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Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is perfect for family photos. The colors of fall, the mild weather, not to mention the need for updated photos for holiday cards makes it a favorite time of year for so many families. 

When I'm scouting for locations, I keep several factors in mind. I want a location that shows off the beauty of the area, has beautiful light, and allows for something fun for the family to do (like skip rocks, explore a trail, dance in a field, etc.). How busy a location is at a given time is also important. We don't want to have to be avoiding people or worrying about distractions in our background. With all of those things in mind, I have come up with my top favorite locations for fall family photos!

Lincoln Park - Seattle

Honestly, Lincoln Park is about an hour drive for me to get to. However, it is so worth it. This park has so much to offer and works so well with the flow of my sessions. We start in the upper part of the park taking advantage of the gorgeous trees, and end right at the water's edge, watching the ferry's and tossing rocks into Puget Sound.

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Lincoln Park Seattle, Gorgeous Light
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Photos on the Water, Lincoln Park Seattle

Tolt McDonald Park - Carnation

Although this park doesn't quite allow for that amazing, low sunlight we all love (the park is tucked behind a hillside), the fall colors and variety more than make up for it. Tolt McDonald Park is not only on the river, but has a suspension bridge that serves as a favorite spot for families.

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Tolt McDonald Park, Leaves
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Bridge in Photo

Rattlesnake Lake - North Bend

You might recognize Rattlesnake Lake from my Favorite Summer Spots post. However, it is still a fall favorite. From pretty leaves on the trail to the gorgeous lake, there is so much to love here.

Tanner Landing Park - North Bend

This is my secret park (okay it's not so secret anymore), and probably my favorite spot in the Snoqualmie Valley. It can be tricky to find (not on Google Maps) but it is so worth the visit. Tanner Landing Park not only has a big open field with a mountain view, it has stunning trails and runs along the river, giving plenty of variety for one session. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Beautiful light photos
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Fall Color, Leaves

Gold Creek Pond - Snoqualmie Pass

A family introduced me to this gem during their maternity photo session. It was love at first sight. While you cannot actually get into the pond to splash around, the trail, serene water, and mountain views make it an ideal family photo spot. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Gold Creek Pond

Fall City Community Park - Fall City

This is one of those parks that you have to just trust me that it's a gorgeous family photo spot. If you were to drive by or pull up, you may not see it. But it is so beautiful here, especially in the fall. There is plenty of room for kids to run, beautiful fall color, and access to the river. We can also drive 2 minutes for a second spot right on the river. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Fall City Community Park

Those are just six of my favorite locations for fall family photos around Seattle.  Does one speak to you for your family photos this fall? Contact me to get started planning your family photo session.

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5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

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5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session

You have your family session booked, the date is on the calendar. So now what? If you're anything like me you want to plan to make the most of the family session. Here are the 5 tips I give families with an upcoming family photo session.

Plan What to Wear in Advance

I know it can be easy to put outfits until the last minute, however, no one likes racing around to stores trying to find coordinating outfits, in all the right sizes the day before family photos. Instead, start thinking about the color palette and feel you want right away. Then you can check closets for pieces you already have for everyone and slowly start looking for what you need to fill the gaps. For more ideas on putting together what to wear, click here.

When you have booked a session with me, I not only can help you as much or as little as you'd like with picking out your wardrobe, but you'll receive a private link and password for Style and Select, an easy online styling service. In a nut shell, you complete a simple questionnaire, then select outfits options for everyone in your family based on your answers. The best part is that the results offered give you prices and where to buy for everything. I know you're busy, so I'm hoping this not only eases stress for planning for a family session, but simplifies the process for you!

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Family Photographer, Family sitting on log pile

Explain to the Kids What Will Happen During Family Photos

Kids like to know what to expect. Chatting about the day and what will happen will help make them more comfortable. Explain that you're going to go explore a fun park (or river, or lake, depending on the location we've selected) together as a family. Tell them that I will be there with a camera, and a camera bag. Showing them my picture if they don't know who I am can help them get a better idea. You can even tell them I have four kids so I REALLY like kids!

If you're making it a fun event like having family photos and then all going for ice cream or hot chocolate or to a special playground, chat up the entire event. I suggest not bribing like saying, "You behave and you get a hot chocolate," but making it more about the fun family adventure you're going to go on together from family photos to special treat afterwards.

