Portrait Prep Guide

I want your time with me to be as stress-free, relaxing and FUN as possible! My plan is to photograph you in your element, loving life, your family, and your surroundings! To help me reach that goal, I’ve put together a prep guide for you with information and inspiration. Please let me know if there’s anything that I’ve forgotten!

Also! Please fill out the Family/Couples Questionnaire at the bottom of this prep guide at least 24 hours before your session.


What should I expect on the day of our session?

First, let’s back up a little bit… 24-48 hours before your session, I’ll be reaching out to you to confirm that we’re still “on”, and to discuss any last minute details, including any weather-related issues that may be in the forecast. (My “rotten weather” policy is down below).

On the day of your session, I will generally get to our location 20-30 minutes early to scout it out a bit and find a handful of good spots for your photos. I recommend that you plan on arriving 10 minutes early to account for any traffic issues, and to make sure you have time for any final prep that you may need to do before we start your session.

When it’s time to start shooting, I will help get you arranged, however, my style is more about the “in between” moments and capturing the family connections and candid moments, so I’m less likely to have you look at me and “Smile!” and more likely to give you direction on different actions. You may hear me say something like, “Give her a kiss!”, or “Tickle fight!”, or “Everyone snuggle up!”.

Occasionally I will have clients back to back, so I can’t guarantee that I will be able to push the end time of your session if you are running late. And, much like college, I have a 10-minute rule… if your session was scheduled ten minutes ago and you haven’t arrived and I haven’t gotten any sort of update from you, I will assume that you’re not coming. Please feel free to call or text if you are running late!

What should I bring?

The MOST important thing to bring is yourself and your loved ones (if they are being included in the photos)… we can work with or without anything else!

For outdoor family sessions, I generally bring a wagon with me to help carry my gear around. This is also a great place for you to stash your purses, diaper bags, and snacks! As I mentioned before, I really enjoy catching the candid moments… which may include your family walking from one photo spot to another. That being said, if you don’t want your diaper bag showing up in your photos, stash it in the wagon so that it can be hidden away!

A note on pets… if you’d like to have your four-legged friend in your photos, more power to you! But be sure to bring treats/toys for me to use to get his/her attention and a third party to hold your fur-baby in any photos that you do NOT want them in. It can be challenging sometimes to find places to secure a leash, and I am unable to hold your dog as, you know, I’m kind of doing stuff with my hands. ;)



What should I/we wear?

Wear something that’s comfortable and “you”! Want to go out and get new clothes for the session? Go right ahead, but grab something that you would normally wear even if your photo wasn’t being taken. We want to make sure that you are comfortable; discomfort shows up quickly in photos!

You may also consider wearing layers and/or accessories. They can add a fun pop of color or texture to your images! However, again, make sure it’s something that you would normally wear. Not only do I want you comfortable, but I want you to look back at your photos and see “you”, not some random person in a fedora and big hoop earrings if you’ve never worn either in your life!

Think about the location that we’ve decided on for your session… does your outfit selection make “sense” in that environment? For instance, your long flowy dress may look amazing out at the lake, but maybe not so much in the graffiti-filled parking garage? But, I don’t know, if you’re into that, let’s do it!

If you’re planning on hanging your photos in your home, I’d also recommend taking a look at the colors that you’ve selected for your decor and try to wear colors that will “match” and compliment your home. That way, once you get the images printed and hung, everything flows together nicely!

If we’re photographing your family, try to find outfits that are coordinated, but not matchy-matchy. I recommend starting with one person’s outfit and then trying to find pieces for the other family members that look good together. Lots of photographers will suggest starting with Mom’s outfit first, however, in my family, my daughter is the picky one… so I always make sure to pick out something that she won’t argue about wearing first, and then coordinate everyone else’s outfit around her’s! ;)

As you can tell by my portfolios, I LOVE color! Maybe not neon green or something like that, but I love photographing bold, vibrant natural tones!

What do I do with my hands?

I get this question a LOT during sessions… the easiest answer is “interact with something”. Be intentional with where you are putting your hands, and don’t let them hang life-less to your sides. =) I’ll help remind you of this, too, but USE them for something. Hold your child. Connect with your partner. Put them in your pockets. Run them through your hair If something looks off, I’ll tell you. Don’t worry about that!



What happens if it’s raining?

We live in the beautiful PNW… rain happens, and I won’t melt! That being said, if it’s REALLY coming down and I’m concerned about my equipment and your ability to have a stress-free, enjoyable session, we can either post-pone to a different time or date, or move the party inside! I have an in-home studio that can be used for certain types of sessions, or I can come to your home or office and bring the “studio” to you.

When I confirm our session 24-48 hours beforehand, we can then discuss the various options and see what will work out the best! Since the weather shifts so quickly around here, I try not to have these discussions until as late in the game as possible.


When will we get our photos?

I love sending out “sneak peeks”… so you’ll likely get a few images to check out within 24-48 hours of your session. Your full gallery will be ready for you within two weeks.

When I’m all done and your images are ready for you to view, I’ll send out a link to a password-protected online gallery. From there you can view and download your images, and also purchase any prints or products that you’d like to have!

Family/Couples Questionnaire

Please fill this out at least 24 hours before your session. This information will help me to provide the best possible experience for you and your family!

Name *