FAMILY SESSION PREP GUIDE
Thank you for booking a session with me! I am so excited to meet your family! Sunset sessions are typically taken around the last hour before we lose the sun for the day. So whatever sunset time is that day, plan on meeting me one hour prior to that. You can check exact sunset time during the day of your session HERE
Below are some suggestions of how to better prepare for your session. To get to location options, please keep scrolling.
A well put together wardrobe dramatically enhances the aesthetics of an image. I encourage every family to spend time to put together a set of outfits using the suggestions below.
Colors. I highly recommend using a mix of 2-3 complementary colors (example: pink and blue) or a mix of various shades of a color (light pink to deep purple) instead of sticking to one, same solid color. Combine those with one or two neutral colors (example: greys and browns). This style adds texture and beauty to the photographs. While I highly prefer light colors (tertiary/pastels), please do not be limited by these. Dark, rich colors or a mix of light and deep colors work just as well as long as you follow the complementary color guide just mentioned above. Patterns (especially floral) are definitely a-okay! Stay away from outfits with big bold logos as those can be distracting.
Dresses. Yes! Love love love dresses especially for moms. Long flowy dresses that blow in the wind will look best! More importantly, find something comfortable and flattering for your body type. For example, if you are a bit self-conscious about your arms, try to find a dress with sleeves.
Boys/Dads: Shorts or pants as long as they are comfortable!
My favorite places to shop:
Shoes - please remember that you will be walking on sand, some rocks and uneven surfaces so wear footwear that is cute and perfect for walking on these surfaces. Wedges and heels are a no-no as I would hate for you to trip or get a sprained ankle. I love movement and my families tend fall into a "choreographed" exploration, so expect to walk some and move around in my sessions. In the sand, everyone can kick off the sandals and slippers and go barefoot!
Do not hesitate to email/text me photos should you need opinions/suggestions!
Hair and Make-up
I highly recommend both for Mom whether you go the DIY route or with a professional. While you want to look yourself during your session, you want to look your absolute best! Bear in mind that Hawaii is windy and a bit humid. A calm day with zero wind is pretty rare here. This is why hair prep is important! Worried about the wind? Don't worry-- I LOVE wind. Wind blown hair and dresses add so much motion to a photograph. If you need help finding a make-up artist on the island please email me.
Make sure the little ones are fed before the shoot. A hungry kid is no fun. The last 20-25 mins before sunset is the most perfect light so I want to make sure snack breaks are taken well beforehand. Except for babies who feed on demand--we absolutely take a break for this!
Arrive on time
Our shooting timeframe is extremely limited by the setting of the sun. So when sessions run late it can affect the variety and the quantity of the images in your final gallery. Make sure to have directions to the location ready. If you have never been to the location before and are unfamiliar with the area make sure to factor in a few minutes of extra time in case you get lost. Also consider time for potty breaks prior to starting the session.
Get in the water
If you picked a beach location for your session, expect to get in the water towards the end of the session! Comfort level totally up to you--ankle deep to hip deep! Some locations are crowded and this makes shooting a little tricky. To overcome this, I try to keep my families close to the water. Even if the locations are more private, some cool spots require getting in the water a bit. Therefore, be ready to go barefoot or wear water friendly shoes! On that note-bring towels and a change of clothes should you decide to go all in!
Let the kids be kids
My sessions are fun and I go about it based on your interaction with the kids, how easily they connect with me and what makes them happy in the moment. So don't worry if they don't look at me or "listen" right away. I assure you I will always take one or two photos of them looking at me. As long as they are not in any danger, or causing trouble, please let them be themselves. If they want to play in the sand, splash, run, etc. I capture those; although I try my best to make sure everyone stays dry for the first half of the shoot! I will guide them to come back to you and try to get everyone together for the most part. If you think they are about to misbehave, get in danger then please step in and take control. Otherwise, I prefer to let the kids "loose" to a certain extent. What I also ask of you is to engage with them and the rest of your family. You as their parent, know them best. Do things that you think will make them happy and present: singing their favorite songs, talking about their favorite show, tickles, hugs, etc. Love on them just the way you do at home when there are no cameras around. Those are the moments I truly want to capture! The gorgeous sunset is a bonus!
Don't forget the extras
Toys, snacks, pacis etc. Anything that you think your kid might need or help calm him/her down if necessary. I also try to (if possible) take a few photos of just mom and dad and will need the kids to be somewhat occupied and safe during this period. I encourage you to bring the smallest bag possible, as I love taking photos of you walking and "adventuring". Anything that can be left in the car should stay there. I will, in certain portions of the session, offer to carry your small bag for you as we go along. I want to capture natural movements!
Please be careful with the sun, it can be pretty intense of clear, sunny days. Apply sunscreen liberally and don't forget to re-apply when necessary!
A typical Big Island beach will have a combination of sand and lava rocks. Most of the beaches I shoot at are located on the west side of the island, and where the sunset will be on the water (instead of inland). One can't really go wrong, everywhere on the west side is pretty! It pretty much comes down to collection of landscapes you prefer to have in your photos. Here are blog posts from some of my favorite locations:
These two beaches below strictly closes at 7pm so during part of the year when the sun sets later, we may need to shoot earlier than one hour prior to sunset.