I'm Dolly — a Nashville based branding photographer for small business owners & a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & Dubsado. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
Okay, Mama, I’m talking to you. I know that you are most likely looking at Pinterest and whatever lovely images you see on the interwebs, and you want your family to look a certain way. You’ve researched, and the best lighting would supposedly be at 2:46 PM, and you know logically that that is little Sadie’s nap time, but you must have those gorgeous photos or else your family’s Christmas card will be ruined. Ruined, I say. (Hopefully, you know I’m joking around!) Your family photos will not be ruined if you do not get the ideal time, but your family photography experience may be stressful if you forget that your child turns into Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid whenever she doesn’t get a proper nap. If you have a family photographer, they should hopefully accommodate your family’s schedule and give you several time frames to choose from. Then you can determine which will be best for your child’s naptime schedules. I have learned this the hard way in the past, so this is why I include this helpful tip for other family photographers, and for families who want to work with me. A child’s naptime must be accounted for. Otherwise, 99% of the time a tired meltdown occurs, and it’s not because you are an awful parent; it’s because that poor kid is exhausted and overstimulated from being thrown into a beautiful outfit and told they have to take a pretty photo for the next 30-60 minutes. Remember, a well-rested kid is a happy kid, and a happy kid most likely will cooperate for a photography session.
“Oh the weather outside is frightful…and your kids will most likely have blue lips for the photos…but as long as our photographer is here…take a photo…take a photo….take a photo!” (I just made that song up on the spot-you’re welcome)
This may not ring true for many southern photographers, but for my photographer peers in other areas of the states OR the world where it is actually cold in the Fall/Winter months, please be mindful of how the temperatures could affect even how the people in your photo look (and is it worth sitting in front of photoshop for hours and hours to change blue lips and change how a person looks?)
I only share this tip because this actually happened to me several years ago. Nashville had a weirdly cold day and I had a scheduled outdoor session with a family (we had no backup plan for an indoor studio). They all showed up not remotely prepared for how cold it was and the grandma’s lips & the grandkids lips were blue in ALL THE PHOTOS (insert facepalm here).
If you have the ability to quickly plan for your family photos to be in a more modern indoor space, consider renting out either an AirBNB or a photography studio for your Christmas photos. This way there is no need to rush through all the photos and no one is negatively affected by the weather.
Otherwise if taking indoor photos is not an option you are wanting, be sure to BUNDLE up, be mindful of the weather, and be aware that your session may be under 15 minutes.
This happens to me every single year, a client books a session with me in July or August (yes it happens), and then when November or December rolls around the ideal time they want is ALREADY dark and it is DEF NOT the golden hour. So if you are a parent planning out your family’s photography session be sure to account for the time change! Also, be sure to communicate these expectations to your preferred family photographer so that you can work together as a team to have an incredible family photography experience!
So do you feel more prepared for your family photos this Fall and Winter? I hope so! I just have experienced and witnessed some strange things in the past decade of being a family photographer so I wanted to share some helpful tips to both families and to photographers! Either way, I want you to have fun and to experience joy when taking your family photos because these are memories you are going to be passing down to your sweet kids!
Thanks for reading!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & personal branding photographer, and also serves as a business systems educator to new creative entrepreneurs (which is a fancy way of saying, she enjoys teaching how to best lay a good foundation for automating your new business). Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.
She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, email marketing, automation processes, and time management with fellow creative business owners in an encouraging and supportive way through her T.A.S.K.* method (an example of this can be seen in her Pinterest Foundations Mini-Course), through helpful blog posts, and other resources.
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), eating way too many sweets, and listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at email@example.com or fill out her contact form here.
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