Family Photography

Cincinnati Family Portrait Session & What to Wear

What to wear in photographs is one of the most popular questions I get before a session. The days of being all “matchy-matchy” are over, and I always encourage people to embrace their unique individuality in their photos.

Cincinnati Family Portrait Session

Here are the top 10 tips for wardrobe and accessories for your photos.

  1. Stick to primary colors or their close version. Flouresecnts cast weird colors on faces and tend to come and go in trends. 
  2. If we are taking photos in a green area such as a park, don’t wear green clothing.  Wearing it as an accent color is fine, though!
  3. Start with one outfit you like and build around it for everyone else.
  4. Wear what feels good! Avoid overly fussy clothes you or your kids aren’t comfortable in. That goes for shoes, too.
  5. Layering adds dimension and provides a different look. Think hats, scarves, cardigans, and statement jewlery.
  6. Wear clothes that fit well. Baggy, saggy clothes do not make you look slimmer!
  7. Coordination, not matching. Go ahead and mix and match patterns too, as long as they are in the same color palette
  8. Keep it simple for newborn session. Grey, black white, is great because it doesn’t overpower the baby’s beauty and simplicity.
  9. Dress for the weather and be flexible. You know that the weather is changeable here, so have a plan B (or layer!)
  10. Dress for the scene. A suit or a fussy dress on a little kid in a forest setting will look weird, and your personality won’t come through.

The point of your photo session is that the photos represent you and your family as you are right now. We want you to look and feel fabulous and comfortable because that will shine through in the photographs. 

Keep your wardrobe as simple as possible, and be sure to stress to everyone involved in the photos that these session are going to be fun! 

If you need further guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me! I’ll help you prepare for your family session from start to finish so you’ll all be looking your best!

For many families, having portraits done yearly is a tradition that helps them mark time and revel in the growth of their family.  

Family photos are a reminder of what is really important in your life. There has been no time in recent history that it’s been clearer than after spending months sheltering in place with the COVID-19 pandemic; family is everything.

However, it can be unclear how to many people how family photos can be safely taken as we begin to reopen. Since there is no vaccine or cure at this time, it’s important that everyone involved with the process of having a family photo made adheres to the most recent safety standards.

If you’re unsure of where to start, here are some things you can talk about with your photographer and a few things you can expect.

Safe Family Photos during covid 19

Ask About Safety Measures in Studio Settings

If your photographer works out of a brick and mortar studio, ask them to detail their process of cleaning and sanitizing, as well as how they are able to pose you while maintaining a safe distance.

Safety Precautions You May See:

  • The photographer Wearing masks and/or gloves during the session
  • Taking temperatures of family members
  • Only allowing family members who live together in the studio
  • Showing how to pose by having you mirror them
  • Cleaning and sanitizing all equipment between sessions
  • Limiting sessions to one or a few a day
  • Providing hand sanitizer
  • Asking clients to remove shoes

For me and my studio, I’m only accepting 2 studio sessions per day so I have enough time to clean and sterilize the studio between sessions. Newborn sessions will always be the first session of the day. All toys and products have also been removed from my space, and snacks will no longer be provided. All newborn wraps and baby outfits will be sanitized and cleaned before any session as well.

Like many photographers, I’m also only allowing immediate family into the studio after a hands-free temperature check with a touch-free thermometer. I also ask that shoes are left at the door upon entry.

I will also be wearing a mask while families are in the studio as well as washing my hands and using hand sanitizer. I’ll also be changing my clothes upon entry to the studio and when I leave before entering my home, and showering immediately before I leave my home and after sessions.

For clients coming into my studio, I’m requesting that outside items from home be kept to a minimum.

In the event of an illness, I’m asking that anyone who was unwell be fever-free for 48 hours before rescheduling their session.

socially distanced family photos

Consider an Outdoor Family Portrait Sessions In More Remote Locations

Cincinnati summers can be hot, but I’m working with my clients to try and schedule as many outdoor family portrait sessions as possible.

Outdoor photo sessions allow for more air circulation and may allow for more social distancing measures.  Look for photographers who know of locations that are off the beaten path rather than locations that may be crowded like public parks and beaches.

Some photographers may even have land outside their studio that they use for outdoor photos. Or they may be willing to come to your home to do outdoor photos in your yard.

I personally have a list of secluded locations that I love photographing at that my clients have been loving this season!

collage of socially distanced photos

How Family Photos Happen in the Time of COVID-19

Your photographer should be able to give you an explanation of what you can expect from them in terms of posing, directing, and the viewing of the photos after the session.

They may have to stop more often to give feedback on posing rather than adjusting you themselves. This distancing is especially important when dealing with newborns, very young children, or anyone with ongoing health issues.

