If you’re thinking you can run to my portrait studio and complete your portrait session quick-like during your lunch break, think again.

(I mean, if you’re looking for something that speedy, just take a selfie.)

Don’t worry. Your portrait session won’t take all day, either, or even all afternoon. How long it takes depends on a variety of factors, but here are the time frames I use in my studio.

Families: 90 Minutes

In family photos, we do individual shots and various groupings: mom and dad; dad and the kids; mom and one kid (then the other kid); just the kids; and so on. For this reason, I give it 90 minutes for a family of four. If your family is larger, we’ll plan for up to 2 hours.

family-studio-portrait

With families, we usually do two outfit changes simply for the sake of time. If everyone is old enough to dress themselves, we might be able to stretch it to three.

Children: 60-90 Minutes

One child takes less time than two. If you have three or more children and love them all equally, it could take up to two hours.

BROTHER-AND-SISTER-PORTRAIT

With kids, we can do two or three outfit changes. A simple change of clothes can create a whole new attitude in your kids. Even if you want some business casual shots of your children, choose a second outfit that is more their style to really let their personalities shine.

Babies: 60-90 Minutes

How could a baby portrait session take as long as a couple of toddlers or elementary schoolers who can dart around a room a will? Babies aren’t quite as skilled at following direction. Seems like no matter how many times you tell them to close their eyes and pretend they’re sleeping, they won’t do it.

baby-portrait

The good news is, the photos are adorable no matter what your baby decides to do when the camera is pointed at him, but behavior can make a difference in how long the session takes. We can snap a few fussy photos if things take that turn, but chances are you’ll want to wait until she calms down before we get the rest.

As with older children, plan on two or three outfit changes for your baby.

Seniors: 90-120 Minutes

The longer time frame here really depends upon location and outfit changes. I usually recommend two or three changes. For some locations, we might have to watch out for other people (accidentally) photo-bombing you, or we may have to adjust for certain weather conditions.

high-school-senior-studio-portrait

How to Keep It Rollin’

I can take a lot of photos in an hour or two, and you’ll have plenty to choose from. Still, you’ll want to do a little planning to make sure you don’t waste any extra time during the shoot while changing outfits, for example. Here are a few tips for making fashion-runway-worthy quick changes and more:

  • Keep it simple. The most important thing is that you’re wearing something you love and feel good in. That said, if you have two outfits you love and one of them takes 20 minutes to put on because it has tiny buttons from the middle of your calf up to your chin, choose the one that only takes five minutes. (Where did you get something with that many buttons, anyway? Asking for a friend.)
  • Wear the most complicated outfit first. Okay, the many-buttoned outfit is a must. Wear it to the shoot and change into your simpler outfit.
  • Do a practice run at home. This is a nice idea if you have kids; plus, it extends the photo-shoot excitement.
  • Pack the night before. You might have clothes that would wrinkle if they’re not pressed and carefully transported. By packing the night before, you make sure you don’t forget any of those details (or wake up only to realize the shirt your son was going to wear is covered in mud or spaghetti sauce from the day before). Bring whatever you use to get ready at home (make-up, hair care, deodorant, even a toothbrush) in case you want to retouch anything half-way through the session.
  • Bring toys and snacks for your kids. (And yourself.) Just in case. This is a no-judgment zone when it comes to cookie bribes. I get it. I’m pretty motivated by cookies, too.

These one or two hours are well-spent. Sessions are fun and relaxed, and you’ll end up with a lot of photos showcasing your favorite groupings and poses. Make a fun half-day of it: join me in the studio for your session, then go out for lunch with the people you love most.