful family during your session!
• Don’t stress if your kid starts having a meltdown during the session. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves!
• We don’t say “CHEESE”. Don’t stress about your kid’s “actual smile.” 1) We will work it out of them and 2) We want to capture WHO they are at this stage of their life. They are unique, and we are in the business of capturing authenticity. We want you to remember their silly faces as much as their genuine smiles. We will capture your REAL child(ren).
• If you have small children, you’re welcome to bring something he or she is really into (favorite toy, book or blanket, snack, bubbles, chalk, etc.) Noisy toys work great for babies!
• Sessions usually last about 2 hours. Eat a small meal before your photos (hungry tummies =grumpy faces). I highly suggest eating/ bringing snacks & water too! Especially for little ones! (Try not to let children eat anything colorful (candy, suckers, colored fruit drinks) before your session…blue/red tongues don’t ever look good!)
• Be sure to show your partner my blog. If they see what I do, they will know what to expect.
• We don’t say “CHEESE”. Don’t stress about your “actual smile” We want to capture WHO you are at this stage of life. You are unique, and I am in the business of capturing authenticity!
• If it’s bug season, bring bug spray!
• Be sure to empty your pockets and remove hair ties from wrists.
• Don’t obsess over Pinterest poses... I’m going to create a session that’s 100% unique to you. Trust me, we got this!
• Avoid too much tanning... Professional cameras enhance warm tones making some freshly tanned skin VERY warm, think oompa loompa.
• Men, don’t cut your hair the day before. Instead, cut it the week before. And have a beard trim 1-2 days prior. Scrub and clean your fingernails.
• If you get a sunburn immediately before your session, let’s reschedule!
• Ladies, don’t forget to bring along your lipstick or lip gloss for touch ups. Many ladies like to get their hair, nails and makeup done for their session, it’s a great idea to make sure you look and feel your best! Bringing an extra hair brush just in case never hurts!
• I often like to incorporate one of your blankets or quilts, so bring one that you wouldn’t mind if it got a bit dirty. More than likely we will be sitting on the ground at some point.
• If you’re going to incorporate a pet into your session, its best to do those at the beginning of the session so that you can more easily coordinate a pet handler to take him or her with them soon after they’ve been photographed. Also bring treats or a toy your pet loves to get their attention!
• Don’t worry about carrying all your stuff! Most of the time I do have an assistant with me to help carry coats, bags, etc. Wear appropriate layers for the weather. We will hold onto coats, but bring it so you’re not freezing in winter/spring weather!
• If you wear glasses or transitional lenses, please let me know before hand. If possible, your eye care provider may be able to provide you with a spare set of frames (no lenses) to use and return after your session.
AFTER YOUR SESSION
•Don’t forget to plan a dinner or drinks date! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? We know the wedding planning process can feel over whelming so take some time after the session just for the two of you to relax and have some fun together. You guys deserve it!
• It will take me 3 to 4 weeks to cull, edit, upload images to the gallery, and deliver your images! I will try my best to give you sneak peeks of your images. If you need images quicker due to a deadline, please be sure to let me know before we schedule your session so I can give you an idea of if I can make that deadline or not (if I’m shooting a couple of weddings and a couple of engagement sessions right around the time of your session, it may take me closer to the 4 week mark, but if I only have a few other things in my editing queue, it should be feasible)!
One Final Note
I know I just gave you a lot to think about! PHEW! This guide was created to help make your session experience something you will look back on and smile! At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your time together as a family is the most important thing to me, and I want your family session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it, laugh a lot and I’ll take care of the rest!
I Cannot wait to work with you!
- Dani Thorn
Photographer, Dani T Photography