Preparing for your Family Session


Vancouver-documentary-Family-photographer

So you've booked a family session with me and now you catch yourself thinking "uh oh! what have we gotten ourselves into!? What will it be like? How do we plan it?"

It's cool. We've got this. :)


Remind me why we're doing one of these?

A number of reasons:
1. Children grow up WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too fast. Let's try to press pause with these pictures. 
2. Chances are you have selfies, but you're not in any of the photos with your family. Not only do you want to see yourself in those photos, but also your children are really going to want to see you in them. 
3. Bribery/blackmail for when your children get older. JK. (Sorta). 

How do we look awesome in photos?

Try to stay focused on your family. This is what it's all about. You. Together. Your connection. Your love.

The best way to authentically document your family together is if you stay connected and focused on each other, rather than on me. 
I want to use this time to get to know you. I want to know how you hold hands. Who is the fastest in a race. What silly quirks you have, special handshakes or inside jokes you share. 
You do not have to look at the camera unless I ask you to. Keep that one in mind. It's SO much easier if you focus on your family rather than the camera. You can feel free to talk to each other during parts of the shoot, but there will be times when I ask you not to say any words and just interact using touch. Don't be shy about cuddling. 

What about the light?

Light is key with photography, especially as I am primarily a natural light photographer.

If we're shooting outside, it's usually best to shoot right as the sun is rising, or right before it sets. That will give our images a nice, soft, warm, flattering look. About an hour to an hour and a half before the sun sets is always the best. 
If we end up shooting mid-day, that's no problem. we'll probably try to stay close to some open shade so we can avoid harsh shadows. 

If we're shooting indoors, timing is a little less important. We'll need to make sure we have plenty of light, so we'll do the opposite of what we'd do if we were outside. Mid-day is perfect! 
I'm going to try to direct you close to any light that I fall in love with, like big windows. If we're shooting in your home, feel free to send me some images of your space beforehand, ideally at the same time we've decided to shoot. I'll take a few minutes to do a walkaround to find the spots we'll get the best light and we'll go from there. 

What do we do during our session?

I believe a session should be a portal into your lives. I like to document a typical day or activity with you. Is your favourite activity swimming? Do you read bedtime stories every night? Is your favourite moment of your day when you have snuggles right after dinner time? Awesome! Let's do those things. Doing an activity you normally do is a great way to get authentic images of you, but it's also a great way to help relax. It takes your mind off of having a camera in your face, and allows you to focus on being together and present.

Trust

This part is a really big one. I need you to trust me and open yourselves up. The only way we'll get really authentic and raw images of you is if you let me in. This whole session is a collaboration. I will give you so much of me, but I'll need you to do the same. 
Please don't be shy if you are uncomfortable with a suggestion, let me know. Sometimes I will ask you to do things that sound bizarre or weird, but they usually lead to some really awesome photos. Trust me on this one. But! If I'm asking you to climb something and you're afraid of heights, tell me. I don't want to put you in a place where you're unhappy and not having fun just for the sake of the photo. This is far more about your experience than it is about awesome photos. Awesome photos are just a fantastic bi-product of a great experience. 
If I'm asking you to do something that seems cheesy or silly, chances are there are great reasons behind it. Trust me on it and do it wholeheartedly. It'll be worth it. 

What about posing? WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS!?!?!?

We're not really going to go for the stiff traditional poses, so don't worry too much about this. I'm not going to leave you hanging, but I do want to give you the space to be yourselves. I will get you to a place where the light is amazing and flattering and then prompt you if you need it to help get you in to a flattering and authentic position. 

A couple tips for your hands:
-When embracing, stay connected - Remember in public school when we had to get the lightbulb to light with a battery? Well, when one of the connections was broken, the lightbulb didn't light up. Keep that lightbulb lit. 
-Be gentle!
-Be playful!
-Be you! 

What do we wear?

This one is up to you. You should feel comfortable and beautiful!

Things to consider:
-What activity are we doing? (ie: don't wear heels if we're going hiking)
-What's the weather like? Dress accordingly
-What do you feel comfortable in?
-What do you feel beautiful in?
-What feeling do you want your photos to convey? (ie: casual, formal, romantic, etc)
-Compliment your partner (ie: fancy dress + suit, or summer dress + jeans)
-Make sure you feel like yourself in whatever you choose to wear

Try to avoid:
-matching your partner completely
-avoid logos or crazy patterns
-something terribly uncomfortable
-wearing brand new shoes for the first time

Can we bring props?

I really want to focus on your connection during this session. So when thinking about bringing a prop, ask yourselves "does this enhance our connection?" If you think it will, bring it. If it's something you want photographed by itself only, I'd probably say that it may end up distracting us from your connection, so maybe leave that for another day. 

Do we need to bring anything?

For outdoor shoots it's never a bad idea to have:
-Comfy shoes
-Water bottles
-It is NEVER a bad idea to have a towel in your car if we're shooting anywhere near water. None of my shoots start off as planned swimming shoots, but I have a knack for convincing people to get into waterfalls. Don't worry, I'll be right in there with you. It's only fair
-Snacks. Especially if you tend to get hangry

When/How do we see them?

Your final gallery usually takes about 2-4 weeks. I'll send you an online gallery through email. You can check out your images and download them directly from the site. All images are high resolution and you're granted the printing rights. You can also purchase prints from my Professional Lab right on your site. 

How far do you travel for sessions?

150km round trip from Kimberley, Ontario is included in my pricing. If you want to shoot somewhere else, I'm totally up for travelling. It's $0.54/km after that initial 150km. 

If you need more ideas or have any other questions, email me!
I'm happy to help!!!

Dive in! It's going to be fun!