1) Clothes. We're aiming for dressy casual at a minimum; this is a step up from jeans and t-shirts and it's worth the effort to pull out the old iron. I like to pick a favorite outfit for myself or one of my kids and then find more simplistic options for the rest of the family based on the colors in the most interesting outfit. Too many patterns can be distracting.
Neutral colors such as beige, white, black, tan and grey often photograph best. These colors complement your skin and don’t conflict with common background elements. Bright colors can affect your skin tone and highlight one member of the family over the rest. 
Be aware of outfits that may reveal bra straps or under shirts that you would rather not show in your pictures. If you have a little one in diapers, try to choose outfits that don't allow the diaper to show. Use diaper covers/bloomers for babes in dresses.
Long, flowing dresses and skirts are wonderful for photo sessions. That motion can really bring your pictures to life!

2) Prepare for the weather. Dress for the weather so that your littles are not too hot or too cold to enjoy the session. Make sure everyone is dressed comfortably from head to foot. Those sandals might be adorable, but if they hurt her feet, she won't have much fun. You'll want to find a nice balance of cute and comfort. Feel free to bring a blanket to wrap around your family in cold weather. In hot weather, it's a good idea to bring cold water, but just in case they don't want to hand that bottle back, try to choose containers that attract as little attention as possible. While I do try to avoid locations that tend to have lots of bugs, during the Summer months, I recommend bringing insect repellent.

3)  Accessories.  Baseball caps are a pretty big no no mostly because they tend to cast dark shadows on your face and they can create a disconnect with your loved ones.  I recommend removing large watches, especially for pictures taken with an infant and be sure to remove that hairband from your wrist and empty pockets of bulky items like wallets and cell phones. Transition glasses that hide your eyes outside aren't great for pictures. Consider using a different pair of glasses or going without if they are not needed or not an important part of your look. We want to avoid anything that might mask or draw attention away from your eyes and expressions.

4)  Hair and Nails. If you are having an outdoor session, bring a couple choices of hair ties or barrettes. Even when it is not windy outside, we do a lot of running around and I don't want to miss that perfect shot because your little cutie's hair covers his or her face. Some clients choose to bring a brush as well. Chipped nail polish is a real bear to edit out, so please double check that nail polish has been touched up or removed prior to your session.

5) Ickies aren't just for Sickies: It's a rare bird that likes to have his face mopped down with wet wipes or Mommy slobber, so take a good, close look for sleepy sand, milk mustaches, snotty noses, etc. before we get started. I do my best to get you beautiful, tack sharp portraits, but that clarity will also reveal the crust around your child's eyes, nose, and mouth. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and will do my best to edit out the "extra", but please realize that will likely slow down the turnaround time for your gallery.

6)  Treats & Bribes: While we're on the topic of ickies, choose your candy bribes carefully. Avoid chocolate or brightly-colored treats that can show up in pictures or drip down her face and onto her clothes. I try to avoid gum, lollipops, or other treats that take a long time to finish. They can show up in pictures and often lead to unfortunate expressions. Smarties have always been my go to bribe for little kids.
It is helpful if your children have eaten before the session, but I realize that a child asks for snacks for reasons other than just being hungry. Food can be comforting and a quick snack can be just the reset button we need to get some great pictures. Keep drinks and snacks in as discreet of a containers as possible in case taking them away proves difficult.

7) Scratches and Bruises. There must be something magical in the air on picture day that causes little ones to acquire fresh wounds to show off for my camera. It happens. I work my own magic on them. As a general rule, I will edit out temporary imperfections like scrapes, bruises, pimples, etc. There are times when I will soften certain permanent features (like a mole or scar) just to draw attention away from it, but if there is something that you want removed beyond the obvious skin flaws or if there are any marks you do NOT want minimized, please let me know before I begin editing your images. I know the magic of a Band Aid and realize that you might not have much choice in the matter, but cuts are much easier to edit out than bandages. As a side note, remember to remove any temporary tattoos that you do not want in your pictures.

8) Parents should always come dressed for pictures. I know that sometimes you just want pictures of the kids and I know you don't want to bother gussying yourself up, but come prepared to be in pictures.  I will always try to get you the pictures you are hoping for, but kids can be very unpredictable and there is a good chance that your little boss will insist on doing things his way.  I've had sessions that might have needed rescheduling if I didn't come up with some creative way to use the parents in at least some of the pictures.

9) Before your session. To help prepare yourself and your little ones for a fun hour (or more!) with me, I encourage you to talk about me before you arrive. You can tell your children that your friend, Tammy, is going to take some fun pictures and even show them pictures of me and my kids in advance. I tend to be a real goof ball and love playing that Aunt Tammy role. I truly value the opportunity to become a long term part of your family in this regard. I love to watch my little clients grow and there is nothing as sweet as their excitement when I show up for a repeat session.
As parents, I understand the drive to maintain a sense of calm and order when you are out in public with your kids. But, I'm not looking for calm. I want to capture those real moments: the laughter, the weird, the wild! This is the perfect opportunity to let your kids be kids and you get to just sit back and let me do all of the hard work. We cannot force a real smile (trust me, I've tried many times with my own kids!). Feel free to bribe your kids for 1 hour sessions, but anything more than that and bribes can create an extra barrier. I know how important consistency is, but it really is best to save any discipline for after we are done. I'll let you know if I need help! The smoothest sessions tend to be the ones with the most chill parents, so just kick back, remember what really gets them giggling, and let me work my magic.

10) On Arrival. Please arrive a little early for your photo session. I choose the start time based on the location, including available light and time to get from the cars to the best backdrops. I drive a black Prius. If you do not see my car when you arrive, feel free to text me that you are there. I will either be on my way or we might not be at the same meeting spot. If you see my car, but not me, I am most likely wandering around finding the best backdrops for you. I will have my phone on me! 785-706-3744
I like to interact with your family for a few minutes before we start taking pictures, but generally speaking, I will aim to get any posed pictures you'd like out of the way before we lose the kiddos' interest. We'll spend most of the session playing and catching your little crazies in action!

As a mother to three, I know full well the amount of effort that goes into getting your family ready for pictures.  This is a special day! Please take a moment to read over the following tips and suggestions for having the best possible photo session and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Family Session Preparation

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