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Guidelines for the session

Learn how to prepare before you session. The guidelines applies for: families, kids, single portrait, boudoir, couples, prenatal, newborns and similar photo sessions. 
Not all guidelines may apply for you, so you are free to apply the ones that do :)

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Before Your Session:

Please inform me about your request upfront in good time, so I will be prepared and I will take care of the rest making sure I cover what you need, so you do not have to think about it too much once we have the session :) - Fill out this form that will help me to give you best experience and fulfill your wishes :)

  • Ask me anything if you need help, that is not answered here in the guidelines

  • Plan your outfits at least a week in advance - don’t wait ‘til the last day, trust me! Preparing ahead of time will help you feel relaxed and prepared, so plan these details out early

  • Regarding timing for session I recommend:

    • sunset (start of the session about 1h before the sun sets) - perfect for beach shots during dry season (ca. December-May, from November up to August can work as well)

    • sunrise (right after the sun rises or up to maximum 1.5h after sunrise) - perfect for beach shots during raining season if the weather is unpredictable (ca. June-November)

    • midday for other places than beach such as jungle, waterfall, underwater, house, garden etc.

  • Prepare your kids (and husband!) with laid-back, low-key references to let them know what’s happening. Tell them you will be “hanging out with our friend Chelsea” or that they will be able to play at the location you pick. Keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual. Even children as little as 2 need some warning! You can show them my picture and tell them that a silly friend is coming to take their pictures, but not to worry because they aren’t going to have to sit and smile for an hour!

  • Hair, Nails, Make-Up - Make appointments if needed. Take off chipped nail polish! No polish is better than chipped polish. Check your kid's hands too! Try to scrub the dirt or remove the chipped neon polish on your girls. Yes, it will show in the photos!

  • Brainstorm about specific props, mementos, or special types of images you want to be captured. Some families bring heirloom items, a special handkerchief, an embroidered keepsake, etc. Some families know they want a very specific type of photograph taken. If you have these preferences, be sure to brainstorm them in advance and let me know as well! 

  • And of course, make sure everyone gets a great night’s sleep and is well fed beforehand. 

  • Avoid foods the day before your shoot that make you feel bloated (fast food, foods that are high in salt or fat or sugar). Trust me, being bloated is not going to make you feel pretty during your shoot!

  • Make sure everything is all ready the day before so you aren’t scrounging up your clothes in the morning, you don’t want to be flustered before your shoot! Prepare your clothes so they are ironed and not crumpled.

  • Don’t get your hair cut/coloured right before the shoot, the best time to do it is about a week to two weeks before.

  • Try on your outfit a week before the shoot, you want to make sure that you still feel great in it. If you don’t feel great, change it up!

  • Avoid strong sun and use sunblock if you are going to out at the sun or the beach few days before the session. You do not want to have sunburned skin on the photoshoot! For this reason I can recommend a session either on the beginning of you trip or the end. During raining season (ca. june-november) when when weather might be unpredictable I recommend to schedule a session in the beginning of your trip so there is always a chance to reschedule in case of rain :)

  • It is really important to arrive on time. We are booking your session according to the light so we may be limited, especially sunsets or sunrises at the beach, it is very important to start on time. It's best to plan to arrive early

 

How to Dress for Your Session:

  • Dress for the weather! We want everyone to be comfortable.

  • Don’t wear matching clothes - jeans-and-matching-shirts are no longer recommended. Instead, wear colors in a complementary color palette, such as earth tones and neutrals. This makes everything look less matchy and just naturally put together!

  • Solid colour outfits tend to look better than prints, which can be distracting and overwhelming. If you do go with a print, make sure it’s not too loud! If you are a bold person, opt for a super fun pair of shoes or showcase it with your accessories, rather than a bold print! Make sure the colors you choose compliment each other. Colors that will stand out best are muted, earthy tones.

  • Avoid colors such as: pure white, pure black, strong and neon colors, strong patterns (light patterns look good though), big letters, big logos and overly large bows on babies. 

  • You can uses hats, tall socks, scarves, jewelry, blankets, headbands, suspenders or other accessories to had layers to your family’s wardrobe. All these things are a great way to add another layer of your style into your session.

  • Textures & layers: Layers add texture and textures add interest. Denim, chunky knits, lace, cords, etc. fex. chunky cardigan or a denim shirt tied at the waist looks good. These are all great ways to incorporate your style.

  • Start with a neutral base and build from there. Neutral tones are typically more flattering and cohesive than bright colours. Pick two or three neutrals to start with and then add little accents of colour if you want!