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Family Photographer, Dad spinning with son

Mama, Pamper Yourself

When you feel special and beautiful, it shows on camera. I'm not saying this has to be anything big, get a pedicure, a massage, or even just a new lipgloss. Sometimes taking a moment for ourselves helps you recharge and forget about the stress of wanting everything perfect for picture day. 

If you really want to treat yourself well, consider a spray tan. Did your brain just start counting "Mississippisously" like Ross in Friends? I know. That's what I first thought when an old friend and co-worker, Amanda, told me she was starting her own spray tan business called Endless Summer Spray Tan. But then I learned more, like how the products she uses are vegan, and free of parabens and added preservatives. Amanda also comes to you, matches your skin tone. Gone are the days of orange, splotchy spray tans. Now I'm all about keeping it natural and being true to who you are, but I also know my legs right now are ghostly white - not photo ready at all! A little warm glow may be just the pampering you need to feel like the beautiful and confident mama you are. Wanting to try out a Spray Tan? Mention my name when booking with Endless Summer Spray Tan to save $15! 

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Family Photographer, Husband and wife snuggled together

Pack the Snacks and Feed the Kids

Even if you're going out to dinner, it is a good idea to feed the kids something before your session. Hungry kids can't think about anything besides being hungry. Full tummies make for more fun. You can also pack snacks to eat on the way or during the session. While sessions typically only last about an hour, I know that all that playing together can feel like hard work. I just suggest a "clean" snack that doesn't leave messes on face/clothing or turn mouths colors - unless you want that captured in your photos!

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Family Photographer, Family dancing together in beautiful light

Show up Relaxed, Ready to Love on Your Family....No Matter What.

Your job is to just show up relaxed, take a breath and love on that beautiful family of yours. Drop all expectations of perfection and let me photograph the connections and love in your family. Remember, we aren't after that perfect shot, but a collection of images that show who you are right now. Rest easing knowing that I have seen everything from the shy kid to the wild ones, and everything in between and always capture images that are true to those children, true to your family. 

One mom told me, "My husband said, 'We were such a tranwreck but somehow Neyssa made it look like we were pulled together and getting along!'  I told him that is why you’re the professional!" 

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Issaquah Family Photographer, Mom with sons

Feeling prepared but haven't booked your photo session yet? Don't worry, I can help with that. Contact me and let's get your session on the calendar. 

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How to Get Your Family Excited About Your Photo Session

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How to Get Your Family Excited About Your Photo Session

I love getting family photos taken. I know that it means that I get to be in the photo loving on my kids without worrying about taking the shot myself. I get excited about the possible new photos I will have to adorn my walls, and gifts to give to family members. Most of all, though, I am excited to exist in photos with my family. However, I know that my family may not be as excited about having their photos taken. In my line of work, I have also come across many a husband (and toddler) who isn't excited when they first meet me. I can tell right away they would much rather be anywhere else but having their photos taken. Now, I can say that in the end I have had many people (kids and husbands included) tell me that they had fun! But here's a few tips to help get your family excited about family photos before realizing how awesome it really is (wink, wink).

Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Seattle Photographer, Get Your Family Excited about Your Photo Session

Excitement starts with you, mama.

I know you want everything to go perfectly and I know you want your children to behave like the angels they always are, while your husband smiles lovingly at you. However, the more your family feels that pressure, the more they will resent having their photos taken. The less you stress, the less they will, too. I tell all the families I photograph to just relax and love on their family and let me worry about the rest. 

Make it a fun family experience.

Talk about family photos as a part of an entire family experience. Tell the kids you are going to go play at the park (or river/field/etc) while a photographer takes your photos. Then you get to go out for dinner or go for ice cream. Talk about the experience together as a family, as something you get to do not something you have to do.

With that said, don't plan fun activities for before family photos. If your session is at sunset and the kids have had a jam packed day of fun, they are much more likely to be exhausted and cranky. 

Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Seattle Photographer, Get Your Family Excited about Your Photo Session, Father and Daughter dancing

Tell the Kids What to Expect

If your kids are young, or its just been a while since you've had family photos taken, they make be unsure of what to expect. Kids can get anxious when they don't know what to do or what will be expected of them. Alleviate their worries by telling them about me and how I will have a camera to take pictures of you guys while you're having fun together as a family. Showing them photos from my website can help, too!

