Preparing for your Session

Preparing for your Session

Lifestyle photography – what I specialize in – focuses on relationships. I do very little posing and instead prefer to let my clients get comfortable and then I’ll tweak as needed. I will encourage you to laugh and play. When I’m shooting, I like to capture a mix of those semi-posed moments, purely beautiful candid moments, and organically joyful moments. I realize you have a lot of options so I am thrilled and flattered that you have chosen me as your photographer!


Please let me know in advance if anyone in your group does not like to be touched or has any aversions to direct eye-contact, etc, or if anyone in your group has any physical limitations so I can recommend locations accordingly.


Portrait Sessions with Children

One of the questions I am asked the most is, “How should I prepare my child(ren) for our session? S/he doesn’t like having their picture taken.” For starters, it’s important to remember that kids generally act differently for someone they don’t know vs their own parents. Please know this is common and I am prepared for it. The truth is most kids don’t like to pose for pictures – and that is what I love about photographing children! I absolutely love how honest and raw they are with their emotions and I live to capture those genuine smiles and sense of wonderment. I like to engage kids by getting them to talk to me or play a game with me – so if there is something you know your child loves, please let me know before our session. It’s important not to remind them that they don’t like having their picture taken during our session. Once they get comfortable with me I’ll be able to capture natural, genuine, gorgeous smiles and avoid the clenched-jaws “cheese” face. Sometimes I do this by encouraging them to be really silly – please do not tell them not to do what I am asking. Occasionally, I may ask a child to come with me away from the group – some kids just respond better when there isn’t a ton of pressure or a crowd watching them. For older babies and younger children, please bring a favorite toy and plan to make silly faces behind me. When it comes to kids, we are on their schedule – I am not watching the clock, I’m focusing on them.

For outdoor sessions in particular – please be aware of the circumstances and plan accordingly. If it is cold, please dress warmly; in summer, please plan for insects…lots of insects. For family sessions, you will find that a happy child who is dressed appropriately will yield cuter pictures than a too-cold or too-hot child in a nice outfit. Most locations do not have running bathrooms, so if you are potty-training please be prepared for that by bringing a travel potty seat. I am always a fan of little bribes for kids, but remember that if you’re giving them stickers they will likely end up on their skin/clothes and therefore in the pictures and the same for candies or foods that melt.


Newborn Sessions

Oh, I just love natural newborn sessions. There is something so magical and pure about this time in your life and I am so excited to capture it for you!

  • When I arrive I will want to look around for the rooms with the best light in which to set up – please have blinds/curtains opened but please do not feel that you need to have a perfectly clean home for me! In particular, I like to look at the nursery, living room or den, and master bedroom (or guest room.) Once I determine where we will be setting up, I can do anything that needs to be done to prep for pictures.
  • Newborn babies are still working to regulate their body temperatures and lose heat quickly when stripped naked.  You know how when you change a baby’s diaper, they are instantly really mad?  It’s likely that they are just cold! Baby will be diapered for the majority of our session, but there’s nothing sweeter than photographing a new baby in their birthday suit. For that reason, I’ll ask you to warm your house to about 80 degrees for our session.
  • Please also undress baby and loosen baby’s diaper completely about 30 minutes before the session. This allows time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear from their skin. Swaddle baby in a warm blanket until I arrive.  If baby’s skin is a little dry or flaky, try applying a small bit of baby lotion to those spots the day before our session. But don’t worry if it doesn’t go away completely…Photoshop does wonders on red, flaky, bumpy newborn skin!
  • Be prepared for a longer visit.  Newborn sessions are the most challenging, usually lasting about two hours but occasionally lasting longer.

I typically like to begin with family shots and candid moments, and just from the snuggling Baby will usually fall asleep and we can then place them and pose them a bit. I do bring a bean bag with me but I also love to use furniture that is already in your home for a more personal touch. Please note that I do not offer composite newborn portraits – this includes poses such as a baby that appears to be balancing their head on their hands, or hanging in fabric from a tree branch. Also, a hungry baby will never sleep no matter what we do, so please always feed your baby as needed – never feel like you can’t or shouldn’t just because I’m there. I am totally flexible and happy to hang out and give you space – when working with newborns, we are on their schedule!


If you have any specific concerns or questions, please always feel free to call or shoot me an email so we can discuss. If there are any specific props, poses, or ideas you want incorporated into your session, please let me know well in advance so that I can prepare. I am not always able to accommodate last minute requests.


© Second Ave Photography LLC 2014