Missoula, Montana photographer specializing in families, love stories, intimate weddings & elopements. 

Want meaningful family photos? 5 tips on how to get the most from your session.

 Beauty in the realistic and authentic.

Beauty in the realistic and authentic.

Some of my favorite mementos of my childhood are the images of me and my 8 siblings crammed into our minivan and ready to head off to a family vacation. Or the images of my parents, looking so youthful and hip, with their trendy clothes and hairstyles, speaking to the adage of yes they were young once.

These images mean something because they provide a more clear picture of my past, my siblings, and what growing up in a family of 11 looked like. Studio photos are lovely, but the candid moments of the messiness and beauty of real life are missing from them. Despite the authenticity of how in-home family sessions look, many people are intimidated by the aspect of having a to have a clean home or fussing over preparing your house and your kids for pictures.  Here are a few tips to push through the discomfort and allow yourself to enjoy an in-home session while creating images for your family history.

1.  Acknowledge you feel the need to have a perfectly clean house- and dismiss it. I get it. The thought of wrestling tiny humans into clean clothes while keeping their hair presentable is daunting enough, and then add in the pressure of a clean house too? Yikes, not only is that stressful, it is unrealistic.  Take a step back and acknowledge that no one’s house is clean or perfect- and remember to focus on the content of what your capturing( You interacting with your family) and not a perfectly decorated house.

2. Focus on 1-2 rooms to shoot in- tidy them up, but not to the point where your kids don’t recognize it.

3.Dress appropriately. Mothers, this tip is for you- because if you don’t feel beautiful and comfortable for the shoot, then that will set the whole tone for the shoot. Pick an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable, and then coordinate the rest of the family off of you. If you are planning on an activity throughout the shoot, then take that into account. If you are jumping on the bed or running through mud puddles, sunday best clothing might not work as well as a casual outfit.

4. Pick an activity that your family loves to do together, and have your photographer shoot that. You will be relaxed, your kids will forget the stranger with the camera, and your images will be candid, and capture the things your family actually does together.

5. Have fun! Forget perfection, forget all of the weird pressures we put on ourselves daily. Be in the moment with your family and allow the photographer to frame that beautifully.

The Journal



I photograph adventurous, fun families and couples throughout Montana, including Billings, Bozeman, Glacier, Red Lodge, and Missoula.

Welcome! i'm abby.


abigail maki