Playful Prop Ideas for Your Next Family Photo Session | North Oaks, Minnesota Child & Family Photographer

If you’re not too keen on the idea of a traditional, posed family photoshoot, adding props into the mix adds an element of fun to the shoot. Props allow you to be playful during the photoshoot as the photographer captures genuine moments between you and your loved ones.

Below are some prop ideas for your next family photo session.

  • Get your noses in some books. Love reading? Have each of your family members bring along their favorite book that can be incorporated into some of the shots. Lay on a blanket reading or have each one of your family members peep over the edge of their book. 
  • Use the holidays. Christmas is a great time for your next photoshoot and there are so many options when it comes to choosing props. Have each family member wear a Christmas hat or wrap yourselves in Christmas lights for a warm and bright effect. 
  • Bring out the chalkboards. Write a date or message on chalkboards of various sizes to incorporate something personalized into the shoot.
  • Get cozy. If your children are still quite young, bring a few blankets along so that you can cuddle together as a family, share a few laughs and get some great pictures. 
  • Print out props. If you want to add some fun to the shoot and get your kids laughing, why not print out a few props such as mustaches, glasses, speech bubbles and hats that you can glue onto wooden sticks and use in the shoot. There are tons of free printables online so it’s a very affordable option too. 
  • Frame your faces. Get a few frames of different sizes and colors together that can be used to pose for your next family shoot. 
  • Keep it natural. If your family photos will be shot outdoors, remember that nature gives you so much to work with. Flowers, trees, grass and water all make for beautiful backdrops and add something extra special to your photos. 

Remember to always have fun at your photo session so your photographer can really capture the spirit of your family.


Michele is a lifestyle portrait photographer in North Oaks, Minnesota.  She photographs children and their families both on location and in her studio in Northeast Minneapolis.  To schedule your next session with Michele please visit mQn Photography | Twin Cities Photographer or e-mail michele@mqnphotography.com

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Why Your Photos Should Be Printed By a Pro | North Oaks, Minnesota Child & Family Photographer

Professional printing makes a world of difference.

When researching photographers and their pricing, you might notice that some packages include digital photo files, or they may give you that option as an add on to your package.  This allows you to archive the images on your computer or share them on social media. But if you are planning to rush to the photo lab around the corner to have those photos printed, you may want to give it a second thought.

Yes, you have just paid a professional photographer to take your photos and you want to save some money but by not getting a professional to print your photos, you won’t be getting the full effect of the time and effort that went into those images.

So why should you get a professional to print your photos?

There is a reason that your photographer spends hours editing your photos. They aim to perfect the colors and sharpness of the images so that it is a work of art and not just another photo. They will also often have their monitors calibrated with the professional printing company that they use.  Your local photo lab is not a professional photo lab and the person who will print your photos most likely will not have a background in photography or a trained eye, and they have not been trained in color theory.

Your photographer has access to a professional lab and has built a strong working relationship with them. These professional printers use professional grade paper, inks and machines that you won’t find at a regular store, which is why they cost a little extra. Trained technicians also monitor the printing process to ensure that you receive the very best quality of images.  By investing a little extra in your prints with your photographer, you ensure that they last longer because better materials were used.

There is of course a place for your 1 hour-print labs but if you’re looking to print photos for the walls in your home then having your photos professionally printed is well worth the investment.


Michele is a lifestyle portrait photographer in North Oaks, Minnesota.  She photographs children and their families both on location and in her studio in Northeast Minneapolis.  To schedule your next session with Michele please visit mQn Photography | Twin Cities Photographer or e-mail michele@mqnphotography.com

Newborn Photography; The Process and How We Work with You and Your Baby | North Oaks, Minnesota Newborn Photographer

Working with families begins even before your little one arrives. Although babies are unpredictable and not always born on the exact due date as planned, we will still have a general idea so that we can start preparing on our end. We also understand that you may want a few days to rest, so take your time. It is recommended to have the shoot within the first couple of weeks of your baby’s birth, so we can capture those “newborn” faces while they are still so fragile, innocent and beautiful. Babies also sleep more often during those first couple of weeks.

If you are too uncomfortable to attend the shoot, due to having a C-section or difficult recovery, you may want to send the baby to our studio with Daddy. It will give him a good opportunity to bond with baby as well. However, if you would like family photos rather than just individual images of the infant, this is something we can discuss.

Once your session is scheduled, we can talk about your vision for the images. You can incorporate your own ideas. Some parents like to bring props, such as little hats, scarves, mittens or special booties and blankets. We also keep props on hand for this occasion. All items are sanitized in between newborn sessions, so we do keep your baby’s safety and comfort in mind.

