How to prepare for a family photo session

Over the years of working with families and taking family photos, and honestly since having our family photos taken, I have come up with a few ideas to help you prepare for a family photo session.

 EXPECTATIONS:

Lower them! Lol
Expectations covers a few points, so here we go…

1.     Kids:

Remember that they are kids. Expect meltdowns, wardrobe malfunctions, hunger… probably things you can’t even think of yet. It might all happen, so this way when any and/or all of those things inevitably happen, you’ll be prepared and at peace with it.

Kids don’t understand why we want these photos so badly. So pick the time of day that they are in at their best. Maybe it’s after nap, or maybe its first thing in the morning. Whatever works best for your kids.

 Please parents don’t stand next to or behind the photographer and yell ‘say cheese!’. Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile with only stress them out and make for unflattering photos. Step aside and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your family. Help the photographer capture your child’s true personality by talking and coaxing out the smiles gently.

2.     Poses:

Pinterest and Instagram can be such a curse sometimes. They fill our heads with a million different ideas, which can be great for a jumping off point but anything more than that and its too much. What I mean is, its perfectly fine to talk to your photographer about a mood or feeling or a special location that you had in mind. Even a single special pose that you want, but please leave the rest of the shoot to the photographer. The session is the fun part for any photographer. We thrive off of the creative high that we get during a shoot. If you come to us with a list of all your favourite shots that you saw on Pinterest, you’ll never be happy. Because most of the time of the session will be wasted on trying to perfectly match each pose and they won’t turn out the same anyways.

Sidenote: My family just had a session the other day for our annual Christmas card, and my daughter slammed her thumb in the car door. So the shoot was delayed due to a crying girl who now had a black and blue thumb, and a pink puffy face from all the crying. Of all the things that I prepared for I did not think that would happen. But my packed lollipops did help :)

BE PREPARED:

 1. Talk to your family members about the photo shoot. Explain everything that is going to happen. I love showing up to a shoot where the kids already know my name and are excited to show me their smiles.

2. Make sure everyone has eaten before the session, trust me hangry families do not equal a fun shoot with smiling faces.

3. Bring treats :) There is nothing wrong with a little bribery when it comes to getting THE shot. I’ve used small lollipops, smarties, gummies etc. Something small that can hide in pockets or hands and that won’t melt. The easiest way to get a kid to smile is offer a little treat.

For teeny tiny ones, it’s helps if there is someone else behind the camera with a little toy to catch their attention. And sometimes bringing their favourite stuffy to hold in the pictures makes all the difference.

4. Pack back up outfits (for parents too), nice clothes for photo shoots always seem to attract little accidents.

5. Pack the car with all the extras (clothes, snacks, water, entertainment, props) ahead of time so that you’re not running around like a crazy person and rushing everyone before your session.

WHAT TO WEAR:

I think this is the one that most people focus on.

Move over matching outfits, and make way for coordinating outfits. What’s the difference you ask…well let me help you. For matching think of those family photos where everyone wore the same blue jeans with the same white t-shirt and barefoot. That’s matching, and even though those are really simple pieces that most people would probably look good in,   there’s no variety to entertain the eye. Let’s have fun with this! For coordinating there could be a few different colours or prints but they all fit together and complement each other if that makes sense. Have fun with each persons personality.

What I like to do is pick one person’s outfit as a base and the rest branch off from that. Sometimes it’s just one piece of clothing that sparks ideas for the ‘whole look’. Keep a relatively simple colour scheme: one or two colours with a fun accent. Textures and layers make for interesting outfits. Avoid large logos or busy graphics that can be distracting.
Most of all make sure that everyone is comfortable and dressed appropriately for the location and time of year.

You can check out my Pinterest page for some ideas, or if you’re really stumped feel free to reach out to me about it. We can figure it out together.

https://pin.it/gspu4qxxmr4ua7

*Remember to always dress for the weather and the location, overheated or freezing family members don’t make for happy photos.

Also if you are picking up some new outfits, please have everyone try them on a week beforehand. That way you have time to pick something else up if something doesn’t work or look the way you’d hoped.

