What to Expect
Hiring a professional photographer can be daunting. You've committed to a date and time, find yourself at the mercy of New England weather, and are now crossing your fingers the kids won't get sick and the grown-ups will feel camera-ready. Nor'easters and stomach bug outbreaks aside, here are some tips for looking your best and rocking your session. Keep in mind that these are suggestions, not hard and fast rules.
WHAT TO WEAR
It’s not you, it’s the white. White seems to add ten pounds to everyone. Unless you’re blessed with rich, dark skin, pastels and other muted toned like pale grays and beige can make most of us look pasty. Stick with colors you know you look good in. Don't be afraid of bold. It will contribute to the personality and pop! of your photos. That said, 'got a new white dress you feel fabulous in? Then go for it!
If you're in a group, avoid being matchy-matchy. Everyone in identical chinos and white polos will leave you looking like you belong on a real estate billboard in Florida. WE DON'T WANT THAT! Select colors that compliment each other, aren't identical, and hail from the same end of the color spectrum (oranges, red, yellows. Or blues purples and greens). If you go with the exact same color, mix it up by choosing varying clothing styles to show each person's individuality.
Choose accessories which will show off your personality but not detract by being too wild or flashy (unless that's what you want!).
IF KIDS WILL BE IN YOUR SESSION
When dressing little ones, including babies, avoid shirts with charming phrases on them as they will be hard to read in your shots. Avoid fussy (think sailor suit). If they're not used to hats and headbands, skip them. You won't get natural shots of your child if they are uncomfortable.
Props. If your shoot is taking place in your home I will often use what I find there. Does your little one have a ragged bunny she can't part with? Let Bunny join the session! It will add some sweet nostalgia to your collection.
Don't forget to schedule around nap time and meals, and whatever you do, don't let your little one get hangry. Make sure they are fed and have had a potty-break before we start. We can always stop for potty breaks, but it’s good to start on empty, if you know what I mean.
If you are relaxed, your child will be relaxed. How would you feel if you had multiple people barking at you to "smile!" or “Stop fidgeting!” or “No! A nice smile!”. Not so great, right? Come to your session with an open mind and remember that some of the best photos are of subjects not looking right into the camera. If you're doing group shots, bring along a toy that I can hold to keep their attention during group shots. Don't be shy about singing a song or telling a knock-knock joke. Make silly faces. Or, simply take a walk and leave it to me! I'll make fart noises until we get a photo worthy of a giant frame!
BRIBERY WORKS! Obviously, you know your child best, but here’s some advice I can offer after observing various “bribe” techniques over the years. If your child is a bit of a “free-spirit” and struggles to listen or acts up around new people or situations, bribery can be an effective way for you to maintain your sanity. A reminder of “Remember you get a special treat if you listen to Cydney!” can be helpful when peppered through your session as needed. A few tips though - if your session is not at home, leave the treats in the car. Nothing halts momentum faster than a kid s…l…o…w…l…y enjoying a lollipop while we all sit around and wait for them to finish. Special prizes are for when the shoot is all done. (I once had a parent treat their poorly behaved child with an entire Lego set halfway through our session. Don’t be that parent! M&Ms, Starbursts, or a promise of a visit to a favorite park will do - when the session is over).
PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY It’s important that all eyes are on me with no distractions so I can deliver the quality work you’ve hired me for. It can also really slow down the flow of a session if someone is popping in to take photos with their own camera or phone, so please tuck it away. Over-the-shoulder shooters are a bit of a faux-pas when you’re working with a pro.
HOW I WORK. Your session might include lots of moving around. I might plop your kids in the middle of your bed (provided you don't mind) and let them jump around for some fun action shots, or maybe on my way to your home I notice an interesting stone wall in your neighborhood. We may end up takin' a walk to hang out on that wall. If you have a place that's special to you, don't be shy about letting me know. This helps you get a variety of shots, and it keeps things fresh and helps prevent boredom for kids and grown-ups too. Just remember to go with the flow and enjoy the experience!
I look forward to working with you!