I'm Ready For Photos...I Think.

Whether you're graduating, recently engaged, a new family, or just wanting some headshots or photos with your loved one(s), we've got you covered. It can feel daunting trying to not only decide to get photos taken, but then the uncertainty of what comes next etc comes into play. Here are some of my top things to help you prepare for an amazing portrait session!

Time of Day

If you've already booked your session, then you likely have a time of day established. If not, it's very common for photo sessions to happen shortly before sunset. Why? The sun is lower in the sky, meaning softer shadows on faces and often a beautiful glow of warm sunlight. This is one of the more flattering lightings for portraits. If it ends up being cloudy on your session, don't worry! Cloudy days are also great for the same reasons, minus the warm glow of sunlight. Cloudy days help us to have an even bigger selection of locations as the sun isn't a factor (as long as it's still before sunset).

family sitting on path at Smithville Lake by Stephanie Coulter Photography

What To Wear

One of the most common questions I'm asked is what to wear for the session. By no means do I expect you to be dolled up like you're walking down the red carpet (although it would be fun to shoot), but I do recommend wearing something that's true to you and minimizing patterns. I also highly recommend dressing up a bit more than a normal day as it's not every day you get professional photos taken (unless you're an active model, which most of us are not). Take some extra time to style your hair, do a bit more makeup, etc. You'll be happier that you did!

Another tip to help your photos look amazing is to wear colors in the more earthy tones, especially if you're utilizing a more natural scene vs urban and graffiti. If you're still not sure, look at the colors of decor you have at your home. What would look good with your environment, assuming at least a few images are going on walls?

family sitting in leaves by Stephanie Coulter Photography

Eat, Sleep, and Relax

This might seem silly, but it's very important! I don't want you stressing about your session or passing out because you need to eat. Relax the day before and the day of your session as much as possible. Get some good sleep for yourself and encourage others involved to do the same, especially kids!

If your session includes kids, make sure to either have them eat a good snack right before the session or have snacks during the session that we can use as a distraction. While I'm not above bribing kids for a food treat after the session, it doesn't bode well if they're "hangry". I'm a mom of three, so I totally understand how quickly a kid can go from happy to "hangry".

mom and daughter giggling with each other by Stephanie Coulter Photography

But I'm Not A Model...

When we all look at professionally taken photos, we all assume the people that look perfect are models. Surprise! They're NOT! My job as a photographer is to guide you during the session so you look your best and we get some amazing and real photos. You just need to eat, rest, and pamper yourself before your session so you look and feel your best. I'll take it from there!

I won't lie and tell you it's not awkward to have a camera aimed at you because it is if you're not used to it. Try to relax and forget I'm there (I'll probably even tell you this a few times during the session). Some of my favorite photos come from when people engage with others in the session or the scenery because they feel more relaxed.

mixed race couple snuggling and looking at each other by Stephanie Coulter Photography


It's inevitable that we have ideas in our minds of how the session will go and what our images will look like in the end. That's a good thing as long as you are able to be flexible during the session. If you have kids, you can hope they cooperate and be perfect, but if they don't, it's okay. Let me help with your kids as a different person might help change their minds and/or mood, especially if they don't know me yet. I'm a mom and I know how easy it is to have high expectations and become frustrated when things aren't going perfectly. Please trust me that I'll capture what I can to still get real personalities, moments, and emotions. My job and goal as a photographer is to give you memories of you and your kids AS YOU ARE. Would you believe the boy in this photo was not having any part of the session before this photo? I rest my case.

If there's a specific type of photo you're dreaming of, please let me know well before your session so we can try to accommodate it with the location, lighting, etc. I can't guarantee it'll turn out or happen, but knowing in advance makes it more possible.

family with young kids walking on a path at Smithville Lake by Stephanie Coulter Photography


While there are certainly more things I could add, these are the top things. If you've booked with me or another photographer, then you'll likely be getting a questionnaire via email to help give even more info about you, your family, expectations, etc. The more detailed your responses, the better we as photographers can help make your session the best it can be, so please elaborate when possible and needed.

Worried About COVID?

We all are! It's okay. I am fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors. Because most of my sessions happen outdoors, I typically do not wear a mask, but I will certainly do so if I'm in close contact with you or your family. It is up to you, but the last thing I want is to spread the virus or have you concerned about getting it from me. I have kids and high-risk parents, so I'm not about to compromise anyone's health how and when I can. We can always discuss your feelings and concerns so you're comfortable with everything.

senior girl in field at sunset by Stephanie Coulter Photography

Ready To Schedule Your Session?

Now that you know a bit more about how to get ready for your session, let's get yours scheduled as soon as possible. Dates can fill up fast, so don't wait!

Let's Do It!