LAST PIECE OF ADVICE:

Most of all just relax and have fun!

The best photos are often the little moments in between the poses of you just being a family. Just try to relax, play, and be yourselves, and enjoy the experience. You’ll get the best representation of your family that way.

 taken by: Juli Labrecque

taken by: Juli Labrecque

Disclaimer: I am human, and I make mistakes, often! Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. These are my thoughts and I have only the best of intentions.

My Girls - Summer in Saskatoon 2018


They say it takes a village...and after a living through a summer with both my girls I can conclude that yes it does. This post was really hard for me to write, that’s why its so late because I kept putting it off! SO here it goes…

In my last post, click here to read, I was just starting off the summer, and now that we are now within the last 80 days of the year, and my eldest is back in daycare, I’ve taken the time and many nights to reflect back on how this summer went.

Wow raising two kids is hard yo, and this summer was intense. I bow down to all stay at home mamas out there, you are amazing.

I have learnt a lot about myself this summer, some good and not so good things. I definitely thought I was a more patient person that’s for sure. But the biggest lesson I learnt was that it does take a village to raise a child(ren), it’s okay to ask for help and take help when it’s offered, and most importantly you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. I think the last one is the hardest for mothers to learn, or at least it was/is for me.

It took me many tears, low points, and friendly reminders to realize that I’m important in all of this as well, it’s not just about the kids. I’m very lucky that I have such a great support system around me.

I don’t mean to make the whole summer sound so depressing, it wasn’t. As hard as it was, I know that I will never get this time back with my kids, and yes we did create many great memories. For that I will always be thankful. BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard work. I just want all the mamas that are out there, and possibly struggling, to know that it’s okay to have that glass of wine or it’s okay to go have a manicure or even it’s okay to tell your husband that you just need to leave for a few hours in order to be a better you. Or even better, call up a friend or other mama and both of you go out. It’s more than ok, it is a necessity.

Ok ok enough preaching about self care (i can write a whole other post on my favourite podcasts) but what did we actually get up to this summer… well part of my village is in Saskatoon and that meant making a trip back to Saskatoon for a month to visit with family and friends. Wow, I totally forgot how hot it can get in Saskatchewan during the summer. I felt like I was melting the whole time, but hey at least it kept the mosquitoes away :) We had such a great time with our family and friends with lots of visits to the park, BBQ’s, festivals, baseball games, late night smores just to name a few. And I can’t thank them all enough for their love and support. And oh my, we ate a lot of ice cream :)

Before we left Saskatoon, we had to get some family photos done. Hiring a local photographer for a quick family shoot is a great way to document your travel and family memories. And of course it helps that my bestie Juli Labrecque is an amazing photographer. We have to get in front of her lens whenever we are back. I can’t recommend her enough though, she’s the type of person that you want to be friends with as soon as you meet her.

We absolutely love how these turned out, enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am human, and I make mistakes, often! Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. These are my thoughts and I have only the best of intentions.

Mini Sessions Fundraiser - July 2018

This summer I had the great pleasure of photographing some awesome families for a mini session fundraiser.

I photographed 7 families between two locations; Iona and Jericho Beach for a Daycare fundraiser.
Both of these locations have so much to offer so I’m so glad I got to use them for these mini sessions. Click here for more mini session info.

I can’t say enough about all of these families, they were so much fun! And the kiddos were so cute and up for anything. Yes there may have been some candy involved for some, but sometimes that’s what we all need right?
Thank you again to all of the families involved for supporting me and the Daycare.

If you’re interested in booking a mini session you can click here.
Here are just a few of my favourites.

My Girls - June 2018

Even though summer is really just beginning, I feel like so much has already happened.

This summer I have both girls with me at home, and oh my goodness we are busy. Mara is an active 3yr old and Emerson is a  7 month old (6 months in the photos) that is crawling up a storm and idolizes her big sister.

I’m constantly trying to come up with full daily schedules to keep the girls busy.

So in these photos the girls were helping me with some location scouting at Iona and Jericho beach. Both are stunning locations and they worked great for some mini sessions that I shot last month (I’ll do a post on those soon).

