Hi everyone!

My name is Savanna and I am the owner of Savanna Kathleen Photography! Jessica has been encouraging me for a while now to share more of my session styling knowledge, along with some tips and tricks for successful shoot. She gave me a deadline of March 24th 2021 and in true Savanna fashion, I am finally piecing all of this together at 9:30pm on March 23rd, 2021. LOL

I’ll start by sharing a little bit of my background for those of you who don’t know me. I picked up a camera for a class called Intro to Photography in Spring of 2011, to fill a college elective and I havent put it down since! I graduated in 2014 with a bachelors in integrated marketing and advertising but within a year I began shooting full time! Since then, I have photographed over 100 weddings and more families than I can count. More recently I have had so much fun helping to create content for small business owners (or blogs!) and a little real estate photography here and there. I was born and raised in DuQuoin, Illinois but now reside in Carterville, Illinois with my husband, Brandon and our two little boys, Hudson and Hayes.

Photo Credit: Jill Seely

On to the fun stuff, alllll the session tips, tricks and what-nots! As a mother, I know how incredibly stressful it can be to get everyone ready for photos. I even struggle when it comes to feeling prepared for our own family photos. However, I have a bit of knowledge I would love to share with you when it comes to styling and dealing with your own three-ring circus.

For location, I think it is SO important to discuss this with your photographer. If there is a location that is sentimental to you? What does it look like? Places that you pass every day, that you would never give a second look to, may end up being an amazing location! We as photographers know plenty of locations in our area that are beautiful and have great light. Please know that lighting is everything to us! For me it is so important to 1. Pick a location that when I put the sun behind you, the background will not be distracting. 2. Pick a time of day that is not blinding or harsh. When more shade is available, that gives some flexibility but I try my best to meet early mornings or about 2 hours before sunset to give that beautiful golden hour glow. I would also like to add that when shooting photos indoors, you want to pick the time that there is the best natural light. The more windows the better!

I personally like to pick my outfit first and then build around that. Moms put everyone first literally all the time. Do yourself a favor, pick something you feel good in and then work on everybody else! I promise this will bring you less stress. If you’re having trouble with envisioning what everyone could wear, Pinterest has some amazing inspiration photos to help get you started!



Below are some great color combinations I have put together. These flatter and photograph well, check them out!

On to some Dos and Don'ts to help make the best of your session..

1. Don’t be afraid to mix prints, patterns and textures. If one person has stripes or plaid, it’s totally okay if another person is wearing floral.

2. Do consider layering! Think vests, jewelry, scarves, cardigans, jeans or leather jackets and hats. You don’t have to wear these the entire time but it brings some easy variation to your photos without much effort.
3. Don’t wear neon colors such as bright pink or orange and stay away from chevron prints.

4. DO IRON AND LINT ROLL. I promise your photo turn around time will be cut in half when I don’t need to photoshop all the dog hair from your black sweater.

5. When choosing a clothing size for your kids, do go with whatever is more on the snug/fitting side, rather than oversized.

6. Don’t put puffy vets on little kids that are still small enough to be held. I know they’re but it covers up their face every time!

7. Do shop local, if you can. I know it’s so easy to run to Target or Amazon for clothing but consider local businesses in our area such as Ruby’s Attic, Eccentrics, Sabellas, Perfectly Posh or Bloom Boutique! If you’re not sure what would look good together, ask these ladies… they style outfits for a living and will no doubt take amazing care of you!

8. Do let us know if there is an angle or pose you don’t typically like, tell us! I promise you won’t hurt our feelings. 

9. I do encourage those who typically wear makeup, to go a little more bold on photo day. Sometimes our everyday makeup routine just doesn’t pop the way we think it would in photos. If you want to take it a step further, consider scheduling a hair or makeup appointment before your session. As a mom trying to get everyone else ready, it feels great to have someone else do my hair and makeup. Shamelessly plugging The Avenue Barbershop and Salon because they always take amazing care of me and keep my boys looking fresh-to-death.

10. If you know you are a person who sweats, don’t book a session for July or August… Do not do it to yourself. If you can, pick a cooler time of year such as April, late October or even November.

11. Do a quick pocket check before you get everyone out of the car to start photos. Figure out a safe place to put phones, keys, Apple watches, sunglasses and hair ties. We do not want any of these showing up in photos.

12. DO RELAXXXXXX. It’s going to be hard and you may feel like everything is chaotic but just take a deep breath and let us work with your family. If kids need a break or some time to warm up, that’s okay! I would rather take 10 minutes for your 1 year old to explore and feel safe than looking uncomfortable in every photo. Think of things that may make your kiddos loosen up like their favorite song or movie. Maybe a funny joke or story. Us photographers usually have a few good tricks up our sleeve too. 

13. Don’t bring colored snacks/treats as bribes. Stay away from M&Ms, suckers or basically anything chocolate. Your kids teeth will be green and it will cost you $1,000,000 for me to fix all the photos.

14. Do bring colorless snacks like puffs, crackers, pretzels or light colored chips.

15. Do wait to pop-off on your family for acting like crazies after photos are finished. I know it's hard to not want to yell sometimes but I’ve seen it time and time again when a child is goofing off and a parent completely loses their patience ( don’t blame them) but then everything just turns into a downward spiral of kid crying and embarrassed, trying to smile with snot bubbles and beat-red watery eyes. In no way do I want to tell parents how to discipline their kids, I just need them to hold off until we’re all done!

Last but certainly not least, I would love to share with you some of my most recent work, super cute outfit inspirations from some of my very own families. My clients have great taste!