Sara House Photography

Family Prep Guide

Your session is booked...Let's start planning

I know you are busy so I like to keep the planning simple. This guide will walk you through what you can expect, where I need your input, and give my best tips for preparing for a great photo session.

1. Styling Your Session

2. What You Need to Know

3. Tips for Success

4. What’s Next

Styling Your Session

What should we wear?

This is usually the first question that comes up after booking a session. Picking your family’s wardrobe can be stressful and it’s no wonder! Photos are an investment that will likely adorn the walls of your home and be passed down for generations. You want them to be perfect! Here is my step-by-step guide for coordinating the perfect outfits.


Step 1

Decide on the look you want.

Use the season to help narrow the look you are going for.

Are you striving for something flowy and whimsical, comfy and casual, or more formal?

Each season is associated with its own colors, weather, and landscapes. Spring and summer can be bright and flowy while fall and winter lend itself to cozy layers and stylish accessories.

Step 2

Pick an inspiration outfit.

Start with an old or new favorite piece or outfit.

Pick one outfit that will serve as the inspiration for your photos. Most of the time, I encourage mom to pick her outfit first. The MOST important thing to keep in mind when choosing outfits is choosing something that you love and feel beautiful in. If you feel good, it will translate to your photos and set the tone for the whole session.

Step 3

Coordinate colors, don't match.

Limit patterns but keep things interesting.

Matching is outdated. Coordinating is far better! Start with your inspiration outfit or pattern. Determine what accent colors work best with it to formulate your family’s color palette. The palette will then guide everyone else’s outfits.

Step 4

Layer and accessorize.

Mix and match textures.

Finish your look with layers that complement your outfits. Consider adding a statement necklace, scarf, hair piece or headband. Vests, belts, jackets, hats, suspenders, ties, and bow ties also work great. Simple, subtle touches and fabric textures add visual interest to your outfits and polish to your photos.

Step 5

Use my styling Service

Make it easier on yourself.

In your prep guide email, you received a login for your complimentary styling service. Use this to build, coordinate, and personalize the perfect outfits for your family with these tips in mind. When finished, you will have access to the links to purchase the clothing or just use it as inspiration as you shop your favorite store or even your own closet.


Important Do's and Don'ts

•Avoid neon colors, bright colors, and busy patterns.
•Don’t forget diaper covers for little ones in dresses.
•Don’t wear clothes with big logos or text.
•Choose clothing that hides tan lines.
Here’s an example of a family who really got it right. The girl's dress was the perfect inspiration for the color palette of this beautiful spring session.

Styling by the season


The feeling of fall is memorable for each of us. Use this to style the feel of your photos by including earthy colors, playful layers, and seasonal accessories like scarves and boots.

Use layers for visual interest as well as quick outfit changes.

Take advantage of colorful fall foliage and let them guide your color palette.

Plaid shirts are popular for the season and can be a great base to inspire accent colors.


Winter is the perfect time to bundle up and embrace the season with cozy textures and seasonal accessories.

Sweaters make for a warm but stylish look. Boys can layer a collared shirt to dress it up while the girls can wear comfy cable knit sweaters with stylish boots and accessories.

Keep yourself comfortable and embrace the chill with coats, cute hats, and fuzzy scarves.


Spring is the perfect time for outdoor photos when everything is coming into bloom. The season combines beautiful light hues that can set the tone for your photos.

Floral is a great pattern to incorporate in the clothing or select statement pieces featuring your florals.

Incorporate large bows in your little one’s hair for added style as well as a practical way to keep their hair out of their eyes.


Summer photos are perfect for beautiful landscapes, adventure, and care-free vibes that are signature of summer. The season is perfect for comfortable, light, airy photos.

Take advantage of light cotton and pretty sheers. Pick outfits that will keep you cool.

Don’t stress about being too formal. Be yourself for more candid and genuine shots.

How to prepare

Great sessions begin with great preparation.

I’m sharing my best tips to get the most out of your photo session and truly enjoy your experience. I want you to feel prepared, enjoy yourself and love the photos. In the days leading up to your session:

Do a trial run in the days before the session.

Make sure little ones are comfortable and clothes fit properly to save headaches on the big day.

Layout your outfits together while planning.

The easiest and best way to help make decisions on coordinating clothing is laying everything out together. For extra help, snap a pic and send it to me.

Prioritize naps the day of the session.

Having a well-rested little one can make all the difference for a great session. Plan to prioritize naps for the day of the session.

