Sarah Ellefson - Santa Barbara Wedding Photographer

Love Isn't Boring, why should your photos be?

Sarah Ellefson is a film inspired wedding, family, and editorial photographer based out of Southern California + New Mexico but travels worldwide. She lives for sunny days, intimate details, and candid images.

Family Session: Real Talk

Hey There!

I'm so excited for our session and want to pass along a few tips and advice to assist in everything flowing as smoothly as possible! 


How Our Session Will Feel

A. It's perfectly okay and normal to feel a little nervous (excited or otherwise) about being in front of my camera. Most people don't get their photo taken regularly so the thought can be a little daunting! As it draws closer, I'm sure looking good in the photos will be on the forefront of your mind. Put your worries at ease, I have great news! The pressure is totally off you to worry about how you will look and smile in photos. I'll help you feel relaxed and comfortable during our session and I'm a pro at working to draw out the most genuine smiles and emotions to create authentic images. To make the best images, your job will be to focus on one another and make it fun and exciting for the kids. Let me handle the rest! I'll work to make you all look and feel your best in front of the camera, and I'll also be keeping an eye out for all the little details to make sure everything looks just right.

- When we begin our session, everyone will probably feel a little intimidated by being in front of the camera. That's TOTALLY normal and goes away after about 20 minutes of shooting! As I give you guys direction and guidance in front of the lens, you'll grow more confident, relaxed, and even start to have fun as our session progresses. :)


What to Wear


- I typically recommend sticking with neutrals and earthy tons! Neutrals don't just mean gray + grown, every color has a more neutral, muted tone! (Think mustard yellow, forest green, navy blue, burn orange, etc.) Avoid bright, fluorescent colors and I recommend staying away from bright oranges and reds unless you have dark or olive skin. Most of the time, those colors will make your skin look weirdly pink in photos! If you reallyyyyy want to her to wear something orange or red just check with me and I'll let you know if I think it will look good!

- I generally recommend that mamas pick out your outfit first, and then outfit the rest of their family. Wear something that you really like and feel comfortable in! If you feel totally stuck and want a recommendation, a favorite of mine is a flowy dress and statement earrings! It photographs SO well and will make you look like a million bucks. :) After you've settled on your choice, then aim to coordinate the other outfits around yours. Okay, I might blow your mind with this because your subconscious is probably telling you to play it safe and wear matching denim and white outfits, but when picking what you're going to wear, aim for color and/or texture + patterns! Trust me, they look super good in photos. The key is to balance it out and avoid being too matchy matchy. If one of you is wearing something bright and bold, the other person should aim for a solid/neutral outfit. I have two general rules for coordinating outfits, you're not allowed to perfectly match (this tends to look cheesy in photos) and you should aim for all outfits to be the same level of dressiness. (This helps make the photos look more natural.) If you're not sure about an outfit or if the whole ensemble will photograph well, you are always welcome to send me photos and I'm happy to weigh in!

- If getting your hair or makeup done will help you feel relaxed and beautiful in front of the camera, then do it! If you're more of a natural girl who feels her best with air dried hair and lip balm, that's perfect too. Remember, your main task is to make yourself feel your best for our shoot so whatever that takes, you do it. :)


What if My Kids Behave like Wild Banshees?

- PERFECTLY NORMAL AND EXPECTED. (I bet you weren't expecting me to say that!) Seriously though, this is just what kids do when you ask them to sit still and smile at a camera and not "accidentally" stomp in a mud puddle. But guess what? The pressure's off you to try and make them behave and pay attention! Let me handle all of that. The best photos come from going with the flow and letting everyone's natural personalities and moods happen. Plus, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve for even the most reluctant of kids, and if you let me direct the mood and feel, our session will feel like a fun adventure to your kiddos, which is way better and less stressful for everyone. :) We've also got plenty of time during our shoot if a tantrum takes place or a diaper change is needed, so no need to feel rushed! 


- To get your kids psyched up for our session, it can help to tell them how much fun it's going to be and how you'll be bringing *insert special non-messy snack here*! (They'll get time for snack breaks throughout our shoot #bribery.) Food and fun, what's not to get excited about, right?

Where Will We Shoot?

- While we've picked a location together, where exactly we shoot will be guided by where we find the best light. If there's a specific spot  you'd like photos in, let me know when I arrive and we'll talk about how the light looks there and if it'll photograph well. :) If you'd prefer for me to pick the spots we'll shoot in based on the best light in the area, that's fine too! 



I can't wait to shoot with you guys, if you have any questions or if I can do anything else to help, please let me know! 


| Based in Santa Barbara, serving the west coast and the world |

Fun + Romantic Wedding Photography