Child and Family Session

For sessions in your home or yard I will begin by walking through your house to assess the available light. The best light may be in unlikely places, so be prepared for me to peek in your bedroom, nursery, even the bathroom! Don’t worry about the house being spotless, have the rooms free of clutter and a bit of dust won’t be an issue. Because I prefer to photograph using natural light your home must have adequate light for a session to take place.

For outdoor sessions in your yard we will want areas of shade and an attractive background free of neighboring houses and yard clutter (trash cans, hoses, etc). Architectural details photograph well (things like stone walls, brick pathways, etc). Morning works best for child and family sessions. Weekday sessions starting no later than 9:30 and weekends no later than 9 (local parks get very crowded!)

I often shoot at local parks and gardens. Visit the Locations page for ideas.


Food at a photo session is never a good idea. It leads to messes and meltdowns. Feed your kids well before the session (lots of protein and little sugar) and they shouldn’t need to eat during the time we are together. THIS INCLUDES CANDY! Trust me when I say there is a difference in behavior before and after sugary treats are introduced. More often then not when parents introduce a candy “bribe” it signals the beginning of the end for a portrait session.

I work to get honest and natural expressions so please give me room to get to know your child. If eyes are on you, they aren’t on the camera (yes, that means you dad jumping up and down behind me!) so I may ask for a little space to connect with your child. This sometimes means having the parents and/or other siblings take a little walk just out of sight (we all know kids save their best behavior for strangers and their worst for mom!). I ask that only people being photographed are present at the session to minimize distraction.


Tell kids that they are going to play and have fun while they have their pictures taken but don’t spend too much time with rules or guidelines or what to expect in the days before. You don’t even need to tell them to smile big for me (because if they smile on demand it will be a weird smile!) it will be better if I get a genuine laugh on my own. Please don’t bribe them with treats during or after a session for good behavior (or threaten to take treats away if they don’t – this does not work). Trust me, I am not above a good bribe every now and then but a young child can not grasp the concept of being good now for ice cream later. They want ice cream now now NOW! I have games and songs and tricks up my sleeve to help kids so the goal is for the experience to be fun on it’s own, without needing any additional incentives.


My general thoughts on clothes are these: Saturated colors almost always look great (and much better than pastels, even on babies). Dress kids appropriately for their age – button up dress shirts on toddlers or babies usually have an odd fit and that is reflected in the photos (and no, they will NOT stay tucked in!). STAY AWAY FROM WHITE – you will thank me later. No one of any age and any skin color looks their best in pure white. Also short and/or a-line skirts tend to ride up when little girls and babies sit. Matching bloomers will be much more attractive than a diaper or underpants. A few more:

  • Clothing will set the tone of your portraits. Simple and classic clothing will create timeless images. Fun or trendy outfits work as well, even favorite dress up clothes can make for adorable shots.
  • Avoid logos, text and characters.
  • Avoid pure white – it can make fair-skinned children appear washed out, and pull the focus away from expressions on darker-skinned children.
  • When photographing families or siblings, keep everyone in similar tones but outfits don’t need to match. Think coordinating, not matching.
  • Texture photographs beautifully.  Clothing with texture adds depth to your images,  so don’t feel like you have to stick to plain cotton.  Layering clothes gives a similar rich, deep look. Accessories like hats or boots photograph very well.
  • For adults, stick to classic shapes and lines and choose comfortable, loose fitting clothing.
  • Shoe styles can be distracting, and can date an image. Keep shoes as simple as possible, avoiding sneakers and other clunky styles. Never, under any circumstance should anyone be photographed in Crocs. Ever. Barefoot is always best!
  • We recommend bringing changes of clothing to a session so you have a varied gallery. If you’re unsure on a final choice bring them all!


This means you parents! Your child will respond to your mood so staying relaxed (and patient!) throughout your session will ensure a relaxed child. This should be a fun experience for everyone!