How to take photos to prepare for your photo session
Photos of your home & backyard
There is a reason why I ask for photos of your home and backyard. I work with light. Backgrounds are also very important. I need to know trouble or pain points so I can avoid them and work with what I’m given. It’s how I am able to create beautiful images in my portfolio. I can 100% show up blind without any preparation, but then I am constrained to what I’m given. If informed ahead of time, I can consult you to hide certain eyesores, clean up certain areas while ignoring others. This way you can efficiently ‘prepare’ your home to be photographed. Preparing for a photo session includes many steps. I’ll guide you.
I ask for photos to be taken approximately around the time we will be photographing. This helps me see the lighting conditions I will be working with. I shoot with light in mind. Light direction is the most important factor when working with natural light. If you send photos taken at high noon I will not see the direction of light because it is overhead. If you send it at night… you get the idea.
In order for the images to be helpful, please take a panorama or several images that cover close to 360 of your yard. For indoors, the same applies and please photograph areas around windows. That is typically where I will shoot. Taking a random snap without context (not including a window, or including an eyesore) will not give me information. If you’re standing from inside your home taking a photo of your backyard, I won’t see what your home looks like (if there’s a giant BBQ, if you have lawn furniture that’s covered with a tarp, if there’s a kiddy pool taking up a section of your yard, etc). Help me make your images more beautiful by providing me with informative images.
Photos of your outfits
Please take the photos by a window so I can see the true colour and fabric texture. Take these photos during the day. You can wear it or lay it out on a bed. Taking photos in a closet lit by artificial light will not work. I cannot tell the colour from yellow tungsten light. Choose items that are easy to move in. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable. Don’t wear something that needs to be adjusted every 5 seconds. If you have a toddler, be careful with the neckline you choose. When you’re moving about and the neckline changes a lot, I would avoid that outfit. If you would like access to my Client Closet, let me know.
I don’t know how many times a session goes immediately south because of footwear that doesn’t fit. Please make sure you have your kids run around in their brand new shoes for a couple of weeks before the session so they are broken in. Many times parents also choose shoes that don’t fit their child and we spend the entire session just putting the shoe back on after it falls off. Please, please, please test footwear. If they don’t fit, my suggestion is barefoot!
I can shoot your home as is. But if you want to take your photos to the next level, it has to be well-staged. The same goes for selling a home. Your home is beautiful just as it is. You can easily just take iPhone snaps of it while it’s well-lived in. But if you want to sell your home for top dollar, it has to be staged and photographed by a professional. Yes, it’s a lot of work so please do this before your baby arrives! It’s a great excuse to finish up your home design before the baby arrives. Once your newborn arrives, you can be sure that uninstalled mobile will not be installed before they turn 8 months.
For Newborn at home photography
Prepare your partner mentally for the heat
Let your partner know that your baby may not be cooperative. This is to be expected. Do not stress about it. If your partner is caught unawares, things could escalate. We will do what we need to make your baby happy. This includes keeping baby warm. Turning on the heat to ensure 85F during our session is essential for keeping a baby warm. That, or having them tightly swaddled for the session and not changed during the session. We don’t want to wake a sleeping baby. Preparing for a photo session means keeping your baby comfortable.
If you need a space heater, Home Depot has them sorted by room size.
We also need to let them know we will have to pivot. If solo newborn photos aren’t possible because your baby needs to be held, your partner needs to be present. It’s fine if they have a meeting, but just know that this may affect the images you’ll get. Many times I don’t need your partner to say anything during the shoot. Only to follow instructions. So they can easily have a headset in one ear that’s away from the camera. Multi-tasking is fine if that means they can be present. Of course, I prefer everyone to be fully present, but I understand that sometimes life doesn’t work that way. We just have to adapt to what we’re given!
Expect things to go wrong
90% of my sessions have crying babies. It’s rare for a baby to be cooperative. You’ll get used to this once you meet your baby and you try and do something you used to take for granted, like go to the bathroom. I try to keep new parents’ expectations low. If you have a toddler, expect things to go very wrong. But that’s why my style has adapted to be candid and child led. I used to fight kids and try to make them sit and smile. Those sessions were stressful and often didn’t end up working out. By playing, I still get great images, but we have fun along the way.
Toddlers are used to being your baby. When the newborn arrives, their role in the family has just changed drastically. This can lead to sudden outbursts and challenging tantrums. It’s all par for the course. I tell parents to be ready for the unexpected. This is key in preparing for a photo session. Your angel might just have a tough time adjusting in the first month. It’ll be OK in the long run, but too much pressure on a child to ‘behave’ will only lead to more outbursts. So we play. We laugh. We read books. And we focus on THEM so we can get the family photos we want. As a team, we just need to adapt to their changing needs.
And hey! If your toddler is great, then we are in for a treat!
Don’t be afraid to communicate your wishes
If you want anything in particular during the session, don’t hesitate to suggest ideas. I’m generally game for it (unless it’s changing your baby into 3 different outfits, passing them to 5 different family members or doing a style I can’t do safely). Also never be shy to communicate if you need a break. If a pose isn’t working for you due to pains from giving birth, please speak up. I never want you to be uncomfortable.
Final words on Preparing for a photo session
Preparing for a photo session is a lot of work. But once you’ve prepared the session will go much more easily. It’s all about adapting to your baby’s needs. I don’t run the show. We just have to accept that and let things evolve as they will. This is why I try and keep variables to a minimum. Add a pup, stress goes up (depending on your personality). Add grandparents, stress will go up. Planning a change in outfits, stress will go up. My motto is to keep things simple.
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