portrait clients.


What to Expect

Thank you for choosing me to do your session! I am so excited to work with your family and create a beautiful gallery of images that you can cherish forever. With that in mind here are some things to expect from your experience!

Before your session:

Fill out the contract. 

Pay the retainer.

Fill out the family questionnaire.

All of these items are links at the top right of this page. I will send you your retainer once you have signed the contract :)

Once I receive your questionnaire we can talk about location and decide on a date and time if not already done. 

Choose wardrobe and decide on hair and makeup. (Please refer to the "what to wear" part of this site to get tips and tricks for wardrobe and suggestions for hair and makeup.)


Prepare children for the session. Its amazing what a short chat about what to expect can do to help a child to behave during a session. Sessions can be fun for everyone especially if its fun for mom and dad! Often a small incentive or promise of a trip to get ice cream after can help motivate really young kids to want to cooperate. 

Plan for success! Get a good rest the night before and make sure your healthy and feeling good. Eat before you come and stay hydrated too especially for kids.

san diego family photography by Rachel Dale Photography

During Your Session

Family sessions are generally 60-90 minutes

Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your session. This is VERY important. If you don't know where you are going, please plan to arrive even earlier to make sure we have plenty of time. Many sessions are planned around sunset so keep that in mind and try not to be late. I aim to give you detailed instructions and/or maps to help with this!

Please bring anything you would like to include in your session. My approach is candid in nature and I want the images to reflect who you are as a family, here are some suggestions:

      a) does someone play the guitar or other instrument? Bring it! We can incorporate this into some of the sessions.

      b) do you have younger children that you like to read to? Bring a few books and a favorite blanket...this can add some sweet time into your session and also keeps little ones on the go still for a short time. Don't have a blanket? I always have a few in my trunk.

     c) do any of your kids have a favorite lovey or toy? Bring it along to add into some of the images.

Please also bring anything that you may need to freshen up yourself or your children ( a hair brush, face wipes, extra clips or bows, etc.) 

Please refrain from eating or drinking anything that might stain your teeth or mouth the day of the session ( this really only applies to children) please avoid bringing treats like this to the session as well. A little fruit snack or something similar is fine if you think it will help to coax smaller children to sit still.

Please avoid bringing an entourage of people to your session. If you would like to bring a "helper" please feel free, but otherwise try to keep the session intimate. 

My approach to sessions is candid in nature. with this in mind, try to be yourselves. Often its awkward at the beginning and that lifestyle approach doesn't make much sense, this is often when I get some posed images to ease everyone in. As the session goes on its fun to try to capture your family in a more natural way, feel free to to run with this in any way or I can offer suggestions (reading, tickling, talking, hugging, laughing are all forms of this.) 

Safety Note

A note about safety: Your safety and the safety of your children is of the upmost importance to me. I take this very seriously and will always prioritize safety before getting a shot. With that in mind, please be advised that some locations have certain risks, such as ticks, snakes or other critters. I advise boots for locations with tall grasses or fields but please check your clothes and your children for anything after the session. Please keep a close eye on your children at ALL times. Please feel free to jump in my shot if you feel one of your children is in danger or share any concerns at any point. Please do not allow children to roam around without you during our session, especially in locations where wildlife may be present and pose a risk. 

San Diego Family Photography by Rachel Dale

After Your Session

After your session, you should expect to receive your fabulous gallery of images in 2-3 weeks. This gallery will be filled with fully edited images for you to select from. Please refer to the pricing sheet for a reminder on prices.

Sessions are all inclusive so you will receive all your selected images in an online gallery.

Please let me know if there is an image you want converted to black and white or color and feel free to ask for minor fixes such as double chin, stray hair, etc that I missed. Any extensive extra editing will be charged on a case by case basis. I am here to help as you navigate your gallery, please don't hesitate to contact me at anytime with your questions or concerns!

If you would like to order professional albums, prints, canvases or any other products please contact me for the al la carte product list. 

Lastly please keep in mind I have a generous referral program! Rachel Dale Photography has primarily grown through the kind referrals of my clients. If you are happy with your session, please refer me to friends and family to receive $50 off your next session. Credits can be stacked and you are welcome to keep on earning the reward credits. I will keep track for you as you refer, just shoot me an email stating who you referred! Thank you in advance for sharing my name with your loved ones :)