Planning your

outfit tips and inspiration, choosing a location, managing kids and so much more!

Family Portrait Session

Over the years I have been capturing family photos and helping them celebrate the season of life they are in. As your family photographer I will walk you through the details, help you enjoy this exciting season and document the sweet moments that will last for years to come. 

Full Family session (01 hour) $399

Family mini session (20 minutes) $250


After photographing families over the years, I have learned the best thing you can do for your little ones is to go with the flow and stay positive. Your little ones feed off your energy, so it's always best to enter the session feeling relaxed and setting up a fun atmosphere. 

One way to do this is packing a few of their favorite toys and making a treat bag. Even a promise of ice cream afterwards works wonders. 

Plus I am here to help you! I have worked with so many kids over the years and have gained some tricks to help the shoot go as smooth as possible. Just know that you are not alone in this and I will help your little ones to not only cooperate, but to have fun! 



Managing

the little ones

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Here are two of my go to tips when planning outfits and not stressing minutes before the shoot.

With my type of shooting, most of the time the kids are very active (besides the few formal photos we will take.) You want them to be in an outfit that allows them to run around in freely. Gravitate towards outfits that are less formal and stiff.

Choose a comfortable outfit.

Let the kids have input.

Think through what pieces of clothing in their wardrobe they gravitate towards. If your little girl doesn't love wearing dresses or your little boy isn't a fan of suspenders/ bow ties, then don't force them to wear it. I believe it's better to have a kid excited and happy for photos than one that is uncomfortable. Happy kid makes for happy and fun photos!

Time and Lighting

What is the perfect time for family portraits?

When it comes to the best time and lighting for family sessions, I have found there isn't a "good" or "bad" time. I personally do prefer time of sunset, but I do my best to plan sessions around the "look" my clients want and their schedules. For example, if you are wanting spring flowers for your portraits, a late afternoon shoot or early morning session might work out best rather than an evening session during sunset. 

Majority of family sessions last 45-60 minutes. This can vary due to the length of family session you book. I offer both full and mini sessions. Mini sessions are 20 minutes long, where a full session is 60 minutes. As I said above, I do prefer shooting around sunset (or even sunrise) when the sun isn't as bright and harsh, and it gives even lighting for your portraits. 

Lastly, keep in the mind the starting time we set for your session. I will schedule your session during what I believe is the best light of the day. With that said, it is super important to arrive to your session on time. If you are even a few minutes late, the lighting could be completely different... For example, for evening sessions we could run out of light before we are done shooting and for morning sessions, the light gets harsher as the sun rises. 

When it comes to the best time and lighting for family sessions, I have found there isn't a "good" or "bad" time. I personally prefer time of sunset, but I do my best to plan sessions around the "look" my clients want and their schedules. For example, if you are wanting spring flowers for your portraits, a late afternoon shoot or early morning session might work out best rather than an evening session during sunset.  

Just know I will help scout out the perfect location that will give you the best lighting for your portraits. If you are not able to do around sunset, I can most likely shoot earlier in the day, just be aware that lighting will be different. 

Sunset and Bedtime

I know when you hear sunset, you may be worried about bedtimes and sleep schedules. Being a momma, I totally understand the importance of sleep schedules, but you may have to flex on this. I do promise that it is worth it and you will get some beautiful portraits in exchange. 

If your session ends up being around dinner time, I recommend feeding the kids before and packing a snack. This will help your kids not getting "hangry" during the session. 

Lastly, if the session ends up being later into the evening, I recommend pushing nap time up later for that day. This will help ensure the kids aren't exhausted for the shoot and you can tuck them right into the bed afterwards. 


I know when you hear sunset, you may be worried about bedtimes and sleep schedules. Being a momma, I totally understand the importance of sleep schedules, but you may have to be flexible with when you get your portraits done.  I do promise that it is worth it and you will get some beautiful portraits in exchange. 

If your session ends up being around dinner time, I recommend feeding the kids before and packing a snack. This will help your kids not getting "hangry" during the session. 

Lastly, if the session ends up being later into the evening, I recommend pushing nap time up later for that day. This will help ensure the kids aren't exhausted for the shoot and you can tuck them right into the bed afterwards. 


Locations

My favorite places to shoot

Most times, families love choosing a location that holds a memory for them. However, I am more than happy to help scout out the best location for you.

From national parks to your backyard, the options are endless.  I even travel for family sessions. If there is a special vacation spot you love or family activity you want documented, I am up for any place and adventure. Skies the limit when it comes to planning your session location.

