In the Bag: How to prepare for your family session

June 27, 2014


Every girl has said this at least once in her life… what should I wear?!

Or how about… I have nothing to wear?!

What about this one… What should I pack?!

Do any of these sound familiar?  They sound extremely familiar to me right now and not just as a photographer but this time as someone that’s going beyond my comfort zone and on the other side on the lens.  I”m preparing my family for our own session upcoming this weekend and I have to give it all you mommas out there, it’s not an easy task:  packing the bag for your family!

There are so many elements to think about!  Who should wear what, should there be outfit changes for everyone in the family?  Should toys or distractions be packed?  What if someone gets dirty?  What if someone needs a diaper change or worse, there is a definite need for a change of pants?!  What if something happens to my clothes as a mom?  Is this outfit washable?

So… what exactly should you pack for your family session?  Today’s post is all about that question!

What’s in the bag!

  • Clothes!  Pick 2 outfits for everyone.  A dressy outfit that everyone is comfortable in and represents who they are.  I say this because if you have a little one that has a very strong opinion, let them help you pick out their outfits!  Not everyone has to be matchy matchy.  I love fun and vibrant colors. I love when families mix and match.
  • Clothes part 2:  Pick a casual outfit for everyone!  This is really where you can let your family have fun!  If your little one wants to rock a tutu LET HER!  Super hero outfit… why not?!  I really and truly believe with all my heart that the best images are those that are completely authentic and true to who we are right now in our every day lives!  In my every day life that means Linc wears his pants rolled over a bunch of times and white t-shirts so that’s what I’m going with!  Now… this doesn’t mean that everyone in my family will actually change into the second outfit!  In fact, I will probably be the only one BUT it is always nice for them to have a second option, especially the toddler who loves dirt!
  • Distraction objects:  Bring favorite toys, books, bubbles, games etc!  Pick a few items that your little ones LOVE and bring them along for the ride.  These will serve many purposes during our session:  it will help break the ice a bit while little ones are getting used to the big camera lens and it will also make for some wonderful candid play time images!  Plus, I love to just spend some time in the beginning letting little ones get to know me and the best way to do that is for me to play with them!
  • Snacks:  I usually keep a few extra snacks in my bag because modeling can work up an appetite and no one likes to work when they are hungry!  🙂  I pack healthy fruit leather, sometimes I have goldfish crackers and sometimes I even have suckers or other really good treats!  I always ask parents permission but it’s really nice if you know your little ones have favorite snacks if you bring them along with you!  Snacks also make for great photo additions as well!  I love to snap a few photos of the family just snacking and chatting!
  • Water!  Enough said!  It’s so hot out right now and we can all drink a little more water!
  • Hair Brush:  If you are a stickler about your hair, or just have fine hair like me… bring along your brush!  When it’s time for an outfit change just run the brush through real quick and your as good as new!
  • Lip gloss or stain:  While we are on the subject of brushes, let’s just put it out there for the mamas that a little bit of gloss or stain never hurt a girl either!  I prefer a bit of stain in the summer just because my hair always seems to get stuck on my lips when I have gloss on.  I use either a stain or a colored chapstick!
  • A Surprise item:  Something totally fun and unexpected!  It’s a game changer and will add excitement and fun to any session at any time!  It can be something as simple as a bubble machine or fun big bubble wand to elaborate like a teepee or new toy!  Anything you can think of just to shake it up a bit!

These are just a few things I usually pack in my own bag and keep on hand in my car for sessions!  If you are using styling or have a concept for your session that’s even better and will give you more direction on what to pack in your bag!

Talk with your photographer and come up with a list together!  Things will always come up and items will be left behind or you will over pack and that’s OK!  Just remember that it’s the unexpected moments that happen during the session that always lead to the best and most cherished images!

Hope these tips were helpful and good luck packing that big momma bear bag in preparation for your session!  I’ve got mine underway as the laundry is going and I’m slowly sneaking the monster trucks from Linc’s toy cabinet into the bag without his knowledge! 😉

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FROM THE journal



      top 5 tips for           best family        photos

Everyone wants photos that are timeless, magical, joyful and purely THEM!  Photos that not only stand up to the test of time, but when you look back on them you will say YES!! This was us!  This was our lives: beautiful, silly, chaotic and wonderful!  I can help you get that!  Check out my tips on how to get the best family photos!   And then maybe schedule a session!


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