Monday, March 29, 2010

My Family Session Process

This past weekend we finally were able to meet up with one of my wonderful photographer friends Danielle Neil for our family session. We had originally planned our session for December but due to weather the session had to be cancelled. It was a beautiful day and I was very happy with our choice of location.

I always receive messages from clients and friends wanting to know my process and what I do to prepare for my own session. The questions really rolled in this time when I posted the below image of our outfits I had planned. Danielle was nice enough to send me two of my favorite images to share as a final result of my planning. We are very lucky that Danielle allows me to plan everything out because she knows what and she is amazing at doing her job. I honestly believe the more prepared you are the happier your photographer will be, the less stress you will feel and the end result is beautiful!

So here is my process this time around:
1) I schedule the session with Danielle 5 weeks in advance. This gives me plenty of time to prepare everything.

2) I have an advantage as a photographer when it comes to location. I am always keeping an eye out for locations that a client would appreciate. So when it came to deciding on where to go I based it on several things. a) If it is sunny will there be a few areas that will still provide nice lighting?  b) Will it create the look I want?  c) Will we be able to stay in a very close area to get more coverage?

3) Shopping for outfits. I always think to myself....."I am making an investment into my portraits", they will be displayed on my walls for several years. So investing into clothing is just as important. Tying the outfits together really helps pull your family portrait together. I know my location and now I need to pick clothes that will help make everything flow or even create visual appeal. My kids are usually the easiest to dress. I first go to their closets and pull pieces that may be potential winners. (Now I know I wanted to be photographed in black or at least a tone similar. As a family we would never really look good in all black. So I have to think of us as a whole and go from there. We chose to be photographed in two outfits,) Here is what I found in my childrens closets.
Emma- Boots,hose,jeans
Aidan-shoes,jeans,vest and collared shirt (we got lucky with him)
Brody- Overcoat, jeans and shoes
Josh- Jeans,dress shirt, undershirt,shoes
Me- Jeans,blazer,undershirt,jewelry,heels
So now it is time to shop for the other items. I hit every store possible and look first before I buy anything. I make a list of stores that I saw key items that would work. I believe I am the hardest to shop for EXCEPT this time around. Walking through Macys I found a dress that screamed my name (it had pockets and a nice color that would help with my fair complextion) and from there the outfit fell together quickly. Booties and fishnet hose was a must to complete the a few acessories. For Josh I found a charcoal Blazer that blended well with the boys' outfits. All I need was a skirt and top for Emma. Gotta love Target. That is where I found her first outfit!

So here is the total we spent on clothing:
Aidan- $0

4) Three days before the session I iron everything, lay out all the outfits to reveiw and snap a picture to make sure I am not missing anything later.

5) The night before the session the children are bathed, nails trimmed and any last minute fixings.

6) The morning of the session we wake up 2 hours before our session time. I shower and get myself almost ready (I actually dress after I have everyone else dressed), assign the kids to their outfits except brody, and finally we pack up the car or in this case truck. We had to pick up my white chaise to take with us.

7) We arrive 15 minutes early and joke about when Brody will crack and really laugh about how patient Danielle is with our zoo. Hahahaha. So we are still stress free. We get out of the car and ACTION.

I hope you enjoyed reading my process. I promise it works!


Mary said...

Awesome family photos! I love the outfits!

thea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thea Coughlin said...

This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this. I would love to share this on my blog for my clients!

Ashley said...

Fantastic information! Thanks for sharing