Commonly Asked Questions About Family Sessions ~Brookings Oregon Family Photographer

Family sessions may be the type of session dearest to my heart.  Family is the whole reason I started Nicole Ratliff Photography 7 years ago.  My family is my world, and I know it’s yours too, and that’s why you’re reading this right now.  I love watching kids grow, families interact, and I especially love capturing the real true connection between families.  My approach to shooting family sessions is casual and laid back.  I love to see real moments between siblings, and parents alike.  The in between moments of a session are always my favorite, and it’s my job to wait and watch for those special little interactions.  Here is a list of the questions I get asked most often about booking a family session with me.

1. How soon should we book our session?

Fall and back to school is when everyone suddenly realizes that the year is ending quickly and Christmas gifts, and Christmas card season is quickly approaching.  The kids have all moved up a grade in school, and we realize Ackkkkk, the time is moving too fast!  August-November are my absolute busiest times.  If you are interested in booking a session during this time, it’s best to contact me 2-3 months before hand to make sure you get the date you are hoping for.  And Weekend dates always fill the quickest.  I hate turning people away, so the sooner we can get you on the books, the better! I do shoot select weekday dates also. Please send me an email to inquire about available dates. Nicole Ratliff Photography is available by appointment only. Dates are secured with a retainer and contract.


2. What time are your sessions?

I am a lover of light, and I don’t use artificial lighting for my outdoor sessions. Because of this, I always shoot 1-2 hours prior to sunset. This gives me the yummiest light! I know that this may affect naps and dinner times, but it’s only for one day, and in order for me to achieve the same quality of images you see in my portfolio, this provides the most optimal light and time for us!

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3. Will you help us with our outfits? I really need help with putting my outfits together.
Yes I will! I am here for you to help you out put your outfits together. I will send you a clothing guide by email or pinterest, and will be there for you to help your coordinate everything.  I also have some fun shopping links for online ideas if you are looking to purchase new things for our photo shoot.  I consider it a part of my job to help make sure that your vision becomes a reality, and turns into beautiful art to hang on your walls.  This process starts at the very beginning!

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4. Are the sessions always going to be candid or posed?

I do offer gentle posing suggestions throughout our session, mostly this is done in the beginning of our session until everyone is feeling comfortable.  I know it feels strange not to be posed exactly, but the best photos really come when everyone is being themselves!  I love capturing the in between moments of a family interacting.  Mom kissing baby cheeks, Dad tossing a toddler in the air, and kids laughing and tickling.


5. What if I only need a couple of shots? Would you do a mini-session?
Since my style is very much based on observation and story telling, a mini-session is not something that is regularly available. I want to be able to offer a full story for your family, and minis give us too much time constraints, which then does not produce a relax environment.
Occasionally, I do offer mini sessions, but they are still not going to be the same compared to a full family session. A mini-session is a great way to take a peek of how things work with my style. Think of mini-sessions as a sampler for a full session. My minis are always 20 minutes long, and are grouped with 3 or 4 other families on the same day . It’s a little bit more traditional as most mini-session clients are looking for posed photos, usually for Christmas cards, and if there’s time available still, then we will try to add some candid images. If you would like something more relaxed and will convey a better story, please book a full family session.


6. Do you ever shoot at your clients’ homes?
I do! I offer documentary day in the life sessions.  During these sessions, I will come to your home, or any place that you would like to have your activity at, and I will spend the next 2-3 hours with you. Unposed, unscripted, and real!  Your home does not need to be a mansion.  Your ordinary everyday is beautiful, I promise!

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7. Does your session fee include digitals?

My session fee includes a session up to 1 hour, and a presentation of 30-50 images, but not the rights to print for the digitals. The digital images with print rights can be purchased via packages. I offer a variety of packages, from digital only to digital + prints.  All digital files include a print release so that you can print them through your choice of print labs.


8. Can we print through you?
Yes! I highly encouraged that you do. Along with your session fee, you also receive my help with design consultation, and a small credit to apply to ordering your print package.   As great as the benefits of having digital files are, we can only guarantee that you are going to receive the best quality of your heirloom images if you print through me.  A CD of images does not look as awesome sitting on your desk, and a big beautiful fine art image hanging in your living room <3


9. Can we tag ourselves on the sneak peeks? And who decides what will be the sneak peek?
I highly ENCOURAGE that you tag yourself on the sneak peeks! The only things that I do ask is that filters to not be applied to your images. The sneak peeks are complimentary from me, and I pick the images that are my favorites from your session! I do ask that you do not print your sneak peeks. They are optimized for web only, and are not meant to be printed.


10. We would really love to have you photograph our family, but we want to figure out first if this is in the budget. Do you offer any discounts?
Currently, all I have is a military discount of 10%. I do offer a payment plan. Simply book a session with your $200.00 session fee, pick a package, and you have free reign on how many ways you’d like to divide the remainder of your package fee. Final installment is due one week prior to your session.


11. Will you be taking individual photos of each child? How about one of me and my spouse?
The beauty of the full sessions is that we do have enough time for individual shots of each child! This includes more traditional shots, down to more lifestyle and detail oriented shots. At the end of the session, I love to finish off with photos of just the parents!


12. What if it’s overcast? Will we reschedule?
I don’t reschedule for overcast sessions. To the contrary, overcast sessions actually produce nice dramatic lighting. I only reschedule sessions for rain, and occasionally for extreme wind.

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13. Will you be using props? I love the ones from pinterest! Do you provide them?
I love focusing more on light and emotion, so props are not something I use with my style. I do bring a quilt every now and then for us to use to sit down on.

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Nicole Ratliff Photography is now booking family sessions for the remainder of 2016 – Spring 2017. To book, send an email at

All pricing can be found under investments.


I’m a pretty simple gal, I love Jesus, my handsome hubby and my 4 not so tiny kiddos teenagers. I love the beach and feeling the sun on my shoulders and the wind in my hair. I love wild color, and crazy love. I love coffee and bacon and tacos. Tending my garden and chickens feed my soul. If you will let me in, I promise to capture a little part of your one wild and beautiful life, and all the things that make YOU happy.