How to Prepare your Photographer for your Photo Shoot

So much planning, preparation, and stress go into photo shoots, Can I Get An Amen? As you are busy getting outfits together, making sure your schedules match up, preventing your kiddos from getting a bruise on their forehead or getting sick, your photographer is doing some tedious work behind the scenes as well! Along with communicating with you over periods of time, we are also expanding our knowledge base, juggling schedules, answering phone calls, and making sure our equipment is ready for your super successful photo shoot. However, have you ever left a photo shoot feeling as if you didn’t connect 100% with your photographer?

Here’s Why!

Photographers also need to be prepared for your photo shoot.

Although they have the education, the professional background, the expertise, they deal with a handful of clients who all have different wants and needs! Of course you hired us for our style, and we prefer you leave it up to us, there are a handful of things that we are just dying to know! Here is a top 5 List on how to Prepare your Photographer for your shoot!

1) What are your portrait print goals? Do you want to replace the ancient 20×30 canvas over the fireplace? Do you need vertical pictures? Discuss your printing needs with your photographer before-hand.

2) Let your photographer in on any top secret strategies to get your child to smile. Do they like the “achoo” game, or peekaboo? Do they like music? What can your photographer due to grasp your childs attention?

3) Are there certain colors or patterns that you are attracted to that will fit your home? Are their certain patterns or colors that you prefer not to use?

4) Do any of your children have special needs that could benefit your photographer to know before hand? Do they need a warm up period? Are they allergic to something that they may come in contact with at the studio?

5) Is there something you wish you would have done in previous sessions, but never had the chance to do? Let us know!


Although there is a handful of things your photographer wants to know before the session, this list covers the basics. What do you wish your photographer knew about you?


Top 5 things to bring to your Children Photo Shoot!

FAQ: I have an upcoming photo shoot with my kiddos, what should I bring?

Of course, beside yourself and your children, there are a few handy things that you may not of thought of to bring, just in case!

1) Wipes, you never know when something can get a little messy!

2) Small snacks, such as cheerios or puffs

3) Favorite Toy, hidden until needed

4) Back-up outfit; anything could happen

5) Your Child’s Favorite Music (on an iphone or ipad)

What to Wear Wednesday


What to Wear | Mid-Winter



Layering tee:





















7 Things to Know for your 3 Month Session! Sioux Falls Area Photographer, Dell Rapids Photographer


Ask any of my parents or even any photographer, 3mo old pictures are the toughest photos to obtain. Children are in such an awkward stage, they can’t squish into a newborn pose, and they can’t sit unassisted. So many photographers opt to not get those photos, but I do. Why? Because baby’s change SO MUCH between newborn and 3 mo. And those facial expressions, and facial features MUST be documented. So how do we do it?

7 Steps to a Successful 3mo Session!

1) Keep your expectations Realistic. This is probably my NUMBER ONE TIP. At this age, it is not only important to keep the child’s safety but also their cooperation in mind. I like to focus on their facial expressions, their interactions, etc. It is very difficult to pose them comfortable anywhere on their back, sometimes their tummy. So, posing them in a basket, by themselves is unrealistic. However, depending on their neck strength, and with mom and dads help, we may be able to pose them in a basket with some support. These are all things I figure at the beginning of the session.

2)  3months is a milestone. We focus on baby being awake, so the eyes, facial features, growth, etc are all factors.  Again, at this age, I focus more on facial features than anything.

3) Keep outfit changes simple. At this time, babies are still unsure of changing outfits, and a lot of times too many outfit changes can shorten the session. Keep your outfits to 1-2, minimum.

4) Be patient, and flexible. We work on babies schedule. A lot of times, the plan changes! Be flexible and understand that we may or may not get a pose you desire, it all depends on the cooperation of your child.

5) Dress Neutral.  I typically stay away from family shots at 3mo sessions, but I ask my parents to dress neutral, and be prepared to have hands, legs, etc in a photo. Sometimes I may ask mom or dad to hold baby in a position that looks confortable and natrual to baby. No need to get super dolled up, typically its just a photo of the baby in your arms, etc.

