Here is a list of ideas and tips on how to help you get ready for a professional MLS photo shoot. Inside the Home
De-clutter as much as possible. Put away toys, clothing, dishes, towels, shoes etc. It’s a lot cheaper to put these things away before the photo shoot than to pay to have the photos “photoshopped”.
Depersonalized to a certain degree. Photos of young children and any potentially offensive art (believe me, I’ve seen it all!) should be put away.
Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations.
Dust and vacuum.
Make all the beds, fluff all the pillows, and check the bed skirts.
Clean the kitchen sink and put away all the dishes.
Clear all kitchen countertops and put away toasters, can openers, etc.
Clear all bathroom countertops and put away all personal items.
Remove all shampoos, conditioners, body washes, etc. from the shower.
Put out the guest towels and hide all the others.
Hide all trash cans.
Remove all magnets and decorations from the refrigerator.
If there are pets, hide all food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys.
Put all toilet seats and lids down.
Replace all burned out light bulbs.
Consider decorating the tables with your prettiest place settings.
Consider putting out vases of fresh flowers. Outside the Home
Have the lawn trimmed, leaves raked, bushes and trees pruned.
Clean up after any animal
Put away all garbage cans, hoses, garden tools, toys, bikes etc.
Hide any “cute” yard decorations.
In snowy climates, shovel snow from walkways, driveways, patios, decks when necessary.
If there is a pool, hot tub, or spa, take any security gate down, uncover, and clean.
If there will be any twilight photos taken, replace any broken lighting on the home, around the landscape, and in the pool.
Open the umbrellas on any patio sets.
When in season, uncover grills.
Remove any seasonal/holiday decorations.
Consider adding splashes of bright colored flowers to the landscape and in pots. Right Before the Photographer Arrives
Turn on ALL interior lights – even lights in furniture cabinets.
Turn OFF all ceiling fans.
Light fireplaces and candles.
Open all blinds, shades, and curtains.
Clear all cars and vehicles from the driveway and the street in front of the home.
Please secure any potentially aggressive animals in a safe location, away from all rooms being photographed.
Portraits: men & women
Choose a suit or outfit that has a classic look: you shouldn’t be able to tell what decade it is in the photo. No bold, distracting patterns or colors unless you can layer a blazer or sweater over it so not much of the pattern is showing. Don't wear stark white unless it’s under something, such as a suit jacket, cardigan, or sweater. V-necks accentuate the neckline and generally look best on women. Just don’t choose something with too low of a neckline. No turtlenecks. They tend to make people look like they have no neck at all in photos. Stay away from short sleeves or tank tops: executive headshots look better without bare arms.
Portraits: kids & families
In each family or kids’ portrait session, you can expect a mix of “posed” portraits as well as candid shots. It is up to you if you want to focus your session only on your child(ren), your family as a whole or a little bit of both. Usually, there is time for everything, including individual portraits as well. FAQ: -What should we wear?
Since we’ll likely be outdoors we want the little ones to be comfortable, so please keep the weather in mind. Your family’s wardrobe style can be anything from casual jeans and t-shirts to suit/ties and dresses. It really just depends on the kind of look you’re going for in your photos. If we’re using an outdoor location, keep in mind you may be sitting. When choosing colors I recommend staying away from matching colors and sticking with coordinating colors. Everyone in the same color pants and matching shirts tends to look a little “uniform.” Instead, I recommend that you choose a color palette you like and mix and match that color palette within your family. Patterns are okay, but just make sure they coordinate with the rest of your family. When choosing your color palette to think about the colors that are most flattering to your family as well as where the photos might be displayed. If you’re planning to hang a large print in your living room you may want to avoid a color that will clash with your decor. It is also usually wise to stay away from everyone in black or everyone in white. Often the shades of these colors can be very slightly different. While you may not notice it when you get dressed, it can be exaggerated by the camera, and nothing is worse than 3 people in bright white and 1 person in a slightly dingy white. FAQ: -My little one hates having her picture taken. What can we do?
As a mom myself, I know how challenging it can be to get everyone to look at the camera and smile at the same time. But don’t worry, I come ready with all sorts of tricks and tools to get the little ones to be awesome models! And sometimes the best photographs come when your family is just interacting and being silly together. FAQ: -Can we include our family pet?
It happens that I have a degree in Veterinary science and I love animals!! Pets are always welcome! There are a few things you may want to consider though. First, we need to be sure the location we choose allows pets. Also, you should consider bringing along a person who can attend to your pet in the event that they are not cooperative during the shoot and you choose to leave them out of the photos. Bringing a little water to keep 'Fido' hydrated is a good idea also.
Pregnancy is magical
Well, okay… heartburn, morning sickness, swollen feet. I guess it’s not THAT magical. But there is so much that is beautiful about it too. Your body is transformed into a sanctuary for this precious life and you’re full of anticipation to meet someone you already love more than anything. You will never get this time back. Someday your child will look at the pictures and know how loved they were before they even took their first breath. I occasionally hear expecting moms say that they don’t want to do maternity pictures because they’re not loving the way their body looks or because they don’t want to show so much skin, but rest assured that maternity portraits can be anything you want them to be. If you want to bare it all and capture your uncovered body or belly – we can do that. If you want to stay fully covered and focus more on the emotions you and daddy are feeling – we can do that. No matter how we do it, the poses we choose will be natural and flattering. FAQ: -When should I schedule my maternity session?
