If you’re anything like me, being comfortable and easygoing in front of the camera doesn’t come naturally- know that you’re not alone! When the photos on your wall start looking a little dated or your LinkedIn headshot doesn’t include your new haircut, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of: “We’ll get new photos next year. Things are just so busy right now,” or “I need to lose ten pounds first.” I’m guilty as charged on this one.

      But let me share this- as a photographer, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be captured in this unique season of life. While it may feel like our days run together, no two moments are the same, and your every day deserves to be captured as it is right now in all of its messiness, loveliness, and authenticity. Because this life is about people and the heartfelt connections we share. It’s my belief that these should be glorified through family heirloom photographs you can hang and admire on your walls for years to come!

      After years of shooting portraits, I’m sharing my five favorite (and fast) tips to have an incredible mini session this fall.

      1. Make an afternoon out of your session 
      This is one of my favorite recommendations to make before I shoot a portrait session with new people. Whether you’re with your significant other, your kids, or riding solo, taking some time to relax and have fun before we meet for your session is a great way to ensure that the photos we take together are just an extension of a lovely afternoon. Before we shoot, take some time to grab a coffee and read a book, go on a date to the museum, or take the kids to play at the park. You’ll arrive refreshed, loose, and ready to continue the afternoon’s activities- just in front of the camera!

      2. Dress like you! 
      So many of the questions I receive before a portrait session surround clothing: “What the heck do we wear?” My advice is simple- dress well, and dress like yourself. Choose pieces that make you feel comfortable and beautiful. Don’t choose this time to wear a new pair of wedges for the first time while we trek through the woods. Dress to impress, but ensure you can still move comfortably. Stress and tension due to too-snug shoes or a top that’s not sitting quite right will show through in the photos. Outfits with warm neutrals always photograph well, but if you love a bold look, stick around for my next point…

      3. Add a pop of color 
      An outfit of neutral colors highlights you and the connections you share with others in the frame. Neutrals are never boring, but if you want to spice it up, consider adding a fun flair of color through a pair of earrings, a scarf, a belt, your shoes, or a bold red lip. Keep these details understated so the focus remains on you!

      4. Treat yourself 
      A fresh manicure will always make me feel like a million bucks, even if I’m in full yoga pants and socks with sandals. Take some time before we shoot to do what makes you feel unstoppable and well taken care of, whether it’s a sheet mask before bed, hot yoga, dinner out, a pedicure, or whatever helps you feel positive, relaxed, and at your best.

      5. Don’t overthink it 
      I know how this one sounds. It’s so much easier said than done, right? This whole blog post started with all of the reasons we shouldn’t have our photo taken, didn’t it? I’m right there with you. Considering I’ll be behind the camera, I realize it’s a tall order to ask you to pretend like I’m not there at all. If there’s one thing that I could ask you, it would be to bring yourself to a place where you can be fully present. Recognize when the negative thoughts begin creeping in, and do your best to pause them- even if it’s just for the short time we spend together. Rather than focusing on all the things that could be going wrong in front of the camera, focus instead on what is going right (and believe me, there will be SO much going right!). If you’re in the frame with your partner or your children, pour yourself into them and relish in the togetherness. I will help you along the way! You’re already aware that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, and for that, I’ll applaud you for the rest of time.

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