frequently asked questions
What kind of photographer are you?
The kind who loves to have fun. If you’re booking with me, I hope you feel the same way. I have been known to humiliate myself in the name of getting genuine smiles out of kids and adults alike, and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll leave the session smiling (and not even for the camera anymore). My sessions are relaxed and playful, and my galleries include a mix of loosely posed images that traditionalists will love combined with more candid, informal images that focus on the love and connection that you feel for your children. As a natural extrovert and child lover, I thrive in the chaos that is photographing your little ones, and as a mom of small kids myself, I feel like I have my finger on the pulse of what you are looking for. I can’t tell you how many times my father told me, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It might be the most cliche phrase of all time, but for me, this rings true.
Where will my session be held?
Family photos are held at a variety of locations – while I have found that I can find the beauty in nearly any location, over time, I’ve found a handful of gorgeous outdoor locations in the near north suburbs and on the north side of Chicago. Because my outdoor sessions are photographed in natural light, all of my outdoor family sessions take place in the very early morning and late afternoon/evening hours to take advantage of the golden sunlight, avoiding the harsh mid-day sun.
Once you’ve been in touch, I will work with you to find a place that suits your vision, whether you want to do images in the comfort of your home or backyard, lush green (and yellow, orange, red and brown, come fall) foliage in a park, a natural stone amphitheater or something completely outside the box. If you have a specific location in mind, don’t hesitate to let me know. Outdoor mini session locations are always determined by me.
I also photograph families, children and newborns in my Glenview home studio. Newborn sessions can take place either in the comfort of your home for lifestyle sessions or in my studio for traditional posed sessions. My studio also can be utilized in the event of adverse weather conditions for family sessions.
Please note that certain locations, including most Lake County Forest Preserves, The Grove, the Chicago Botanic Gardens and any indoor conservatory (ex: Lincoln Park, Garfield Park) require permit fees that are not included in your session fees. There is a nominal travel fee for sessions outside 10 miles of 60025.
What is included? Do your packages include digitals?
My Signature session prices are all-inclusive, meaning that for the price listed, it includes EVERYTHING, from our time shooting together to wardrobe styling assistance to the complete collection of 50+ professionally edited high resolution digital files with printing rights. For mini sessions, you’ll be able to select your favorite images from that gallery or upgrade for the complete gallery.
Signature sessions also include a credit toward print purchases made within two weeks of receiving your gallery. I work closely with several of the nation’s best professional printing labs to offer heirloom quality matted prints, gallery wrapped canvases, heritage wood prints and albums that will stand the test of time. I offer complementary in-person or remote design services to help you design the perfect gallery wall, select the right size artwork for your space or strategize for the best ways to display your images on your walls.
What do we wear?
The most important thing when picking out what to wear for your photo session is to have the clothes you wear be the best reflection of yourselves – forcing your kids (or yourself for that matter) into something so far beyond their comfort level will be apparent in the final images. There are only a few big rules that I encourage families to follow: leave the characters and shirts with writing at home, don’t be overly matchy-matchy, skip all things neon, and pay attention to what you’re wearing from head to toe (including shoes). Beginning in 2018, I am offering a virtual styling service for my clients that helps you find coordinating outfits for your session - once you book a session, you’ll receive a guide for how to prepare for your session (with wardrobe tips, of course), and an access code to the incredible HoneyTree Style and Select service.
What should I expect on the day of my session?
On the day of, first and foremost you can expect your children to wake up at least an hour early (or sleep an hour late), take the worst naps ever, fall and scratch their faces (Photoshop to the rescue!) and generally find every wrench they can throw to mess up our best laid plans (trust me – I know. My own kids do this EVERY time). I encourage you to relax, embrace the chaos, and remember that your kids will feed off of your stress (so “let it go, let it go…”). If your kids wake up with a fever or a legit black eye, we will reschedule, but otherwise the show must go on. It’s also worth noting here that overcast skies or unusually hot or cold temperatures won’t warrant a reschedule, but rain will. I often wait til the very last minute to make this call, since Chicagoland weather can change on a dime. Reschedules typically occur on weekday evenings.
Once we meet at our scheduled location, you can expect me to spend some time at your kids level, making sure they feel comfortable. We’ll explore the location together, photographing along the way. I’ll bring along a blanket or two in case we want to settle down on the ground (if you have a blanket you love, feel free to bring it!). We will tickle, snuggle, sing silly songs and make funny faces. There won’t be any “say cheese” – that I can promise. In fact, you won’t even be looking at the camera for every picture.
When are newborn sessions scheduled?
Ideally, newborn sessions are scheduled between days 4 and 14 of your new baby’s life, on weekday mornings only. This ensures that we capture your baby as new as possible, since they grow and change so rapidly at the beginning, and photographing them young ensures that they sleep and pose easily, especially for those booking a session including posed nude images in addition to lifestyle images. Of course, we can’t predict when baby will choose to arrive, whether early or late, so I just pencil your due date in my calendar and request that you drop me an email the day baby arrives so that we can be sure to nail down a date as soon as possible. And if you’re looking at this while already snuggling your baby, not to worry. I’m always happy to schedule a Signature Lifestyle Newborn Session or a White Onesie Mini Session for your baby between 1-3 months old.
What happens after my session?
As a mom, I know that waiting is not easy. The longer I wait for my own images when our family has portraits done, the more I imagine that they must be just terrible (and of course, they never are). You can expect a social media sneak peak within a few days of your session on Facebook or Instagram (unless you indicate otherwise) for legit proof that what’s coming will be wonderful. Seriously, the memory of the session itself will hopefully be a happy blur, but within three weeks (and usually faster), you’ll receive an email with a link to your online gallery of images, with instructions for downloading.
How do you choose what images end up in my gallery?
I don’t exaggerate when I say that I take anywhere from 3 to 10 times as many images as you’ll see in your final gallery. I spend A LOT of time after your session to go through each and every image and cull out the duplicates, the blinks, the awkward facial expressions, the exaggerated smiles, the images with imperfect focus, the ones with photobombers behind you, etc. Signature sessions always include at least 50 images (though often many more), mini sessions have at least 20, and I promise I’m not secretly holding back any of the good ones.
How far out do you book?
It varies, but I usually book one to three months in advance. On occasion, I have last minute availability within a week or two, but more often than not, my average availability for a weekend family session if you are in touch with me today is 4-8 weeks out, depending on the season. I encourage parents looking to book a newborn session to inquire while you’re still pregnant, as I only pre-book a limited number of newborn sessions each month, especially in the late summer and fall.
How do I reach you?
Whether you’re ready to book or just have additional questions, please drop me a note – I would love to hear from you! You can fill out the form on the Contact tab above, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email is the easiest way for us to get the ball rolling (as my children are wild, loud heathens and rarely give me enough peace and quiet to have a civilized telephone conversation - ah, motherhood).