2018 FAMILY SESSION GUIDE

2018-San-Diego-Family-Lifestyle-Newborn-Travel-Vacation-Photographer-Kelsey-Smith-Photography-Coronado-La-Jolla-Encinitas-Solana-Beach-Del-Mar-1.jpg

You made it! I'm so happy you're here too!

Here is everything you need to know about your upcoming photography session!

First and most importantly, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Being a mama of three is my most important job. Being a photographer with a flexible schedule allows me to be part of my family's daily chaos by documenting yours. Thank you for using my small business and thank you for giving me the best gift in the world.

Second, this is going to be fun! Family sessions are just the best. We will laugh and play and your kiddos will be guaranteed to leave with smiles. There will be some sweet and tender moments too. Basically, we'll bask in the love. This session will be different than most family photography sessions you've had in the past. I value light, laughter, emotion, and fun over all else at these sessions so don't worry about standing around and awkwardly smiling at the camera. Come prepared for a good time.

Via email, we'll be discussing the specifics of your session (location, timing, and anything relevant to just you). Your contract, invoice for session fee, and questionnaire will be sent directly to your email. Your signed contract and paid invoice will secure your date. Please spend a good amount of time being thorough with your questionnaire. It is my favorite part of this whole process. I have been known to sit in my car before a session rereading my clients' questionnaire and laughing until I cry or just plain tearing up from the pure sweetness of it. Please, it’s seriously my favorite part and it really helps me with the kiddos.


LOCATION

There are so many options that I’m sure this choice can seem overwhelming. Your house is the first option and it is always a stellar choice as long as there is adequate natural light. If you pick your house we can shoot any time of the day and work around nap/snack/tantrum schedules. I usually focus on a few areas (living room, parents' room, kids’ rooms, backyard) so don’t worry about scrubbing your house from top to bottom. If you’re still nervous about that, now is a good time to treat yourself and hire a cleaning crew for a few hours :) I shoot a lot on the family beds so decluttering your nightstands are always a great way to spend a few moments before your session. If you go with an in-home session, we will want to incorporate a family favorite activity, so please think about that and let me know. There is just something special about making banana pancakes on a Sunday morning.

On-location sessions take place right after sunrise (read: EARLY) or about an hour before sunset (give or take a half hour depending on location). I don’t shoot on-location sessions at any other time in the day. The only time of day you are guaranteed that gorgeous golden perfect light on a sunny day is at one of those two times. Below you'll find my list of locations, I have a few exclusive locations listed below as well as some San Diego favorites. I spend a ridiculous amount of time driving around with my kids at sunset. We look for these perfect and intimate spots for sessions. I love how quiet locations really let the your family connect with each other and with me. If you are interested in a location that isn’t listed and means a great deal to your family, please just let me know and we can work out logistics. Please do be on time or a bit early as your on-location session is scheduled according to the best light. We definitely don’t want to miss that light!

When you’ve decided on your perfect location, please let me know and I’ll get you the final details a few days before the session.

YOUR HOME

Choosing your home will give your images an intimacy that we can't replicate at any location. There is comfort and beauty and likely some chaos that comes with in-home sessions and I love every ounce of it!


Beach

This beach is just the best! Come prepared to splash in the water and leave with sandy toes. I recommend leaving your shoes in the car and bringing a towel just in case. I shoot at Coronado Beach. The beach is wide enough that we don’t have to worry about tide charts and the light is gorgeous and filtered which isn’t available at most other beaches. Trust me, it’s the spot!


STEELE CANYON BRIDGE

Unbeatable light and beautiful scenery make this location a dream to shoot in. It does get packed towards the end of the year but is a perfect location otherwise year round!


Penasquitos Canyon

Not the quietest spot but it does have some unbeatable scenery. The light is pretty much perfection which makes this location a favorite for clients.


Mission Trails

This spot is one of the most iconic San Diego locations for family photography sessions. Not exactly quiet or off the beaten path but the light is stunning and it is easily accessible.


Cactus Garden (Balboa Park)

A not-so-secret location but a favorite just the same. Beautiful light and easy access make the Cactus Garden a client favorite.


CLOTHES

This is most clients least favorite part of the session. I get it. Trying to cram all of your kids into clothes they don’t want to wear is zero fun. So here's a really simple trick. Just avoid large logos, fluorescent colors, and matching outfits. That’s it! Steer clear of those few things and you should be perfect.

As for what to do! Well, it will largely depend on your family and your preferences but here’s a few tips to keep in mind when picking out your outfits:

*Keep comfort first. Comfort allows for play and play allows for great images.
*Choose your palette second. Think in terms of tones: earth tones, blue tones, neutrals etc.
*Fit your style to your location. Choose complimentary colors to your location when choosing your outfits. Strive for colors and textures that coordinate with your location. If you have opted for an in-home session, pick colors from your home to coordinate with.
*Think timeless. This is my favorite piece of advice. Timeless clothes allow your photographs to “age” better. Think of family portraits from the 80’s if you need help on what not to wear.
*Keep clothing simple. Use muted colors and minimize busy patterns. Neutral and natural are my favorite combo! If
your family is a bit more colorful than mine, just pick a color palette with 3 or 4 colors and then incorporate the colors throughout the outfits in varying patterns, solids, and layers.
*Don’t forget about the shoes! Unless we’re at your house or the beach, then please do forget the shoes. If we are
on-location just remember shoes are part of the outfit (especially if they’re adorable kid boots!)
*Dress babies as babies. Collared shirts and ties tend to look uncomfortable on anyone under 6 months.
*Lastly, are you a flowy dress kind of mom? Yes? Well I just love you and love photographing beautiful, long,                   dresses on beautiful mamas in beautiful sunset light!
*I am happy to look at any photos of what you’re thinking for outfits if you need some extra guidance!


YOUR KIDDOS

This part is the most important part of prep because we all know kids can make or break your session. To get the most out of your session, make sure your little one has rested and you have packed their favorite (dry, non-messy) snacks and water. No candy please! Blue tongues don’t photograph all that well. Don’t worry about bribing your children either. Just let me take the wheel and I promise to get beautiful smiles and authentic images. Some *ok, all* kids aren’t very excited to stand still and pose for the camera. It is best if we just let kids be kids and have fun. Dancing, running, playing, tickling, and singing are all great ways to capture fun images. Also, I apologize in advance for my awful rendition of the Lion King opening song but it really gets the giggles going!
 


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR SESSION?

Within 3 weeks (usually less) of your session, you will receive an online gallery. If you are interested in having me present your gallery and guide you on your image and product selections, please just let me know. I would love to help you through the process. If you choose an online gallery, it will be live for one week in which you can decide which images and products to choose. Your session fee comes with 5 images of your choice to select from the gallery. If you love them as much as I’m sure I will and just can’t decide, don’t fret! You can have them all too! Each image over the 5 included are $50 per image or $400 for your entire gallery of images. I will also have a store enabled in your gallery if you are interested in prints or products. Once you have made your selections, just email me and I will finalize the gallery for you within 24 hours and order your products.

 


WHAT'S NEXT?

Fill out your contract and pay your invoice to secure your date. Next is the questionnaire, I stressed before how important are to the session so please take your time and be thorough. Let me know when you've decided on a location and if you would like an in-person gallery reveal. Next is outfits! Feel free to reach out at any point in the process if you need any help or have any questions. I will email a few days or the day before your session to confirm the date, time and location. In the meantime, please email me with any and all questions before your session.

 
I can't wait to meet your sweet family!
-Kelsey