I am so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. I still get nervous before having my own photos taken - and I do this for a living!

I'm so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. I've created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos, and by the time you’ve read through all these tips, you'll have all your questions answered and feel more than ready and prepared for your session. Then, I’ll take care of the rest! Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot and let me create photos you’ll love forever. I can’t wait to get you in front of my camera!

Oh, do I love natural light! I believe that natural light from the sun and its reflections creates photographs that feel fresh and timeless! Session typically last about an hour to an hour and a half. I begin all outdoor portrait sessions two hours before the scheduled sunset during "golden hour" when the light is the dreamiest and we can avoid harsh shadows and bright sun patches.

Since we'll schedule our session during the best light of the day, it's super important to be on time! We’re only able to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down.


The location of your portrait session is up to you! Like you see throughout my portfolio, many of my clients choose a natural location, a studio space, or a lifestyle session in the comfort of their own home! For most of our sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are a good fit. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. In-home lifestyle sessions are great for newborns, and if you have great light in your home, it might be perfect for your full family session, too! Studio spaces give us the option of shooting during any time of year and in any weather, and they always give a timeless feel!


I love and trust each of these vendors—and I know you will too!

Tease to Please Hair & Makeup

The Styling Stewardess

Birdy Beauty

Brite Beauty

I love when clients choose to incorporate pets into their session. Keep in mind that bringing a pet along often means that we’ll need to choose a pet friendly location!

I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and then having a friend take them home. I won’t use the pet in every single photo, so please have a friend join you for your session who is available to hold him or her in between shots.

If you’re going to bring a pet, I recommend exercising your pet before the session and bringing your pet's favorite toy or treats! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot. 


Couples usually like to have one casual everyday outfit and then one outfit that is dressier! This will give your shoot two totally different “looks”. When choosing your outfits, I recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.

Make sure you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Also, empty your pockets! You don’t want to have keys or phones showing through your pockets - this is for the guys especially!


Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera — which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! I recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session, and saying yes to a dress instead! Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Cute, shorter- length dresses photograph beautifully as well. 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! 

In my experience, almost every woman (regardless of her shape), has an area of her body that she feels self-conscious about... so recognizing what area that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos.

Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so I recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms.

wardrobe tips

You can’t go wrong with a suit! Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos.


We’ll check in the week of your engagement session to confirm the time & location we’re meeting and the weather. We know it takes a lot of time to get ready for engagement session and it’s the worst to get dressed up and drive out to your session only to have it rain. 

If it does end up looking like rain or storm clouds, we have a couple of options. We can reschedule your session, or you can opt to book a studio space (like the Lumen Room). I recommend waiting until about 24 hours prior to your session to make the decision to reschedule, but if you have hair & makeup appointments with cancellation fees, we can make the call earlier than that.


Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help me get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session, like an ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if their bellies are full and they’ve had some good rest beforehand.

Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! They’re little, and we know that some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!

If you’re planning to bring props to your portrait session, we recommend including them only if they’re meaningful to you. A picnic blanket where you cozy up and read a book together might be cute for a family session, or a champagne toast for an anniversary shoot would be a perfect fit!


When it comes to posing for your portrait session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I’ll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If I tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because I know it’s going to make you laugh - and that’s the photo I'm actually looking for. My goal is to always capture you and your family just the way you are - with candid giggles and authentic moments that capture your relationships with each other. So relax, and trust me - I've got you!

Throughout your session, I'll keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. I want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy our time together! 


I know that I just gave you a lot to think about. I created this guide to help make your portrait session experience 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 make together. Your future memories are the most important thing to us, and we want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And I’ll take care of the rest!

Within one week, you'll have a sneak peek from our session! Your full gallery will be delivered via email within 4 - 6 weeks of our session date. You'll have access to fully-edited high-resolution images from our time together!

I can't wait to see you! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime at hello@samikathryn.com

Lots of Love,