Family Portrait Details - jennifershafferphoto

Everything you need to know about your family session -

from what to wear and how to bribe your kids! 

No need for bribes! Family photos are fun - I swear! What is better then hanging out together, running, playing, hugging and kissing? Prior to the session, you can do a number of things to get the family excited about picture day.

First, please fill out the questionnaire and agreement.  I will need your contact information the day of the shoot and it's also super helpful to have your kiddos names and ages.

Family Photography Questionnaire and Agreement

Location:  If your session is at the studio, check out this link for details about the location and parking.  If the location of your photo shoot is not at the studio or your home, check the booking email for details about the exact spot to meet.  Still on the fence about a spot?  Check out my advice here at Choose a Photo Location.

Weather: It is best to make the decision about weather 12-24 hours before the session.  We will have the session at the studio/indoors or reschedule if:

If the temperature is 40º below or over 90º

Rain forecast is 60% or more at the photo location (12 hours before session)

*if we change the location to the studio and the weather does not materialize, we can drive to Humboldt Park or the nearby 606 for outdoor photos.

Illness:  Please do reschedule the session if you or one of your family members is ill or contagious or has a fever.  I often see many families in one day including brand new babies.  I will do my best to accommodate your schedule.

What to Wear

How to prepare for the photo sessions. Bring snacks, favorite toys and extra outfits to the session. Being a model is hard work and your kids might get hungry!  Try to pick out snacks that are clean and not colorful.  Applesauce packets, apples, crackers and basically anything without color or chocolate work best.  I have lollipops at the studio and we will use those to get a few last smiles!

Get your toddler involved by letting them help pick out the clothes they will wear. You might want them to wear the super itchy wool sweater and he wants to wear his batman shirt. Your options are a crying kid in a wool sweater or a smiling kid in his batman shirt. To avoid this situation, pick the ideal outfit a few days before the session, hang it in the closet and talk about it every morning as you get ready for work or school. Point to it and say something like 'Oh my gosh! Only one more day and you get to wear that red sweater!'

For family portrait sessions, bring one outfit that your kiddo is super excited about and one that you are super excited about and we can switch at the end of the session. For really little ones, do not put them in the picture clothes until you arrive at the studio or location. Arrive a few minutes early and swap the drool filled outfit for the picture outfit right before the session. Talk to your kids about the location of the session.

If your session is at the studio, you can talk about new toys to play with and the train right outside (the blue line track runs right by the studio!) If the session is at Montrose Beach, let them know that they get to kick off their shoes and run in the sand. Choosing a location that is special to your child can help get them excited for the day.

Keep in mind that meeting a new person with a big camera can be a little scary for a toddler. On the days leading up to the session, talk about me. Tell them that in a few days, they will meet Ms. Jennifer and that the family is going to play at a park or at the studio and Ms. Jennifer will take photos. Show them pictures of cameras online or find some wacky photographer video on YouTube. Show them photos and tell them that this is what I am going to take at the session. Many of my toddler clients get so excited when I open the door at the studio, they remember the location and know that we are going to have a good time!

Sometimes adults don't want to do the photos either. You might be rushing to the location from work or Dad could think of a million other things to do on a Saturday. Try to keep in mind that your kids can definitely feel that stress and react to it during the session. If your session is on a work day, try to take a little more time off so that you can do something special after the session. While we are capturing those beautiful family moments, you might get a little sentimental - I mean, come on, you have a perfect family!

Family Session Collection - $500 - includes digital files.  This fee is for the session time of 60 minutes and delivery of final hi-resolution jpeg files in color and black and white via digital download. The session fee is due before or at the session. The hi-resolution files will be displayed on a password protected site no later than 14 days after the session date. With the purchase of this collection, the photographs, digital negatives or prints produced by JSP are your property for personal use and for the purposes of reproduction and distribution of photographs to friends and relatives. Images may also appear on personal websites.

What to Expect During the Session:

You arrive on time, the outfits are on, you did your part, now it is my job to make sure we capture great pictures. The first few minutes of the session, we will get to know each other a bit and talk about the goals for the day. Do you really want a spectacular photo with the skyline in the background? Does your little girl have a tutu she really wants to wear at the end? Outfit changes for Mom? After we go over the goals, we start the photos! I typically start with a family photo first, just so the kiddos have Mom and Dad close and they can get comfortable. From there, we will do lots of different combinations: Family, kids with Mom, kids with Dad, kids alone, kids together. We will also hit a lot of different backgrounds. There will be a little bit of walking (if we are outdoors) and possibly some dirt (it happens) but we will work through it.  I spend a lot of time talking with your kids and to you. I like to have a conversation going to keep the kids at ease. We will talk about school, friends, fun activities they like to do, tv shows and movies, anything to get them to warm up to me. I also have a few tricks to get toddlers to smile (get them to say 'NO' - they love that word!) and goofy sounds and faces for babies.  I find that each child is so different that it is best to use any toys you bring from home instead of a hand puppet so if you child always smiles for his favorite teddy bear, bring it along!  As we get close to the end of the session, we will recap the goals to make sure we hit all of them and try to squeeze a few more smiles out of the little ones. 

When do I see the photos?

You will receive a link to the photographs within two weeks of the session date. The link will arrive by email to the email address listed on the questionnaire you filled out before the session. The link will take you to a gallery that will require a password. After you enter the password, you will see all of the final images in both color and black and white. You can share the link with anyone you like!

It takes up to two weeks to deliver the photos because the images will require a fair amount of post production. I photograph all sessions with professional equipment and at the highest possible image capture size. The process requires color correction, editing and then there is the upload time! If you need one or two photos for a birthday party or holiday card before the delivery date, just ask. I can likely accommodate the request. 

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