Grandparent Sessions Susan Ryan Kalina Photography

Hi there! I am Susan Ryan Kalina, and I would love to document the beautiful relationship between the grandparents and grandkids in your life.

I am a former photojournalist who started photographing families and events fifteen years ago when I quit my job as a photo editor at The Chicago Tribune.

Capturing Love

One of my very favorite kinds of sessions I do is Grandparent Sessions. I think I am so in love with this kind of photography because I truly believe I am providing a vital service to families, recording the beautiful connection between the children and grandparents in their lives.

My idea for Grandparent Sessions came from my incredibly close bond with my own grandparents. I love to tell my children stories about my Nana and Papa and my Chickie and Gubby (Don't ask; my oldest sister got to name them!). But I don't have photos to go with those memories. Sure, I have pictures of us standing next to each other. But I don't have the photos that show our time together and our amazing connection.

So I am on a mission to make sure other people don't have that same regret I have. I want the children in your life to have a book of photos to show THEIR children some day that tells the story of their love.

I call my style, "Family Storytelling Photography" for its emphasis on capturing the story of your family.

Want to hear more about why Grandparent Sessions are so important to me? Check out these blog posts here and here.

Want to see a couple examples of a Grandparent Session? Check out these blog posts here and here.

Family Storytelling Photography. What's that?

Family Storytelling Photography

I photograph families in a "Family Storytelling Photography" style. What the heck is that? Well, I'm glad you asked. Some people call it Family Photojournalism. Some call it Documentary Family Photography. The most important distinction is that the focus is on capturing candid and non-posed moments.

I particularly love documenting the beauty in the everyday moments. Whether it's playing in the backyard, doing an activity together, having a meal together, or whatever your family likes to do, I am there to document your time together and provide you with your story in photos. If the grandchildren are little, photographing when the grandparents are babysitting is a perfect situation. Reading books, mealtime, bath time, diaper changes and putting kids down for naps all make for great storytelling moments

My goal is to capture facial expressions, body language, laughter, and even sometimes the occasional tears that tell your complete story. Because right now, at this moment in time, your family has a story to tell. And that story will change very rapidly as the children and grandparents in your life age.

This is not a "posed" photo session. But I am happy to pull everyone together for one posed shot if that is something you want. We only will spend about five minutes on the posed shot. The rest of the time is for me to document the connection between the family members.

Most families love Family Storytelling Sessions. Basically, I am there to photograph the grandparents and grandkids doing what they love to do together. How can that not be a blast?

Still have some questions or concerns?

Q. But my grandkids are older, isn't this for little kids?

A. Nope. Photographing the relationship between grandparents and grandkids is good for any age. I promise you, your teen or college aged grandkids (or older) will totally value having photos of you spending time together. Maybe the session is geared more toward a family meal, cooking together, or going to a Cubs game together, or whatever you enjoy doing. They will still cherish these images and be thrilled to be able to show them to their children many years from now.

Q. But getting all my grandkids together is a scheduling nightmare! They all have different availability. And some are out of town. What do we do about that?

A. Well, here's the thing. I can photograph you spending time with all of your grandkids at the same time. But this photo shoot is really about capturing the intimate, candid moments and your relationship with them. So, you are better off having me do different photo shoots for the different branches of your family. And here's the good news! You can tailor each photo session to be about what you enjoy doing with that individual family. And even better news, I won't charge you a session fee for the additional sessions. Once you pay your $250 session fee, you won't pay another session fee for as many shoots as you need in the next calendar year. (Only applies to two hour sessions, you will receive a discount on future session fees if you are doing a half day or full day session.)

Q. I hate how I look in photos. I just want photos of my grandkids. Isn't that good enough?

A: Yes, I know, many of us hate how we look in photos. We are our own worst critics. But guess what, do it for the kids. They don't see the extra 10 lbs. you think you are carrying or that your makeup or clothes aren't perfect, they will just see love when they look back at these photos. So, do this incredibly selfless act and do a Grandparent Session for the grandkids in your life. Imagine these children in 30 years showing these storytelling photos to their children!

Q: My house is messy and isn't decorated like a show house. It won't be a pretty backdrop for photos.

A: No worries! If we are photographing at your home, I am going to be focused on getting photos of your relationship. Yes, your house will be in the background, but that's ok. The point of this photo shoot is to capture your real life at this moment in time. Not capture the fake, idealized version of your house. If there are piles of laundry to fold in the background or toys strewn about, that's real life. And your real life is beautiful in all it's details. And the grandkids in your life will want to remember what your home looked like when they were there, not the Norman Rockwell version of it. Plus, if there is a certain room that really makes you crazy, just let me know and we can avoid it.

Q: But what the heck will we do while you take pictures of us?

