8 Awesome Tips for an Amazing Outdoor Maternity Family Session

8 Awesome Tips for having a wonderful experience during your outdoor, natural light family maternity session.

Hi, friends! Welcome to my blog! Today's blog post is going to talk about howI prepare you for your outdoor, natural light family or maternity sessions. Your experience should be amazing! By following these tips, you're sure to have a successful session filled with beautiful images you treasure forever. These tips and tricks are helpful. I've accumulated them over the last 5 years and am thrilled to share them with you! Let's get started!

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1: Choose a photographer's work you love

When booking your Houston family or maternity photographer, such as myself, truly take the time to peruse many portfolios. Check out their work. Read reviews and see what other parents are saying about the final product. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're looking for digital files, see if your photographer offers this. However, if digital files are not a priority, go ahead and ask for a consult so you can see the heirloom prints and products. I happen to offer both and am so excited to serve you! Moreover, when clients book with me, they're shown a full gallery of whichever session type the choose. While I am currently specializing in the custom art of Houston Newborn Photographer, I do offer a handful of other session types at limited times per year, such as baby plans or natural light maternity sessions. 

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2: Pick an ideal location 

Now that you've found your photographer and are in love with the images, think about location. What makes you most excited? Do you like the busy, urban streets? Is a rustic field more your speed? Perhaps even your home is your preference. Each portrait artist does select locations differently, but I have a stunning curated list I've developed over the years you may select from. You may also be interested in seeing how I select my locations, too!

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3: Carefully choose your clothing

Photography is absolutely an investment. I completely acknowledge this. Part of your investment is also wardrobe advice. It's important you look your best and select clothing that represents who you are. Your outfits are also important to select *after* you've chosen location, since they often go hand in hand. Imagine how silly a long ball gown would look, for example, if you choose a rural location such as pumpkin patch. Moreover, plaid may not look nice in a hotel lobby. It all depends on location. Outfits lend a specific theme to your session. I personally prefer timeless and classic options. I ask clients to avoid logos, cartoon characters, or outfits in which everyone is wearing something too similar. Check out tips for what to wear to your outdoor session if you have a moment! I've also created several neat inspiration boards for you based on the locations I use. These can be maternity in the spring, family photos in the fall, or perhaps even outdoor summer photo ideas. All of this information is given to you during your consult and new client welcome PDF so don't feel overwhelmed; it's made available for you. I also ask clients to send me photos of their outfits in advance and I help you tweak things, select stores, and even show you full galleries with similiar styles. 

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4: Select an appointment when your children are rested

As a mother to three young children, I completely understand that nap times are important. I might even say they're sacred in my house. To elaborate, my kiddos do go to bed at the same time everyday and nap at the same time, too. While schedules seem boring to some people, I do recognize this keeps my household running smoothly and helps me predict when my little ones will be in an optimal mood for photo taking. For instance, since they're in bed by 7:30 PM every day, it would be hard to do a sunset family session in the summer since the sun does not even set until close to 9 PM. However, since they do wake up at 6:30 AM, it works really well for our household for us to do sunrise sessions. I know my kids will be well rested and enjoy the session much more. Sometimes, as adults, we expect perfection from young children and that's a really big expectation for them. It can also lead to disappointment. By selecting an appointment (sunrise or sunset) in which your child is rested, fed, and has not been rushed you're more likely to have a great portraiture experience. I do believe in embracing the spirit of the child and allowing them to be who they are so keep it simple on yourself: as a mom, you already have so much on your plate. 

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5: Keep traffic in mind

I'm a Houston photographer, which means I serve the entire area including surrounding suburbs. This means the geographic area I serve is literally hundreds of miles. That's how big Houston is! It's funny when I talk to people who aren't from Houston because they have no idea how big this city is. You can be in the car for 60 minutes and still be in the city limits. It's totally common to drive 500 miles per week and as Houstonians, we all just sort of deal with it, including the awful traffic! All of your location addresses are given to you in advance (once you've signed your contract + paid retainer) so you can plan. We don't want you to leave your house at 7:30 AM for a 7:45 session and realize you're over an hour away from the destination. This is stressful and can make for a poor portraiture experience. By keeping traffic and travel times in mind, you will arrive without stress and be ready to have fun during our session! I know when I'm running late, I feel anxiety and pressure; we don't want that. We want you to feel relaxed because it's already enough work to get everyone ready to the shoot. I competitively sympathize that having professional photos done can be a spirited morning! These tips, however, are meant to makes things easier for you. 

For example, this family came from the 610 loop area of Houston near the Heights. Thankfully the morning was clear and we began on time, but it's always good to keep your photographer in the loop. Part of why it's so important we stay on schedule is because the natural light is uncontrolable; it only looks like this for a few minutes and then it's gone.

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6: Let your photographer guide you

Sometimes parents come to a session with a whole board of images pinned on pinterest. They'll say, "Hey, we want THIS." While Pinterest and other websites can be really great sources of inspiration, your photographer cannot just copy a group of images and give you that exact replication. Not only may the images not reflect the style of the portraiture work you've commissioned, but it also can hurt your photographer's feelings, or lead to expectations they're not able to fulfill. This is why it's really important to hire someone based on their portfolio. You absolutely deserve your dream images! However, your photographer already has a great plan in mind for you and their own flow. I encourage you to let me guide you during our session; I will pose you and move you accordingly to where the light looks nice. I will give direction on how to interact with your spouse and also tell you think like if tags are sticking out of your clothing or maybe there's a car in the background or sign. This in mind, relax, and don't worry about that pinterest board but instead, let your photographer enjoy their time with you and create authentic, genuine connections based on their own style. I promise you will love the photos and your heart will swoon! 

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7: Don't say, "Cheese!"

So, I sort of have a big qualm with "cheese". Not only does it look fake and places the jaw in an unflattering angle, (seriously - say cheese in your head right now, think about your mouth placement) it also takes the authentic nature away from the photos. Since I use a professional DSLR body, I have the ability to take as many images as needed since I don't use film. I often will take 200 or 250 clicks during an outdoor session. I promise you I have everything needed to come up with 25 gorgeous images without saying, 'cheese'. We want the images to look candid, natural, unposed and embrace who you are. While there will be photos in which everyone looks at the camera and is happy, a majority of your photos will be more candid and lifestyle in nature, meaning they're not as posed looking. If you do like the posed look, there's nothing wrong with that and your photographer will have a different set of tips for you. I, however, like the sessions to not be too posed. 

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8: Have fun

Don't forget to have fun! Photography sessions don't have to be stressful. Instead, come prepared and ready to play with your kids, run in the sunset, toss them up into the air, kiss your spouse, have tickle fights, and really just have a good time. The more relaxed you are and fun you have, the better the photos will be.

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Thanks again for stopping by to read 8 tips about having an awesome outdoor maternity session with your family! 

Sarah Borchgrevink Photography is a Houston Newborn Photographer specializing in gorgeous posed newborn sessions. Her studio is located in Northwest Houston. In addition to breathtaking baby portraiture, Sarah also offers stylish natural light family photography as well as dynamic outdoor maternity sessions for expecting mothers and couples. Sarah joyfully serves the entire Harris and Montgomery county areas including North Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, Jersey Village, The Woodlands, Magnolia, Conroe, Willis, Montgomery, Humble, Kingwood, Porter, New Caney, Waller, Memorial & West Houston, Katy, Fulshear, Sugar Land, Pearland, Hempstead, Richmond, West University, Rice Village and Porter TX. Connect to chat with Sarah today! Please consider booking your session at your earliest convenience in order to secure your appointments on the calendar.