How To Get Ready For Your Couples or Family Session

This is a great list of what to do when getting ready for your photo session. Includes information about coordinating your wardrobe, hair and make-up tips and tricks, extra information about props, toys for young kids or pets, and posing ideas for your fun day with your photographer.


  • Plan your outfits at least a week in advance—don’t wait until the last day.
  • Obviously, dress for the weather. Be prepared for inclement weather if shooting outside.
  • Don’t wear matching clothes. No more jeans-and-matching-shirts, instead, wear colors in a complimentary color palette, such as earth tones and neutrals. Look for clothing collections.
  • No T-shirts, or shirts with writing on them.
  • Limit patterns for everyone. Consider picking one outfit for your family photos that have some colors or a fun pattern. Choose that outfit first. This gives you plenty of colors to choose from to pick your coordinating colors.
  • Say no to characters. Just like patterns, characters on shirts can be pretty distracting.
  • Avoid all white or all black clothing.
  • By adding different textures through the material of the outfits or accessories, you are adding depth and interest to your photos.
  • Be careful about undergarments. Editing out bra straps or panty lines is difficult and time-consuming and will cost more.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move in. If your dress gets suddenly too short when you bend over, or your pants are too tight to sit down in, opt for more breathable pieces.
  • Do opt for accessories! Think of bow-ties, suspenders, hats, flower headbands, chunky scarves, beautiful flowing dresses and skirts.
  • Comfortable shoes. We might be walking short/moderate distances on unpaved trails. If you just love your wedges, bring them to change into before we start shooting.
  • A change of clothes or a towel for the kids, in case anyone gets muddy or dirty. I like to get pictures of the kids interacting with their environment.
  • Fall family outfits: The most popular time of year to get family photos is during the fall. The leaves are changing and the sun is softer. Plus, you need a new family photo for your holiday cards. Consider choosing outfits with warm earth tones.

Hair & Makeup

  • Make hair, nail, and/or makeup appointments for before your session. Make sure your roots are touched up and you aren’t wearing chipped nail polish to your session.
  • If you have a little girl with bright or chipped nail polish on, go ahead and remove it. Neon pink or vibrant green nails will almost undoubtedly clash with your beautiful wardrobe choice, and yes, it will show up in the photos.


  • Prepare your kids with laid-back, low-key references to let them know what’s happening. Tell them you will be “hanging out with our friend Nikki on Saturday!” or “going to the park to play!” and keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual.
  • Brainstorm about specific props, mementos, or special types of images you want captured. An heirloom quilt, a special stuffed animal, an embroidered keepsake, etc. If you have these preferences, be sure to let me know beforehand.
  • Remind gentlemen to take bulky items like phones and car keys out of their pockets before we start snapping photos.
  • Bring snacks and water, and if necessary, treats to bribe the kids with. Also, make sure the snacks won’t stain lips or fingers.
  • And of course, make sure everyone gets a great night’s sleep and eats a good meal beforehand. Take a nap if needed. A well-rested energized child is much more cooperative than a tired grumpy one.
  • For small children, remember to bring toys to keep their attention, and their diaper bag.
  • Sessions with pets: bring a leash, water and food (with bowls), treats, poop bags, and squeaky toys to hold their attention.

How to Pose During Your Photo Session

  • No need to say ‘Cheese’. I’m looking more for natural interactions and un-posed moments.
  • Laugh, play, tickle, and snuggle. This is how we’ll capture the REAL moments.
  • Not everyone has to be looking at the camera. Actually, I usually encourage my gentlemen to NOT look at the camera. (They seem to prefer that as well, heehee).
  • When in doubt, just smile and look at your family lovingly.
  • Stand close together. Actually, as close as possible.
  • Relax, slow down, and don’t force anything. Don’t feel pressured to make everything perfect! Just be present with your family and I’ll do the rest.
  • Expect me to move you around a little bit to different spots for more images. The more variety we get, the better your selection. Let's have fun!
couples photoshoot
couples photos
family photoshoot

Resources to Download

To download this information, and several other documents, please visit my Resources page.