Classic

Urban

adventure

Beach

Cleveland Art Museum + Wade Oval

Stan Hywet Gardens

Gervasi Vineyard

Rockefeller Greenhouse and Park


Downtown Cleveland

Downtown Akron/ Cuyahoga Falls

Lock 29

Chagrin Falls


Edgewater Park

Huntington Beach






Pine Hollow, CVNP

Munroe Falls Metro Park

Brecksville Reservation

Hiking at Hocking Hills

Picnic at a local park











these are just a few of my favorites. I always love exploring new places.

Seasons

Once you have determined the time of year you are getting photos done, the next step is determining the color theme of your outfits.

This will vary from family to family, but there are certain colors that photograph best. Below you can find a list of my favorite color combinations for all four seasons. Use this as a guide and it is always helpful to start with the outfit for mom and building off from there. Just remember these are your family portraits and your outfits should reflect your styles and personalities!


color palettes for each season

When it comes to summer think light and airy. You can do this by pairing a floral print with pastel colors or combining deeper tones (like rich blues or jewel tones) with lighter colors. 

SAY NO TO: bright whites (unless layered with denim jacket or cardigan), graphic tees, and neon or saturated colors (replace with richer or muted tones), strapless/ sleeveless tops (unless you love your arms), shorter length dresses (harder to run around with your kids for photos, you may be constantly trying to pull it down)

next season

02

summer/ spring

01

03

color palette

When it comes to fall think cozy and classy. When planning your fall outfits think about the location of your portraits and what colors will compliment the setting. I personally love when families mix warm hues and jewel tones together. It not only pairs well with the fall foliage but photographs beautifully.

SAY NO TO: bright whites (unless layered with denim jacket or cardigan), small patterns (tiny plaid, thin stripes, and complicated patterns), holiday colors

next season

02

Fall- autumn

01

03

color palette

When it comes to winter think bright and cozy. Most people naturally gravitate towards darker colors for winter, but I lean towards the muted and lighter tones. One way you can do this is by pairing a dark wash jean with a jewel tone blouse with a dressier winter coat. You can also add lighter colors through accessories or patterned top/ dresses. 

SAY NO TO: bright whites (unless layered with winter coat or sweater), neon/ saturated colors (replace muted or jewel tones), holiday colors (this gives you photos more versatility and can be up all year round), very chunky knits (they can make you larger than you are).

next season

02

Winter

01

03

color palette

Outfit Tips and Inspiration

Stuck on what to wear? I'm here to help! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to help you select your outfit choices!

Choosing what you will wear for your photo shoot is a huge decision that can make or break your family portraits! I know that sounds dramatic, but if you accidentally wear something that isn't flattering on camera or something that you don't feel confident in- it can ruin the experience for you! So, here are some of my favorite tips when it comes to choosing what to wear for a photoshoot.

01. 

02. 

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Be Comfortable

Add 
Layers

Play with textures

Playing with patterns

Select outfits in your wardrobe that make you feel comfortable and confident. Think through what items of clothing you wear on a daily basis or what you gravitate towards. If you choose to buy a new outfit, I highly recommend wearing the outfit before the day of your shoot, so you know how it fits and more importantly the feel of it. Most importantly you want to choose an outfit that flows well with movement and reflects your style!

Did you know that layers photograph well and is a simple trick for elevating your outfit! Here are some ideas for layering that you can use all year round. In the colder months (fall + winter), adding layers to your outfits always looks STUNNING in portraits! A sweater with a flannel underneath paired with a vest and statement necklace or scarf adds so much dimension to your images and makes for super fun posing options. For the warmer months (spring + summer) you can add these layers and dimensions by wearing a tank top with a cute sheer cardigan or by throwing a denim jacket over a dress. The options are endless!

Don't be scared of patterns and prints! Try to stick to one statement piece or pattern. For example, if mom wears a colorful floral dress, and one of the kids wears a subtle pattern (like a polka shirt/ dress), then the rest of the family will wear complimenting colors. It's all about balancing it out and keeping it simple. Some of my personal favorites are the understated, modern patterns and muted colors. If you do choose a pattern, remember larger prints photograph best and to stay away from small plaids/ stripes.

Sometimes textures like lace, furs, and sparkles can be considered "daring" or "over the top" but in portraits, they are the BEST! Adding texture to your outfit makes the biggest difference, and it prevents the images from looking dull! Combining textures that you may not normally use together like lace + cable knit sweaters or leather + fur make GREAT pairs!

When planning your outfits, don't forget to plan accessories. Bracelets, long necklaces, stylish shoes, scarves, hats, and other add-ons can make or break an outfit!

Managing Fury Ones

Can we bring our Pet to the shoot?

The answer is YES! I love when families choose to incorporate their furry friends into their portraits. This may only mean that we will need to keep this in mind when selecting a location for the session. 

