Toddler swinging on the playset with her mom
Toddler laughing while jumping into her dad's arms

Cue the confetti!

I’m so thrilled to be working with you and your family! Photo sessions can feel both exciting and stressful as the date approaches, but I can definitely guarantee to minimize the stress now that you’re here. Together, we’re going to create photos that tell the story of who you are. This guide is here to help us connect and be on the same page. We’ll talk wardrobe, prep, and get super excited for what’s to come. If you have any other questions, e-mail me anytime. Can’t wait!



Yes… and no. Visually, a tidy space is a good thing. But you don’t want your space to feel sterile, so find the balance that’s right for you. Put unwanted clutter into a laundry basket and put the basket in a room without windows.

Um yah, you’ll want to do that 🙂 You know your kids best, but generally kids like to be aware of what’s going on in their world. Particularly if that includes someone new coming over. If your kiddo has a particularly strong stranger danger sense, we can always FaceTime or meet up before the session.

Yes. If our session doesn’t include an actual meal (like having a picnic, making breakfast, etc) I would definitely feed everyone beforehand. Prepare snacks for the session, too. You never know when you’ll need them. Just avoid anything with staining dyes like juice or berries.

Please don’t. I can’t tell you how many parents tell their kids if they’re “good” they’ll get (insert favorite treat here) after the session and it almost always backfires. Threatening or bribing your kids will just make the situation more stressful for you AND them. If anyone needs a snack mid-session, or a break from the camera, that is totally doable.

Yes, I always try to capture at least one camera-aware shot because grandma will be soooo sad if we don’t.

I really can’t stress this enough, but what makes my sessions different is that they are super low pressure. I’m not expecting anyone to act or look a certain way. So when your kids hide under the bed or scream like an alien, just know that this is a usual day for me! You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, but it sure does make life interesting.

Gwendolyn shows her young boys how to spread pizza sauce on homemade dough in their kitchen in Columbus Ohio

The experience

You know we’re taking photos of your family, but what will it be like? If everyday moments full of joy, comfort, and laughter are your top priority, I have good news for you… Those are my top priority too.

  • I will email you a tentative session plan so we can make the most of our time together, but the plan is intentionally flexible to let natural moments unfold (and pivot if needed).
  • No finagling your kids. Let me worry about how to capture the moment and get the best out of them. And honestly, this works best if you keep stress levels to a minimum. 
  • Kids won’t feel free to be themselves if you are hovering and telling them to do absolutely everything I say. So just stay patient, look happy, and let me work the magic!
A family sitting in front of a large bay window with their dog
Luna's parents push her down the sidewalk in her miniature car

No two sessions look identical, but that’s what makes it special. That’s what makes it yours!

Making a recipe in the kitchen

Sweet, savory, anything goes! Don’t be afraid to get messy or have a friendly food fight.

Backyard play

Jumping on the trampoline, monkeying around, having a picnic or playing with the dog

Build something

Blanket forts make a whimsical and fun activity the whole family can enjoy together

Bring out the games

Twister, D+D, Jenga, charades, the possibilities are endless.

Playing musical instruments

One day, you’ll miss the noise. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Making colorful art

Sidewalk chalk, face paint, watercolor paintings, and arts and crafts.

Reading a favorite book

Or just cuddle in bed! Your session doesn’t have to be loud and rowdy. If you’re a quieter family, let’s capture that.

celebrating traditions

Depending on the season you might like to carve pumpkins, decorate the tree, eat Diwali sweets, or dip Easter eggs. Or if your family has a special thing you do, let’s capture that!

Walk around the neighborhood

Or ride scooters, bikes, walk the dog, jump in puddles, do a cartwheel, smell the flowers, wave to your neighbors (because you look so good today)

A family builds a marble track run in their playroom
a young boy with braces

Getting ready

On session day and in the days leading up, here are a few easy things you can do to ensure a positive experience for your family

  • Praise your family and your partner OFTEN. This makes a huge difference in how everyone shows up for the session.
  • Talk to your kids about the session. Phrase it as something fun you get to do together, not something they have to be on best behavior for.
  • Discuss goals and expectations with your family. Come to a group decision about what activities, games, and toys you want to show me. 
  • Include kids in outfit planning. Just giving some choice in general should drastically reduce whining!

The location

It’s an important detail, but not worth stressing over

Most of my clients choose to have a session at home. This eliminates most of the stress that comes with packing your items, finding restrooms and parking, etc. Home is the most convenient and comfortable place for the whole family to express themselves. 

In-home sessions are great for everyone, but ESPECIALLY for:

  • Families with sensory or mobility considerations. 
  • Families with dogs. A fenced yard and fewer outside distractions will be safer and more relaxing… for them, AND for you!
  • Families with newborns and/or young kids under 5 years old. You will want easy access to the bathroom, snacks, changes of clothes, and toys.
family cuddling on the bed with their goldendoodle dog

if you want my two cents…

Real life moments simply do not happen in a random field or a park. There’s something deeply personal and genuine that comes from in-home photos.

Sometimes, photos taken in your home are so personal that others may not understand the significance or beauty of it. But you’re not having family photos captured so other people understand them. You’re having them captured to show your story, exactly as your life is right now. So think about what it is you want documented… and then consider what location makes the most sense to accomplish that! 

