FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY PLANNING GUIDE
Outfits, weather, process, pricing & more - it's all here!
I'm so glad you are here and hope that if you find yourself drawn to my style and imagery, we will have the chance to work together!
I have been a full-time photographer since 2006, which honestly feels like yesterday. I like to say that photography as a career found me, grabbed a hold, and hasn't let go in 16+ years. In that time, I have worked really hard to build and continuously evolve my business, skills and resulting work -- while trying to always serve my clients well. My goal has always been to create beautiful images that make you feel something.
I have never quite believed in the notion of "perfection" - to me, that is an unattainable quest. I don't take perfect photos of perfect families. Instead, I try and capture those fleeting moments in time of the good stuff:: the way you feel about each other, your love, connection, laughter and joy.
That all said, I also know that you want to look good in your family portraits! :-) So the smiling, posed photos are also always part of the experience with me (I'll help you with posing). But my goal there is that even those more posed ones look natural & relaxed and authentically YOU.
Thanks for being here! - Jennifer
Every portrait session is as unique as the people in those photos. Everything from location to time of day, time of year, ages of children, clothing choices & weather to individual moods, temperaments, and family dynamics will influence the session and outcome.
I will bring my joy, experience & passion for what I do and try to elicit as much love, connection and fun from you. In turn, I just ask that you try and leave all that pre-shoot stress of getting everyone ready behind when you arrive (as a Mom, I get it 100%!!), trust in me, and love on those perfectly imperfect family members of yours!
LOCATION & LIGHTING
There are so many great spots around Arizona to take your family photos! Each location will provide a unique look and feel. From your own home or yard, to muted desert colors, fields of deep grass, or mountains, lakes, red rocks, and more - this state has a lot to offer!
One of the most important aspects to great photos is great light. And with Jennifer's style of capturing that natural light and warm glow, this means she plans most of her sessions during golden hour - that 45 minutes or so before sunset or during the first dawning light of sunrise.
Thank you so much for capturing these pictures -we are thrilled with them!
You were absolutely amazing with our daughter -- I am shocked at how many we have of her looking and smiling! We so enjoyed meeting you and spending the evening with you. I am sure we will be reaching out to you again soon for photos for other occasions :-)
-The Emerson Family
WEATHER & SEASONS
Arizona is pure perfection between October and May and definitely the busiest months of the year for outdoor photo taking. But the other months can be pretty darn HOT.
I receive a lot of inquiries for June-September, so here is what to keep in mind with those months.
With temps over 100 degrees (and certainly over 105) most people get uncomfortable after 10-15 minutes and start flushing red in their cheeks and face, and the hairline starts sweating (not to mention other parts of the body.) These two things can affect the photos and the editing time to try and remove red faces & sweat marks.
Elderly folks & pregnant women especially don't do as well in those high temps, so if you are planning to visit Arizona between June and September and want to take photos, I typically recommend the home where you are staying, or the resort grounds close to your room so people can cool off.
Speaking of resorts, if you are staying at one and wish to take photos there, you must secure permission ahead of time by the management because they have strict liability requirements with outside service providers. They will escort photographers off the grounds if you have not secured permission.
Rain delays, dust storms & flash floods...
While rainy days in Arizona are a bit of a novelty, they do happen. If the skies are dark with the promise of rain, we will reschedule your photoshoot for the next available date that mutually works. Unless you want to go play in the puddles! The other thing we get in the summertime is dust storms and flash floods, and if one of those is in the forecast, we will definitely reschedule.
Home is where the heart is.
Jennifer is happy to come to your home and capture you in the place that means the most to you! Often for toddlers or shy kiddos, this is where they are most comfortable.
Since Jennifer is a natural light photographer, it definitely helps to have abundant light coming into your home through windows and for the space to be tidy.
Home sessions are for full lifestyle sessions only (not available for Mini Sessions) and start at $525.
How much are your sessions?
Lifestyle family portrait sessions in Scottsdale or Phoenix with Jennifer Bowen range between $525-$1000, with different package options. Travel photo sessions in beautiful Sedona, Flagstaff, Tucson do incur a travel fee, unless Jennifer is already there visiting. Sign up for the newsletter to see when special sessions may be available in these areas.
How long do lifestyle family sessions last?
Lifestyle family portrait sessions can range between 45-80 minutes, depending on the ages of children, temperaments, engagement level of all the family members, weather and other factors. Most are about an hour.
How many images will be in our gallery?
Your online gallery will include anywhere between 50-100+ of posed and candid photos with Jennifer's photographic style & editing.
Do we get to download ALL of the high-res images from our session and use as needed?
That depends on the package you choose. Jennifer has a base package that includes up to eight (8) high res downloads ($525) and another package that includes all of the high res images ($75) with the copyright release. Large groups of 8 or more start at $825.
We would love to book a session- What are the steps to reserve a date?
Wonderful! Sessions are booked first come, first serve, so after we pick the date that works, and you choose the package you would like, I will send you an online booking agreement where you can sign the contract and pay the deposit. That will officially hold the date and time as yours and ensure I turn away other business for that time.
Until the contract and deposit are received back, please note that sessions are not officially booked and could be reserved by someone else.
What if we have to cancel or reschedule?
While the deposit is non-refundable if you cancel, if you want to reschedule, Jennifer will apply your deposit towards a future booking within 3 months timeframe.
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT DESERT PHOTOS
The open desert is a beautiful, but harsh environment. Cacti with very sharp thorns that line the ground can get stuck into skin, shoes and clothing. (And in my experience, they do hurt to pull out.) For this reason, closed-toe shoes are recommended.
The lighting can also be quite harsh because there is no shade. So that allows for a small window of "usable" time for that warm soft glow: about 20-30 minutes before the sun sets and up to 10 min after the sun goes over the horizon. (At sunrise, it's the inverse of this.)
Snakes, scorpions & spiders call the desert their home so it's always a possibility to encounter one. That said, I've lived in Arizona 30 years and have only seen four snakes in that time.
I have many families who take small children into the desert and they do great with zero incidents. But I like to make parents aware of the possibilities -- especially for toddlers who love to run & explore that these are all inherent dangers of using the open desert for photos.
What to Wear
Bringing it Together
Tips for Kids
While it seems that only 20-30 minutes are the difference between the two sessions, those extra minutes can result in a much wider range of photos, especially candids & more in-between moments.
Mini's are 20-25 minute sessions only scheduled on key dates in the fall that Jennifer has available. She releases the dates each year via her newsletter (sign up below) in Aug or Sept. Read more here.
Mini Sessions move very quickly and therefore are ideal for kids aged 5 and up, teenagers, and not-yet-walking babies.
Mini Sessions are not as ideal for toddlers (ages 1-4 generally) because:
1. Toddlers often need a little more time warming up & Jen really likes to spend a few minutes at the start to talk with your children on their level to try & put them at ease. Mini sessions don't allow as much time for that and can feel rushed.
2. Toddlers' tantrums (normal of course!) can impact sessions starting on time, parents' temperaments, or the photos you may get during your session. With a 20 minute session and another family booked right after you, this could mean you only get a few minutes of time.
3. Newly walking toddlers love to explore and often dislike standing still or being held for long. The more time we get to meander, the happier they usually are and that results in better images for you.
All in all, Jennifer loves doing full sessions with families of young children to allow for as much connection time as possible, in a non-rushed situation. Plus with full sessions, we can go into the desert or to some other really cool, off the beaten path locations that we cannot do with Mini Sessions.