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How to avoid the number one mistake in fall family photography

Updated: Jun 14

Being a mom is tough. I remember once someone referred to me, the mom of the house, as the home and family engineer (domestic engineer). Because, us humans who fill that domestic engineer role, we coordinate everything. From the brand toothpaste the kiddos use, to the bedsheets on their beds, to the camps they go to, to the playdates, to family vacations and family photographs. It is A LOT. We do this whether we work full time, part time, whether we are married or single - being a domestic engineer never slows down for us.

As a mom and a photographer I want to make that list a little easier by offering advice.

The number one mistake I see in family photography is scheduling the family session too late. I want to be clear, I am NOT a planner. I do NOT like scheduling anything anymore in advance than I have to... a good example, my husband and I planned our wedding in a week. However, in this I believe in planning ahead.

This is why...

Why to plan your photography session early...

1. You get on the schedule of the photographer you want.

Your favorite photographers are your favorites because of their individual style. That is why you hire them! Every photographer composes differently, edits differently and interacts with their families differently. All of which should go into your decision making when you hire them!

Keep in mind if you found your family photographer (their style and character match with your own) they might be someone else's favorite photographer too. Waiting till last minute often means prioritizing finding a photographer that has room in their schedule NOT one that matches the most important elements of a family photographer for you - the one that fits your family.

2. You get the best dates and the best weather

Fall Family Photography sessions are generally from August to December. However, most families wait till October to schedule and get pictures taken. This limits your options!

First of all, October IS NOT the best month for family photography in Colorado. Maybe in other states this is different. I have been photographing families in Colorado since 2014. As a photographer who loves fall family photography I watch the trees as I drive around town. I watch with bated breath, as, inevitably, the leaves fall. Not only do they fall, they fall in quick succession. We have a beautiful golden aspens for about two weeks.

When clients contact me 6 months to a year earlier to get on my schedule I always give them the this advice - schedule with me in September or early October!

4. You get enough time to order those prints, holiday cards

Every year I am the mom that sends out holiday cards very late, the holiday card, for me, always becomes my happy new years cards. People who know me probably laugh, because this is totally what I do. I like to say it is because I am photographing other families all fall, but the reality I need to schedule sooner. I need to plan that photography session no later than the second week in October.

I know, being a domestic engineer is as seasonal as being a photographer. Summer starts and we domestic engineers focus on scheduling vacations, grandparent visits, camps, playdates, pool time, lake time, camping... whatever it is for your family. Then August hits and we are stressed about school supplies, what teacher our kiddos have, if we need to join PTA, drop offs, pick ups, back to school nights. I have been photographing as long as I have been a parent (20 years!). So, I know very well!

October hits and we realize, Oh Sh*t, November is next month. Grandma needs that holiday card and some prints of the kids! This is why I get those last minute calls. Do you have availability!?

In October and even November... your favorite photographer is hitting the end of their season. This wonderful and hard working photography probably went from a 48 hour turn around, to a one week turn around, to a two week turn around on your family photos.

If I get my photos done by mid October, I get those beautiful images back by November, which gives me a week to make and order a holiday cards and then another week to send them out.

Schedule early, get the September dates, get cards out mid October and send those images out to Grandma by early November.

Gosh y'all, now that I wrote this I might need to do the same thing!

5. You get bragging rights? LOL

For real. Schedule early and you can call me, text me, comment on the post around Mid October! You can say, I took your advice and feel great! How about you Kim? Did you get those photos done? Just remember to thank me at the same time. :)

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