I recommend that women schedule their maternity session between 30-35 weeks. This is the point when there is a nice “baby bump” but not so far along that you may miss your session due to an early delivery FAQ: -Can I include anyone else in my shoot?
It’s wonderful to include your significant other, older children or even your pet in your shoot. Capturing the interactions within your family during this special time adds something very beautiful to the images. Just remember, you will likely want to do some shots alone as well as with your significant other if it applies to you – so if you’re bringing children or pets please arrange for someone to attend to them so you are not distracted during your shoot. FAQ: -What should I wear?
First and most importantly – wear what makes you feel good. I recommend tops that are somewhat form fitting and accentuate your belly. Baggy or frumpy clothing doesn’t “read” well in images and can make your figure look larger… in all the wrong places! Layering clothing is a great option if you’re uncomfortable with form-fitting tops. For example, a snug tank top under an open, chunky sweater. Jeans, skirts, and dresses are always beautiful choices. Just be sure that it’s something you feel comfortable moving around in as you might choose to sit during your session. Typically solid colors work best for tops, but you can always add a pattern on a skirt, scarf or another accessory. Patterns of dresses work well, but be mindful that it is not loud or overpowering. If you plan to include others in your shoot, be careful than any patterns or colors you may wear do not clash. (For more info on wardrobe ideas for a family, please see my What To Expect section on family portraits.) FAQ: -Now that I’ve booked my session and chosen my outfits is there anything else I need to do to prepare?
My suggestion is to make sure that you set aside ample time for your session to get ready. Pamper yourself! Anything from a mani/pedi to just a nice long shower in the morning. Don’t rush and take your time with your hair and make-up. If you are feeling good and relaxed it will come across in your images.
Those first precious days of your new baby’s life are some of the most beautiful times…. and if you’re anything like me, they’re also a total blur. The true newborn phase – where they’re all just squishy little balls of sleepy perfection- is almost over before it even starts to feel real. This is the only time in their lives when they will visibly grow on a daily basis. Meanwhile, you’re just trying to get used to having this new little life in your family. A recent survey done by MyMemory.com asked parents of grown children what their biggest parenting regret was. The majority answered: not taking enough pictures when they were babies. I hear that often and it breaks my heart. But I never hear “I wish I hadn’t gotten professional newborn portraits done.” FAQ: -When should I schedule my session?
It is usually best to contact me before your 8th month of pregnancy. Based on your due date, we’ll come up with a few tentative dates for your session. As we all know, babies don’t seem to be very punctual… so once your baby is born you can contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule the exact day and time. If you want to achieve the sleepy, curled up newborn poses it is best to do the shoot within the first 10 days after birth. If you’ve already missed that window or have circumstances that won’t allow you to do the session before 10 days, no worries. We can still get beautiful shots of your baby, however, there are some poses I will not attempt after they are 10 days old. FAQ: -Where will we do the session?
Many parents prefer to do the newborn session in their own home. Mommy and baby tend to be most comfortable there. You may be spending some time rocking, cuddling or feeding your baby in order to get him/her to sleep for the photos, so it helps to be in your own environment. This also allows you to get some variety in the style of photographs from your session. We can do a mix of “posed” shots as well as some of your family interacting with your home and of your baby’s nursery. This is a great option for families with older siblings, especially ones who are young enough that they may not have a lot of patience for “posed” shots. I also have studio space available for use and also occasionally do sessions in my own home. If time is a concern, this option can sometimes allow your session to go a bit more quickly since I am able to set up all of the backdrops and props before your arrival. FAQ: -How long with the session take?
The length of the session depends largely on the disposition of the baby as certain poses can only be achieved with babies who are in a deep sleep. Typically newborn sessions range anywhere from 1-4 hours. If time is a concern for you, please let me know ahead of time so we can plan our poses accordingly. FAQ: -What clothing or props should I prepare for the session?
Most often parents choose for their newborn to be nude in the portraits. There’s nothing like that beautiful, wrinkly newborn skin! We will pose the baby in such a way that their little boy or girl parts are covered! If you don’t feel comfortable with this, or would like any other parts covered (umbilical stump for example) please let me know ahead of time. You are free to clothe your baby for the shoot if you feel more comfortable, but I recommend keeping the clothing as simple as possible. A solid colored onesie usually works best. I do supply some props and suggest including knit hats, headbands, swaddle wraps, etc., but if you have something specific in mind I encourage you to provide anything you’re interested in using. For any other family members participating in the session, I recommend keeping it simple and sticking with solid colors. FAQ: -Do I need to hold off on feeding or changing the baby before the shoot?
Our goal is to get the baby into a very deep sleep before beginning the shoot. If you find that feeding your baby helps put him/her to sleep you may want to start the feeding as soon as I arrive, however, DO NOT deny the baby anything he/she may need before my arrival. If your baby is sleepy, hungry or needs to be changed before my arrival, don’t be concerned with keeping him/her on “schedule.” FAQ: -I saw some cute newborn pictures on Pinterest, can we replicate that?
Although I make every attempt to accommodate all requests there are some that I do not attempt. I do not attempt any poses that are unsafe for the baby or give the illusion of being unsafe for the baby. I do not use any props that hang babies (hammocks, pods, etc.) and will not put babies in an unsafe prop (glass bowls, etc.)