BE READY TO HAVE FUN!
Your photo session is a time to have fun together and celebrate your family. Damon Bowe Photography will capture this fun, and these will be memories you cherish. This guide will help you get the most out of your session.
The first thing people want to do in front of a camera is stare into the lens and make their best “cheese” face. Staring at the camera is not a natural look. Photos are meant to show you together, loving each other and looking at each other, and feeling emotion for each other. This creates a much more natural look. Prompts with movement, especially with kids, such as “let’s play chase” or “try to tickle each other” make the best photographs.
Generally kids need routine. Avoid giving kids sugary treats before a photosession (including fruit juice and obviously candy). Sometimes a beautiful new toy prop is helpful, sometimes we use bubbles, sometimes kids respond to promise of a treat after the photoshoot. If kids have a tantrum, we’ll roll with it, but set yourself up for success in advance by keeping kids on as much routine as possible.
If a tantrum happens, go to what works best: hugs, baby talk, tickling, airplanes, tossing in the air. And if that doesn't work, we can lean in by taking photos of everyone else happy and your child ugly crying as a fun juxtaposition.
Makeup should be a natural look. Don’t wear more makeup than you normally would, and wear makeup you are comfortable with. If you wear foundation it should be mat finish/not glitter based. Avoid covering up blemishes because I fix them in my editing process more easily than I can fix mismatched skin tones from makeup. If there is anything you think might need specific editing instructions, please let me know.
I would love to include your dog, cat, pig, bird or other pets in your photographs! Pets are members of your family. But there are some drawbacks to bringing pets. The location must allow pets, and usually leashes are required. Pets can detract from the session by running off, getting involved with other animals, or simply being another individual to keep up with. So please, include pets as members of your family, but note that there are challenges involved in bringing them.
Wearing complimentary or matching colors is the best approach. An "evergreen" style is usually the best approach, so avoid wearing trendy clothing unless that is a look you are going for, and if it is you need to really commit to it.
Consider the end product you want, discuss it with me before the session if you have questions. It is important to avoid having wrinkled clothing, stains, or other issues that you won’t want in the final images. Logos and visible brand names are best avoided. And most important is that you are comfortable during the photoshoot, because discomfort will show in the photos.
For young girls, consider having them wear shorts under their dresses over diapers or other undergarments.
With both kids or adults, props can establish a photoshoot theme and put you at ease during a photoshoot. Props give you something to do, a mission that removes anxiety about the camera.
Props should be items that you want to see and which will retain a timeless look, such as retro tin toys, an antique camera, handmade wood toys, a colorful kite or pinwheel, picnic items, a blanket, or bubbles. For some it might include spraying a bottle of champagne, sipping hot coco, a motorcycle, pizza box, paddle board, kayak, bicycles, or whatever you might want/need to complete a theme. Some props are better if they are meaningful to you and your family, so I suggest avoiding cliche items from Hobby Lobby or Target and focusing on something more genuine or unique.
Best practices for props are covering labels or marketing, and avoiding actual consumption of any foods. Balloons are not allowed at most parks in the Washington, DC area, and it's best to avoid any exploding props such as gender reveal devices.
It is best to discuss props with Damon before your session to ensure that they are allowed, included on any permit paperwork, and whether they will produce good photos.
THE EMERGENCY BAG
Most people have an emergency bag of spare clothing, kid supplies, extra outfits and accessories, etc. Pre-COVID-19 the emergency bag was less of a problem because I could carry it for you, freeing you up for photos. But with the pandemic and with security personnel policing bags that are left unattended, now is a great time to limit or eliminate the bag completely. But please make sure to bring some water.
ON THE DAY OF YOUR PHOTOSHOOT
- Arrive early.
- If I'm doing back-to-back sessions, please remain at a respectful distance.
- Don't stress about perfection.
- Give each other, especially your children, a once over and wipe down to remove any crumbs or other mysterious stuff that might be stuck to clothing or skin, especially mouthes and eyes.
If you run into any problems the best way to reach me is by text or call to my cell phone. My number is (202) 570-8206.