These girls...wow...my heart.

These girls teach me so much about myself every day, the good and most definitely the parts that are a work in progress. But I couldn’t be happier.

Currently we are in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan visiting friends and family. We’re here for a full month! so I’ll keep you updated on our summer shenanigans.

Here are a few of my favourites so far :) 

[ Happy Holidays ] : 2015

So its been a while...I guess that's what happens when you have a baby thats teething and sleep training. It's amazing how the brain and body can turn to mush without the right amount of sleep, but there is hope at the end of the tunnel. And it's almost Christmas!!It's my favourite time of year, and I'm so excited to celebrate my daughters' first christmas, and to start all of our own traditions. I'm also excited to start decorating and joining in on the holiday festivities. I have a strict rule not to start any christmas shenanigans before December 1st, but one can always start planning and making lists :) I love lists. So for now i've broken it down into a few categories; Trees, home decor, christmas baking, cards, gifts, and things to do around the city. I'm so excited!! I hope you like some of my holiday ideas. As I go through each one of these categories during the holiday, i'll be sure to post so you can follow along.

[ Tree Inspiration ]

This year I'd like to change up our tree. In previous years my tree has always been gold and silver. Now I think I'd like to create more of a rustic/organic feel with a little bit of a contemporary pop. I really like the natural elements, but also loving the black and white accents. I'm not sure how much I'm going to get away with this year as I'm sure my daughter might try to pull down all the decorations as a tasty snack. So wish me luck!

[ Home Decor Inspiration ]

Keeping with the same ideas as the tree, I think the ideas below are totally doable, and very budget friendly. I already have a chalkboard in my entrance way so that should be easy to add a small wreath with ribbon. The cranberries in a mason jar will make a cute centrepiece for our dinning table, and I can't wait to decorate the mantle with a simple garland and banner. And once the wreath is removed from the card display it can be used year round to display small photos. I think these small and simple decorating ideas are perfectly festive, and great for not over doing it in a small space like a condo.

[ Christmas Baking ]

Christmas baking is by far the best activity that gets me into the holiday spirit. It's a great way to spend the day with family and friends. Put on some holiday music, keep the apple cider (with some spiced rum) flowing, and make an entire day of baking all your holiday favourites. This year I think i'm going to give these mini gingerbread houses a try. They are so freakin cute!!! I also just recently got a copy of Rosie Daykin's new book, Butter Celebrates, and I can't wait to make some of her yummy goodies.

[ Greeting Cards ]

I love getting Christmas cards from friends and family, but somehow I always seem to leave it to the last minute to get my cards out. This year I vow to get them out on time. I have our family photo session scheduled with my very talented friend, Iulia Agnew, and now I just have to plan our outfits (no matchy matchy stuff going on here) and which card design we'll choose to print. There are so many designs out there but these are some of my favourites!

[ Gift Giving ]

I think sometimes we can over complicate the idea of giving gifts during the holidays, and it becomes much too stressful. Last year my family tried something new. We decided to simply draw names and this way you only have to buy one gift. Lets all be honest, we don't need lots of things, and most of the time it turns into exchanging gift cards, which doesn't exactly scream the christmas spirit. So we used the secret santa generator - DrawNames. Its free, and very easy to use. You simply register all the participants and then you are emailed with the name of the person for whom you need to buy a gift. It also allows you to create a budget and a wish list so that you can get exactly what you want, even if it is a gift card to your favourite store. Easy peasy! Another idea that we are excited to start this year for my daughter is the idea of four gifts. Something you want, need, to wear, and to read. I have seen so many kids get incredibly spoiled (i know i once was, maybe stil...) and they don't even really appreciate what they got. I want the idea of spending time with loved ones to be whats important during the holidays, not the newest plastic toy that she'll forget about in the near future. But i also do love giving gifts and I am very excited for her to open something on christmas morning. I found these cute tags to help label the gifts.