When including your pet into the session, there are a few things to keep in mind and plan for. First thing is thinking of someone to help out during the shoot. I like to begin the session with these photos, so your pet isn't waiting anxiously and we can continue with the shoot smoothly. Having a friend nearby to take your pet for the remaining time is super helpful.

Lastly, if you do plan to bring your fury one to the session, I highly recommend taking them on a walk beforehand, so they are not a ball of energy during the shoot. Even bringing a small treat for them could help them cooperate for photos or be a good reward afterwards.

Frequently Asked Questions

01. 

02. 

03. 

04. 

05. 

06. 

07. 

how far in advance do you book out?

What happens when it rains?

will you help with posing?

do you provide prints and albums?

CAN I SEND YOU MY PINTEREST BOARD WITH ALL MY PHOTO IDEAS?

Do you travel?

We are ready! What are our next steps?

Late summer and fall dates are my most popular seasons, but I offer dates all year round. When booking your session, I recommend booking as soon as you can. On average I book sessions 4-6 weeks out.

If there is a 60% or more chance of rain and under 30 degrees on the day of your session, I will notify you that your session has been rescheduled. At your time of booking, I will have you schedule a backup date so you don't have to wait for a later time to book. 

No need to worry! I will direct and pose you throughout your whole session. My style of shooting is based off a lot of movement and creating candid moments. It will be like you guys are out on a family adventure and I'm there to capture it!

Yes I do!! I believe there is nothing like the moment when you first see your photos in person!! I love offering my clients this experience and showing them how important it is to fill your home with prints and share them with family and friends. Once you receive your full gallery, you will have direct access to my print shop where you can order prints on your own time. We can also set up a time to place a print and album order if you prefer. Most of my clients order directly from their gallery links.

Of course you can share! I love seeing the vision my clients have and I use this information to help scout out the best location that fits the vibe you are wanting. I will preface this saying that I only use these photos to help gain a better understanding of the vision you have and not as a strict photo list. I have years of experience shooting families and strive to capture each family uniquely and capture portraits that tell their story. 

Yes I do! I love when families choose locations that hold a special meaning to them. If it means we need to drive a few hours away or fly to your favorite vacation spot, I am down! Skies the limit when it comes to locations. 

The best way to start this process is filling out my inquiry form and letting me know the vision you have for the shoot and what time of year you are thinking. Next you will receive your invoice and all the information. Once I receive your 50% retainer and signed contract, your session is booked!

family sessions

Frequently Asked Questions

01. 

02. 

03. 

04. 

05. 

06. 

07. 

how far in advance do you book out?

What happens when it rains?

will you help with posing?

do you provide prints and albums?

CAN I SEND YOU MY PINTEREST BOARD WITH ALL MY PHOTO IDEAS?

Do you travel?

We are ready! What are our next steps?

Late summer and fall dates are my most popular seasons, but I offer dates all year round. When booking your session, I recommend booking as soon as you can. On average I book sessions 4-6 weeks out.

If there is a 60% or more chance of rain and under 30 degrees on the day of your session, I will notify you that your session has been rescheduled. At your time of booking, I will have you schedule a backup date so you don't have to wait for a later time to book. 

No need to worry! I will direct and pose you throughout your whole session. My style of shooting is based off a lot of movement and creating candid moments. It will be like you guys are out on a family adventure and I'm there to capture it!

Yes I do!! I believe there is nothing like the moment when you first see your photos in person!! I love offering my clients this experience and showing them how important it is to fill your home with prints and share them with family and friends. Once you receive your full gallery, you will have direct access to my print shop where you can order prints on your own time. We can also set up a time to place a print and album order if you prefer. Most of my clients order directly from their gallery links.

Of course you can share! I love seeing the vision my clients have and I use this information to help scout out the best location that fits the vibe you are wanting. I will preface this saying that I only use these photos to help gain a better understanding of the vision you have and not as a strict photo list. I have years of experience shooting families and strive to capture each family uniquely and capture portraits that tell their story. 

Yes I do! I love when families choose locations that hold a special meaning to them. If it means we need to drive a few hours away or fly to your favorite vacation spot, I am down! Skies the limit when it comes to locations. 

The best way to start this process is filling out my inquiry form and letting me know the vision you have for the shoot and what time of year you are thinking. Next you will receive your invoice and all the information. Once I receive your 50% retainer and signed contract, your session is booked!

family sessions

Megan and Justin

I have used Ana Maria Photography multiple times and will continue to use Ana for every single photo shoot until I no longer need photos anymore. Ana documented our wedding and has taken family photos for us every year since.  After our most recent family shoot my husband said we won’t be using anyone else because he had a great time (you know it’s good when the husband has an opinion). I cannot say enough wonderful things about Ana. Her work is stunning. If you need a great life long photographer, look no further!

"After our most recent family shoot my husband said we won’t be using anyone else because he had a great time."