Contact us to get your Newborn Guide

Here are a few general tips on shooting your newborn’s photos:

  • Please wait to feed your baby until upon arrival, so that he/she might be more likely to fall asleep after nursing. We have a comfortable place for you to do this.
  • Bring a pacifier or nubby for your little one to suck on.
  • Many of the images we take are “au natural” but we do not want your baby to be cold, so you can bring a favorite soft blanket.
  • If you have any favorite outfits, such as an NFL team jersey, christening gown, or ballerina tutu, etc., please bring these special items with you.
  • For parents, just dress comfortably. You do not have to dress up. You can wear a blouse or a nice top if you wish to have any pictures with the baby. We can shoot the images from the waist up.

Be prepared to sign a model release, as I do often use newborn images within my portfolio and will not do so without parental consent. Most parents are more than okay with this, but if for any reason you do not want me to showcase your infant in my collection, please address any concerns you might have in advance.


Michele is a lifestyle portrait photographer that specializes in children and their families and many times that starts when they are newborns.  To schedule your next session with Michele please visit mQn Photography | Twin Cities Photographer or e-mail michele@mqnphotography.com

How to Build a Beautiful Photo Gallery Wall | North Oaks, Minnesota Family Photographer

Even though we store all of our photos digitally, nothing quite beats displaying beautiful photos of your family and friends around your home. A gallery wall can be a great focal point in your home but in order to get the perfect end result, your photo wall will need some planning.

Choosing Your Wall

The wall that you see when you first walk into a room is often the perfect spot for a photo wall if you’re looking to make it the main focus of the room. If you would prefer a more subtle option then look for an area that doesn’t have any décor or a space where regular artwork might not work, such as the area next to a stairway or the narrow part of a wall that divides two rooms.

Choosing a Layout

There are countless photo wall layouts that you can use to build your gallery.  Pinterest offer tons of inspiration. The best thing to do once you have your heart set on a specific layout is to cut out the shapes of your frames and use masking tape to create a mock layout on your wall. You might find that you need to switch a few of the frames around or relook at the design completely.

Choosing Your Frames & Photos

Most designers would suggest that neutral colors work the best when designing your photo gallery but sometimes adding a pop of color in-between the frames also looks amazing. You might prefer to choose frames in one color then opt for different sizes and styles to change things up a bit. Placing an antique frame in-between your more modern frames gives the wall a unique touch. If you decide to use different colors and styles of frames then try printing your photos in black and white. Remember, your photos should always be the focal point.

A photo gallery in your home is a great alternative to traditional décor and wall art so take the time to make it special.


Michele is a lifestyle portrait photographer in North Oaks, Minnesota.  She photographs children and their families on location or in her studio in northeast Minneapolis.  To book your next session with Michele visit mQn Photography | Twin Cities Photographer or e-mail michele@mqnphotography.com

Tips for Beautiful Fall or Winter Photos | North Oaks, Minnesota Family Photographer

There is a special kind of magic that comes with outdoor, winter photo sessions. The snow lightly falling and icicles hanging from the branches create a lovely backdrop for any photo session. Here are some tips to make your winter or fall photo sessions go smoothly.

  1. Dress warmly. You will be surprised at how often this is overlooked. Since you’ll be standing outside for a long period of time, short sleeves, thin fabrics, and open toe shoes will not be comfortable for very long. Shivering makes it hard to look happy and pose properly. 
  2. Wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin should be a priority throughout the year, not just in summer. Use a good moisturizer to protect your skin from chilly winds.
  3. Watch the weather. Warmer days may seem more pleasant but melting snow can change the entire look of your backdrop. If you are looking for light snow flurries, try and keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure that you don’t end up with melting or heavy snow. 
  4. Be flexible. If the weather isn’t exactly what you had hoped for, see if you can still make the photo session work. If you are however scheduling this session in advance, you may just have to work with the weather on that particular day. 
  5. Incorporate color. Even though fall and winter have some amazing colors to work with, why not wear a splash of color to really stand out in your photos? For example, vibrant shades of blues and greens look amazing amongst crunchy brown leaves.
  6. Plan your day. Taking your photos just after the sun rises or just before it sets will provide you with amazing lighting so try and plan your session around those times.

Take some hot tea or coffee along to make your photo session even more enjoyable and get ready for some beautiful results.


Michele is a lifestyle portrait photographer in North Oaks, Minnesota.  She photographs children and their families on location and in her studio in Northeast Minneapolis.  To schedule your next session with Michele please visit: mQn Photographer | Twin Cities Photographer or e-mail michele@mqnphotography.com