Hi friends!

I hope you have been enjoying all the blog posts lately. I've been busy catching up with all my editing before all the upcoming trips I have, and I'm so excited to dive deep into fall and winter sessions! To make sure you're all prepared for your upcoming seasonal and holiday sessions, I wanted to give you my best personal and professional pieces of advice when it comes to shooting a session whether that's with me or with another photographer. My advice is tailored to making sure your sessions are stress-free and go by seamlessly as we wind down into the end of the year.

1. DON'T: Wait until the last minute to try-on your outfits.

I've had plenty of clients over the last few years change what they planned to wear at the last minute and even postpone their sessions because the outfits they ordered did not come in time or did not fit right. It's stressful enough planning outfits for yourself, but it can be even more trying if you are planning outfits for also a partner or other family members, especially kids. Children grow out of clothes more rapidly than you think so you'll want to check on that ahead of time and not realize at the last minute that the clothes or shoes don't fit right.

1. DO: Try-on your outfits ahead of time.

I know this seems like obvious advice. If you are planning your session, order it WELL in advance. You'll want to be trying on your potential outfits anywhere from one to two weeks before your session. This gives you time to alter, modify, and ensure that you already have the outfits, everything fits how you like it, and that you feel comfortable and confident in your clothes. Check how you look in the mirror, practice some poses, and add some additional props or accessories. If you're wearing brand-new shoes, you'll want to make sure they're broken in before you come to your session so you avoid blisters and accidents.

2. DON'T: Expect to only do stiff and straight on photos only.

Every single one of my past clients will tell you that your sessions will involve moving around, and I do that for a reason. Just sitting or standing and smiling at the camera creates an inaccurate and awkward photo. When you're working with me or with another photographer, the best way to ensure you're capturing it all is with movement. It captures the whole outfit, the expressions, the emotions, and everything in between. If you're expecting to take stiff and "proper" styled photos, I'd recommend you go to Sears. But when you're hiring a professional, we want you to get your money's worth. So no matter how short or long the session is, we will squeeze every minute out to make sure we capture the full picture.

2. DO: Bring an activity, object, or prop with you for your session.

When you look back on your photos of yourself, with your partner, or your family, you'll want to remember what it was you were doing in your life at the time. Your outfit alone is not enough to get you a well rounded set of photos. So bring a prop, something to fidget with, something to use, at your sessions. Especially if you're someone who is not comfortable being in front of the camera and you feel awkward posing, bringing something that represents you or showcases what you want to represent can help you feel more comfortable. Items can be as easy as a laptop, a planner, a guitar, etc. If you want to ensure easiness for family sessions, bring a toy or a book with you to keep your little one's focus.

3. DON'T: Blindside or surprise your photographer at the last minute or on the day of your session.

This is one of those "it goes without saying" things that I feel need to be said just to be clear. As photographers, when you book a session with us, we are asking you for all your information ahead of time and we provide deadlines for you to do so. This helps us plan the time allotted accordingly, and also makes sure that we are being paid for the service we are providing. The number of times that I have been caught off guard at sessions or during the planning call that takes place the week of the session makes my head spin. When it comes to session changes that don't pertain to emergent things like medical emergencies, vehicle emergencies, and weathers, we tend to be a little less forgiving because all of the above are outside of your control. So if you're looking to get family photos during your grad session, or if you're intending on surprising your partner with a proposal during your couples session - inform your photographer. Things like additional people, outfit, or location changes all include changes to pricing and we should not have to remind clients that just because we are being paid to provide a service, doesn't mean that we are not people too.

3. DO: Keep in contact with your photographer and inform them of any adjustments or changes to your session.

Most photographers, myself included, will typically send you a questionnaire to provide all your details for your session. This lets us know ahead of time what the color palette of the session will look like, what the setting will be, what props you'll be using, and just give us an idea of the overall aesthetic of the session. My questionnaires all have deadlines on them which is at least a week before your session so it gives us time to have a quick call to go over the game plan for your session and so you have as much time as possible to plan your session for what you need. This doesn't mean that sh*t doesn't happen - it does, so how do you go about making changes after submitting your questionnaire? Well, there's this fabulous thing called email. I always tell any potential or existing clients that my main form of communication and getting in contact will always be via email, I check it everyday and I try to respond as soon as I have an answer. I do not encourage my clients to text unless we've worked together prior or until we've had the planning call, and I do not take any messages via Instagram DMs due to spam.

4. DON'T: Be late for your session.

Yet another thing that I feel shouldn't need to be pointed out, but here we are. I only mention this because it has actually happened to me countless times where my clients are late. Tardiness is disrespectful to your photographer, most photographers I know will have multiple sessions during the day so when one client is late, it could delay the remaining sessions that are held. I always give a 15 minute grace period to my clients for unexpected traffic or personal reasons, but any more than that definitely will put me in a bad mood. Your time has been allocated accordingly, so when you delay me as a client, it gives me less time to work and it also means we have to adjust the plan that we came up with earlier in the week. If you're prone to being late, set your alarms early.

4. DO: Be timely for your session.

When a client is on time, it brings me such joy. Sessions are planned at specific times for a reason, it's usually to account for weather, where the sun will be, and also how we will move through the session accordingly. 9 times out of 10, I work incredibly fast because my brain is going at a hundred miles a minute. So when you're timely, we get to work through the different spots at your chosen location and work through the plan for the day, and it also gives us time to experiment! For me that would usually be to switch between shooting digital and film, but for you it means you get to stop me and ask if we can try something! If we're done early I will always ask if you have any poses or prompts you want to try that we didn't do!

5. DON'T: Hoard the digital versions of your photos.

Digital files more than likely always take up space on your device and eventually get lost on your phones, tablets, and computers. Whenever I deliver an online gallery, I will always encourage you to download the entire gallery because of the file size. Starting next year, I will be starting to clear out older galleries to make room for new ones. The thing about getting your photos done is that you want to keep a catalog of them but cataloging can sometimes just turn into hoarding and your digital files may sit and collect virtual dust if you don't do anything about them after posting your limit of 10 photos to Instagram.

5. DO: Take advantage of printing your photos and enjoy the physical product.

All my digital galleries have a store option! It allows you to print your photos in different sizes or onto different products like canvases, framed prints, and even cards for various occasions. I aim to provide a one stop shop for all my clients and give them high quality products that are true to color. But even if you're not working with me and ordering with me, you should still print your photos onto products! Prints and physical tangible products help you celebrate and commemorate that moment in time of your life. Hang your photos up around your homes and use the cards to send to your loved ones, or my personal favorite, print all of them and put them into a nice photo book to remember that time of life.

So that's it! Those are my 5 Do's and Don'ts for your session! I hope this gives you some things to think about when it comes to planning your session, shooting your session, and what to do with your final products. I offer more than the 10 photos you can post on Instagram or Threads so make use of those photos however you see fit. You'll always remember these photos when you know exactly where they are whether catalogued digitally or physically. I'm looking forward to talking to you all again soon!