Kate Farrell Photography

Family and Dog photographer
Burlington and Northern Vermont

How the Best Family Photographers Prepare for Sessions

An amazing family photographer will never just show up and wing it. Rather, the best family photographers follow some tried and true steps to ensure their creativity shines, everyone enjoys the experience and you love your photos.

Getting to Know You!

Every family is unique and the best family photographers want to capture that. Many photographers will have a pre-booking call. This is a chance to introduce yourself and get all your questions answered which helps ensure you and your photographer are a good fit.

I find these to be especially helpful when photographing young people with special needs. Often a parent will take that time to fill me in on what works best for their child. Having worked in education for 19 years and been a parent for 13, I’m no stranger to individualized plans. A little bit of insight or meeting a child over video ahead of time can make everyone more relaxed at the session. It also helps me be at my creative best.

A pre-session questionnaire is another way the best family photographers gather information before a session. I want to be sure I know how old the kids are, what their favorites hobbies are and any other special concerns. For example, is there a family member with a health concern that will limit mobility during the session? It can be easiest for the client to share this info in advance and it helps me plan for the session.

Selecting the Best Location

The best family photographers have several locations they know and love. After getting to know your family, the photographer can help you find a location to fit your needs and style.

I love the Mobbs Farm Valley Trails and Mills Riverside Park (that’s my family on a winter hike at Mills!) for families with dogs. For clients looking for a photo session in nature, but not up for much walking the Catamount Family Center has great options. And, for those willing to hike a bit, Catamount has some great view too! For clients without a dog, I love Oak Hill View Park.

Some clients are most comfortable in their own backyard and I love capturing families in their own environment. I find this is especially true for babies and toddlers.

Making the Best Use of your Session Time

A family photo session should be a fun experience for us all where I get some work done. The best family photographers have a flexible game plan. Knowing the location well and having a sense of your family, the best photographers are able to have a session flow in mind with some time built in for real life to unfold. This is where I lean on my nearly two decades of classroom experience where a flexible plan is key to success.

I like to be sure Mom gets a photo of everyone before giving the kids a chance to play. I have a variety of games families play while I photograph them.

All of my sessions are scheduled during Golden Hour, that beautiful time around sunset. I move my clients through the space as the sun dips lower in the sky. You will not be rushed, but it will be clear the time is being used with intention.

Adjusting for Weather

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I’m an outdoorsy person! I’ll take my dog for a walk in just about any weather! (Here’s one about Winter Photography.) But, I don’t take family photos in the pouring rain.

The best family photographers have a backup plan for foul weather. I’m writing this in late March. It’s 12F out and we are expecting snow tonight. We are expecting a high near 60F on Thursday! In other words, the weather around here tends to fluctuate and we need to have plans for a variety of conditions.

I keep openings in my calendar so that we can reschedule as needed. The irony is that nearly every time I have to reschedule, we end up with a gorgeous Vermont day. Some photographers move their sessions indoors when it rains and this works really well for them. However, my clients really want to be photographed outdoors (and probably don’t want to clean the house for a photo session!), so I opt to reschedule if it rains. I’m always in close touch with my clients as their session approaches, especially if the weather is questionable.

Making it Easy for You!

The theme here is that the best family photographers make it easy for you! From a quick and simple booking process, to seamless communication and a fun session top family photographers make preparing for a family photo session easy. Then they deliver a beautiful gallery.

This winter I upgraded my gallery sharing software so it is even easier than last year to select your products, prints and digital images.

Ready to Book a Session?

Use the “Let’s Get Started” button to email me and be sure to sign up for updates. You’ll be the first to hear about new offerings, but you’ll also get photo tips and inspiration delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. I hope we can keep in touch! I’d love to hear from you.

  1. […] post, How the Best Family Photographers Prepare for Sessions, has more info on this […]

  2. […] an artist, I take great care to consider light and composition before clicking the shutter. I plan my professional work around ideal light, scheduling sessions during Golden Hour as the sun dips low in the sky spreading beautiful light on […]

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Kate farrell photography

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Kate Farrell is a professional lifestyle family and dog photographer based in Williston, Vermont, serving Burlington and Northern Vermont.