9 Tips For Your Own Personal or Professional Photoshoot


You’re reading this because there are more than a few things we have in common. One of them is we are all photographers. Anyone can take a photo. However, not everyone can take a good photo. 

A huge part of my brand is incorporating lifestyle photography. With a less formal feel then traditional photography, lifestyle photography has a more everyday REAL look. It is a controlled environment with in between moments, even chaos, that tell a more personal story. While there isn’t anything wrong with traditional portraiture (all my sessions include at least one image), family and friends will be pleasantly surprised to relate more to candid images. It’s my job to guide you through your shoot, “set up” in a certain way and direct you to relaxed and very natural poses. SPOILER ALERT: It’s usually the moments between the pose that end up being the winners! Whether your taking family photos or selfies, here’s what I prescribe.

TIP 01

Don’t stress too much about what to wear. Wear something fun and a little out of the norm from your everyday clothing choices - the things you always want to wear but don’t. Find an inspiration piece and build on it. For example, pick a dress with a few colors and then pull from those colors for everyone else. For family photos, doll up the kids and dress yourselves a little more simply so everyone isn’t overstyled. Coordination is key - avoid matching and mix patterns! This makes a shoot more interesting and pleasing to the eye.

TIP 02
Be present

I end up treasuring photographs of mundane moments the most. These are the times that our parents and grandparents speak so wisely of and reflect on with emotion and gratitude. Extra special outings or vacations taken afar are always valued — but never lose sight of an average day spent in your home town.

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Do it for the kids

When my children grow up, I want them to be able to look back at the photos I took and remember; their favorite stuffed animal, the shirt they insisted on wearing every day for a week, the proud look they had after figuring something out. It’s their history and I want to record as much of this as I can.

TIP 04
Be OK with one photo

Kiddos will be cleaner, and hopefully less grumpy, at the start of an adventure versus the end so taking group shots with at least a few images of everyone looking at the camera within the first 10-15 minutes before grabbing individual ones. Then we can spend the rest of the time running around, playing, and capturing lifestyle, candid shots. I will be focusing on getting shots while everyone is having fun and may have to wrap up the shoot before we get every photo desired. It is more important to me we have a fun experience than to get every photo combination possible. Let’s focus on the adventure and get all we can!

TIP 05

Those split-second moment reactions really do portray real life in a way that little else can. And in favor of all that's candid — why not be an orchestrator of them? When your loved one isn’t paying attention, catch them off guard by calling their name to make them look at the camera.

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My paramount rule: Let them be them, even if them is annoying ;) Sometimes favorite photos come from when kids are driving you or each other crazy. You get real emotion/more story that way and at the end of the day, a story is always more interesting than just a pretty picture.

TIP 07
Snap Away

If it’s been said once, I’ll say it again… we are going to TAKE A TON OF PHOTOS! For families especially, the likelihood of getting a great shot of children in one take is minuscule so, as parents, bring lots of patience and be prepared for the shot in the split second they smile. 

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Be inspired

I encourage my clients to create a board of inspiration and email it to me when it’s ready with all possible choices. I do give my honest opinion about what will photograph best. If you prefer not to use Pinterest, feel free to email me links or snapshots of photos or clothing options you are considering. I understand the visual process and, although it can be too time consuming to meet and style a session beforehand, this is a great way to communicate options.

TIP 09
Be Original

Lastly, while I personally find it wonderful to seek out inspiration, I also urge clients not to expect to take the exact same image saved on a Pinterest board. I like to find a clients style based on inspiration you send over then let the moment naturally unfold before you.  In a world filled with social media, it can be easy for anyone to want to replicate an image that they saw and admired. The images that you'll look back on with tears in your eyes are the ones that capture the personalities of your family in a true light. Photographs and homes will be uniquely yours and at the end of the day, we should feel comfort and value in that.

I hope you found this helpful! Planning a photo session can be daunting. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone! I’m here to help along the way. Please reach out if you have any questions and in addition to this article, I’ve put together some other informative pages and examples to make planning for your photos part of the fun! Head over to the exclusive tips page for more articles.