the time is finally here

It's been a few months since you have booked your family photography session and the date is just a week out. The location is picked out and you are ready to show up. You might have not thought about what you want to wear but you have a slight inkling of what it should be. If this is the hardest part of you as the decision-maker, I am here for you. From picking the right outfit to preparing your kids for a new experience, I have all the greatest suggestions right below.

Pick a color palette for your outfits

These colors will be a part of your family's outfits. I recommend choosing no more than 3 colors and them using them in your clothing choices. To get a good idea of which colors complement each other, look no further than the color wheel. I mention the color wheel in this blog post. Colors that fall across each other on the wheel are the ones that will look good together. Keep in mind the location you will be at too. Your photographer should be able to guide you with this. For example, don't pick a color that will blend in with the backdrop of where your photo session is happening.

Check out my Pinterest board, where I share some of my favorite color palettes for family sessions.

Talk to your kids about the day

Kids love predictability and a photoshoot is everything but predictable - as far as routine goes. It can be made fun though and setting expectations for them from the get go might alleviate a lot of stress for everyone. Don't give them too much information but make what you give sound exciting. For the very young kids, talk to them about the photo shoot at the beginning of the week, in small amounts. Tell them who they're going to meet (me, the photographer), show them a photo of the location from Google, and give them an incentive for something that will happen after your session. Then on the morning of your family session, repeat it one last time. The reward at the end of the session can be a trip to a dessert café or an ice-cream store. The process can be similar with older kids, but they don't need reminding too far ahead. I've heard they love the reward at the end of the session too so decide as a family what you all would like to do.

Dress for the weather

Summer in Western Washington is pretty predictable so as long as you keep your outfits light and airy, you will feel great. If your kids have a preference or aversion to certain fabrics or styles of clothing, make sure you check in with them at the beginning of the week. Have them try on their clothes and see how they feel, that way you know there won't be too much resistance.

The Spring, Fall and Winter in Washington though is a whole other story. You know this. My suggestions is to layer your outfits so you can remove or add a jacket as you like. If there is rain in the forecast and you're going ahead with your outdoor session, your photographer should have clear umbrellas.

Wear comfortable shoes that you have tried on before. There might walking during your outdoor session and you want to make sure you can keep up for at least an hour.

eat something before, carry snacks

It's very easy to forget to eat when you're rushing to get ready for your session. I recommend preparing the best you can to make sure you at least get something in your system before you go. Also pick foods that aren't too messy so you won't have much to clean up.

As for during you session, I am all for parents carrying fruit snacks, apple slices, string cheese (nothing too crumbly or messy, basically) in case they need a little break. I highly recommend packing a little backpack with water and snacks to bring to your session. In the summer months especially, water is a game-changer.

Look up directions

Lastly, plan your drive (if there is going to be one). I always rely on my phone's map app to get me to where I am going at a moment's notice but in my time dashing to photoshoots, it serves me well to look up directions the day before I have to go. If it's a new location for your family or if you haven't been to the place in a while, the maps app is likely to tell you if there are any closures along the route or a typical travel time to the destination. It will bring you peace of mind to know where your Exit is going to be.

Everett family session: a family of three with a mom, dad and son holding hands during their photo session
Getting ready for family session: A mom and dad carrying their young sons at the Evergreen Arboretum in Everett