Shannon Z Photography

Photoshoot Preparations

Type of session

How to prepare for your photoshoot, depends slightly on what type of shoot you've chosen to have. I'll break it down by type throughout this post with the following services: Family (Studio & Documentary), Senior, Studio Portrait, Engagement.


Documentary Family: After completing a brief questionnaire we can choose from a fun family adventure or a simple in home shoot to document your every day life.

Senior: I love to start this shoot at the studio for some gorgeous, timeless portraits, then we can move on to some places that you love! Ideas are favorite hang out, downtown Kenosha for an urban feel, Lake Michigan lake front - Simmons Island Beach & Light house, Wolfenbuttel Park for flower gardens & sandy beach, or Southport Beach house for a variety of backdrops. We also have a lot of local parks - my favorites being Petrifying Springs and Lincoln Park.

Family & Engagement: Both of these would be similar, in that you should be choosing a place that is meaningful to you. Somewhere you like to go together, where you first met, or doing an activity that you all enjoy.

Studio Portrait: Shannon Z Photography's home studio with multiple backdrop options, lighting scenes and a small wardrobe to choose from if needed.


Documentary Family: As you are. Whatever you would have normally woken up and put on...that's what you'll wear for this session!

Senior: 3-5 outfits! I recommend casual & comfortable. Neutral colors, use layers and accessories sparingly unless you usually go all out! Choose something really dressy & professional - you never know when that head shot type image will come in handy. Consider bringing a favorite prom or homecoming dress - we can create something really great & artistic in studio with that. And then something that might speak to your extra curricular activities - uniforms, jersey, favorite band shirt. Personal props are encouraged such as - potential college shirts, letter jackets, sports items (ball, cleats etc), musical instruments. Remember shoes & undergarments for each outfit!

Family & Engagement: You want to coordinate, but not too matchy-matchy.Outfit changes are permitted - and I like to suggest one dressy & one casual. Neutral colors are preferred (try to avoid white) but black usually looks good on anyone. Pinterest is amazing for coordinating outfit ideas & colors, so definitely check it out! I have a link HERE to a styling board.

Studio Portrait: Again, another 3-5 outfit recommendation. Here we have a bit more flexibility, in that you can bring something that you LOVE but that doesn't quite fit - and we can use clips to make it smaller, or not zip it up all the way if it's too small. The wonderful thing about these portraits, is nobody will ever know! I love going all glam with women in the studio, so I have accessories, a wardrobe and fabric to use if need be. For family portraits - I love neutral and muted tones - grey, dark red, blue, greens & black. These photos will be elegant and timeless, and don't necessarily need to match with the season. Here are some glam & dress ideas for women.

Day of Prep.

Documentary Family: Easy peasy - you don't need to do much! I am there to capture real life as it unfolds. Unscripted, undirected. Real, raw beautiful.

Senior: Clean, styled hair. For girls, consider going to a salon for hair & make up services, or we can talk about adding that to your package. Try to avoid spray tans if you don't normally do that. Nails should be clean and manicured. Hopefully you have all your outfits & accessories ready the night before, so you can grab & go! Changing on location can get tricky, so bring a blanket & hair brush with touch up make up as we make outfit changes.

Family: Shoots should be scheduled to allow for a nap time for younger kids so they're happy at the time of the shoot. Bring snacks or treats to help keep them happy & occupied (or for me to use as bribery!!) Outfit changes, baby wipes & a blanket is useful for young ones in case they get messy - and for car-seat infants who sometimes spit up should be changed into their outfits upon arrival - just to avoid a wardrobe mishap in the car. :) Bring a comb to tame hair and get ready to have fun with your family!!

Engagement: Consider scheduling your make up trial run for this day if possible. Or using professional services for hair & make up.I'm not opposed to starting off at a local establishment of your choosing so you can have a drink & relax too! :) It's sometimes helpful for anyone who is a little nervous and it just might add to your love story! Bringing signs or props that coincide with your wedding theme is suggested if you're interested in that style. Don't forget shoes & accessories for outfit changes!

Location Ideas

Petrifying Springs Park

Petrifying Springs Park is swarming with photographers throughout the month of October. Between senior sessions and family sessions, the park is full of families trying to get that perfect moment for their Holiday card. The park definitely does not lack in beautiful scenery and several perfect areas for your portrait. With multiple bridges, staircases, and gorgeous trees… You are sure to find the perfect backdrop.
I love to try and find a new and different area in Petrifying Springs Park every time I have a client there. Going off the beaten path to find an unused area gives my clients something unique and different from other people who typically have their photos taken at Pets park.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln park located on 22nd Ave. in Kenosha Wisconsin is another great place for photos. With a river, two bridges, multiple gorgeous weeping willow trees, the pergola, a beautiful garden, and the rock staircase… There are so many options for some great portraits. I love bringing clients to this park to give them something different by way of family portraits.

Hawthorn Hollow

Hawthorne Hollow nature preserve is a beautiful venue in Kenosha for family portraits. They do require a permit, and their hours are limited, but if you are willing to invest in the permit…your portraits there would be gorgeous. With the original Pike Creek school house, A re-created Tee-pee, a river and more. Even if you don’t have your family portraits down there it’s definitely worth a visit. And the visit is free!

Southport Beach House

Southport beach house on Kenosha's lakefront is another great spot for portraits. Families can get a wide variety of backdrops including the beautiful lake Michigan, a sandy beach, a gritty, chippy-paint wall, brick walls, concrete stairs, and a woodsy area just down the shore near Kenosha Sandune’s. It’s a short walk but definitely worth it!

SZP Studio

Finally, my home studio. I love photographing families from my home. Needless to say it requires very little travel on my part! But that’s not why I love it. My backyard faces west, providing gorgeous golden hour sunset opportunities for family photos. My home studio is located in my three season room. 300 ft.² of nothing but natural light, three walls of windows diffused with white sheer curtains provide soft gorgeous light for a more formal portrait.
No matter what you choose for location for your family photo shoot, I would be honored to be the photographer that makes that memory for you.

Shannon Z Photography - Kenosha, WI - (262) 945-8976 - Privacy Policy - Copyright © 2019