FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION

Planning for your


tips for timing, choosing a location, outfits, managing kids and more!

I am so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your session. It’s normal to be a little anxious about your session. You're a busy family with quite a few things on your plate.

That's actually one of the reasons why I put together this guide. It covers things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a location, outfits, prepping kids and more.

Hopefully it helps you feel fully prepared for our time together, but should you have any other questions or if you need advice, please feel free to reach out!

-Mia

Managing             Ones

Managing             Ones

THANK YOU.

The

Little

Furry

One thing I've learned over the years is that your experience of your children is different from what others experience. For example, if you’re at the grocery store with your three year old son and he starts yelling, you probably think he’s irritating other customers more than he is. Most likely, those other customers just see a cute (slightly loud,) three year old.

The same holds true for photo sessions. Your child is in a new element and a stranger is holding a big camera in front of their face. They’re likely not going to entirely be themselves. They may show off more than usual or your extrovert may suddenly become shy.

Rest assured, it’s all okay.

The best thing you can do for your kids is to go with the flow and stay positive. The more you relax and have fun with things, the more likely your little one (or big one,) is to get on board.

It can also be helpful to pack a few treats and bribes for younger children. Favorite toys, special snacks and the promise of ice cream afterwards work wonders.

I am incredibly patient with kids and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help get even the smallest ones to cooperate.

NEWBORNS

A NOTE ABOUT

If we’ll be photographing the newest members of your family, the following tips below will help ensure everyone is happy throughout the session.

Feed and change your little one’s diaper right before I arrive. This helps ensure that they are ready to go as soon as I arrive. However due to the tiny size of their tummies, it’s also likely that they’ll need another feed (and maybe a diaper change) during the shoot.

Please don’t worry about pausing the session to feed your little one. This is normal! I plan extra time for newborn sessions.

01

02

While your entire house doesn’t need to look like it’s ready for Pinterest, I do recommend cleaning up the nursery and any places you think we might shoot. This might include your bed, the couch or a spot in your home with beautiful natural light. But truly, that's all you need to prep. I know you're in the throes of newborn life and I won't judge the pile or dishes in the sink or baby paraphernalia that has suddenly taken over the house.  

03

You’ve likely realized this by now, but babies can be a bit messy. It’s always a good idea for all members of the family to plan an extra outfit just in case.

This is a season when you might not quite feel like yourself. A fresh outfit you feel good in goes a long way. I have found longer, a-line dresses that are nursing friendly are often the most flattering. Brands like Petal and Pup and Morning Lavender tend to have quite a few of these at affordable prices. Session days are also a good day to take others up on that offer to help. You are one hard working mother, and if you have time to nap, shower and get ready in peace, you’re going to love these images a lot more.


Time & light

Is there a "good" time to take photos?

I have found that there isn’t a “good” or “bad” time to take your photos. I normally plan sessions based on a particular “look” my clients have in mind, spring flowers for example, or based on schedules.

Sessions typically last about an hour and a half and when when I can—I love to begin sessions about two hours before sunset. I prefer to shoot when the sun is lower in the sky to avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches. The first two hours after sunrise is also an ideal time to shoot.

I schedule sessions during what I believe will be the best light of the day - which means that it’s super important to be on time. If you’re late to an evening session, we could run out of light before we’ve finished shooting and if your session takes place in the morning, the sun gets more harsh as it rises. 

In the warmer months, sunset sessions often fall during the witching hour. They may even fall during or after bedtime.

As much as we love a consistent bedtime routine, in order to capture the best light during "golden hour", we're likely going to need to throw off your schedule a bit.

If our session takes place close to dinnertime, we recommend feeding kids (and yourselves!) before we begin shooting.

If your little one is going to be going to bed later, consider pushing their nap a bit that day, letting them sleep longer or packing pj's so that you can quickly tuck them into bed as soon as you get home.

Sunset & Bedtimes

If your session takes place in the fall, while it might be tempting to dress your little one in a pumpkin costume to eternally remember the cuteness that babies in costumes in giant piles of leaves holds, we advise keeping attire a little more neutral.

Yes, that image would crush it on the ‘gram, but if you’re hoping to print these images for your walls, will you always want to see that pumpkin costume?

The same holds true for images taken for Christmas cards. While those red and green sweaters might be worthy of the Minted hall of fame, are you really going to want to look at photos of yourselves in holiday sweaters in the summer?

If you’re looking for outfit advice, feel free to send ideas our way! We’re happy to help curate a wardrobe that not only feels coordinated, but that looks beautiful for years to come. 

things to keep in mind:

SEASONALITY

LOCATIONS

My favorite places to shoot

The best session locations are often meaningful to my individual families; however, I am also happy to make recommendations. From parks to floral fields to cityscapes and in your home, the options for session locations are endless!

The above locations are all beautiful but I also love exploring meaningful locations with my families!

Beach

Urban

Nature

Indoor

Classic & Elegant

Wrigley Building
Milton Lee Olive Park
Grant Park
Art Institute Chicago

North Avenue Beach
Montrose Beach
Loyola Beach
Gilson Beach

Museum Campus
Ping Tom Memorial Park
Lurie Garden
Board of Trade Building
Chicago Riverwalk
Navy Pier

Montrose Bird Sanctuary
Lincoln Park Boardwalk
Garden of Pheonix
Horner Park
Winnemac Park
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond

Garfield Park Conservatory
My Studio (in Pilsen)
In-home
Lincoln Park Conservatory
Chicago Cultural Center

I know that some family members just happen to be furry and I love when families choose to incorporate pets into their session. Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet friendly location.

I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and having a friend take them home. I won’t use the pet in every single photo so it’s also nice to have someone available to hold him or her in between shots.

If you’re going to bring a pet, I recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pets favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot. 

I know that this guide is long and hopefully it covers everything you need to know to prep for your portrait session. However if there is something I missed, or you need a recommendation feel free to email me.
miaacolone@gmail.com

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