How to Prepare – Family

So excited to go on this adventure with you and your family! It’s not lost on me how many photographers are out there, and so thank you for this honor! I trust we’ll have a great time together, so let’s get down to it, shall we? 

For Family Sessions, please plan for approximately 1 to 2 hours. My goal is for the session to feel more like a play date than a photoshoot. I find that the most natural images come from sessions that consist of play and normal interaction between the family, and while we may do some gentle posing, the majority of the shoot will be super carefree – I like to say, just be yourself! Storytelling is such a strong emphasis in my sessions these days, as I really want to capture you all as you are, being together, playing together, and truly connecting. I don’t bring props to sessions, but it’s always great when parents bring something along that is personal to the child such as a favorite stuffed animal, toy or special book. Snacks are great too in case kiddos get hungry, but please avoid really crumbly or sticky snacks and let’s talk and decide together when it’s time for a snack break instead of feeding them while shooting, that way we can avoid tons of pictures with hands in the mouth and food on the face. 

If your kids are older than 2 years old, I suggest letting them know that they are going to have a play date with Annie. That way they won’t feel so much pressure knowing they are suppose to perform for pictures. I’d like to get them to know me and feel comfortable with me, while we are taking pictures. Also, please try to avoid asking them to say “cheese”. I realize this is programmed into our society, but the smile that comes from the word “cheese” is not the most natural. It is part of my nature to coax natural smiles out, and I do that in a variety of ways. I may look and sound ridiculous in doing so, but I love it. It’s pretty awesome, so help me give it a shot with your kiddos and let’s see what kind of expressions we can get without having to say “cheese”.

So what kind of session is right for you?

What is your story? What is your aesthetic? Is there somewhere special that your family loves to go together? Let me know if you already have your location in mind, otherwise read these over and let me know which kind of session resonates.

Home storytelling – (my absolutely favorite) – an afternoon of you and your family doing the things you love to do with each other and want to remember. Baking cookies, jammin’ on instruments, reading favorite books, playing ball in the backyard, having a dance party, jumping on the bed, making crafts, etc…. These are super fun and playful sessions that derive a wonderful diversity of candid / documentary and posed images. 

Nature / Rustic – forest, tall grasses, open fields, hiking trails, botanical gardens. Really beautiful settings and textures combined with play are always a good combo.

The Coast – Truly one of the easiest places to let go, am I right? The feeling and color palette is super airy, light and colorful. Beach toys, toy sailboats, kites, vintage picnic blankets (and a picnic!) – all make great props for this kind of location. 

San FranciscoSuper fun and whimsical! These are colorful, vibrant and texture filled sessions which you can feel the high energy through.


Basic suggestions
A neutral / earth toned palette is gorgeous and lends well to more organic and natural imagery – it is my preferred look, as I feel it photographs the most beautifully. Cream, gray, earthy green, brown, beige, white, rose, light blue, light pink, etc. Coordinating those tones help to create images that are truly timeless. This definitely works well in nature – think beach, forest, open fields. Looks great for home sessions as well.

Alternatively, a color palette is super fun! If color is your thing and you want images that are vibrant and playful, the possibilities are endless for incorporating it into your shoot. Long are the days of “matchy matchy” portraits.

Layers: Jackets, scarves, vests, hats!  Gives great depth and is important for changing weather (dual purpose!).

Accessories:  Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, etc. Just please stay away from giant watches, as I will ask you to remove them.

Makeup: I do suggest make-up for these sessions, but if it’s not normally your thing a little mascara, a bit of cheek color and chap stick or lip-gloss goes a long way. For those that do their make-up regularly, do as your normally would, but stay away from anything that has excess shimmer in it – dewy and glowy is great, but sparkly does not show well in pictures.

What works
Cohesion! Coordinating a palette, not matching.
Sticking to your personalities (this will translate in your pictures if you feel yourselves!)
Layers (for diversity, interest and weather)

What to avoid
Logos on clothing

Tops that show your bra-strap
Large Horizontal stripes (small are okay)
Florescent colors
Loud patterns
Contrasting patterns
Lots of red or magenta against your face

Pinterest inspiration boards
For my examples, please check out my Pinterest board for the tones I feel work best for newborn sessions HERE

Some of my fave retailers:

Reverie Threads
Go Gently Nation
Mebie Baby
Dannie and Lilou
Chubby Bubbie Bear
Sew Trendy
Free People
Three Bird Nest
Hayden Girls

Styling Service
If you are just truly baffled and need some styling assistance, I’ve partnered with an incredible service called Style & Select! Simply go to the questionnaire and use your unique access code that I emailed to you (if you didn’t receive one, let me know) to begin styling your entire family from the comfort of your couch. No more running store to store and no more guessing! Fill out the simple Style Questionnaire about your family, color scheme you are wanting and the vibe of clothes you would like to see. The quick results page will show you photo-approved clothing pieces for each family member and you can view outfits side-by-side while favoriting items. Feel free to play around with it until you have selected the perfect outfit combo! Click the email button to send yourself the selected items or shop for the clothes right away by clicking the shopping cart buttons.
That’s it! Super easy right?

Email and text me!
If you are ever in a dressing room and just need my opinion stat, text me pictures! Seriously. People do it all the time and I always have my phone on me. Alternatively, you can email pictures of your choices and I am happy to lend my thoughts. You may also bring along several options for us to choose the day of. I am here for you at any point, so please remember to reach out if you just aren’t sure! 650.393.9423

The Session Itself
Family sessions are on average 1 – 2 hours. I aim to make it fun and it usually feels like we were just hanging out by the end of it! These sessions usually unfold organically and I create as I see it happening. I will guide you! There is no guess work. Many people are not completely comfortable in front of the camera, so I have a variety of ways to get you relaxed and having fun in no time – ultimately all you have to do is be yourself! I’ll do the rest. This should be a memorable adventure, and if there is anything I can do to make your experience better, please let me know. I can’t wait to create with you!

After the Session
2-3 weeks after our session I will contact you to let you know your photos are done. You will receive a link to a private online gallery that you can order professional prints directly from, download and share with friends and family. Your complimentary gift will be to you 3 weeks after your final gallery delivery.

I like to post a sneak peek or two on my facebook and instagram pages for you to share with friends and family, so if you aren’t already following me on there, please do! I can be found here: Anne Daiva on Facebook and Anne Daiva on Instagram

I’m looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts for your session. Let me know when you are ready and we can begin the planning!!