What to expect during a portrait session

by DaniGirl on March 20, 2013 · 0 comments

in Mothership Photography

You’d never know it to look outside, but it’s time to start gearing up for another season of porch portraits! Dear snow, please get off my photo studio!!

Now that I’ve been doing this for a few years, I’ve been meaning to write a series of blog posts with answers to common questions I get from my portrait clients. By far, the most common question is “what should we wear” but that usually comes wrapped in a larger curiousity about just how the whole porch portrait session will work. (On location sessions aren’t really all that different, to be honest, aside from being a little longer and with more shots taken.) I’ll address the what-to-wear question in another post.

When you arrive, I’ll greet you and the kids. I find that the faster I can make friends with the kids and get them interested in me, the camera and the session, the more smoothly things will run. Depending on the season, the day, the weather, and what you want, we’ll choose a spot on the porch or in the yard to get started pretty much right away. The first few pictures are mostly just to get both you and me warmed up, although it’s funny how often we get a keeper or two right away. I have a handful of favourite props we can use to pose the family, like my lovely white rocking chair:

G girls

Or the funky old-skool red wagon:

Kids on a wagon

Or the kiddie-sized white wicker furniture:

S Family 1

We can take a few shots on the porch:

Porch Portraits with energetic Everitt and his parents

Or if the weather is fine we can play on the grass:

Porch portraits - cousins!

Don’t worry about getting your kids to pose. I’ll work with them to make a mix of posed shots and candid shots of them interacting and at play. When the parents aren’t stressed about the kids behaving, the kids relax and we can get some fun shots of them at play. Really, don’t stress about the behaviour thing. I have three kids and I spend a LOT of time cajoling them with my camera! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve learned that trying to get a three-year-old to pose is a futile battle that I’m often doomed to lose – but that doesn’t mean we won’t get some fun pictures along the way!

Sneak Peek F family

242:365 Look what I found!

Pulling the wagon

In addition to the porch, we’ve got a big back yard with a tire swing and a tree that looks like it was designed as a photo backdrop – complete with swinging rope!

212:365 Dreaming


The porch sessions usually last about 30 minutes, although I don’t book sessions back to back, so it’s okay if we go a little bit more slowly. I’ll take a lot of pictures, and unless you ask otherwise, I aim for a good mix of candid and posed shots. I have a set of ideas, poses and props that I find work in many different situations, but I try to adapt each session to the family or individuals I’m photographing. If you want a particular shot (maybe barefoot kids in the grass, or a shot of your son up on dad’s shoulders, or one of the family holding hands walking away from the camera) just let me know and we’ll work with it. If you’ve been building a Pinterest board of favourite family-style portrait shots, send it over before the session and I’ll take a look!

Another thing to consider is what you might want to do with the photos. Are you thinking of a big canvas for over the fireplace? A set of six 10x14s in black and white? Shots for your own annual Blurb.com book? A dress-up shot because you hated the shots you got from a wedding you attended as guests? These are just a few of the requests I had last year. If you have something special in mind, let me know and I’ll work toward that. Or maybe you don’t want anything big, just an updated 8X10 of the kids because they don’t look anything like they did last year. We can do that, too!

Peekaboo kids

Once we’re done the session, I’ll spend a few hours reviewing, selecting, editing and polishing a gallery of the very best pictures for you to review. I like to have this done as soon as possible – it rarely takes me as long as a week. I’ll send you a link to your private, password-protected gallery and you can review the photos online. Feel free to send the link to Grandma, Aunt Jane and your BFF if you can’t quite decide which one you like. These photos will be watermarked and numbered and not for download or sharing. You simply give me a call or send me an e-mail and tell me which photos you like and we go from there.

If you choose to order prints, canvases or other products, I’ll place the order within a few days and you’ll have them in your hands in a couple of weeks at most. If you choose digital files, I’ve got a great new system for digital downloads and online sharing. It’s practically instant, so no more waiting for delivery of troublesome DVDs or USB keys! But if you prefer a USB key, I can do that, too, for a small fee. You’re the customer — I will try my best to make this a terrific experience for you and your family.

Do you have any questions? I’m happy to answer them via the comment box or by e-mail, so please don’t hesitate to ask if there is something you’d like to know.

Now we just need to get all that snow out of my studio…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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