The standard session is for your immediate family up to 5 people (no more than 2 adults) and perhaps the family dog.  If you have more than 5 members in your family, please call.  Larger families or groups are typically more involved.  I'm happy to review your options.

We'll compare our schedules together to get the best fit for your session.   I know your family has many things to schedule, whether its school activities, sports or family obligations.  We want a day and time that works for you without having to squeeze your session into an already tight schedule. 

I am available on weekends.  They do book the fastest though.  I will also schedule evening appointments from May through September.   Sessions are either in the early to mid morning or in the mid to late afternoon, but rarely from noon to 2pm when the sun is at its highest.

If you have smaller children, it is very important to work within your child(ren)'s routine.  We'll want to work around meal and nap times.  And, please, don't hesitate to bring a snack for your kid(s) whatever their age(s). 

Your session date is always subject to change depending on the actual weather forecast for the day of your session.  If the forecast is questionable, we will discuss our options the day before your session and if necessary reschedule for another convenient time for your family.   I schedule digital lab and administrative time throughout my week.  I can flip some lab or office time with your session in order to reschedule a session affected by inclement weather.

You may reschedule for personal reasons as long as it is more than two weeks prior to your session.  If it is within two weeks you may reschedule one time (illness or emergency) without an additional charge. 


Take your time in considering your clothing options.  Simple clothing in solid colors can really enhance the portraits of your family.  Clothing that is too bright or patterned will distract from the main subject, the individual or individuals in the shot. 

Your family is the main subject in every shot, even if I choose to take a shot that includes a lot of background.  The background is there to enhance the subject, to set the tone of the image.  Clothing, as well, should enhance, not distract, from the subjects.  A good portrait will always bring  the viewer's eye to the main subject, in this case, your family.

Consider some barefoot shots.  You may want the kids to wear sandals so that the shoes can come off and go back on easily.  There's something so innocent about a child's bare tootsies on a warm day.


Props are always welcome.  I generally bring a few myself depending on the age of my subjects.  If you have young children, you may want to bring some items that are especially dear to your child(ren) at their particular age (stuffies, books, blanket, etc).

Refreshments might also be appropriate depending on your child.  I don't mind taking a break if a toddler needs a drink and maybe a few crackers or cookies to keep the energy up for some more shots.


The best sessions are the most relaxed sessions.  Ok, your 3 year old rubbed dirt on his new tan pants.  Or, your 10 year old is teasing the 8 year old.  Try to take it all in stride.

Please give yourself a little extra time to go slowly and not rush getting ready at home.  Try to make the atmosphere similar to going out on a fun family outing at a park.  Find a distraction for the 10 year old.  And, if that dirt spot is obvious in the final prints, I'll digitally airbrush it out of the final prints.

Once we're at the park, take a deep breath and enjoy nature.  I'll guide the kids from place to place.  I'll ask them to interact with me a bit - or not.  It all depends on the day.  We might search for bugs, or take a walk down a path.  If they are engaged in something interesting, I don't want to insist they do as I say right away.  Be patient with me and try to relax about the kid's behaving properly.  Unless they're in danger, please hang back and believe in what you've already taught them about proper behavior.  If I really want their cooperation, I'll get back to my request in a different way or time.  I also will not be asking for smiles in every shot.  A few of the shots won't even have their face visable.  Even so, the image will capture a part of your kid's personality.

Please don't hesitate to call me to discuss any detail concerning your session.  Call for specific information, or call just to chat about your clothing, your hair, and your goals for the session.

MJLStudios
PO Box 659, Hamilton, VA  20159-0659
703-472-4713
mjl@mjlstudios.com