  • No tennis shoes or shirts with writing on them! This takes away from the photos. You want your portraits to be timeless!

  • Be careful about undergarments. Editing out bra straps, bra lines or panty lines in Photoshop is really difficult and time-consuming. Choose clothes that properly cover your undergarments, in all types of movement scenarios. 

  • I recommend women wear medium or long dresses. Short dresses will be a challenge when we do any seated photos, so keep that in mind. 

  • 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. Be prepared to move! For the beach shots I recommend sandals and even barefoot.

  • Remind gentlemen to take bulky items like phones and car keys out of their pockets before we start snapping photos. 

  • Do not wear sunglasses, you want to show your faces and not cover them :)

  • Think about the location. It might be hard to manouver through a waterfall in heels! Make sure you’re dressed in a way to make it easier to move (there will be a lot of moving around!). If your signature look is a pair of heels, remember to bring a pair of sneakers or slip ons in case we are going on an adventure to get to our location!

  • This isn’t the time to try out a new style. Wear something that you would normally wear. If dresses are not your thing and you hardly ever wear one, don’t feel pressured to wear one if you want the photos to look sophisticated! There are other ways to achieve that look without going outside of your comfort zone! You want to look like yourself in these pictures. Remember, feeling comfortable and confident is key!

  • Avoid tight fitting clothes that might highlight areas that you’d rather not have highlighted. For example, if you have a mommy tummy, stay away from really tight shirts when wearing low riding pants, layer with blazers, and tuck a shirt in on one side is an example.

  • Avoid character themed clothing for kids. Their favourite show might be Paw Patrol or Ninja Turtles but stay away from logos, images, or graphics. Even though it might be their favourite shirt, it will be a serious distraction in the image.

  • Make sure kids have matching socks!

  • Being able to move for kids around in their clothing is a must!

  • Take an umbrella or raincoat if we are in raining season (ca. june-november), and a towel for a beach session.

 

What to Bring to Your Session:

  • Most of family sessions goes by quickly and there is no need for many extra things. Make sure be ready and prepared before the shooting, though there is always a place and time to adjust during the session if needed

  • Water bottles - it is really hot in here

  • Any personal appearance touchup items you might want, including things like lipstick or a hairbrush. 

  • Don't forget to bring props or mementos - if you have special images that you want to be captured

  • SNACKS please and candy to bribe your kiddos! It’s best not to tell kids about the treats before the session; wait until the kids start getting fatigued before you pull out that candy card! You will be glad you did! They’ll usually are pretty happy when they find out mom brought the good stuff!  Just make sure the snacks/treats won’t stain lips or fingers! Avoid gummies, chocolate, or crumbly items, instead opt for cheerios, raisins, even mini marshmallows, white cheese (in case it gets stuck in their teeth), or a promise for a bigger treat later… I am not above bribery!

  • Ladies, bring walking shoes if you are planning to wear heels or wedges! We will probably be walking a little, depending on location, maybe even including rocks or unpaved hills, Walkable shoes are a must! For beach shots, comfortable sandals are the easiest. You can change into your gorgeous wedges before we start shooting.

  • A change of clothes if you wish to switch it up. So don’t forget to bring that with you. It also helps to have a back up in case you fall (or get pushed) into a puddle or something.

  • A change of clothes for the kiddos, in case anyone gets wet, sandy, muddy or dirty. As a photographer I love when kids interact fully with their surroundings, and I’m thrilled to photograph them playing in the water or running through the grass. Capturing them in their element is so much fun! As a parent, you might not be too keen to let them back into your car, covered in sand. Bring a change of clothes or shoes. Maybe even a towel. You never know!! 

 

How to Pose During Your Photo Session:

  • I will be taking posed pictures, looking to the camera, as standard “traditional” family portrait but I am also looking for a candid natural look

  • Moments over poses: after we get the poses out of the way, you don't have to look at the camera anymore. You totally can if you want, but it's not required. 

  • I will be guiding you and helping with poses for either posed and candid shots giving you some ideas if I see you need it, though I like to keep you as natural as possible. This way you look better, instead of forcing something you may not like or feel uncomfortable

  • No need to ‘Cheese’ the whole time! I’m aiming for natural interactions and unposed moments. I strive to capture and encourage authentic expressions. No more fake smiles! Children around the ages of 5-10 will sometimes try to “cheese” in the photos because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do when they see a camera! Help me create more candid shots by interacting playfully with your children.

  • Laugh, play, tickle, and snuggle. This is how we’ll capture the REAL moments. 

  • Not always 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!) I like to especially encourage my dads to focus on their partners and their kids. 

  • When in doubt, just smile and look at your family lovingly. 