[ Celebrations ]

I love all the holiday celebrations in the city this time of year. There are so many to choose from, but I always enjoy the Vancouver Christmas Market, Bright Nights at Stanley Park, the Christmas parade, and of course getting a picture with Santa!!

I hope some of these ideas have inspired you for this holiday season. I'd also love to hear of your family traditions.

[ TRAVEL ] YVR to YXE.

We just recently came back from a quick trip to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It was kind of a spontaneous trip (well as spontaneous as we get, we planned this a month in advance :p) because we wanted to show Mara off to our friends and family. It was great to get away and also have family to help with Mara so that we could relax. Thanks fam! This was Mara's first plane trip, and she did awesome! I was so worried that the pressure would hurt her ears, but she was full of smiles and giggles. Other passengers kept commenting on what a happy baby she is. Hopefully this lasts! Westjet was also a huge help, from guidance on baby packing to their wonderful flight attendants. We decided to keep things simple with packing, so all three of us fit our stuff into one suitcase, then B and I each had a small carry-on, and of course the diaper bag. We checked Mara's stroller and car seat all the way through so we didn't have to bother with it in the airport, so my Solly wrap came in handy. Bonus: she always seems to fall asleep once she's on me in the wrap :)

Summer in the prairies means lots of heat, unfortunately this also means forest fires. Due to poor air quality from all the smoke, we had to be house-bound for a few days. Thankfully we had a few great days to go outside and play, including Canada day which we celebrated by having a potluck picnic with family and friends. We also had a chance to have a quick photo session with my best friend, Juli Labrecque, who just happens to be a kickass photographer. I'll share those later. Seriously if you live in Saskatoon or are visiting, you should check her out. She's wonderful, and she'd probably invite you to tea :)

Saskatoon has been undergoing a mini boom in recent years. Whenever we go back its always interesting to see all the new construction going on, and all the new shops etc as new people and ideas move to the city. The downtown area by the river and 20th street is undergoing lots of cool changes. From the farmers market, river landing area (great for kids) to unique boutiques and cafes. I would recommend checking out Hardpressed Studio and Anthology to name just a few.

  We had a great trip. Here are some pics from our getaway. Until next time Toon Town.

[ BABY ] Meet Imogen.

Meet Imogen.Isn't she the sweetest?! I love this family. You can see the Maternity session we did last year, here. The Ali family is awesome, they are so much fun, and i must say that they make pretty darn cute kids! I had so much fun photographing them again, and hanging out with little Imogen and her big brother Enzo. Here are some of the pics. Enjoy :)

[ BERLIN ] Sneak Peek

Wow Berlin is a big city! We did a good amount of walking around.Berlin has soo much history that I think we forget to stop and see the new city that is constantly changing and growing. Two days is definitely a quick stop over, but I think we did the best we could. So for now it's good bye home of the currywurst and hello long plane ride home.

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[ PARIS ] Sneak Peek

We arrived in Paris mid afternoon on Monday after a ride through the Chunnel. As the saying goes "Paris is always a good idea". I had planned to take it easy the first night, however we were both too excited and immediately started to explore and cross things off the list for Paris. Time in Paris will never be enough. Our two days were full of amazing sites with lots of wonderful memories. Although we're sad to leave, we are also looking forward to Annecy, and we are already looking forward to next time. Au Revoir Paris!

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[ Wedding ] Nicole & Charlie

In January, I flew off to Montego Bay, Jamaica to photograph the beautiful wedding of Nicole & Charlie. The wedding was gorgeous. It rained during part of the ceremony, I stood in the rain for most of it! but right after the hot sun came out and it was beautiful. Nicole and Charlie, I had so much fun capturing your wedding, and thank you so much for including me in all of your celebrations.

Jamaica Trip 2014

In January I flew off to Montego Bay, Jamaica to photograph a beautiful wedding. Jamaica was amazing. And even though it rained for a good portion of the days there, I still managed to get burnt on the last day :p I was so happy to go on this trip, not only to photograph a gorgeous beach wedding, but because my wonderful friend, Juli (who is a great photographer) and her family, were also going to be there. We had so much fun together, just like old times!

Here's a few pics from the trip.