Session Prep Guide

This guide is crafted to help you prepare yourself or your family for our upcoming photography session with me, Alina! I'll offer comprehensive guidance on various aspects, ranging from selecting the perfect wardrobe to getting the kids (and dad) ready if it's a family session. Additionally, I'll provide inspiration for your forthcoming maternity, self-portrait, or couple shoot. I'm genuinely excited about the chance to work together. If you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to reach out—I'm here to provide assistance and guidance!

Location, Location, Location

Choosing the right location for your family photo session begins with identifying the atmosphere you want. Whether it's a spirited adventure or a cozy session at home, defining the vibe helps narrow down the options.

My suggestion is to prioritize your children's enjoyment. The more enthusiastic they are about their surroundings, the happier and more natural their expressions will be. Consider their preferences—if they aren't fans of getting wet, a beach might not be the best choice. On the other hand, if they love playful activities like throwing rocks into the water, we can explore a charming creek! The key is to find a location that captivates their interest and keeps them content.

If you've decided on an in-home photo session, consider the following tips:
  • Check Your Home Lighting:
  • Pay attention to the natural light in your home right after confirming your booking. This allows us to schedule the shoot at the optimal time of day.
  • Tidy Up Your Space:
  • Prepare your home by ensuring it's reasonably tidy. A cleaned-up space minimizes distractions and ensures a more organized background for your photos. You might even turn everyday tasks like folding laundry into a part of the shoot for an authentic touch!
  • Prepare Your Kids:
  • Inform your children well in advance about the upcoming photo session. Allowing them to lead me through their favorite spots in the house can help them feel more in control and less coerced into taking pictures.
  • Trust Me with Lighting:
  • I'll handle the lighting aspects, and almost any location you choose will work. After selecting your venue, let me know, and I'll assist in determining the best time for optimal lighting. Keep in mind that the chosen location influences the light's appearance. For instance, if you prefer bright, naturally lit photos but choose a movie theater (a great choice!), the pictures may be darker and moodier. Consider this when making your decision.
  • Consider Location Proximity:
  • If you've chosen multiple locations, ensure they are relatively close to each other. Minimizing travel disruptions is crucial for maintaining a smooth flow during the photo session.
  • Need Assistance? I'm Here:
  • If you're unsure about the location or vibe you want, don't worry—I'm here to help. Once you have an idea of the session's desired atmosphere, I can assist you in finding the perfect location that suits both of you. You're not alone in this decision-making process!

what to wear?

Consider the following tips:

  1. Comfort: Opt for comfortable attire, especially since we'll be on the move during our session. Avoid anything itchy or too tight to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
  2. Accessorize: Elevate your style with accessories like hats, scarves, jewelry, blankets, headbands, or suspenders. They add a personal touch to your photos.
  3. Patterns: Experiment with patterns for a lively look. Florals are a favorite, and mixing patterns can add visual interest to your photos.
  4. Textures & Layers: Incorporate layers to add texture and interest. Chunky knits, lace, cords, denim, and tied denim shirts or chunky cardigans are excellent choices to showcase your style.
  5. Color: Choose complementary colors, with a preference for muted, earthy tones. Mustard yellow, mauve pink, browns or khaki, dark blue, hunter green, and dark reds/oranges work well together.
  6. Make It Your Own: This session is all about you and your family. Ensure your personality shines through in every aspect, making the experience uniquely yours.

Coordinating outfits for a family can be simplified by starting with one key outfit. Personally, when organizing our family photos, I often plan the entire wardrobe around my own outfit. Begin with this central piece and draw inspiration from its color palette and style when selecting other outfits. Stick to a consistent base of neutrals and creatively integrate pops of color in varying ways across the other outfits.

What to Avoid

For kid(s):

  • Steer clear of clothing featuring characters. While Paw Patrol or Ninja Turtles may be their top choices, it's best to avoid logos, images, or graphics. Despite the shirt being a favorite, such elements can pose a significant distraction in the overall photos.
  • It's essential that their clothing allows for easy movement.

For you and/or spouse:

  • Neon colors: Reject the idea of hot pink and lime green.
  • Oversized logos: Shirts with large logos can divert attention from your lovely faces. Just decline them.

For everyone:

  • Matchy-matchy: While matching outfits may be adorable, they can come across as repetitive and, dare I say, dull. Embracing different colors, patterns, textures, and more is crucial to infuse interest and diversity into your family images.
  • Uncomfortable shoes.
  • Uncomfortable/itchy clothing material.
  • If wear socks, make sure they match!


You might be wondering, "Alright, we've chosen our location, and sorted out our outfits, what else do we need to know?"

To ensure our session goes smoothly and everyone has a fantastic time with great pictures, here are a few preparations you can make:

  • Light Morning Snacks:
  • Keep your morning meal light, especially if our session involves some adventure. For children, ensure they are well-fed, hydrated, and rested. Bring non-messy snacks like cheerios, raisins, mini marshmallows, or white cheese. And yes, a bit of gentle bribery is sometimes effective!
  • Prep Everything in Advance:
  • Get everything ready the day before to avoid a morning scramble. Check your clothes, so you're not frantically searching for them. Preparation is key to keeping stress at bay before the shoot.
  • Hair Appointments:
  • Avoid getting a haircut or color right before the shoot; aim for a week to two weeks before to allow your style to settle.
  • Outfit Trial:
  • Try on your chosen outfit a couple of days before the shoot. If it doesn't make you feel great, consider changing it up.
  • Talk to Your Kids:
  • Discuss the photo session with your children in advance. Give them a heads up, showing them a picture and explaining that a fun friend will be taking their photos. Preparation helps, even for little ones.
  • Communication is Key:
  • If you have any questions about the session that aren't covered in this guide, feel free to send me a message!


Here are some useful items you might want to have:

  • Water Bottles:
  • Especially important for summer or outdoor sessions. Staying hydrated is crucial.
  • Hair Essentials:
  • Bring a brush, hairspray, and/or gel for touch-ups, ensuring your hair stays photo-ready.
  • Makeup Bag:
  • Pack a small makeup bag for any necessary touch-ups during the shoot. Include a towel for potential sweat situations.
  • Mints, Not Gum:
  • Skip the gum but bring mints or tic-tacs for a quick refresh.
  • Umbrellas:
  • Be prepared for unexpected weather with a couple of umbrellas.
  • Change of Clothes:
  • Consider bringing an alternate outfit for variety or as a backup in case of unexpected mishaps.
  • Comfortable Shoes:
  • Make sure your footwear is comfortable, especially if we'll be moving around.