Session Prep Guide



Yay!! I’m so excited you booked a session with me! I’ve put together this session prep guide to help make your planning go smoothly. Below you will find some tips on how to dress your family, a day of session checklist, and some FAQs on what to expect before, during, and after your session.

Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer. These are photos you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for years to come. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear but it doesn’t need to be. Use these 14 tips to help you pick out the perfect wardrobe for you and your family.

1.    Coordinating colors not matching - Long gone are the days of everyone wearing a white shirt and matching. Instead, pick a 2-3 of colors and choose clothes that will fit in this color scheme.

2.    Look at your home decor - Do you like bright colors? Neutrals? Since you will be hanging these photos in your house you want to make sure the colors of your clothes go with the color scheme of your home.

3.    Consider your shoe and sock choice - Make sure to wear shoes that are appropriate for the location of our session. For women, if we are shooting in an open field, then a shoe with a heel may not be the best choice. For men, we will likely do some sitting poses - I recommend not wearing white guy socks and instead wearing some fun dress socks that coordinate with your outfit so your foot/ankle area isn’t distracting in the photos.

4.    Limit patterns - Not everyone in the photo should wear patterns. It can be very distracting if everyone in your group wore plaid. Personally, I find that plain outfits without any patterns at all or a small amount of patterns tend to photograph best and not take away from the main subject of the photos, you guys!  Also, I recommend avoiding thin stripes or small plaid patterns in your outfit choices as it can create a moving illusion like motion to the images.

5.    Look for clothing collections - When shopping for clothes, head to stores that typically have color coordinating collections. Purchase clothes for all the children from one store. That way you will know that all of their clothes will coordinate.

6.    Plan ahead - Once you book your session, start thinking of the clothes right away. You may think certain clothes will fit your kids or that one dress is clean. If you wait until the day of or day before you may run into an issue of clothes not fitting, being dirty or need to be dry cleaned.

7.    Say no to characters and logos - Yes, your little one may love their Toy Story shirt but you may want to skip it for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters and logos on shirts can be distracting.

8.    Avoid all white or all black clothing - If you are wearing an all-white shirt then it is very easy for the camera to blow out parts of your shirt causing it to lose its detail. Same can be said when wearing all black.

9.    Textures are your friend - I am a huge fan of a cotton fitted shirt. However, in photographs I like to add textures like scarves or belts to add a little more to the image. Don’t shy away from different textures.

10.  Consider your background - Whether shooting outside or indoors, it’s always a good idea to take into consideration the colors that will be in the background of your photos and choose clothing that might compliment those colors.

11.  Don’t be afraid to get dressed up - This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun and feel glamorous.  If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, a lot of our client’s love Rent the Runway for their session because it’s such an affordable way to feel like a million bucks. Other clients love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) into their closet.

12.  Think classic - These photos will be hanging on your walls and treasured for years to come. By choosing classic clothes you will help give your images a timeless feel.

13. Consider your manicure and pedicure - While this isn’t a clothing tip, you may want to make sure that your hands and feet are clean, manicured, and hydrated for your shoot. We will do some close up details shots during our session that are likely to include your hands and feet. Same goes for men and kids too!

 14. Be yourself and be comfortable - Last, but not least, whatever you decide to wear, make sure you feel like you and that you are comfortable. My goal for our session is to capture you and your family enjoying each other. If you are fidgeting over your outfit choice during our session then you won’t feel comfortable or confident and definitely won’t have fun. Having fun is THE MOST important thing when it comes to your photo session!


  1. Set date, time and location with Missy

  2. Choose your outfits

  3. Schedule hair, makeup and nail appointments (optional)

  4. Pack a bag with: 

  • Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots 

  • Coats or jackets to wear in between pics during colder weather seasons

  • Second outfit (if you’re doing two) 

  • Touch-up makeup, hairspray, brush or comb

  • Water bottle

  • Snacks/bribes, especially for young kiddos.  Recommend fish crackers, fruit snacks, M&M minis or Starburst minis as these items are small and won’t be distracting in photos if you child is holding on to them



  • 1 day before the session: a final confirmation and location/session details will be provided

  • The day of the session a final invoice will be sent and is due immediately at the start of the session please. 


  • I’ll help direct you and your family during our session so that we can capture you guys doing your thing in a comfortable and laid-back manner. All you need to do us bring the smiles, laughter, and fun!


  • All edited images from your session will be delivered to you within 10 business days from our session date via an online gallery.

  • The gallery will be emailed to the primary email address I have on file for the session. I can add any other email addresses you would like the gallery to be emailed to as well, just let me know!

  • You will have 30 days from the day the gallery is delivered to download the images and save them to your computer or online storage site such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or - all of which have free online storage options.  Once you create a login for one of these storage sites you access your images from almost any device, including your phone, which can be convenient.

  • The gallery does give you the opportunity to purchase professional grade prints from my preferred professional print lab (Miller ‘s Professional Imaging). This is optional as I do give you the printing rights to the photos which allows you to print at any printer of your choice.

Here are a couple print labs that are open to the general public in which you can order from directly as needed - both provide great print, ink color, and paper quality, reasonable pricing and turnaround times.



FYI:  Places I do not recommend; any print station/kiosk located inside an actual store such as Walmart, Bartell Drug's, Rite Aid, Costco or even online with Shutterfly. These locations use lower quality paper and ink.  I have found in my own experiences that their machines are not calibrated correctly for the way I edit my color and black and white images.


I know I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience is something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you and your family makes together during our session. Your future memories are the most important thing to me, and I want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. I’ll take care of the rest! 

See you soon!