HELLO!

Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of creating beautiful photos for your family! It is my hope that together we craft not only awesome memories, but gorgeous, timeless images as well.

My style is a mix of portrait & lifestyle photography. I love capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving on each other. I will always do my best to get that one desired shot of everyone looking and smiling at me, but will

for the most part, be playing with your kids, making goofy faces, running around, encouraging dads to show off their kid-flipping skills, having little ones give moms their BEST hugs EVER, and fun stuff like that.

All outdoor sessions are shot in the evening for optimal lighting - the time frame of this will depend upon the season and the sun. But for the most part, I shoot for a start time of approximately 1.5 hours before sunset.

All indoor sessions are shot either at 10am or 1pm to allow for optimal lighting in your home.

Please take some time to read through the following information as you prepare yourself and your family.

I look forward to meeting with you all!

xo,

Amber


KIDS

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Preparing your kids for our session as much as possible often takes the timidness out of the evening. Please make sure kids know that this is FUN! Please no “you better behave” threats… as they usually bring about tears and added stress. And if you are stressed or anxious, your kids pick up on that, too. My goal isn’t to get a picture of your child just “being good” and smiling, but actually having fun and interacting! Some kids who have been coached to smile for the photographer get so nervous that they are fighting laughing and relaxing because they are so worried about having their picture taken or making their parents happy!

Instead, I’m a huge fan of bribery, hah, (ice cream after!) is always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement. However, please try to avoid bringing sweets for bribing during the shoot. They tend to end up being a distraction and can end up causing more tears. Once they are seen, they are hard to get back out of the photo. Not to mention the mess!

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If your child cries, please don’t get mad - comfort them. It may not be ideal, but it’s life as it is right now. Take a moment (or two or three). Those emotional moments also make for some of the best emotive images.


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DADS

(uh hmmmm) Moms, I’m speaking to you. Is your husband feeling less than thrilled about your upcoming photo shoot? A little bribery seems to work well here as well (though maybe something better than ice cream)!

But seriously, let your husband know that the shoot will be relatively painless and to try to focus on having an hour to play with the kids, hold your hand and just savor the moment!


WHAT TO WEAR?

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Ah, the age old question always associated with photo shoots.

Okay…I may have my share of advice, but take what you wish with a grain of salt. These are my ideas and style - what I feel looks/photographs well. But please feel free to wear whatever your heart desires. Be true to you!

My 2 cents:

Dresses: I think all women and little girls should wear dresses. Hah! But seriously, aside from the beauty of them, they photograph SO well. Not only the elegance factor, sure, that is great, but the movement!!! Movement can evoke so much emotion in an image. (One of these days I am going to do a side by side comparison on images with a dress vs jeans)… but again, these are only ideas ;)

Layers. Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look wow: little boys in a t-shirt, with a button up over it…a blazer. Throw on a fun hat (fedora, stylish ball cap) and you're set! Little girls: same thing, leggings, fun skirt, tank with a sweater and a tasteful (not too big and overwhelming!) headband.

*Side note: Stay away from gaudy gerber daisy flowers in neon colors, they look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features. And really, anything in neon I advise to avoid. Please.

Coordinate. As you think about your color palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Each person/outfit will bring together a feeling of formality and coordination. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue - think about what accent colors might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue plaid shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colors of his plaid shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the plaid shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with an awesome jacket. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots, leggings and darling dress that (again) coordinates with the family color story. Basically, everyone should not “match”, but coordinate. Everyone in jeans and white tees are a thing of the past. Try to bring in 3 or more coordinating colors, vs. just one or two.

Head to toe. Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! For boys, some fun shoes like Converse, "boat" shoes, or boots. Same for girls, try to avoid Dora crocs, but more traditional Mary Janes or boots work great!

What NOT to wear. Neon. Again… the neon. It does not photograph well. If you wear a neon pink shirt, the light will likely reflect hot pink onto your skin (or your spouses) and you will have a neon pink face as well ;) Just. say. no.

Bows the size of baby’s head. They may be beautiful, but they are distracting and hide those sweet features we really want to see!

All white, all black, or all denim (basically everyone in all the same color). Remember - don’t match - coordinate. :)

Can you help me? Yes! I would love to! If you have ideas in mind and would like another opinion, please feel free to text me any pictures of what you have in mind. Alternatively, if you are still completely stuck, I subscribe to this amazing online service - Style & Select!