Tell Your Husband How You Feel

I know that dads aren't typically excited about family photos, just like the kids. However,  acknowledge that you know it isn't his favorite thing to do but that it is important to you. 

Get Your Family Excited About Your Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer

Embrace the chaos

I say again, it is your job to just love on your children and let me worry about the rest. I want you to know that I have seen it all and have no expectations to how your children will act. Kids may start out shy and unsure of me, or they may talk my ear off full of ideas, both are great. I go along with what vibe I'm getting from your children and build from there.  However, if you are scowling in the background because they aren't letting go of your leg, it will show up in your images (and possibly rub off on the kids and your husband!). 

In the End, Trust Me.

You hired me for a reason. I'm guessing you saw my work and loved what you saw, or a friend told you about me (thank you to them!). Getting ready may not go as smoothly as planned. Your daughter may have lost her bow you bought just for the photo session (yup, that was my daughter) and maybe your husband gets frustrated looking for a parking space (again, true story from my own family photos). But I promise, if you just take a deep breath and trust me to capture your family beautifully, you won't regret it. 

Get Your Family Excited About Your Photo Session, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Family of Five

Are you excited for your family photo session? Let's get your family on the calendar!

Ready for your session but not sure what to wear? Check out  What to Wear for Family Photos!

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What to Wear for a Newborn Photo Session | Seattle Newborn Photographer

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What to Wear for a Newborn Photo Session | Seattle Newborn Photographer

Plan your outfits before baby is born.

The first tip I give to expectant moms who book a newborn session with me is to plan their outfits before baby is born. Once that little bundle of joy arrives, you won't want to be running to the store, or digging in the closet for something to wear. And I'm sure you don't want to be sending your husband out shopping for clothes either! By having some things planned in advance, you can focus on snuggling your sweet little baby.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Newborn Photographer, What to Wear for Newborn Photos

Keep the family outfits clean and classic and comfortable.

A newborn session is about capturing your family with the focus on the newest addition.  You will be snuggled up on the couch and/or the master bed. Of course you want to look nice, however, you want to be comfortable. You just had a baby! This isn't the time for fancy dresses, or bold colors.

Mom, get a grey, white, or black nursing tank and a sweater to go over top. The tank top allows for those beautiful and intimate skin to skin shots, while we can throw the cardigan over for a little more formal shot with the family. Jeans (maternity are still most comfortable) or leggings are perfect pairing, too. You can also wear a soft, casual dress if that's more comfortable, too.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle New Photographer, What to Wear Newborn Photos
Neyssa Lee Photography, What to Wear Newborn Photos, Snoqualmie Newborn Photographer, Family of 3

Dads and siblings should dress in neutral colors too. Again, this is the time for the focus to be on baby. Black, grey, white, cream, navy are all great for newborn sessions. Patterns are okay as long a they are simple and not distracting. 

Swaddle Baby in a diaper.

Newborns, as adorable as they are, don't do well in "outfits." Now isn't the time to put them in huge dresses or stiff outfits. They just can't hold it up and often get lost in all that material. Newborns are beautiful just as they are, so I suggest stripping them down to just a diaper and swaddling them in a blanket. 

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Newborn Photographer, Newborn baby boy in swaddle

If you really want to dress baby, a well fitting onesie or sleeper are ideal for photos. While I'm the mom that sizes up when I buy clothes for my kids, newborn photos is not the time for this. Since babies love to blow out diapers and spit up, having a couple of options allows for back ups, just in case! A few favorite brands for neutral newborn clothes are L'oved Baby and Hanna Anderson.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Newborn Photographer, Newborn baby boy in dads arms

Have any specialty items ready for your session.

While I do not use any props for my sessions, you may have a special item you want included in your session. If you have a special christening gown or handmade blanket from grandma, by all means, I'd love to include them in a few photos. Families also often like to have something to use as a size marker for their photos, like a special stuffed animal or toy. Again, planning these things in advance means less to worry once that sweet baby arrives!

I'm here to help, just ask.

If you're still unsure, I'm available to help any of the families I photograph. 

Are you expecting and ready to book your newborn session? Contact me and let's chat about your upcoming little arrival!

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