How to rock your family portrait session

Family of five Lifestyle portrait session in Spring Hill TN

Yesterday, I shared with you Emily’s First Communion Photos. We combined those photos with a family portrait session, just like we’ve done in previous years. That meant we had about an hour to do Emily’s pictures inside the church, change her, and do family photos outside the church.

I did not feel we needed extra time to do the session because I’ve been taking photos of these girls all their lives, and they are old enough to follow directions. But even still, after we finished the session, I felt like it was too easy. I wondered to myself, “Did I get enough photos?”

Well, it turns out that I have too many photos. So many that it’s hard to narrow them down to a reasonable level. A big part of why the session feels so effortless is that I’ve been taking photos of these kids literally since they were born, and they know what to expect.

So I thought I would list a few things that make them so easy to photograph in the hopes that it might help others better know what to expect from a family photo session.

  • Their wardrobe is perfection. The colors are gorgeous. They coordinate without being too matchy-matchy. Everyone seems comfortable in what they are wearing. I love the textures in the corduroy. The little details like Hannah’s belt and bracelet really add interest and bring it together. And Christy looks absolutely stunning in red.
  • They take direction from me but also understand that I’m not looking for super posed images. They know they are free to be silly. I love the photos below of the three girls hugging and falling to the ground. This is the kind of circumstance where parents who are less used to my style might have been fussing at the children to be serious and stand up straight. But Christy and Brian know my style, and they know that sometimes those photos where the kids are being silly are the best ones.
  • They weren’t in a hurry. Sometimes people (usually dad) have this idea that we will “get a few photos” and then be done. That mindset makes it really hard to capture candid, authentic images. Brian has been showing up for my family photo sessions for many years and absolutely does his part to be patient and fun.
  • They get that authenticity is the goal. Everyone was encouraged to be themselves, which shows through in the images.

Did I miss anything? What do you think is the key to a fantastic family portrait session?

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you considered following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Spring Hill Family Portrait Session with 10 Month Old Baby GirL

I can’t believe I took these photos just three days ago. It feels like a whole different season ago, which really it was. Sunday was the absolute perfect Fall Day, and my favorite day of the year for fall family portrait sessions.

I’m so glad that Lauren was able to book the session. I met this wonderful family at an in-home portrait session in May, and was so happy to have them book another session. Babies grow so fast during their first year. I love capturing all of the stages as they grow and change, but if I had to pick, I would say that I love photographing older babies the best.

Lauren had contacted me before the session to ask if I thought an outdoor session would be appropriate for a 10 month old. I said that it absolutely would be! Even babies who are too young to walk tend to be fascinated by the beautiful world around them, and I love capturing that fascination and wonder.

Isn’t she just the most adorable little girl? I am in love with the purple color mom chose for her dress. It contrast perfectly with the gorgeous yellow leaves.

Too bad those leaves are probably gone now. Fall is absolutely my favorite season, but I’m happy to photograph beautiful snowy portraits too, so we will see what the winter holds. Fingers crossed that we get at least one good snow.

When to book Family Portraits if you Want Fall Color

As I sit here on the super cold morning, I miss the perfect Fall day we had just two days ago. I wanted to take the chance to talk about when to book a family portrait session if including fall colors on the trees is important to you. I wrote about this last year, and none of that information has changed, but if bears repeating. I still have many clients who assume October is the best choice for Fall color.

First of all, I want to say that any time of year is perfect for a family portrait session. The important thing is to get them done, and to do it regularly, preferably at least once a year as our littles ones grow so fast and are constantly changing.  Beautiful memories can be captured any time of year. I’m now booking January photo sessions, and those can be absolutely beautiful (you just need to dress warmly!)

With that being said, lots of my clients really want that gorgeous fall color, and ask me when they should schedule family portrait sessions to get that color.  I always hesitate to answer because mother nature is unpredictable and I cannot promise you we will get beautiful fall color at all.  Sometimes, an early freeze or drought conditions or other things can put a damper on that beautiful autumn color.  

But I can tell you, after some experience and actual forecasts, when to schedule your session to get the best chance of gorgeous color, and that is the first or second weekend of November (the last weekend in October is a good second choice).  That’s when our fall colors peak here in Middle Tennessee.  I find a lot of clients who assume it happens a lot earlier than that, and that’s probably because it does up north. Our friends in Michigan saw their autumn peak several weeks ago (and now they are getting snow!). 

I said all of that same information last year, and here, as further proof, is one of my sessions from Sunday, November 10. I adore this family and loved getting to hang out with them again. I’m thrilled they were able to book this session and indeed did get gorgeous fall color.

Happy Veterans Day!

To our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future, God bless you and thank you.

How fitting that I’m sitting here writing this blog post on Veterans Day. Jennifer wanted to schedule this session because her husband will soon be leaving for military training for six months. She wrote “I would just love some memorable family pictures that my girls and myself can look at while he is gone and just have a fond memory and smile.”

She snagged a spot that had opened up fairly last minute because I had a client that needed to change to a different date. I’m so glad she did. I had photographed the family a couple years ago and it was so great to see these sweet girls, and how much they had grown.

The day could not had been more perfect, and we had a blast exploring and playing in the leaves. I love their energy so much. I couldn’t help but smile while I edited these pictures of their sweet family, and hope that they will be able to look upon them with fond memories during their time a part.

To all of those who serve our country, and to their families who support them, thank you for your service. 🇺🇸

Why I Pick the Location for Weekend Fall Family Portrait Sessions

If you book a family portrait session with me most times of year, one of the questions on your booking paperwork will ask you where you’d like to shoot the photo session. I have a page on my website that will tell you about locations I frequently use, and I’m here to help you if you want it.

But you may notice that if you book a session for a weekend in October or November, that I’ve already chose a portrait session location.

The reason for this is that in the busy season, I generally book 3 back to back sessions on the weekend, with only about 15 minutes between them. This is just enough time for me to switch memory cards, so I don’t have time to drive to another location between sessions.

I used to let the first client who booked a particular date choose the location, and then those who booked the date after that would have to agree to that spot. But this complicated the booking process.

Also, I have more requirements for long shooting days than I have for just magic hour sessions. For the rest of the year, most of my sessions are scheduled for the hour before sunset…known in photographer lingo as “magic hour”. Magic hour lighting is pretty great anywhere. But when I am booking sessions earlier in the day, then I have to be sure that a location has some shade available, because the sometimes harsh sunlight of earlier in the day is not ideal for photos. But the proper location can allow a shaded spot from which the sun comes through the trees beautifully.

But for this session and the two before it, the bright sun wasn’t a big concern because it was a nice overcast day.

These two sweet brothers did an amazing job for their session. Those eyes! How can you not smile from looking at them?