As your Pittsburgh family photographer, I always want my clients to have enough information to help them feel prepared before the day we take photos. So in this post, I will tell you how to prepare for your outdoor family photo session!
Although I’d absolutely LOVE to have your photo session at your home and I will urge you to consider this first, I know that this is not always ideal for every family. Some families that I work with prefer to have a photo session on location so I will help you find a park or other fun location that is local and also meaningful for your family.
One of my main priorities for your lifestyle photo session is to keep everything as simple and as stress-free as possible! I think having enough info ahead of time can help cut down on the stress and anxiety leading up to your photo session.
After having my own family photographed a few times by a professional photographer, I know all about the anxiety leading up to the scheduled photo session day!
What do we wear?
This probably the biggest concern for my clients and this was probably the biggest thing I was worried about each time I hired a photographer to take our family photos. I learned from my own experiences to not overthink this!
I may have stressed out a little too much about it and once I even ended up changing everyone’s planned outfits the moment my photographer pulled into the driveway! Yes, this was crazy and unnecessary and my family was not happy and I totally set the wrong mood right before we were supposed to look happy for photos!
Please do not make yourself crazy trying to buy everyone new matching outfits in the weeks and days leading up to your session! I always tell Moms to check their closets first! There is a good chance you already own the “perfect” outfits. And if you really feel the need to buy something, then only get a new outfit for yourself. You totally deserve it! ;)
Plan your outfits at least a week in advance! Don’t wait until the last day, trust me! And go ahead and pack an extra outfit for each kid, yes, even for your nine year old… you probably won’t need it but have peace of mind it’s in the car should a muddy incident occur…
The biggest takeaway is to please keep it simple!
Should we bring anything?
Although I encourage you to feed everyone BEFORE the session, feel free to bring a snack and a drink for your child(ren), especially for the little ones. It is more than ok to pause for a few minutes, especially if it is a hot day or they just need to take a short break. Maybe don’t mention said snacks to the children and just surprise them when they are needed ;)
It’s ok to bring your stroller along to shove the diaper bag in (make sure to have diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes because we know babies can have blowouts at the least opportune times!)
Having your stroller is helpful to push your baby or toddler in around the park. For my photo sessions, we often explore the park rather than stay in one spot for photos. The stroller is also a great place to stash your keys and cell phones! Otherwise, I will put your things into my camera bag to hold for you until our session is over. Let’s avoid having Dads’ pockets bulging with phones and keys!
And it’s ok to let your child bring along a favorite toy or blanket that they are attached to. I think this will help keep them calm and I would love to include this special item in the photos!
Be sure to make your hair and nail appointments before the session! Schedule that in advance to make sure your favorite stylist can fit you in!
How do I prepare my kids?
This is what to say to them…
“On [insert day here] we’re going to meet this awesome lady named Mary Beth. She’s going to hang out with us and we’re going to go play at a park and hang out and she’s is going to bring her camera and take some pictures of us having fun!”
Yep. That’s it.
Remember, don’t tell them to “say cheese” (this almost always results in a forced smile) and don’t tell them to be on their best behavior because they’ll be afraid to relax and laugh with me. Just let them know we’re all going to have a fun time together and I’ll just happen to bring my camera along.
By the way, this strategy also works nicely on dads who are not 100% on board with this whole family photo session thing.
How will we find you?
I always tell my clients exactly where to find me! I’ll give you a very detailed description on the location and parking situation and I often send a “dropped pin” in google maps. You can see what I look like in the photo below with my youngest son (there’s more on my about me page) to know what I look like and I will always have my camera in my hand and I will be on the lookout for you and your family! And I always have my phone on me if you need to text or call!
So Mom and Dad, relax, I have photographed hundreds of families in the last twelve years and I assure you that our session will be fun. And I promise you that you will absolutely treasure the memories that I will capture for you!
Have a look at my lifestyle family photo session gallery of photos that take place on location at a park to get an idea of what your session will be like!
If you have not already booked and you are interested in a newborn or family session this year, please do not wait to get in touch. I know life gets busy and these things tend to slip to the bottom of the to-do list, but it’s time to make it a priority!
Please get in touch before my schedule is filled up! I only accept a limited number of clients each month, so once my schedule is filled, it is filled. I can’t wait to hear from you and to plan a unique session for your family!
Have any questions or concerns?
Please get in touch to ask me anything!
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~All images by Mary Beth Miller Photography ~
Mary Beth Miller Photography specializes in lifestyle and documentary family, newborn and Fresh 48 photography in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and many of the surrounding areas. Mary Beth has over ten years experience photographing families, newborns and babies in the Regent Square, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Greentree, Point Breeze and Highland Park. Her style is very relaxed and natural and your family session will feel like a stress-free Sunday afternoon with your family!