6) Communicate your ideas, before you come. I cannot stress this enough. Sessions work so much better if I am aware of any ideas you may have. That way, I can set up for it, or find props, fillers, etc that can help me pose your baby best!

7) And lastly, know that perfectly posed sibling shots at this age are unlikely. I focus more on the natural interactions, while keeping Safety and Cooperation at the top of my list!


12 Things to Discuss With Your Photographer Before a Photoshoot!

1. The names & ages of my children.

2. The best time to schedule my session. When scheduling your photo session, you ultimately want to do so around your children’s schedule. Sometimes this can be hard to do, but the last thing you want to do is to schedule during your child’s normal nap time, downtime or “cranky time.” My 5 year old has a one hour window everyday between 3:30 and 4:30 that we call his “downtime.” This is right when he gets out of school and he is very sensitive and crabby during this time period. We know this would not be a good time to schedule our photo session, and we try to avoid this time if at all possible.

3. Any themed ideas I may have. It is important to discuss ideas with your photographer to get the most out of your session. For example, if you plan on dressing in football jerseys with football props, let your photographer know. She or he may have more ideas to help you prepare for your session, or may have a location idea that would be perfect for that!

4. Things I have done in the past that I would like to do in the future. If you are going to this photographer for the very first time, it is important to let them know your expectations before hand. Did you photograph downtown and want to do it again? Do you prefer Vertical rather than Horizontal Images? Some photographer tend to shoot only in Horizontal, or only in Vertical, so it is super important to let your photographer know before hand what those needs are.

5. Things I have seen before that I would like to try. Although your photographer may change this up a bit, feel free to bring your ideas to the table! This is your photo session and your wall portraits, and we want to know what you like!

6. Locations and Indoor/Outdoor Preferences. If it is nice out in the Summer Time, I prefer to do my photos outdoors. Sometimes I even forget to ASK my clients preference because the status quo in the summer is outdoor photos, so it is super important to let your photographer know before hand so they can prepare for whichever you may choose.

7. Things that work well for my children. If there is ONE SONG that gets your child to laugh, let your photographer know! We are here to make your child smile, so anything that helps us get them there is perfect!

8. Things I know I will or won’t want edited. This is a big one. A lot of times, I will edit out something and the client will later say, “why did you do that? We want his bruise on his forehead for memories.” or I won’t edit out a scar or a tattoo that the client wants edited out. Let your photographer know before hand what you would and wouldn’t want edited.

9. My ideas for Wall Portraits. If your family picture sits horizontally in a 16×20 Frame above your fireplace, let your photographer know! If you always order a canvas, let your photographer know. Sometimes knowing these things can help a photographer with how they take a picture. For example, with Canvas’s there has to be plenty of room around the photo to stretch it, so sometimes taking the pictures just a little bit further away will help prepare for that Canvas!

10. Who referred me to this Photographer. Some photographers have referral programs, so help your friends out!

11. Poses or Ideas you know you don’t want. If you know you will not order any poses where your family is standing, let your photographer know. That way you can get more pictures you know you may want!

12. Poses or ideas you DO want.



How to Prepare for a Family Photo Shoot

Top Tips for a Successful Family Session

 1) MY TOP MOST IMPORTANT TIP: If you are a parent, it is important you stay posed and directly looking at the camera the whole time. It is my job to get your child to look at me, and if you are busy tickling or trying to get your child to look up, they may look up but you are not. 

2) If you plan on getting haircuts or new dos, dont do son on the day of your session. Plan these events 2 weeks ahead of your session. This can be because sometimes it may take longer and you may run late, they may mess up, and it always looks nicer when you let your hair grow a little and merge in after a new cut.

3) Select clothing that will look flattering for everyone in your family. Dont match- coordinate. Solid colors work best with photography compared to patterns or stripes. If one person is to wear a pattern, have others wear a solid color that coordinates that pattern. Also, another idea is to wear different shades of blue jeans or khakis.

4) Make sure everyone gets a good night sleep. Cranky children can be a disaster for photo sessions, but so can tired or cranky parents!