  • Stand close together. Actually, as close as possible :) 

  • Always touching: be sure that your always touching someone. Whether it's a hug or snuggle, or just a tender hand on the shoulder. Make contact with your family. This shows connections and love.

  • 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. And don’t stress if any of the kids get fussy! Just snuggle your kiddos and we can still capture beautiful images!

  • Expect me to move you around to different spots to capture images. The more variety we get, the bigger your gallery and the more great shots we have the opportunity to create together! 

  • I do my very best to make sure your candid pictures don’t look “posed.” Instead, I will give you a direction and tell you what to do and then you make it your own. I won’t be telling you exactly how to place your hands or exactly how to stand. My directions are often vague which leaves you free to be yourselves! Plus, I don’t need to tell you guys how to be a family, you’re already a pro at it!

  • Never. stop. moving. Seriously, the more movement you give me, the more pictures you are going to get. When I give you a direction and you stand still, you are going to get one shot from that pose. But if you take my direction and move around, you’ll get so much more variety. Don’t worry though, you’ll get the hang of it while we’re shooting! This style of photography works so well with kids because sometimes they don’t even realize they are getting their pictures taken! Feel free to take any liberties with any of the directions I give you, kisses, hugs, tickles are all welcome at any time! The only thing that can make it easier for me as photographer is rather slower movements than fast, but most importantly staying natural is the key

  • If you are uncomfortable in any of the poses or actions, stop and adjust. If you’re uncomfortable then the pictures look forced and we do not want that!

  • Be yourself! Remember, these are pictures of you so don’t try to be like that person from Pinterest. We will try a number of shots and not all of them will turn out and that’s okay. The ones that do turn out will be the most natural and beautiful versions of you and your family!

  • Some children take some time to warm up and some are ready to go! I am more than happy to give a shy child the time that they need. Some children want to held by mom the whole time and that is perfectly ok too!  There is also time to run, play games, or have a mess free snack, if needed. This session is a time to relax and just be with your children and partner. I am not expecting perfectly behaved children. Trust me when I say, the chaos brings emotion and movement to your images. I will guide you and your family in poses but it also ok for you to just be natural with your spouse and children. Sing, talk, or play with family just as you would if I was not present. Being yourselves is what will create the images you love. There are no rules or expectations! I will guide you and the rest will go from there

  • Have fun! This is so important that you and your kids enjoy this experience because it will show up in your photos if someone just isn't having it. Relax and love on your family.

  • Don't stress: if your kids are nervous or acting a little wild, that's totally ok! I embrace children in every aspect of themselves. We're focusing on moments, so a shy kiddo can get extra snuggles and a wildling can have extra run time. It's all about your family in this season! Remember that. 

  • This time is about you and what makes your family special. We'll spend the first little bit getting to know each other. We'll knock out the "Christmas Card" photos (ones where everyone is looking and smiling), and then set off. 

  • Remember the session is for you to have fun, so enjoy and have fun! :)

Special guidelines for engagements:

As it will be usually a one side planning special surprise session for engagement, there are few things that are important:

  • Plan everything in advance, and make sure everything is ready a week before engagement

  • Ask me for advices, I will be happy help you to make sure we cooperate together and make sure we create this beautiful moment that I can capture for you :)

  • If you plan engagement on the beach or in a place with an ocean view I recommend sunset time (ca. 1h/30min before the sunset) and get beautiful colors

  • If you plan engagement in other places than that, like jungle/ waterfall I recommend midday

  • Please arrange a physical meeting with me few days before the engagement if possible. If not possible - schedule at least a zoom or other video online meeting so we can recognize each other and talk about the details. Make sure it will be possible. This way we can walk through the engagement so I will not miss the most important moment.

  • If possible: read about "clothing section" and try to wear appropriate clothes for the session

  • I will be hiding as best I can and waiting for you to get to the place where your enagement will take place, so that your partner will not suspect anything

  • Please agree on one sign for me that will show that you will propose right after: I recommend a hug right before. Make sure the hug is long enough so I can be ready.

  • Preferably turn sideways towards me, so either you or your partner are not covering most important part

  • Once you are happy, revealed with engagement I will come closer and take more shots of you :)

  • After this the session turns into a couple session that is no longer a surprise, please ready section about "how to pose" to help you as well

What to Expect After Your Photo Session:

  • After your session, I will be working hard behind the scenes to cull the best photos (eliminating duplicates, blurs, and blinks) and editing to give them best natural look. Your gallery is typically ready within 10 working days of your session. 

  • You will get an online gallery to access through the link. The pictures will be available to download from the gallery for 7 days.

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