The Family Cookbook Timeline


Coordinating a family photo session can be a lot of work. Add in rounding up your family recipes and designing a custom cookbook, and the whole thing can get a little confusing. So, from start to finish, here is a look at what a typical Family Cookbook process looks like.


Pre-Session Prep

I typically recommend that families book their session at least two months in advance to accommodate for prep work and schedules. It’s nice to have a little wiggle room to breathe before the actual shoot, but some families don’t need this much time. In order to gauge how much time you might need, here is what needs to be done before the camera starts clicking.

  1. Gather Recipes: I ask clients to send me their recipes at least two weeks before their session so I can have an idea of what the rough layout of their cookbook will look like. I also like a lot of communication, so you won’t be alone in your recipe process! We’ll be in touch over email, phone and/or Skype to figure out what works best for you. I like to take as much work as possible off my clients shoulders, but in the weeks before your session, you’ll need to gather up your recipes, wherever they might be. If they are already printed in old books or print-offs, all you need to do is snap a picture with your phone or scan them and send them to me. If your recipes are handwritten, you can send them to me, scan them, or type them up yourself. If your recipes aren’t written down at all, you can do that yourself or I can help with that as part of you session. For more info on preparing your recipes for print, check out this blog post.

  2. Coordinate Family Members: Just want some bonding time with Grandma? Or is cooking a big affair for your entire extended family? However big or small you want your session to be, we can do it. Coordinating family can be a lot like herding cats, but if you have enough time before your session, getting everyone in one room is achievable. If you are planning on having all the aunties, uncles, and cousins participate, you might consider renting a larger kitchen space to accommodate everyone. You can see more about preparing your kitchen space here.

  3. Organizing Details: The week leading up to your session is for smaller details, like wardrobe choices (check out my What (Not) to Wear Guide here), grocery shopping, and picking out special session items. I love styling foods with items that are unique to each family, so if you have any special dishes, cutlery, linens, etc., pull them out and let’s have some fun with your finished products.

During Your Session

The No. 1 thing I get asked about a Family Cookbook session is how many recipes can be made during the shoot time. Short answer: As many as you want. Long answer: It depends…

  1. How Long Do Your Dishes Take to Make? The basic Family Cookbook package includes three hours of shoot time. This is typically enough time for two or three dishes, but it completely depends on the recipe. If you’re not quite sure what to make, let’s talk about it. You can always add more shoot time to your package and I even offer multi-day sessions if you want to chronicle everything.

Post-Session: Designing Your Book

After the cooking whirlwind is over, it’s time to sit back and wait. From the day of your shoot to the day you receive your finished cookbook is a minimum of 7 weeks, which looks like this:

  1. Your Edited Image Gallery
    You’ll receive a private gallery of your edited high resolution images about 3 weeks after your session. You’ll be able to download them, order prints, share with your friends and family, and choose your favorites for your cookbook.

  2. First Proof of Your Cookbook
    One week after you choose your favorite photos, you’ll receive an electronic first draft of your cookbook, where you can add comments and make changes. You can also decide to add more pages if you want more room in your book.

  3. Final Cookbook Proof
    Up to 3 rounds of editing take place to make your cookbook perfect. It’s your responsibility to make sure your recipes are accurate and your photos are how you want them. The final proof stage is also where you’ll decide your cookbook’s cover material and color, choose an image for the cover, and personalize the text on the spine and cover. You can also order multiple copies of your cookbook for all your family members. Your additional copies are half off when they are ordered at the same time as your original.

  4. Your Cookbook Goes to Print
    Once your cookbook is approved, it goes to print and is shipped back to me for final inspection. I make sure all my clients’ books are perfect before sending them on. You’ll receive your book approximately 3 weeks after it goes to print.

    This is just a brief overview of what The Family Cookbook process is like. You’ll receive the full prep guide after booking and I am available to walk you through every step to make sure your cookbook experience is wonderful and creates fun memories.


Thanks for reading! Documenting family food stories is something of immense joy, and I would love to tell your story. Get more information about The Family Cookbook as well as pricing by filling out the form below.


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