Outdoor sessions

Repeat clients, families with older kids, couples, etc…

Outdoor sessions are more structured than a session in your home. We will typically meet first thing in the morning, or within 2 hours of sunset for best lighting. Public places come with more distractions, so I try to have sessions wrapped up in about 1 hour. Rest assured that I can still get a variety of great images in a short timeframe! I will provide plenty of guidance and prompting during the session to keep you energized and engaged.

Things to consider:

  • Does the place hold special significance for your family in a way that would tell your story?
  • Is it free to use and not too busy? (There’s nothing worse than a crowd of strangers crashing your session)
  • Is it easily parkable, walkable, etc?
  • If the weather is bad, are you flexible to reschedule?
Baby Cece sits with her mom in their backyard

What to wear

  • Prioritize comfort above everything else. Kids are fine in t-shirts and bare feet. If you want a more cohesive/coordinated look, the trick is to dress one family member first and then build the rest of the family’s outfits around that. This can be mom, the youngest child, etc. Look for patterns that include multiple colors that you can play on, weaving a central theme throughout (but not matchy-matchy). 
  • Less formal looks lend themselves to more freedom for everyone to move, snuggle, run and let loose! Babies (1 year and under) look best in very simple, light-colored onesie but they can also just run around in a diaper if we’re photographing around your home. 
  • Makeup photographs a few shades duller, so feel free to go a little bolder than you usually would, and apply near a natural light source.
  • What NOT to wear: Anything neon. Too many accessories (less is more here). Exact matching outfits.
A mom gently kissing her one year old daughter on the cheek

My styling service is totally at your service

access code: daisyzimmerphoto

A family sitting on steps outside of their home in Lewis Center Ohio
A dad carrying his 8 year old daughter on his shoulders

During the session

We’ll start with one “camera aware” shot of the whole family smiling, because grandma will be SO upset if we don’t get that photo. Then we’ll move on to the fun stuff!

If you’ve opted for an in-home session, I’d love to have the freedom to photograph in your entire house. If there is clutter or something you don’t want photographed, I can help you clear it or be strategic about shooting around it.

LIGHTING IS KING in photos, so I will turn off lights and pull up blinds as I go.

If it’s a dark day, I may use a bounced flash to give us some extra light and ensure you all look great in your photos.

Keep calm + carry on

Please do not bribe your kids to behave or do what I say. If somebody needs a break from the camera, that is totally doable!


Baby AJ is snuggled by both of his parents in their bedroom


Your spot is reserved on my calendar for a particular month, but we will need to pick a date once baby has arrived. Be sure to add me to the “baby is here!” text so I know you’re ready to schedule.

If you want to capture your baby at their tiniest, we can schedule as soon as 7-10 days after birth. Fresh newborns are very sleepy and may stay asleep for the whole session. If you would prefer more time to recuperate, or if you prefer photos where your baby is more alert, I have done newborn-style sessions with babies up to 3 months.

Dress baby in a simple, light-colored onesie or romper.

Preferably with open hands/feet so we can capture every little detail. Babies are perfect just as they are Themed outfits are cute, but they are always too big and bunch up around your baby’s face, hiding their beautiful features. A simple outfit translates into better photos that focus on natural beauty. You can also use a muslin swaddle or baby blanket for extra-snuggly shots.

A one year old girl laughs while swinging in her chair
A close-up of a baby's feet swinging in the air

After the session

Right when I get home from your session, I immediately get to work on sifting through your images and narrowing them down to the best ones – typically, that’s at least 50 or so. Then, I edit those images to get them ready for you. Turnaround time is typically 3 weeks, but I’ll be in touch periodically to update you (and frankly, because I miss you!)

When your photos are ready, I will send you a link to an online gallery with your slideshow reveal. This is also when you will make your final payment.

File downloading & storage

Even though your gallery will be online for 2 months, I encourage you to download your images and back them up immediately. Downloading should be done from a computer (not a phone) and the gallery software will walk you through the steps.  Please protect your investment by backing up your images in multiple places:

  • Save one copy where you can access them easily: a computer or external hard drive.
  • Save another copy to the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc).
  • Save a third copy on a flash drive or other removable storage and give it to a family member who doesn’t live with you.

Printing your photos

Once you’ve got your digital files in hand, you are free to print them when, where, and as often as you wish – you can use them to make holiday cards, share on your social media pages or personal blog, etc. The only things you can’t do are related to the resale of your photos or use for commercial/business purposes. For instance, if you authored a book, you’d need additional permission to use one of the photos on the dust jacket, and you wouldn’t be able to enter one of the photos into a contest and win prize money for it. Otherwise, you’re good to go.

Your gallery is linked up to my professional lab, giving you easy access to unique and stunning heirlooms that last for generations. While everything that I offer in my store is guaranteed to be beautiful, I also recognize that you may want to print your images yourself, and thanks to those digital files, you absolutely can!

  • Be sure to de-select any color correction options, and upload the ORIGINAL files you downloaded (not copies).
  • Frame It Easy: great for build-your-own matted frames. Use my referral link to get 10% off (or enter code qkYK at checkout)

Need anything?

You may e-mail me anytime at (expect replies within 24 hours or the next business day). You may also schedule an additional one-on-one consultation anytime at my calendar below: