Your Family Session Getting ready & what to expect

Welcome to the

Hamilton Creek Photography Family!

I believe once we spend an hour or two together, and weeks planning your perfect and fun family session, you truly become part of the Hamilton Creek family. Custom portrait photography doesn't have to be super formal, and the same old experience every time. I say portraits, but really, I want to tell your story. I want to tell your family's story. What makes you guys special? I start all sessions with the customary formal family portraits. Then we move onto siblings, and individual children and parent/couple poses and all the poses you request. For extended family portraits it is very important to get me a "shot list" of the groupings you find most important. I have lots of experience with larger families and larger groupings, but knowing what is most important to you beforehand helps expedite the shot list as well as ensure we get all the groupings. The day of the session, it can be exciting and a bit hectic with larger groups, so that bit of leg work beforehand helps keep us all running smoother. I love to capture the unexpected real moments in between, too. How do I do it all? Well, you being prepared helps a lot. So yes, it may be a bit of light reading before your session, but I do find it helps you know what the process is, and helpful tips to make the quick session go as well as it can!

The in between is usually where the magic don't forget to relax and enjoy your family together!

What to do now that you booked a session?

Start with your outfits! Plan a color or outfit for the person hardest to dress first. Got it? Okay, is it comfortable? Fits well and doesn't wrinkle easy (if it does, plan on changing at your location)? Then start pulling in a few colors from that outfit or find something that coordinates - NOT matches exactly. You want personality and your style represented first. So if you love color, use it! If you love neutrals, go for that! Matching and looking all the same in one color and solid is not the best way to stand out in your photos. Look at my website, look at the pictures that you love most. What is it that sets those pictures apart? Is it the location, is it their clothing, or is it the connections? Whatever that is that you love, let me know and I can help point you in the right direction. Remember stripes that are small and ginghams can photograph weird, so sometimes, those patterns are best under another clothing layer (like a sweater or jacket). Read below for more what to wear quick tips!

Color, pattern, texture, all working together!

What to wear: Quick Tips

Let's plan the perfect loction!

Getting your outfits laid out is important, but the outfits need to make sense for your photo session location as well! Plus, don't forget to think ofwhere you are going to hang these photos! If you are putting them over the couch, make sure your location and outfits make sense in that space! Things to consider when planning your perfect location:

Beach on the bay!
  • Are you afraid of dirt? Does your little one hate to touch the grass? Are you allergic to mosquitoes? These are the things to think of when shooting outdoors. Some locations are less than manicured, and the wild isn't for everyone. So, be real, think of all the children's quirks, or your husbands concern of getting a bit dirty at the session. Or, if your children love adventure, and you can't keep them inside, then a wild, and green space may be for you! The greenery and magic light of a woodsy location is always my jam! Medard Park, Lettuce Lake Park and some secret spots around town are my favorite spots for magic light and greenery!
  • Do you love the beach? Awesome, me too. But, if you have a little one, keep in mind, there are several things that can overwhelm and distract them at the beach. Does your little one want o only dig at the beach, or want to immediately go in the water, well, that is amazing if you want a more story-telling session, but if you want to get more formal portraits, that may be more challenging, but that will depend on your child, so think of them when planning. Also, the beach can be cooler (which is awesome on hot summer days) than inland. The beach is also often a lot plan ahead for hair styles and wind swept looks for the beach vibe. I adore the beach and some are even right here in Hillsborough County. Ask me about Cypress Point Park, Apollo Beach Preserve or E.G. Simmons Park to name a few. Or, outsdie of Hillsborough County, I love Redington Long Pier, Sand Key Park, and Anna Maria Island is also amazing.
  • Is your family's style more urban or modern? Then a urban session may be for you. We have tons of locations from the murals of St. Pete, Curtis Hixon Park and downtown Tampa and Ybor City to name a few awesome urban and modern spaces. Again, things to think of when planning. If your kids are runners, or not good at staying with you, then an urban location with lots of traffic and noise may not be for you. Maybe instead plan an indoor shoot at a family favorite location, like the Hyppo in Ybor, or a coffee shop. Or, if you have older children, the urban vibe of Tampa Water Works Park is great for more space and still some urban looks around the riverfront area and Ulele restaurant. The only thing to keep in mind in public spaces is the public...there could be festivals or meetings or just yoga in the park to deal with. So if you prefer more private spaces, a green area parkland may be more your style!
Spring location perfect for Mother's Day
Urban pops of color

Last minute ideas and prep

So it is almost your session day! Now what?

  • We will be in touch a few days beforehand to do a weather check!
  • You should have your hair cuts in (usually at least 7-10 days in advance), and booked your styling session if you need extra help with hair and make up the day of. Make up should be a little more than your normal style, but not so you don't look like you!
  • I recommend manicures or just extra personal attention to your fingernails since a lot of time, I will focus on those close up hugging shots with mamas.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before your session and start pounding the water at least a few days beforehand. That water and rest can make you love your photos even more!
  • Lay out your clothes and clean up shoes a bit if needed the day beforehand! Again, if your clothes wrinkle easily, change at the location (seat belts are notorious for causing creases)!
  • Bring cash in case you have a park entrance fee or have to pay to park.
  • Allow extra time to park and walk to your location. Your session time won't be extended if you are late.
  • I recommend water bottles, and if the session is before dinner or your kid is always hungry, pack extra CLEAN snacks. Gum, Cheetos, candy, and chocolate are not clean snacks ;) Pretzels, small packages of gummy snacks, or any snack that won't leave dust of cheese or the like on your little ones hands are best!
  • BUG SPRAY! Trust me, they are always around. Especially if your location is in a woodsy or water area! Be prepared! Nothing says family pictures like swatting mosquitoes in them...I kid. But a mosquito bite can turn a happy kid into an itchy uncofortable mess. Big kids and little kids alike.
Extended family closeness!

Family memories

No matter the location or what you wear, your family's love and happiness are what we are looking for first!
Created By
Brooke Hamilton


(C) Hamilton Creek Photography

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