3. Start planning your wardrobe for the session about two months in advance.
My best advice to moms: start with your own clothing, and start early in case you need to order items online (praying that the last piece of your wardrobe makes it off the FedEx truck before you leave for your session is never a good plan;). So, find an outfit you feel incredible in. Then build the kids and your spouse around the colors you're wearing.
Imagine this: it's a couple days prior to your session. You found a cute dress for your daughter, so then you found your son a coordinating button up shirt, and your husband already had a great textured sweater in his closet. Then when you get to your own outfit, you're not sure WHAT to put yourself in, so you grab a solid colored top and throw it on. It feels tight in all the wrong spots, and you hate it. Since you're not comfortable in it, you're (dare I say it?) a little grouchy, and it throws everything off at the session because you don't feel like yourself & know you'll hate what you look like in the photos.
Lesson learned. Start with your own clothing choices first! The build from there. Coordinate, don't match. Avoid being matchy-matchy in any way, shape, or form. The days of black or white tops with jeans are gone. It just doesn't photograph well. Think layers, texture, and accessories to make your photos pop. When you book with me, you'll receive a great little what-to-wear guide link that will assist you as you decide what will work best for your family, because every family has a different style.
4. Have no expectations of your children at your session. Trust me when I say they're completely fine and normal and we *will* still get great images. After all, we're documenting REAL LIFE. And kids aren't perfect.
This is the hardest one for parents (and by parents, I mean me, too, because this happens at my own family photo sessions).
It never fails -- the day of the session your children suddenly become the grumpiest kids on earth. My best advice is to just go with it. I tell parents not to ask their children to smile or look at me. Instead I like to give them their space and get to know them by just following their lead. During your session, we'll play, tickle, laugh, run, jump, and make funny faces. I'll ask if they want to look at a few images on my camera or push a button or two. Usually by the middle of the session, they're in a much better mood, and, bonus for you, by the end they're worn out and ready for bed! :)
5. Bring snacks & water. And don't forget some wipes!
It's amazing what a snack and sip of water can do for a hungry, thirsty child. I always recommend something small and clean, such as a cheese stick, apple, or almonds so that they don't end up with a messy face. In the case that they do end up with food around their mouth, baby wipes will be your best friend.
Other things you might want to bring: a comb or brush, bobby pins for long hair on hot, sticky days, bug spray, sunscreen, extra diapers/pull-ups.