From beginning to end, I want to make this photo experience as stress-free as possible for my clients. Simply go to https://styleandselect.com/questionnaire/ and use code: nsnro78p to begin styling your entire family from the comfort of your couch. No more running store to store and no more guessing! There is a simple Style Questionnaire to fill out about your family - color scheme you are wanting and the vibe of clothes you would like to see. The quick results page will show you photo-approved clothing items for each family member and you can view them side-by-side once you have favorited your pieces. Feel free to play around with it until you have selected the perfect outfit combo! Click the email button to send yourself the selected items or shop for the clothes right away by clicking the shopping cart buttons.

Super easy right?

Alternatively, for mamas and little kids I do have a selection of items in my client wardrobe you are welcome to take a peek at & borrow!

Or lastly, click HERE for access to my Pinterest board for some inspiration!


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KIDS

Just a few more thoughts on your kids & the big day!

I mentioned bribery. Love it! Just in mind that most bribery snacks make messes and have dye in them to change your kids' mouths. Usually bribing with snacks during the session backfires, and all they want to do is eat instead of pay attention to me. I suggest keeping the goodies in your bag or car until after we’ve finished.

Sessions with younger children (18 months and under) typically last around 45 minutes. If your little one isn't accustomed to staying up until sunset (which is often the case in the summer), please adjust their naps as best you can, and rest assured that one night of staying up past their bedtime will be just fine as we will actually be having fun (I promise)!

As for older children, expect the session to last around 1 hour. With your older child, please don't say, "That's not your REAL smile". I know what a real smile looks like, so even if I'm snapping away, I'm just trying to loosen up your son/daughter! I promise I won't be giving you a gallery full of cheesy smiles for your finished order.

As with any age, I take my time and do my best to allow your kids to feel comfortable around me and know we are going to have a blast!


MOM & DAD

During the shoot, if you are not in the photo (which I hope you are a majority of the time), please let me interact with your child. Many parents will stand behind me trying to get their babies' attention and all it does is distract from me and my camera! I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it's okay if they aren't giving big smiles right off the bat. They have to build trust in me to relax and open up. So please, trust me and trust the process. If I need help (which I might) I will definitely ask!

Mom and Dad, as you focus on your children, don’t forget about yourself! Keep your posture good as well as ensuring your chin doesn’t pull in. These allow for the most flattering images.

Rest assured I’ll be watching all of you and will definitely do my best to let you know if I see something out of place or looking off.

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WEATHER

A quick but important note: If the weather turns out warmer/cooler than you anticipated when putting together outfits, please adjust what everyone is wearing. Doing a session when it's sweltering and kids are over dressed is never fun. Likewise, if a cold front comes through unexpectedly (which we have to admit, is no surprise for SD weather), please put sweaters on your children - I can't photoshop out goose bumps and blue lips. And if you/your kids are miserable, it will show in the images. I cannot fix that, so pleaseeeeee dress appropriately for the weather. I will most likely cut sessions short if I think the kids are too cold/overheated.

In case of rain/snow/high wind…

Rain: I will be watching the radar all day. If it doesn't rain, but is cloudy, I allow one reschedule. If the second day is cloudy with no rain, we will have to shoot without full sun. If it does/is forecasted to rain, I will be in touch that day. It will then be your discretion if you want to “wait it out” or reschedule. If we wait it out, I will wait until 1 hour before the session to make the final decision (2 if you are driving from out of town).

Wind: It’s known to be windy around our area, so shooting in the wind is often times a must (and it makes for amazing images). But anything 20mph+ I would reschedule for.

Snow: Winter sessions tend to be a bit shorter in general, just due to the cold. But I will shoot in snow (it looks ah-mazing), unless it is a blizzard or sub zero wind chill.

If you have any concerns regarding temperature or weather, please contact me!

***Also, bugs/mosquitos! There is no avoiding these awful things…please come prepared with repellant of choice!

ILLNESS

Just as important as the weather is that everyone being photographed be feeling 100%. There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera.

At the first sign that your kids aren’t well, please give me a call.


LOCATION

If you have a location in mind already, please give me a heads up a ways before the session date. This allows me time to check the lighting and be prepared ahead of time. If you do not have a location preference, there are various locations in/around Watertown that I shoot at regularly. However, these locations also vary depending on the time of year. I tend to wait until the week of the session to make a final decision on location and will then contact you let you know where to meet me.

Mileage is included up to 45 miles (from 57201) for for outdoor sessions or up to 100 miles for in-home sessions or film + photo sessions. Travel session are available upon request!

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ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS…

Please keep in mind this is only a guide - random information I have learned over the years that has helped. Take away what you choose, but please remember to just be you! I want nothing more than to capture you/your family as you are. Do not stress. This is suppose to be laid back and FUN.

IT IS SUCH AN HONOR TO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR FAMILY! I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU, SOON!