Preparing Your Family for Portraits

When it comes to taking pictures of kids, I have been extremely lucky to have had great subjects in front of my camera. There may have been one or two that made me work a little harder and I had to pull out a couple of tricks but that is to be expected. I have to give most of the credit to the parents though. Getting their kids to the session was half the battle! I think even if you’re not a parent you know this all too well…children can march to the beat of their own drum and at any time they want to. So here are just a few tips to help you and yours get to, and through, your portrait session.



Adults can tell when they didn’t get enough sleep. Usually, an extra large cup of coffee is at the top of the to-do list in the morning. Or, morning traffic seems extra annoying. By the time three o’clock rolls around they’re moving slower and yawning more. With kids, it’s a little different. Depending on their age they may not be able to tell you they’re sleepy or tired and the only way parents know it’s time for a nap is after a tantrum. Your kids might even have a sleep pattern. When booking a session with yours truly, remember to choose a time when you know your child would have had the best rest. Something to also consider is maybe your kids aren’t morning people. Consider scheduling a session in late afternoon. In the photography world this time of day is often referred to as the “golden hour” because sunset pictures can be beautiful!



You can probably figure this one out as well. Same as sleep, kids can get pretty grumpy when they’re hungry. And if we’re being honest, so can I! If you decide to feed your kids consider choosing something light that will hold their tummies over until after the session. Fruits and veggies are a healthy choice, just make sure they’re not wearing their picture outfits since some of those can get messy.  You don’t want them to spill anything on their new clothes before they’ve been photographed in them. Bringing along some dry snacks like crackers and something to sip on is a good idea in case they get a little ‘hangry’. Along with napkins or baby wipes, I think your family will be set!



Speaking of new outfits, you’ll want to pick out clothes that are comfortable for both you and the kids. Make sure accessories fit well. Ties, belts, suspenders, and hats are all cute but when too tight or loose, they can distract your child and may even irritate them and cause them to be fussy. I should also add that IF they do start to get uncomfortable I’ll take advantage of getting some natural shots before they get fussy. For example, I might snap a pic of your little guy trying to loosen his tie or putting loose suspenders back over his shoulders. I might even capture your baby girl hiding behind her hat or playing with the ribbon in her hair. We’ll make it work!

Smiling for the camera


I love cheese! Especially on burgers and nachos, and in even in my salads. I gotta have it! But for pictures, the word cheese doesn’t create a genuine smile for the camera. With the main goal being to capture your happiness, here are a few pointers for getting genuine smiles.

I know a few words that made my kiddos giggle when they were little and chances are you know a few to get your babies smiling. Feel free to send a list of these silly words to your photographer so you won’t forget. It would also be a great way for me to connect with your children without losing any momentum during the session.

Kids love to be silly! So take advantage of that and have them practice making silly faces. You could have them practice while getting dressed. Use the drive to your session to take turns making silly faces and vote on your favorites. The goal is to get that genuine laugh from your child and I’ll be ready to snap! I love to be silly too so expect me to be goofy and maybe do a little silly dancing. I might even to a little tap dance!


Bag of tricks


Think of your bag of tricks as your back up plan. Bring your child’s favorite toy or book. Maybe even a change of clothes. I would also consider bribery but as a last result. Hey, I have kids so I know that works sometimes! All of these can be life savers in different situations.


Expect the unexpected. It still may not go exactly as planned but the most important thing to remember is to go with the flow. These are just a few tips to help your family and I work together to have a great session!

Ready to book? Shoot me an email at I look forward to working with you!


Then, Now, Tomorrow

Then, Now, Tomorrow

In my first blog I shared how the name “Fig Leaf Photography” came to be. And now, as promised, here’s the first chapter of my photography journey, my very first session! It was a very special one actually. And now that I look back at my work in 2013, as I pat myself on the back heehee, I am motivated to keep going. I have learned so much about photography and have met some amazing artists! Both have helped me understand what kind of photographer I want to be. What better way to show how far I’ve come than to share some ‘then and now’ images. Enjoy!

