What to Wear?
Wearing one of your favorite outfits or any outfit that make you feel confident and comfortable is a great starting point. Be sure to avoid anything that's too busy with large logos or crazy patterns. You want your outfit to feel classic and not easily dated. Anything that feels very "you." (If you don't normally wear sweater vests and bow-ties then don't wear it!) Ask yourself what is the mood you are trying to convey. Long flowing dresses are always dramatic and really show off movement, while a bright red party dress can be playful and fun. If you want a more casual look, what you normally wear on a nice day out works too. With couple's outfits, I would avoid being too matchy with each other but similar color tones are okay. Also, be mindful of color choices when in context with our shoot location. For example, if we are shooting in the park, it's best not to wear too many greens and browns, otherwise you will camouflage and disappear into the background. If you're on a budget but want something special to wear for your portrait session, Rent the Runway is a great resource.
If you want to do some outfit changes (one casual look, one more dressy), we can do one in a session but accessories (jewelry, hats, scarves, shoes) are a good way to switch up a look without spending too much time changing. Jackets and cardigans (any layering clothing) are also an easy way to change up a look. Depending on the location, we may do some walking around so if you plan on wearing heels, it's nice to have a pair of flats to change into between shots.
Hair & Make-up
Guys/anyone with short hair, get a haircut a day or two before the shoot if possible. Be sure trim or shave any facial hair as you would normally wear it.
Ladies, this is a good opportunity to do a bridal make-up trial if you plan to have a make-up artist for your wedding. If you want a haircut, have it done a week or two before our photo session. If you don't plan to do your bridal make-up trial on the same day, just do your normal makeup routine the day of the shoot. Nice, clean makeup photographs the best and remember to wear a bit more blush than you normally would. If you don’t usually wear makeup, that's fine too. You don't have to wear makeup for the photos to look good. But if you don't wear lipstick, then at least wear some clear lip balm.
If you want some professional help, you can contact the fabulous make-up artists on my vendor referral page.
You are more than welcome to direct me to your Pinterest board (who doesn't love Pinterest?), but please keep in mind that Pinterest should be used for inspiration and not recreation. Your board will help me get a feel for the type of photographs you want (candids vs posed, in-focus backgrounds using architecture/structures/nature as framing vs bokeh backgrounds etc.) Our photo session should be a representation of who you are, focusing natural and genuine moments. Those unique moments are what I love capturing. With family sessions, keep in mind your child's age and ability when trying to recreate a Pinterest photo. The children in the Pinterest photo maybe a lot older than your child so make sure to ask yourself: "Is my child able to sit up on their own? Can they stand on their own? Are the activities in the Pinterest photos something my child would feel comfortable doing?" For more on a photographer's perspective on Pinterest, please read this insightful article.
Dealing with Bay Area Weather
If we're shooting in San Francisco, you know that the weather can be a crap-shoot. If it's looking rainy or just downright yucky out, we'll touch base a few hours before our scheduled session to see if there might be a nicer location to shoot. (Microclimates!) If we have to cancel, another session date should be made ASAP as my shooting schedule can fill up quickly.
Another thing to keep in mind is fog and wind. Summer in San Francisco is notoriously foggy and windy so make sure you bring along a warm jacket or something cozy to keep you comfortable between shots. If it's particularly windy, it's good for ladies to wear their hair up or gathered in a manner you normally would wear it so that we won't spend the entire shoot trying to wrangle stray hairs. (Hairspray helps too!)
Additional Information for Family Portraits
Since I like to shoot in my clients homes, it's great to have a few locations in mind. Either a backyard (perhaps under a tree), front yard (it's nice to shoot the front of a home especially if it's the first one for you and your family), or a nice, tidy and well-lit spot in the living room. I usually will take sometime to scout locations once I arrive to see which rooms have the best light. With babies, I like using bedrooms since beds make great "studio backdrops." I would have a few plain/neutral colored bedsheets ready and any attention catching/noise making toys we can use to get your child to look towards my camera. Favorite toys and snacks are helpful (but I tend to leave snacks as a last resort.)
We'll start with whole group photos and switch up into different pairings and individuals, letting the kids take breaks when needed. Let me know if you have a specific subject you want me to focus on more such as: more photos of the second child, posed photos of both kids, candid photos of the kids playing, etc.
During the shoot, I ask that the parents/adults are always smiling and looking towards my camera. This way I can concentrate on photographing the little ones. It's also helpful to relieve yourselves of "the perfect photo session" expectations. Children can be unpredictable but that's part of the fun of family photo sessions. If you child was fussing before the shoot, it's okay. We'll take some time before the shoot to make them feel comfortable. It's best to not overwhelm them with too many directions. It's also helpful to let me know beforehand if there are certain things that your child likes/makes them laugh (i.e. Are they ticklish? Do they like to sit on your shoulders? Do they like to be lifted? Etc.)
For clothing options, the same suggestions from my portrait/engagement sessions apply. Similar color tones for all family members are a great way to match without looking too cookie-cutter/Sears Portrait Studio circa 1986. Cohesive colors make for prettier group photos. (Example: If everyone is wearing a shade of navy blue, don't have your little boy wear a bright orange sweater.) With small children, please make sure that outfits still allow them to move around freely and that the fabric is not irritating to their skin. (Example: That big poufy white dress with all the tulle that grandma gave you might look adorable but if it's not what your little girl wears all the time, she will not be comfortable or at ease in that outfit.) The more comfortable your child is, the happier they will be for the photos. Clothing should be something you normally would wear and feel good in. Lastly, please make sure to wipe and clean up your child's face (and nose!) before we start the session. ;)
As always, communication is key! If you have any questions or concerns, contact me and we can figure out how to make our portrait session comfortable and fun!