Make sure everyone has full bellies.

We don’t want anyone to be hangry – this includes the adults! Also consider planning a fun activity or treat for the family to share after pictures are done.

Get everyone excited in advance.

Prepare little ones by explaining that you will be playing together while having photos done. Get them excited to be a “model” or whatever would keep them interested! For older kids, share the day’s full plan with them.

best advice for parents

For many, the stress of family pictures comes from a combination of high expectations, anticipation of being center stage, and concern that the kids won’t cooperate, or even that the adults won’t do it “right.” The best thing parents can do is simply enjoy this dedicated family time.

Relax and let me do the work!

No matter what comes up, give yourselves grace and flexibility. A relaxed parent can help set the tone for a great session. Even when days don’t go as planned, I am likely capturing glances and smiles you aren’t even seeing.

Review my portfolio together.

Get an idea of what to expect and notice many of my photos are candid. You do not always need to look at the camera. In fact, most of the time I prefer you not to! I will let you know when we are ready for a “smiling at the camera” shot!

Before Your Session

Let’s make your photo session fun and easy.

Prior to your session, check off these steps to set yourself up for success.

1. Questionnaire

Please fill out the questionnaire sent in the previous email. This tells me a little more about what you want from the session and helps me plan for anything special in advance.

2. Coordinate Your Outfits

Using the advice in this guide, begin coordinating your outfits in advance. I am always available to help with any advice needed!

3. Begin Thinking About Prints, Albums and More

Get the most out of your investment. Plan how to use your photos. Complementary reveal and ordering sessions available upon request to help with choosing how to print your photos.

4. Final Checklist and Invoice

One week prior to your session, I will confirm the session date and time. You will also get a reminder about a final invoice for the balance due.

If you have any questions leading up to your session, feel free to reach out!

session day

Let's create some memories.


Plan to arrive to your session location about 10-15 minutes early. This allows a few minutes to get the kids out of the car, get introduced to each other, and walk to where we'll start photographing.


During our time together, I will pose you and tell your what to do, so you won't have to worry about any of that. You may be nervous, but you really don't have to be-I'm very easy to get along with and will make you feel comfortable soon enough. Most importantly...relax and enjoy the experience!

Tips for working with kids.

Stay Flexible

Kids can be unpredictable at times, so I find it best to stay flexible and follow the kids' needs. If they need to run around, I'll let them run and be silly. If they don't want to stand but will be held, we'll do that instead. I tend to read each child for cues to capture the best photos we can!

Make it Fun

This one's a big one! I love interacting with the kids to get the genuine smiles you know and love. Whatever gets those sweet giggles!

Additional Tip

Bring water, dry snacks (nothing sticky), and a change of clothes for small children.

After Your Session

Phew! You did it!

Your family can celebrate a mini victory after your session is done. But there is more fun still to come – seeing your photos for the first time and finding ways to continue enjoying them. Here’s what to expect.

1-2 Days After Session

Sneak peek is posted. Share with friends and family.

3 Weeks After Session

Link to a custom slideshow of your images set to music is sent to you. Gather the whole family together and enjoy this memorable experience of seeing your photos for the first time.

2 Days after Slideshow

Full gallery is delivered. You'll be able to choose and download your high-resolution images that are included with your purchased collection directly from your gallery. You'll also have the opportunity to purchase additional images, prints, wall art, and albums at this time.

Your gallery will be active for one week. Please ensure you download your images and order all wall art, albums, and prints by the expiration date or there will be a $25 reactivation fee.

Complimentary reveal/ordering sessions are available upon request. Many clients prefer to have someone walk them through the process of choosing and ordering images and products. Let me know if you are interested in this service.

2 Weeks After Ordering

The beautiful photos you purchased arrive at your home ready for you to enjoy!

After Receiving Prints and Products

Check In and request for a review on Google and Facebook. As a small business owner, these are appreciated so much!

Important Reminders

Share Your Images

Share your beautiful images with friends and family!

Download and Backup the Images

I recommend saving your images in at least two separate locations. This could include your computer's hard drive, an external hard drive, a flash drive, or a cloud based service.

That's a wrap

Thank You!!!

Thank you again for the opportunity to work with your family!

If there is anything I can do for you along the way, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm here to serve you the best that I can.

I’m so excited to work with you and can’t wait to see what we create together! These will be memories that you'll treasure forever.


Phone number: 317-434-4855