Since we don't want anyone looking like this (you or me!), I wanted to share some thoughts on scheduling your photography session. These thoughts are applicable to hiring any photographer, not just me. :)
One of THE Most Important Days of Your Life - Weddings are big deal, of course. There's the dress (and the tux), the invitations, the cake, the flowers, the bridesmaids, the decorations, etc, etc. After it's all said and done, what do you have left? A spouse (yahoo!), your memories, and hopefully some great pictures and/or video. Do I need to stress any more the importance of a good photographer? A good photographer can make your wedding look like a million bucks. I am not kidding. However, if you hire said photographer for only a short amount of time, then he/she does what they can in that amount of time and you get what you get. :) I've been hired for weddings from start to finish - engagement, bridals, full wedding day with dinner & reception. I've also been hired for a mere hour after the Temple ceremony (I now have a two hour minimum!) Let me tell you, with the one hour or two hour jobs, I feel like I am getting to do only half a job. Planning a ceremony really doesn't take that much effort. I'm sure most of you will agree with me in saying that an incredible amount of planning goes into the reception! Don't sell yourself short in thinking that some relative will get pictures of you cutting the cake and you can get copies later (unless of course you have seriously designated Uncle So-and-So and this isn't his first time using a camera and he's not going to walk out into the hall at that crucial moment). Give your photographer plenty of time to work his/her magic capturing beautiful portraits of you & your new spouse on your special day! Also, consider bridals and pre-wedding day portraits as a way to make your wedding day less stressful and packed with activities. These portrait session can be scheduled to take advantage of optimum lighting conditions, a variety of locations, less crowds at said locations, and more beautiful pictures for you! (I've been wanting to do a bridal at the District but haven't gotten a chance yet!) (For more on lighting conditions, see below) And of course, make sure you like your photographer. This applies to all portrait sessions, but especially weddings. If you are going to be paying someone, spending this most important day with them, then you should like them & their personality. Because if you don't, it will show in your pictures!
Christmas is Coming, the Goose is Getting Fat - Christmas means family portraits for Christmas cards! DO NOT WAIT until December to get your family portrait done!!! You are adding undue stress to your already busy holiday season. I personally have mailed out Christmas cards on Dec 22nd and I felt pretty foolish. Plan ahead!! October & November are excellent and if you don't have small babies, no one will know the difference if your picture is taken even earlier. Dress well. You don't need to be a family of twinners, but make sure that your blues are all navy blue, not four navy blue and one royal blue. Coordinate. Wear things that you and your kids are comfortable wearing and that fit your personality & style. Make sure everyone is well rested and fed! (You are asking for trouble attempting to take pitctures with a child who missed his/her nap!!) Be flexible with your photographer. If you really, really want a certain place or time, but the photographer says "Well.... it would really be better if we could do this..." Discuss it and see if you can't come to an understanding. In all reality, you can take pictures at any time of day. BUT there are certain times that will look better than others, such as earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. I have locations that I know I can shoot in the afternoon and ones that I know I have to shoot in the morning. If I have complete free reign over the shoot, I schedule it a hour before sunset. I currently offer an hour-long portrait session in Boulder City for $100. This covers small families (not extended family reunion-style portraits), senior portraits, engagements, children, babies, etc. A short word on Senior Portraits: two outfits, mulitple locations, FUN! Most seniors have probably either already taken theirs or have decided to wait until the end of the school year to do it. Either way is fine by me. I think most people "look" different by the time they are ready to graduate anyways. Maybe I'm suggesting you get your Senior Portraits take twice then! :)
Precious Little Darlings - Oh, how I love the babies!!! Schedule your newborn portrait session as soon as you can after the baby is born, preferably within the first two weeks of life. We want to capture the tinyness of their fingers & toes before they grow up. You (especially first time moms) can't imagine how much of a difference a few weeks makes. And they are still in that sleeping all the time mode (Hint: we want sleeping baby pictures!!) Newborn portraits are good naked or with a simple solid colored onesies. Save the cute outfits for when they actually fit! I can do babies at your house or mine, or even on location. With newborns, I am not so strict on the one hour limit. I understand how babies are (I've had three!)
And what do you get out of it all? I provide you with a disc of images. I can shoot up to a hundred pictures an hour. Will you get all hundred? No. Will all hundred of them be great, amazing, wonderful, and excellent? Most likely not. I had a teacher who once said she could shoot a roll of 36 exposures (back in the land before digital) and she would be lucky if one was perfect. Now that isn't saying that we aren't trying to make every shot good. It saying that sometimes I catch you when you blink, or when your smile is kind of fading, or when one of the kids is making a funny face, or maybe a car drives by right then, or I was checking my exposure, or on and on and on. Your disc will contain "the good ones" There is no point in me giving you six of the same pose if you are really only going to like two anyways. Especially with the family portraits, I will be taking a lot of the same pose, so that if I need to cut and paste heads to make one glorious everyone-is-smiling-and-looking-the-right-way shot, then I can. So there. That's that.
I hope these thoughts & ideas are of some help to you. And I hope your next portrait session is enjoyable and you love the results!