One of my son’s favorite things to do is to sit and look through photo albums, specially the ones from when he was a baby. It really makes him so happy to be able to access those memories. When I became a Portland Family Photographer, it was because I wanted families to have those precious memories to look at. Because I am a family photographer and mother!
For me, photos are my gateway to a version of him that doesn’t exist anymore. As a family photographer, I want to help you with anything you need to ensure you get this magical event on your calendar every year.
Before I became a Portland Family Photographer, I had no idea of how to plan a successful session with my family, so that’s why I wanted to create this little guide for you.
Step 1 – Choose a Photographer
There are so many amazing Portland Family Photographers and I know how confusing it can be to choose one. Here are some of my top tips to choose yours:
Look at their website, do you love their work? What do you love about it? Is it the beautiful locations at the Columbia River Gorge? Was there a particular family session they did that appealed to you? My work is very emotive. Meaning, I aim to capture emotion and connection and not specific poses. So if that appeals to you, I’m your girl!
Head to their Social Media pages – you might be able to see newer work there as well as learn a bit more about their personality. Do you share a love for the Oregon Coast? Do you love that they are always introducing you to small businesses in Portland Oregon? Read some of the captions to their more recent posts, do they speak of things that appeal to your heart? My work is centered on motherhood, so I talk a lot about my experience as a mom. The good, the bad and everything in between.
Decide on what kind of experience you want to have. Some family photographers will simply show up on the day, take your pictures and then deliver them a few weeks later. For me, family photography is about building relationships and providing you the best possible experience. I make an effort to get to know my clients before we even meet for the first time and I will tailor the experience to you because no two families are the same. We will work together every step of the way, I will help you with styling and any other pain points that may come up in the process.
Step 2- Talk to you Photographer
You might think that your photographer has “seen it all before” and that they will know exactly how to photograph your family, and that might be true. However, nothing can replace the power of getting to know them and them knowing you before the session.
If there’s anything in particular you think they should know, go ahead and tell them! Maybe your partner is not that excited about having photos taken, or maybe you had this dream of wearing a particular kind of dress but you’re unsure if it photographs well. Discuss it all with your photographer. I now offer all of my Portland Oregon clients an in person visit where they come to me and try some of my client closet pieces on ( I am always masked, keep my distance and I have a tent that I set up in my garage for you to try things on). More than an opportunity for you to try pretty clothes on, it’s a great way for us to get to know each other and have a chat about what you want your session to feel like. If you can’t make it in person, we can do that over a video call too.
Step 3- Decide on Styling
I love helping my clients style their Portland Family Photos. The reality is, the work you see on my portfolio is definitely a combination of my skills, location, styling and family connection. Whether you want to wear jeans or a flowy dress, we can find the right styling for your family session.
We will decide on the ladies’ outfits first and then coordinate everybody else’s around it. The trick is to coordinate colors and patterns but not match them.
Shoes should be comfortable and neutral color. Portland Family Photography is very adventurous, so we will most likely be walking on rocks, sand and grass during our session.
Maxi dresses work great because they allow for movement and you won’t feel like you have to be worrying about any bits you don’t want to show sticking out.
Step 4 – Talk Location
Portland Family Photographers can tell you that we are spoiled for choice around here for location. We live in such a beautiful place!
Beware of locations that are very commonly used in photography in the Pacific Northwest, they can get really crowded! My suggestion is that you discuss locations with your family photographer. I have a few locations up my sleeve that I know don’t get too crowded and have amazing scenery. The Columbia River Gorge is an absolute favorite of mine. If you dream of an Oregon Coast session, I have a few spots that are incredibly beautiful and less busy. Having said that, of course I would never refuse to go somewhere busier like Hug Point Beach or Government Cove, we might just have to wait our turn.
Most importantly, I visit all of my locations beforehand. As your preferred Portland Family Photographer, that’s a part of my job that I take very seriously because I want the absolute best for you.
Step 5- Make it Fun!
Family Photos should be fun! Yes, you heard me right. I want you to leave your Portland Family Photography session feeling elated, like you just had the best day of your life! Because, truly, I am here to document your family’s love and connection, I definitely can’t do that if you’re feeling stressed and worried about things.
My most important tip for you is that the kids should not get in trouble for anything during that hour we are together. As long as they are safe, we definitely don’t need to get them to follow any other rules. I will capture them at their most natural, no fake “cheese smiles” needed.
Another way you can make this day special is by making it about the whole experience. So maybe you tell them that you are going to go meet our Portland family photographer today, we will have some fun and then we will go out for a special dinner.
And, if there’s anything you are particularly worried about, you can tell me during our pre-session talks, because as your family photographer, I’ll be there for you every step of the way.
Snacks are definitely allowed. If the kids or your partner want to have a break in the middle, that’s totally fine! I am here to support you and make sure you can enjoy this special time.
Your Family Session should be a day to celebrate your family’s love. I will be there to help you every step of the way. No worry is a silly worry. If you are concerned about anything, just let me know! We might end up meeting at the Columbia River Gorge, you might end up wearing your dream dress and, most importantly, you might end up making memories you will cherish forever.