Preparing for your session With Keri MESSINA PHOTOGRAPHY


Thanks so much for allowing me the honor of creating beautiful portraits for your family. It is my hope that together we not only create gorgeous timeless images but have a really great time doing it!

My style is photo journalistic. I love capturing families, snuggling, playing, being goofy, and having the time of their lives. I will always get that one great "Look and smile" picture for grandma but the rest of the gallery will be filled with the story of your family.

All sessions will take place in the evening about 90 minutes before sunset. This will allow us to take full advantage of the glorious golden hour light.

Please take some time to read through the following information as you prepare for your upcoming session.

I can't wait to get to know you!



I want your kids to know this session is all about them. We are there to have FUN. I go to great lengths to bring out your child's true smiles. No fart joke is too gross, no dance is too silly. I have worked with countless families and I know how to reach each personality type right where they are at.

Parents, you are my team mates in this adventure. Please do not threaten or yell at your children during our session. I promise you they cannot offend me.

Remember to smile and enjoy the moment! Even when you think the camera isn't pointed at you there are always in between moments I capture and it's so nice when mom and dad are smiling at their kids in the background.

A reward at the end of the session is a great incentive. What a better way to celebrate this years session then going out for hot coco or ice cream following our time together!



Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look WOW is all in the layers and textures.

Little boys: Look great in a button up with a blazer or vest, bow tie and suspenders. These add depth and dimension.

Little girls: Jumpers and dresses are some of my favorites! Add in a jean or knit vest, knee high socks and boots, or even a flower crown.

Stay away from neon colors, large gaudy bows and fluffy dresses, they look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features. If you can use the word “bedazzle” to describe anyone’s outfit, it’s a no from me.

Dads: Instead of defaulting to a plain ole polo - look for fun colors, stripes, plaids. Texture photographs amazingly. ABSOLUTELY NO BASE BALL CAPS.

Moms: Wear a long dress! As much as you love seeing your little one’s all dressed up your kids LOVE seeing you looking fancy. Mommy wearing a dress is the cherry on top. Nothing goes quite as far in making your photos look awesome.


Head to toe. Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! No scuffed Reeboks for boys, but fun shoes like Converse, "boat" shoes, or boots. Same for girls, no Dora crocs, but more traditional Mary Janes or boots work best!


Remember the Olan Mills look of everyone in khakis + white button down shirts? That isn’t the kind of matching I’d like you to do. Again, think coordinating without matching perfectly.

Dads . Again, no ball caps. Get creative!


Just a few thoughts on your kids + the big day!

I mentioned a reward for the end of your session. Love it! Keep in mind that most bribery snacks during the session make messes and have dye in them to change your kids' mouths. Usually this backfires and all they want to do is eat instead of pay attention to me. I suggest keeping the goodies in your bag or car until after we’ve finished.

Please make sure your children go to the bathroom before leaving, as well as limiting their liquid intake beforehand. This allows us uninterrupted shooting time!

Sessions with younger children (18 months and under) typically last one hour. If your little one isn't accustomed to staying up until sunset, please adjust their naps as best you can, and rest assured that one night of staying up past their bedtime will be just fine as we will actually be having fun (I promise!)

As for older children, expect the session to last around 1.5 - 2 hours. With your older child, please don't say, "That's not your REAL smile". I know what a real smile looks like, so even if I'm snapping away, I'm just trying to loosen up your son/daughter! I promise I won't be giving you cheesy smiles for your finished order!

As with any age, I take my time and do my best to allow your kids to feel comfortable around me and know we are going to have a blast!

Mom & Dad

During the shoot, if you are not in the picture, please let me just interact with your child, unless I ask for help! Many parents will stand behind me trying to get their babies' attention and all it does is distract baby from me!

I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it's okay if they aren't giving big smiles right off the bat. Trust me and trust the process.

Mom and dad, as you focus on your children, don’t forget about yourself! Keep your posture good as well as ensuring your chin doesn’t pull in. These allow for the most flattering images.

Something else to keep in mind is to be watchful of your own expression as you’re trying to get baby to smile. Remember you are in the photos as well!

Rest assured I’ll be watching all of you and will definitely let you know if I see something out of place or looking off.


A quick but important note: if the weather turns out warmer/cooler than you anticipated when putting together outfits, please adjust what everyone is wearing. If a cold front comes through unexpectedly, please put sweaters on your children, as I can't Photoshop out goose bumps and blue lips. We will likely have to cut our session short if the kids are too cold.

In case of rain, I will be watching the radar all day. If it doesn't rain, but is overcast, our session will go on as scheduled. If it does rain we will have to reschedule out session.


Just as important as the weather is that everyone being photographed be feeling 100%. There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera.

At the first sign that your kids aren’t well, please give me a call.


If your little one brings along a "lovie" (stuffed animal, blanket, etc.) I’d love to use some time at the end to capture some memories with that special piece of their childhood!

It is my pleasure to be able to photograph your family and I look forward to the fun we will have! Thanks for taking the time to best prepare for your session, it will be amazing.


Here’s everything you need to know about the next steps to receive your gallery, social media teasers and order products!

SNEAK PEAK- With in 48 hours I will post a sneak peak from your session online at www.facebook.com/kerimessinaphotography. Feel free to tag yourself in the image or make your profile picture but please do not try and print these images. They are resized to fit Facebook requirements and are not printable quality.

ONLINE DOWNLOADABLE GALLERY- With in 21 days following your session you will receive your online gallery and downloading instructions. Please feel free to print these images! They are the full resolution images and are perfect for printing and sharing.

PRINTS AND PRODUCTS- Heirloom quality prints and products are available via your online gallery. Ordering is simple and easy. These will be shipped directly to your door.



Keri Messina Photography, www.kerimessinaphotography.com

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