Session Prep - Golden Elements Photo & Design
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Here are some helpful tips to make your session go as smoothly as possible!
Goddard Park Sessions

My favorite location is at the beach/carousel. This features a beautiful round building with stone walls and steps, an arched wooden rustic bridge, and many natural surroundings. If you are familiar with the park and have something else in mind let me know! This location tends to be chilly, so we will be as quick as possible. Feel free to wear layers you don't intend to wear in the shots. We can add the layers between shots. 

1095 Ives Road, East Greenwich, RI 02818 

Carousel & Beach Parking Lot: Use the second entrance (Main Entrance), straight back towards beach and carousel. The first entrance (after the stables entrance) will take you to the beach if you continue following the signs. 
Home-Sessions
INDOOR: If your session is taking place in your home, it's important to prep your space. It does not have to be perfect. It’s your home and it’s supposed to look lived in, and if you have little ones, it's VERY well lived in. You don’t have to hire a professional cleaning company before your session or redecorate the living room; I’m there to focus on you and the interactions with your family. Focus on decluttering your home, which means just tidying up a bit and basically putting stuff in the room where it belongs (no coats on couch or towels on bed sort of thing). Giving windows or mirrors a quick wipe does go a long way because streaks or dust on these surfaces can be very obvious in photographs. A room with natural lighting is best for traditional backdrops.

If you're planning an outdoor session, consider places that are familiar to your family or a place where you go together to unwind or play. It's good for me to know in advance so that I can check out any restrictions and/or conflicting schedules (like a festival of sorts) before we get there. I can certainly offer some professional recommendations according to your family's needs and dynamics, as well as my own experience at certain locations.

 


Payment
Payment is required in full prior to the release of images. Session fees can be paid at the session. I accept Cash, Venmo, Paypal, & ApplePay.

Final Images
Please allow 3-5 days for your images to be complete. Once they are ready, I will reach out with your private album link to share and download! These images are 100% yours, so you may print as you please!

Prepping the Kids
Kids can be tricky and the challenges vary depending on age. Babies, of course, are typically unpredictable so the best thing to do is be flexible and go with the flow. For kids, it’s important to prepare them for the session by giving them advance notice and providing reminders as the session date approaches. Don’t underestimate their capability of understanding an important photo shoot and their need to prepare mentally. Sit your kids down and include them in the session prep. Tell the truth and be positive. If Dad isn’t thrilled about having his picture taken, I can guarantee Timmy will share the feeling. Pick your outfits the day before TOGETHER. They are big part of your family and most likely the reason you want these photos so involve them in the entire experience. If they want to bring their stuffy or their cape along to the session, let them. These are details that reflect their personality and mark this time in their life; you want those captured.

B.Y.O.P.
Another way to make your session personalized and fun are to bring props. Your portrait session is about you so it only makes sense to have some items that will showcase your personality. I encourage my clients to bring items that represent them, their family, and/or their hobbies. Using props that are meaningful to you are great additions to your portrait session. Be sure that the props that you choose don’t overpower your photos.


Have activities camera ready

Prior to your session, I will ask you to complete a questionnaire. It’s important for me to know what your family enjoys doing together and which interactions are must captures. For an in-home session, it’s important to have those activities prepared to allow for the shoot to run smoothly and not cause any unnecessary stress trying to think of “something” to do. If the family loves to play with puzzles, have a puzzle started and ready to complete together. You could enjoy baking cookies together, so a good way to prepare for that would be to have a batch made, and have another batch ready to roll and bake. If the baby needs to go for a nap, plan that towards the end of the session; it’s a very intimate and tender daily ritual worth capturing. The goal is to capture what you do during your days - and let me be a part of it.

Don't forget to smile!

This is your family; embrace it – ALL of it! Don’t get stressed out because your kids are just being themselves; it will show in your photos. Concentrate your energy on smiling and laughing for the camera. Look at your kids, play with them, run around with them, ENJOY them. Your kids will enjoy themselves so much more during your session if you goof around with them and tickle them rather than telling them to behave or to sit down.

Ultimately, I want REAL smiles. I want you to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. It’s ok to be a bit nervous. I have to admit that I don’t get in front of the camera much myself! But I can guarantee you that you will not regret having these memories to cherish and your children will eventually thank you for it.

Makeup, Hair-DOs, and Don'ts
You can wear your hair and makeup any way you prefer, but having your hair and makeup professionally done can add that extra oomph to your images.
A subtle application of makeup can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. I’m sure you’re absolutely wonderful at doing your own hair and makeup on a day-to-day basis but I recommend having an experienced hair and makeup professional for your portrait session. An experienced professional will know what photographs best and how to make you look incredible in your photos. Besides, isn't a portrait session a great excuse for a little pampering?

Wearing jewelry is a great way to insert your personal style into your portraits. Any jewelry you choose to wear, should be kept simple and to a minimum. If the session will include children or infants and you are going to have your arms around them a lot, then avoid bracelets that will distract them. Most people tend to remove their glasses when it’s time to take pictures, but if you wear glasses most of the time, you’ll probably want to keep them on during your session. Unfortunately, the lenses can create hard reflections that make it hard to see the eyes through the camera, so I recommend “borrowing” a pair of empty frames from your optometrist or having them remove the lenses from your own glasses. If that isn't possible, I'll still get great photos, but they’ll be much better without the lenses.
Portrait Outfit Inspiration - Pinterest
Style Tips

Coordinate Not Match
A common misconception about portraits is that everyone’s clothing in the photo should match. This couldn't be further from the truth! I highly doubt that your family walks around on a daily basis wearing matching clothes, so why would you want to do that for your portraits? Choosing to wear matching outfits is the quickest way to make your photos boring and stale.

Prints
The trick to successfully pulling offprints in a portrait is not to overdo it. It is generally best to avoid patterns, logos, and fabrics that will become distractions by drawing attention away from the faces. A portrait should showcase the people and not their favorite clothing brands. If someone in the group chooses to wear a print, I recommend having others wear solid colors that complement the print.

Layer It Up
Clothes often look better in photographs when they are layered. During the summer months this may be difficult to accomplish, but consider adding some sort of cardigan, blazer or jacket to finish your look. Layering can also be done with accessories like a vest or belt, which seems to always add a little pop to the photos. Be sure to choose clothing that is comfortable and fits properly. The camera won’t add 10 lbs. but clothing that doesn't fit properly definitely will!
Keep in mind that if it looks a little wrinkled in person, it will look extremely wrinkled on camera. Wrinkles cast shadows that are very obvious in photos.

Comfort is key
Keep it real by wearing what you’re most comfortable in and by being yourself. If your little one lives in a superhero cape – fun! Let them be themselves. Let hubby have a little scruff and leave the tie behind. No socks and sandals please; no one wants to remember that ;)
Moms, primp yourself just a bit; enough to photograph well but still be YOU. It’s not the time to try a new hairstyle or redefine your look. The same thing applies to your kids. If you want the kids to have clean cuts, do it at least a week before your session so they don't look "too" clean. Coordinate outfits without being too "matchy" and avoid bold patterns, wording or logos. For more info on how to dress for your session, visit me on Pinterest for inspiration.
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