Child & Family Sessions

What to Expect

Our sessions truly are more of a play date than a portrait session. We play A LOT of games, goof around, and ask silly questions of your entire family which always elicit natural, organic and emotive imagery.

We find the number one concern before a session is that the children will not cooperate or that they will have an “off day.” Consider, couples hire a wedding photographer knowing that every detail of that day will be breathtaking, yet families choose a portrait photographer hoping against hope that the results we be as lovely as those in the artist’s web portfolio.  Rest assured, another comment frequently expressed after mom has first seen the images is “I cannot believe the beautiful moment you captured from what seemed to be chaos!”

We create refreshing, compelling portraits that document the honesty of real life. We know real life isn’t always pretty. (We are also mothers.) That’s why it’s our job as trained, professional photographers to capture honest images that are full of life and yet, artistically refined. Think of them as “an ever-so-slightly prettier version of real.”

Remember that when we are not with our kids, we choose to be with yours. Our goal is to help you preserve the best memories of childhood – the ones that showcase your child’s inner and outer beauty – and preserve the cherished all-too-fleeting moments.

 
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What should parents do during the session?

In general, parents typically play more of a passive role during the child’s portrait session. We have a couple of reasons why we’ve found that this works best. One reason is that if you are talking with your child, but outside of the frame, your child is confused on where to look and I can’t achieve stunning eye contact imagery.  Additionally, both personally and professionally, we find that kids listen to other adults better than their own parents.  When a toddler or child is having a rough time, we sometimes may encourage the parents to step away a bit.  We just talk and play to keep the child at ease, and this lets us sneak in some great pictures.  Of course, each child is unique, and some need more time to warm up than others - in which case we will want you close by and directly behind me. 

What if my child doesn’t cooperate? First, if you believe that your child is sick, it’s better to reschedule than force an uncomfortable child to endure a session. That said, there are many times that children are completely healthy but don’t want to comply!  We’ll take our time, get to know each other, and have fun. It’s our goal to put the child at ease from the start, go with their moods, and stop for breaks as necessary. However, please understand that what you see as uncooperative we see as natural, typical independent behavior. We embrace the independent spirit of your child, and love the organic and authentic images that arise. Remember -  I have five kids! I’ve seen it all, and judge none of it. 

How can I help my child to cooperate?

Children should be well-rested and not hungry.  A snack and drink before the session will keep them content…just make sure they have clean faces when we start!  If they do need to stop for a snack, please do not give them sugar, anything messy (including Pirates Bootie). And if we are in the studio, please refrain from nut based snacks. 

Keep discussions about the photo session, beforehand, to a minimum. If the session is built-up too much in the kids’ minds, your efforts can backfire! The more you talk about how you want children to behave, the more likely they may burst under the pressure.  Simply, think of our session as a play date, with a camera.

If you are at all concerned about what approach would work best with your child, just let us know before the session and we can talk it over.

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No Cheese: Those are two words you will rarely hear us speak at your child’s session, and we would ask that you would refrain from using those words, or any similar words or phrasing, as well.

Let us explain: we strive to get honest and natural expressions from your child. When a child is asked to “Say cheese,” she will not give a natural smile, but rather she will be performing, and this will be apparent in the images. Please give us room to get on your child’s level, and you will soon see the natural expressions you know and love.

Yummy Tummy: A full tummy helps keep babies and children happy and satisfied during their portrait session, but please be careful about what foods they eat before their session. Carrots and sweet potatoes are a sweet treat for baby but can sometimes leave an orange tint on baby’s skin. This tint may not always be noticeable to the naked eye, but the camera’s lens can pick up on such skin discoloration. Other foods such as spaghetti, lollipops, Cheetos and candy may also stain the skin. Further, if you feed your baby lots of orange foods, her skin may give off an orange glow around the nose and mouth which unlike food, cannot be wiped away.

Coughs and Colds: If your child is sick or feeling “under the weather”, kindly call us to reschedule and/or to discuss your concerns. We are mother ourselves, and we understand that sometimes children get sick. We want your child to enjoy the photo session, and a sick child may not feel like having her portraits taken. We realize you have only the best of intentions, but please refrain from giving your kids cold medication or Benadryl prior to the shoot. While it might temper the symptoms, it’s also likely to dull your child’s personality and we’ll lose the ability to capture her true sparkle. Photoshop can work miracles, but it cannot improve the glassy eyes of a sick child. We would appreciate if you could call to reschedule as soon as it’s apparent your child is ill. Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Nicks and Scrapes: No need to fret when your child gets a small boo-boo on her face days before the photo session, as most small marks can easily be retouched. However, to be sure the blemish can be retouched, feel free to email us a digital photo. Note that facial bruising is more difficult to retouch. If your child has a bruise on her face, please notify us in advance and we can decide together if we should reschedule.


what to wear

Don’t dare

  • Big bows, a single ponytail, any sort of make-up (except chapstick for chapped lips)
  • Stiff clothing that doesn’t move with the child
  • Logos and characters
  • Words (letters can get lost in wrinkles)
  • Sequins or sparkly clothing
  • Dark or worn down nail polish, Band-aids, stickers or temporary tattoos.
  • Collars which can “flip”
  • Overalls or jumpers, button-down shirts which can “bunch up”
  • Shoes, socks and tights
  • Dresses, for pre-walkers (unless you have appropriate diaper cover-up).

Wear

  • Layered, textured clothing in neutral colors
  • Non-fussy, casual clothes keeps kids comfortable and promote natural expressions of their real personalities
  • Play clothes in muted solid colors or soft pastels
  • Fitted clothes
  • Slip dresses are a great choice for girls (make it funky with boots, or keep it simple with bare feet)
  • Boys look their best in jeans, or loose, cuffed khakis, topped with a solid or lightly patterned button-up shirt, soft cotton tee, or thermal. 
  • Definitely feel free to bring along one outfit that is just "them" - be it a princess dress, a batman costume, or their favorite pajamas. It's ok to break the rules some times!

Best Dressed Families

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White shirts and khakis on the beach.  Navy polos and yet more khakis all around.  We’ve all seen those photos–heck, most of us have been in those photos.  But did you know that coordinated but not “uniform” looks for families create a much more pleasing portrait? Moreover, it is not nearly as difficult as you think it is!  The cardinal rule of family dressing for portraits is simple: choose items for the entire family as if you were creating one outfit.  If all of your choices were somehow on one person, would the result be pleasing, color-wise?  A handy trick for those who are hesitant to break away from the monochrome madness is to choose one subtly patterned item (for example a print dress for your daughter) and then select the rest of the family’s clothing from colors within that pattern.

Clothing complements who you are as a family, references the setting for the photo sessions and coordinates with the home where final images will be displayed.  It is a key for a successful session, and with our signature best dressed guide, you’ll unlock the secrets to a achieving a creative, comfortable session featuring fresh, classic portraits that tell the story of your family.

Many clients find it helpful to arrange your outfits ahead of time, including accessories, on a big bed. Feel free to email us a photo for feedback. And please don’t neglect shoes! We love the look of bare feet for family sessions, but if you’re more comfortable in shoes, make sure they are clean, understated and stylish.

What to Bring

When shooting younger ones on-location, a stroller is recommended. You’ll also want to bring water and a snack, wipes and diapers. Older kids might appreciate a mirror or brush – and of course, something to drink! Depending on your comfort level and the selected field location, please consider bug spray and sunscreen. 

Don't forget to check out my What to Wear Pinterest Board for families!

We’ll be on the lookout for areas that provide the proper lighting; we seek to avoid harsh shadows and squinting eyes when outside.