MBL Family Session Guide
This guide is here to help you get prepped, ready and excited for your upcoming family session! I’ll touch on everything you need to know to go into the session feeling confident and ready to get some killer portraits of you and your favourite people. Take a peek at all the tips and tricks I’ve accumulated for you and definitely reach out with any questions you may have!
When planning for a great session, your location choice is the perfect place to start.
Think of your personalities - Are you a group who enjoys the outdoors or one who would rather spend time in the comfort of your own home? Are you most comfortable in nature or do you like the urban feel of a downtown core? Start off with some general ideas of what setting would suit you and the gang and then start to narrow it down.
Think of your hobbies + history - What do you and your family like to do with a free weekend? Where would you spend a Sunday afternoon? Is visiting a favourite park, heading down an awesome trail or catching a sport game right up your alley? I also love hearing about places that are meaningful to you as a group. It could be the spot your kids love to play or somewhere with some family history! Although we may not spend an entire session at one of your favourite spots, it could be a great addition to your collection and will be even more special when you see the finished portraits!
Think of the big picture - Invision your favourite portraits from the session hanging on a wall in your home. Think of the colours, the textures, and the backdrops that may work best with your decor!
If you can’t think of a location right away, don’t worry - I’m here to help with a bundle of suggestions for places we can head. We’ll find somewhere perfect for you guys!
I even have a location “Bucket List”, so if you want to take a peek at it to spark your imagination just let me know!
First and foremost, you should feel comfortable in and great about your outfits! Pick something from your closets that you love, and that represents YOUR style – you certainly want to look like your awesome selves during your session, not someone else.
To start, let’s think of the time of year and of course dress for the weather. Next, think of where these photos will be displayed. If you are looking for a great wall portrait, take a little bit of time to think of the location as well as the style of the room you will be hanging it in. Maybe you’re using the images for a coffee table album and want to have the wardrobe coincide with your living room. This usually gets clients thinking of how dressed up they want to be for the session. Know there is no such thing as being overdressed, but be consistent with the family’s comfort level.
Next, know that you do want to coordinate, but be careful not to match completely. Neutrals always work in any background so maybe use one of those as your base. You can add a pop of colour here and there if you want to, especially to match the season. Think about what your other family members will be wearing to the session as well and compliment each other as best you can!
Solid colours work great, and please be sure not to wear anything that will distract the viewer (ex. bright neon colours, very busy patterns, or large logos on clothing). Even in the summer heat it is usually best for males to wear long pants and avoid any cut off t-shirts – the sessions aren’t too long, so don’t worry!
You can also take the location of the photos into account and allow that to influence your choices as well! Putting in a small amount of effort before hand will pay off when you see the finished product and how great you will all look! And finally, just a helpful reminder that both your hands and feet with be in a lot of the photos, so don’t neglect your shoe choice, or the opportunity to give yourself a manicure!
Wondering if you can do a wardrobe change half way through a session? You absolutely can! We can swap for a more casual second option, one that will suit a second location, or even the second outfit you were dying to wear. Check out some pallets as a good place to start!
So how do the family sessions work?
They are truly a ton of fun! We’ll stroll through the locations we’ve picked for the session effortlessly working our way through some loosely posed images, chatting away and probably laughing quite a bit. A little more on that later.
Sessions normally last between 1-1.5 hours and are typically scheduled within the first or last couple hours of sunlight. That gorgeous and glowy light that happens right after sunrise or just before sunset is PERFECT for flattering and dynamic looks to your images. It will help the family look their best and is consistent with the style that may have attracted you guys to me in the first place!
Your family proofing gallery will be up and ready for you typically within 2 weeks of your session, followed by a 1-on-1 consultation either in the studio or online to pick your favourite images! Based on what you’re looking for, there are printed products for the wall or the coffee table, as well as some digital collections. Truly something for everyone!
Let me start off this section by telling you that this is the number one fear of clients going into a family session and is the one thing that you definitely don’t have to worry about!
I can’t tell you how often I hear that clients haven’t been in front of a lens before, don’t like being there, and are worried about looking awkward. I think I hear it every single time, which is TOTALLY normal! It’s not your job to be a model, but it is your job to be yourself.
Take the pressure off your shoulders and know that I won’t lead you guys astray.
Everyone needs a little bit of guidance in terms of where to stand, how to highlight your best features and of course how to work with the setting. I’m really chatty through the sessions and will definitely help you get the hang of these things the entire time we’re together. By the time we hit the halfway mark, you’ll all be total pros!
Although I’m sure it’s easier then it sounds, I want you guys to be yourselves! If there’s a joker in the group, I’d love for them to crack some jokes...if you guys are really cuddly, snuggle up! Even though you have me tagging along, I love to get to know my families as they are in everyday life...and being yourself will naturally shine through your portraits every time!
Family sessions are nothing short of a good time, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you all feel at ease, look your best and bring out those true personalities...hopefully wanting the session to go on a little bit longer. Don’t worry about kids acting out, looking the right direction or needing a break. If there are little ones in the group, I’ll work at their pace - just like you, they’ll warm up to the camera in no time!
If you have any hesitations, any minor insecurities or worries going into the session - I’d love to chat about them beforehand. Getting the most out of your session and ensuring you all have the best time possible is my number one priority!
So let any posing nerves be gone! Let’s have some fun and make some awesome images that capture the true nature of your family dynamic!
My favourite way for clients to enjoy their images is to have them on display in their home. Whether it’s to flip open a custom designed album on the coffee table or walk by the images as artwork in their home... printing your images is truly the best choice! Some portraits are just meant to fill a blank wall, those shots that are so “you guys” or the ones that are epic. Personalizing your space and having a tangible way to enjoy the images you’ve invested in is the best decision you can make!
With the software I use, designing wall collections for clients right before their eyes is one of my favourite things to do. Walking you through the design process, offering some tips and tricks for what looks best and showing you a real-life mock up is all part of the process and helps you in getting the most out of your session!
There is something for everyone so I’d love for you to inquire about some product options before, during or after your session!
Parents - If you have young ones it’s sometimes a good idea to bring along a favourite toy or two in case we need them! Same thing goes for a mess-free snack that they can munch on half way through the session.
Feel free to talk to them about the session and why I will be joining you for this outing! It might help them be a bit more comfortable with me from the get-go, but hopefully they will warm up to me either way.
Have teens? Let them know I’d love to hear some ideas at the session of anything they might want to get a shot of! In the age of the “selfie”, I’m always up for trying something a little more “cool” or abstract that will totally get them on board. Involving the whole family in choosing a location is a great way to get everyone excited as well!
Hopefully by this point you’re more excited then you were before and you’re feeling prepped and ready to go! I’m truly so thrilled I was chosen to help you update your family portraits! Investing in these moments that will become family heirlooms is something your future self and future generations will thank you for!
Of course, if there are any additional questions please drop me a line! If not, let’s go have some fun!!