A: Trust me, this won't be a problem. I will send you a questionnaire after we pick a date, you pay the deposit and sign the contract. I will ask you several questions that will get the ideas flowing of what kind of situations we want to photograph. Then we will do a phone consultation to further discuss how the photo session will go. I've done this many times and it always works out in a beautiful way unique to each family.

Ok, we definitely want this. What now?

How to Schedule a Session

Like what you're hearing so far? Great. Let's talk. You can click here and go directly to my website and click on the "Inquire" page. You can shoot me an email at susanrkphoto@gmail.com. Or call me at 773 510 7105.

A Grandparent Session is booked when you sign my contract and pay your session fee. This can all be done electronically. Once these two things are done, I will send you a questionnaire that will get the ideas flowing regarding what your photo session will look like. We will talk it through and come up with a uniquely lovely time to capture together.

One to two weeks after our session (during the day on a weekday or Wednesday evening), I will come to you for an in-person ordering session. I will go through the images with you and help you decide on the best products for you. I will show you a pre-designed book on my laptop of the best storytelling photos from your session. All purchases are expected to be made at the ordering session.

If you live more than 20 miles from 60015, we can do a video conference for this ordering session

Products will be available for pickup at my Deerfield home 3-5 weeks after your ordering session. Products can also be sent directly to your home for a small delivery fee.

I have three options for the length of a Grandparent Session:

My Family Mini Session is a 2 hour shoot. The session fee is $250. It produces approximately 40-50 images. This shoot is great if you are looking for a taste of storytelling photography. We can capture just a part of your day together or a couple activities at home.

My Family Half Day Session is a 4 hour shoot. The session fee is $400. It produces approximately 100 images. Half day sessions are great for having more variety of situations to photograph. How about taking the train downtown and playing tourist for the day? This is a perfect amount of time for that.

My Day in the Life Full Day Session is 8-10 hours long. The session fee is $700. It produces approximately 150 images. There is nothing quite like have an entire day photographed together. Are your grandkids sleeping over for the weekend? A day in the life shoot is a fantastic way to capture morning rituals, spending the day together, and all the in between moments thru bedtime.

The session fee pays for the time I spend photographing your family, as well as the hours I spend behind the computer carefully selecting the best images and hand editing each photo. The session fee also pays for the in-person consultation service I offer a couple of weeks after our shoot where I will go through all the images with you and discuss my recommendations for wall art, products and book design. My clients love the in-person ordering session because picking photos and products on their own is often very overwhelming. Books, wall art, prints and/or digital images are not provided as part of the session fee. They may be purchased at the ordering session.

Session fees may be paid for by all major credit card, cash, check or Chase Quickpay at Susanrkphoto@gmail.com.

Want a little more info about these three different session choices? Click here.

Book and Digital Collections

Book and Digital Collections:

20 Digitals (You can select your favorite 20 from the session gallery) - $700

40 Page 10x10 lay flat Hard Cover Coffee Table Book - $555

Mini Family Session Digitals - $900

Half Day Session Digitals - $1200

Full Day Session Digitals - $1500

Mini Session Book/Digital Combo Package: Digitals and 40 Page 10x10 lay flat Hard Cover Coffee Table Book - $1200

Half Day Session Book/Digital Combo Package: Digitals and 40 Page 10x10 lay flat Hard Cover Coffee Table Book - $1500

Full Day Session Book/Digital Combo Package: Digitals and 40 Page 10x10 lay flat Hard Cover Coffee Table Book - $1800

30 Page 10x10 Custom Fine Art Album (Heirloom Quality) - $949

Individual Digitals - $100 each

Sales tax is added to all tangible products purchased. Prices are subject to change, however once your contract is signed and the deposit is paid, your prices are locked in.

Additional Products


Gift Prints (anything 8x10 or smaller) are $67 each. If you purchase 5 or more (They don't have to be the same image.) the price drops to $50 each.

11x14 - $85

16x24 - $140

20x36 - $300

All prints are Lustre photographic prints. They are printed on Kodak Endura Professional paper, mounted on 3mm black Styrene. Additional print sizes are also available.

Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Most popular sizes:

11x14 - $240

16x24 - $340

20x30 - $488

30x40 - $600

Gallery Wrapped Canvases are printed on a satin-finished canvas and then hand sprayed with a UV coating. The canvas is then professionally wrapped around a solid wood 1.5 inch base. The canvas includes hanging hardware and a black mat board backing. More sizes are available for Gallery Wrapped Canvases.


3 or more canvases purchased receives 10 percent off the canvas pricing. When you purchase a canvas 16x24 or above, you also receive the digital for that image. Custom Smart Phone gallery to share with family and friends provided of each image printed or digital purchased.

I can't wait to hear from you! If you are ready to book, or would just like a free pre-consult, contact me here.

Created By
Susan Ryan Kalina


Susan Ryan Kalina Photography

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