Safe Family Photos

Things You Can Do To Stay Safe During Family Photos

It’s important to discuss with your family how the session is going to go, and what they need to do to stay safe. This is especially important with small children who may not understand social distancing boundaries.

  • Carry hand sanitizer with you
  • Wear masks whenever you are not being photographed
  • Ask that the photographer wears a mask at all times
  • If at a studio setting, have everyone wash their hands upon arrival
  • No hugging or handshakes with the photographer
  • Do not linger after the session
  • When arriving home, change clothes and shower
  • Limit contact as possible for two weeks leading up to your session

With a little bit of coordination, there’s a lot you can do to make a family portrait session as safe as possible.

Along with following a lot of the guidelines I’ve listed here, I’m personally working with each and every one of my clients to make sure they not only have an enjoyable experience, but a safe one as well.

Rather than letting this time pass you by because it is a hard time in history, a celebration of your family with a portrait session can be so meaningful to everyone.

Interested in a safe socially distance family session?

Contact me here if you have any questions and let’s schedule something!

six month old baby lays on blanket in sunset

When all the kids in kindergarten start talking about how they got their names, this little girl’s story is going to be the coolest of them all.

Her parents (whom I’ve known since she was born) are huge music fans. After she was born, once they were able to soak her up for a bit, they decided on a name for their baby

For three days, she was just baby girl until they decided on the perfect name for her: Layla. After the iconic Eric Clapton song.

Sweet little Layla and I had some fun together creating her six-month-old portraits at the park on a picture-perfect autumn day.

I love photographing kids outside because I love the looks on their faces when they take in the feel of the wind on their face, and all the different textures, smells and sounds.

There’s something really special about the first year, and as a photographer, it’s always so humbling to see familiar faces again and again. I always feel like such a silly adult when I see the kids and say things like “Look how you have grown!” but it’s true!

That first year really is phenomenal. In the space of a year, they go from these tiny little blobs to these walking and sometimes even talking little humans.  Photographing this stage of their lives is just amazing.

A few weeks after this session I got to photograph Layla again for her photo session with Santa and I swear she had grown another inch!

I’m so thankful for the Cowen family and their trust, and that I get to see little Layla grow. I’m so happy to be your family photographer and I can’t wait to see her soon for her first-year birthday and her cake smash photos!

Santa Sessions like what Layla had are Sold Out but we still have Christmas Jammie Minis! Sign Up Here

365 Project 2017

I can’t hardly believe it but, I finished my first 365 project 2017. When I started the year I wasn’t sure if I could actually complete the entire year. A picture a day on top of editing felt super overwhelming. I knew we were facing one of the hardest years in our lives with our sons pending health issues so I knew I wanted to document it. So I made a choice each day to do it. When you take things day by day, they seem far less overwhelming.

There is no doubt this year was brutally hard. My middle son had two brain surgeries this spring, my uncle was killed tragically in a car accident, and my Dad died after a very short battle with esophageal cancer. But this year was also incredible. A dream I’ve had for years came to fruition, I opened my very own studio in a retail location, my son who I had been watching get sicker and sicker with each passing day, was finally healed, my relationship with my ex husband has started to be restored, and through all the suffering watching my Dad die, I have learned to how to love more deeply than ever before.

So here it is. My 365 project. All 365 images. The good. The bad. The gloriously happy moments. And everything boring that is in between. It’s a long post but I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my family <3

If you’d like to start a 365 project of your own in 2018, I wrote a post about how to get started. You can also join my Facebook group if you are like me and need a little accountability to keep going 🙂

How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project in 2018

All the Tips, Tricks, and Gear you need to make it happen!

I have gotten so many questions this year from people following my 365 project this year. One of the most frequently asked questions is, how to successfully complete a 365 project? How do I find new and interesting things to document each day? Do I run out of ideas? What equipment do I use? Now that I am at the end of my own personal 365 project for 2017, I thought I would answer all these questions in a really long blog post 🙂


I own a lot of photography equipment but there are only a few things you will need to do it.

  1. a camera. I shoot with a Canon Mark III and a Canon Mark IV. For 98% of my images I used my Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART lens. Any images under water or with water spraying I used my GoPro and underwater dome. But you can use any camera and lens that can handle low light situations well. I recommend a lens that is f 2.0 or below for shooting in low light situations. iPhones are a great option as well!
  2. a remote shutter release. I use a Canon wireless remote for my Mark III but my Canon Mark IV has built in Wifi so I can control my camera from Canon’s app on my phone (and it’s AWESOME!).
  3. a tripod or any other surface to put your camera on. I use a heavy duty tripod by Manfrotto. My camera is heavy and so are my lens so, this gives me the piece of mind that my camera isn’t going to fall over and shatter my gear. No one has the time or money for that!