5) To avoid stains and spills, feed everyone before getting ready for your big day

6) Be sure that everyone has plenty of time to shower and get ready. Show up 15 minutes early for your session. Being rush can create anxiety for others and especially children. Children like time to adapt.

7) If it is snowy/rainy, wear boots and a coat. Bring an umbrella when necessary.

How to Prepare for a Newborn Photo Shoot


Your newborn session will be a special milestone in your child’s life, and I want to help you tell the story of your new addition! The best age to photograph newborns is when they are between 5-10 days new. During this time newborns are sill very sleepy and curly. They don’t mind you moving them around from pose to pose while they rest in dreamland! Once they have a full belly and are kept warm they will generally sleep the entire session!

This is not to say we can’t photograph your newborn at any other age. Beautiful images can be captured at any stage. However you should know that once beyond this “new” stage we may not be able to get the curly poses. If you are sure you want specific poses, please ask about those during your pre-consultation.

Notes on Little Boys: If you are considering having your baby circumcised, we will need to make sure we allow him at least 5 days of healing time before his session

I like to create a calm and peaceful environment during our time together. Its important to let me know if we will be photographing older siblings, as well as mommy and daddy shots.These will take place at the beginning of the session so that we may have the remaining time focusing on the baby alone.

What to Expect:

You should expect to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time to allow for feedings. The studio is kept at 85 degrees in order to keep the baby warm and comfortable. Newborns can lose their body temperature quickly, especially when unclothed so we need to assure that they are kept warm at all times. You may want to dress in layers so that you are comfortable as well.

Please know that babies pee and poo on everything and you don’t need worry. I have plenty of wipes and pads on hand and everything is washed after each session.

Sometimes I will run white noise in the studio to help soothe the baby. Feel free to sit back, relax, read a book or even take this opportunity to take a nap yourself!

No outside cameras, videos, or cell phone cameras are allowed at the studio or any location session.

What to Bring

Pacifier – The “soothie” pacifiers are highly recommended for your newborn baby. These have been found to be the most effective in soothing and helping babies to latch on easily. Even if you aren’t thinking of using a paci, I encourage you to bring one to your session. The short amount of time that we will be using one should not affect any habit-forming behaviors for your baby. My goal is to help keep baby happy and calm during our session.

Extra Bottles– Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, having extra bottles and/or milk is suggested. Some babies tend to eat more than usual during their photo sessions. It’s best to be prepared! Feel free to bring food for yourself as well.

Nursery Items– Hand knitted hats, blankets, a special toy, rattle.. these are all things that help create the story of your baby’s first few days of life. I love photographing separate items to be used in their newborn albums!

Clothing– Generally I will be photographing your baby unclothed. Parts of the experience in capturing a newborn is seeing the squishy little toes and cute tiny bums. However, I do recommend bringing simple clothing, such as simple onsies.

 How Long Does the Session Last?

A newborn session can last anywhere between 1 to 3 hours depending on the babies disposition.

 What should I wear?

If you are planning to be in a few photos, it is best to wear neutral colors. Black, Beige, Tans, Whites.

 More Tips:

1) Try and find a babysitter or helper for your other children. If you want them included in the session, try and bring somebody or something to help entertain them while we do your babies pictures

2) Make sure your baby is well fed and sleepy. Babies are much easier to prop when they are sound asleep!

3) Loosen your babies diaper about 30 minutes before the session to allow the diaper imprints to disappear.

4) A mothers smell is so noticeable to baby and may distract your baby during pictures. Sometimes, I may ask you to step out for a few moments so I can get the baby to work with me as best as possible.

5) Be patient! Babies can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the room as calm as possible.

6) The majority of pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do to promote this is best.

 Nursing Guide
To help keep your baby happy and gas free in preparation for their newborn session, I’ve compiled some listed foods I recommend you try avoid beginning two days prior to your session if you are nursing.
This guide is a suggestion only, and as always please consult your pediatrician.
Foods to Avoid:
Spicy Food:
curry, cinnamon
Citrus Fruits
Mercury containing fish
Other foods & chemicals
peanuts- chocolate
caffeinated drinks
saturated fats
Good foods to eat!
Whole grains
brown rice
lean meats
milk, cheese, yogurt
plenty of water