When I was in college I worked at a counseling center and learned SO MUCH about life. There are so many situations out there and each person is walking a different path in life, trying to make the best of it. Given the same opportunities, people will make different choices based on their background and life experiences. It’s so easy to tell someone what they should do, but to live a few minutes in their shoes totally changes things.
So, on a much less life-altering scale, I did just that! If I really want to relate to my clients and give them the best experience ever, then I needed to go step by step and feel what they feel and experience. Instead of setting up a tripod for family Christmas pictures or trading out with an amazing local photographer like I normally do, I went step by step through the same experiences my clients go through!
I went through all the steps I mentioned here!
1) Decide what you want as your end result.
I wanted family pictures, but also a few headshots and pictures of just Josh and I together. And definitely a picture of me & Hazel together since we don’t get those very often. I wanted some clean, classic images, but also some sun flare.
2) Find the right photographer. There are a lot of amazing photographers in our area and I’m so thankful to have a great network of many who I’ve worked with over the past few years. I chose Meghan Ippoliti Photography because she had the style I was looking for and because I’ve worked with her several times this year. She has the sweetest personality! Some of my wedding clients might recognize her because she’s been my second shooter a few times this year. I wouldn’t use someone as my second shooter that I wouldn’t trust with my own family photos!
3) Prepare yourself and your family. After 4 days of shopping when I found time (30 minutes here, an hour there, THREE hours at one point), I wanted to cry. I had 5 random outfits between the three of us. I really wanted us to all wear mustard and burgandy. I just love those colors together! In the end, we ended up with three barely matching outfits. 🙂 That’s life, right?
I wrote a whole lot more on this subject here!
4) Spend some time looking in the mirror. This is also covered here! I just started typing and couldn’t stop!
5) Relax and trust the professional! We put so much work into getting ready for our session that I was ready to relax as soon as we got there! We had worked hard to create the perfect environment for us to just be us. So when Josh said, “Hey, can we do this pose?” I gave him a dirty look. I shouldn’t have. It’s one of my favorite pictures from the session! But we made a pact after that to not be photographers for the night— to just be us.
What was the result? We were us! All that preparation made us look like the best versions of ourselves. When I look at the pictures, I don’t see my waistline or how skinny I do or don’t look… I see my loving family, our happy smiles and the way we love to snuggle in close to each other. And I couldn’t be happier!
And that is exactly what my goal is for all of my clients. No matter what goes on before the session– whether they spend weeks preparing or if they just showed up like it was any other day– the session is a time to relax and be together. It’s pretty much always a memory made– especially when the weather gets a little crazy and we have to outrun the rain or hold hair in place through strong winds! You don’t just have pictures– you have little memories of this time in your life to keep forever.