Helpful but not necessary gear

  1. a notes app. I use the iPhone’s notes app when I don’t have time to immediately edit my images to write the story of my images for posting later. Writing love notes to my kids that tells them what they were saying in the image or what was going on in our lives that day is part of what I love about this project. I am using my images and words to be a historian for my kids.
  2. a computer with editing software. I use Lightroom to edit and organize all my images. When I export from Lightroom, I send my images to a 365 folder on my desk top and name my images by date. This way my images are in order and organized.
  3. a 365 numbering website. This year I used Epoch Converter to keep track of my days. Once I got into the middle of the year and I got behind on editing, I had a hard time remembering what day it was. This site helped a lot to keep me on track. For my 365 in 2018, I think I am going to use instead.

Without further ado, everything I have learned this year on how to successfully complete a 365 project.

Capture the everyday.

Everyday activities can seem boring and mundane. But, if you step back and enjoy the beauty in the moment. Again, when my kids are away and grown, I want to remember what it was like with the mess and chaos. So I embrace the mess and try to capture life as it is. How to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectHow to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectHow to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

Capture the details.

What makes your family & kids unique? For my family, I try and catch my kids doing the funny things, that years from now, I want to remember. My youngest son, he has the finest hair. So, in most situations: waking up from nap or any sign of static electricity, his hair is likely standing on end. Sam is also notorious for never having pants on and only wearing one shoe. So this year, I made sure to capture that in my 365.

How to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectHow to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectCapture the good, bad, and the ugly.

Life is full of joys and frustrations. This year my daughter landed her first lead in her middle school play. I am so glad I had my camera near by to capture her joy. My middle son loves nothing more than to play in packing supplies when things come in the mail. I took my living room being a disaster as an opportunity to capture him just how he is at this point in his life. My youngest son is 2. And any parent know, 2 is hard. I am not afraid to capture my kids just as they are. Sam happens to throw epic tantrums and enjoys coloring on every surface of our house. This year, I embraced the madness. Rather than getting frustrated, I documented it. When I look back on my grown children, I know these are the memories that are going to make my heart smile.

How to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectHow to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectTake your camera to the store with you.

When I started this project, I made sure I had a purse that was also a camera bag so I could keep my camera with me at all time. I use this camera bag from Shutterbag. There’s plenty of room for my Canon 5D Mark Iv, my Sigma 35mm Art lens, & my GoPro. Don’t be afraid to bust out your camera at the store. There is always something interesting that happens at the store when I am with my kids. My kids have become so used to me taking pictures of them at the store, they hardly pay attention to me anymore.How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

Get in the frame

I really hate having my picture taken. It’s funny but it’s true. But I want my kids to remember me as being present in their lives and also in the images. The image below, I was home with all three of my kids alone while down with the flu. I was sure I was dying but my middle son was such a amazing treasure. He was making sure to take care of me and his brother so I could rest. I wanted to remember his love forever so I turned on my camera that was sitting on the fireplace and started shooting with my remote. I love this memory.How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

Even when you don’t feel like picking up the camera, pick it up

No seriously. Just do it. 2017 was ridiculously hard for our family. Part of why I chose to start a 365 this year was because I knew this year was going to be hard and I wanted to make sure to document it. My middle son was diagnosed in late fall of 2016 with a mass in his brain and Chiari Malformation. Our first appointment in 2017 was with our neurosurgery team. I love the image below of my son looking at his brain and wondering how 6 of those fit in his head 😉

How to Successfully Complete a 365 ProjectLate this fall, my Dad became terminally ill. My husband and I jumped a last minute flight to Florida to visit him during his final days. While we were there my husband picked up the camera and took one of the most precious images I own. My Dad died 3 days later. This is the last picture I have with him. Even though I definitely didn’t feel like having my picture taken that morning, I am so glad I have this.How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

When things aren’t perfect and things are really hard, pick up your camera

Life is hard. This year was hard. There were weeks my husband and I hadn’t slept in days. We were living in and out of the hospital for the majority of the spring.I am so glad I have these images to look back on to remember what that time was like and how far Eli has come.How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

When your kids are having fun, capture that too.

I love watching my kids play with each other. While you are at it, invest in a water proof camera. I know my kids are never having as much fun as when they are playing with water.

How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

Document your family traditions

Birthday, holidays, or even back to school. What do you want to remember? How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project

Finally, find a way to be accountable

Join a 365 group on Facebook. Make a habit of posting your images in a Flicker account each week. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.  And that my friends is, how to successfully complete a 365 project! If you’d like to see my full 365, you can find it HERE starting January 1st 🙂

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