Missed my first blog? No worries! You can check it out here.

Almost three years ago my brother-in-law announced he would be marrying the mother of his kids. I would be lying if I said half of my excitement was for the opportunity to capture that special moment in Javier & Alejandra’s lives. I would also be lying if I said that even before I asked, I had already imagined where I would need to stand to get the best shots, or that I didn’t already have a list of poses I wanted to try. So, as a gift to the bride and groom, I asked if I could be their photographer. She said yes! And so did he, of course.




And it turned out to be a very special moment. A civil ceremony with a small entourage of family as witnesses. The justice of the peace seemed truly honored to be performing the ceremony for all of the couples waiting. I was the only ‘photographer’ there and the judge helped me be in the right spots, pointing to where I should stand to get the exchanging of the vows, the first kiss, and even posing with the newlyweds afterward.

2013 Edit


2016 edit

2016 Edit


After the ceremony, we headed to Hermann Park, a very popular photo destination. Javier and Alejandra didn’t hesitate to try out any of the ideas I had. And the kids followed their lead! I admit, some of those poses were pretty common but we had fun anyway! They couldn’t have been a more perfect first client!

2016 Edit

2016 Edit


An updated family session is in the works! It’s going to be so fun to see how much the kids have grown in three years and I look forward to showing you!

I cannot even begin to express how much I loved this session. And every session since has been an opportunity to learn and grow as a photographer, each one as special as the last. This little stroll down memory lane has only gotten me more excited for what’s to come. And until then, have a peak of the rest of the images from this event.










Are you getting married? I am happy to quote civil ceremonies and small weddings upon request. Contact me today!


Nice to Meet You!

Nice to Meet You!

And here we are! My first blog post as the owner of Fig Leaf Photography! It has been 3 years in the making. I can finally check off “have a website for my photography business” from my very long to-do list! What else is on my list you ask? More on that in a bit. But first, let’s start with the name!

What’s in a name?

Hi there! I’m Vanessa Figueroa, owner of Fig Leaf Photography. It’s very nice to meet you!


The name “Fig Leaf Photography” is a combination of several branches of my life that are important to me. (See what I did there?) “Fig” is short for my last name. And as much as I love my name, I could not force people to say “Figueroa Photography”, much less “Vanessa Figueroa Photography”. That just seems like a mouthful. And like my name, my family is very important! This brought to mind my family tree. Family trees are about roots, history, and growth. I’m also a Taurus, which is an earth sign. So it makes sense that the trees, leaves, roots appeals to me. And it’s no coincidence that recycling is very important to me.

How do we tie these all together? Stay with me a little longer. (haha) Taking pictures is basically documenting history. A-ha moment! This is what I wanted to do! This is my passion! Preserve memories! Document people’s lives! So then BAM!! “Fig Tree Photography” popped into mind. Great, right? Nope. That name was already taken. Not to fret! Turns out that “Fig Leaf Photography” was the better solution.

As important leaves are to a tree, so are my clients. All of my clients are important to me. And my passion for preserving history is what drives me to do the best I can to preserve the memories and history of my clients. That includes constantly learning this craft of mine in order to do just that. We have this one life and what better way to prove we lived it than by documenting it.

My to-do list was long. So back to my to-do list. It WAS long. First item on the list, take pictures! My very first session was my brother in law’s courthouse wedding. I will definitely blog about that another time. But I was so nervous! But I had a ton of fun!! And it was such a learning experience! I’ve done two other small weddings since!

Quote 1


Next on my list was learning my camera’s capabilities inside and out, check!

Practice on more people, check!

Start charging for my services, check!

Register my business, check!

Create a website, check!

And here we are! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I loved sharing! And I hope that you are considering documenting your own history and more importantly, that you’ll consider becoming a leaf on the tree of my photography journey!


Vanessa Figueroa