Preparing For Your Session

Thank you for your interest in custom portraiture with Crystal Clear Images.

As a custom photographer, the images I capture for you do not only reflect my artistic creativity but also your unique personalities as an individuals and/or as a family. Hiring a custom photographer means that the photographs you walk away with will be pieces of art that you will want to hang on your wall, and become a legacy in your family for generations to come.

My mission is to provide a boutique style approach to your portraiture, a much more personalized experience than a typical studio photographer. We will have a consultation to discuss your vision and what you have in mind for the end result. After your session, I will process your images by carefully choosing the very best and individually retouching them. Depending on the busyness of the season, this process may take up to three weeks. Once your images are complete, they will be presented to you at an in-person viewing session or a private online viewing gallery, where you will then place your order of professional products.

Each collection offered includes the time and talent of the photographer and a print credit toward professional print products and/or digital images, as well as a mobile app for those who love to share their images via social media. Digital images include a limited print release, which allows you to print your images at a consumer lab in sizes up to 8×10. All other sizes and products need to be ordered through me for the highest quality results.

Tips to Prepare

I get a lot of questions about family sessions. What should we wear…where should we go? As a mom myself, I know it is always stressful to prepare your family for your photo session. I’d love to help you successfully to get through your next portrait session with your family.


Location, Location, Location

I am an on location photographer and so the sky, within Colorado Springs *wink*, is the limit! I will travel for additional fees, so the sky really is the limit. Since I prefer to use natural light, the very best time to schedule your session is an hour or two hours before sunset or right at sunrise. The light is beautiful at that time. I can do sessions at any time during the weekend and an earlier session may be more convenient if you have small children. Colorado Springs has so many amazing backdrops to choose from Garden of the Gods to Manitou Springs. You may want to choose something that is close to home or a spot that holds a special meaning to you and your family. You may also choose to do your session so close to home that it’s actually in your own home! Children do great in their own environment, so your home may be the perfect option especially if you desire a lifestyle session. I also have a residential studio if you do desire a studio, posed look. You may want to capture the outdoors in your backdrop or you may want an urban look with buildings and street lights as the backdrop. I have a board on Pinterest for ideas here. If you would like help in deciding where to have your session, just let me know!


Sometimes the most stressful part of a photo session is figuring out what to wear, and spending a fortune on making sure everyone has something that matches. Matching is ok, but coordinating is even better! It works best to not have all the same outfit or same exact color of top and to pick a color scheme instead. Go to for color combinations that work well together and plan your outfits according to the color scheme you choose. You may consider choosing your color scheme by the colors in the room you will be hanging your portraits up in. Try to avoid a lot of patterns and logos so that the focus is more on each person’s face and not what they are wearing. If you are able to buy a new outfit, go for it! I also have a board on Pinterest with outfit ideas here.

Also check out this great blog post by Kristen Duke.


IMG_0044_editedBe Positive…and bribe if needed!

Being positive is my number one tip to parents. Everyone, especially kids, responds negatively to stress. The very best way to avoid fits and tantrums from your kids to make this experience a positive one by getting them excited about the session. I’ve seen so many parents threatening their kids if they don’t cooperate or if they aren’t smiling. Threats don’t work and in fact makes it worse. Instead of threats, choose to bribe! Think of something positive that your family can do after the shoot and then let me know what it is so that they can reinforce it during the session. You may decide to get ice cream once we have all the pictures we need. Or you may decide to go see a movie as a family. If your kids have something fun to do afterward they are more likely to cooperate during the session. I like to capture kids just as they are so forcing smiles isn’t something I’ll do. Sometimes, they may want to explore their surroundings and not sit still, that’s ok! I will follow them around and capture them running, playing, and looking at things. If they don’t want to let go of Thomas the Train, let them have it. What a great memory to look back on later! Last, bring snacks and make sure that your kids are well fed and rested before your session.


Choose a theme

This will especially be effective for young children. Little girls love to have tea parties, dress up and play pretend. Boys like to play sports and be their favorite player or pretend to be their favorite super hero. If they have an activity to do while they have their picture taken, you will get much better pictures and have a valuable memory captured at the same time. Choosing a theme isn’t just for young kids, but also for the young at heart. Doing a vintage tea party theme for a couples shoot is equally as fun! Choose something that is special to you, as if you are starring in your very own movie. Themes tell great stories for any age!


IMG_1037_editedHave Fun!!!

I cannot stress this enough. Although family sessions can be stressful, trust me I have five kids so I have felt the stress, but they are also so much fun. You will want to remember the day you spent together every time you look at your photo hanging on your living room wall. Try to let loose and go with the flow, natural faces of your children are much more desirable than forced smiles! I have a few photos of my step-son throwing a tantrum and I always tell him that this will be on our wall so if that’s what he wants to look like on our wall then so be it! Also, my favorite family portraits are ones where not everyone is looking at the camera saying “cheese”. Literally, refuse to say “cheese”!!