So you’ve booked your family photography shoot and now started to wonder how to prepare for it? Don’t worry there’s nothing complicated about it and it’s likely to be one of the most fun and memorable things you do with your family. However, I do get asked quite a few questions before a scheduled session so I figured I’d put together a short blog post outlining a few hints and tips, which I hope you’ll find helpful.
Relax and Get Comfortable
Family Shoots are a great opportunity to take some time out and enjoy being together.
I approach my family and baby portrait sessions much like I do my wedding photography by being unobtrusive and capturing really fun, relaxed and unposed moments of your family. I don’t intend on coming into your home and bothering the kids with ways to look at the camera. I’ll leave them to be themselves and just capture as much of their personality as I can.
Where should we have our family shoot?
Well, this depends on the age of your children really, but essentially the shoot can take place wherever you’d like it to. More specifically where ever suits your family best. If you’ve booked a Baby Shoot and your baby is less than 2 weeks old then I’d expect your photography session to take place at your home. It’s a great time to capture some really intimate moments of you all.
If your kids are a little older then the shoot can also be a location that you really like the look of and you think might make for some nice pictures when you imagine them printed in a frame up on the wall of your living room. Just a note on permissions – some locations, such as country houses etc, may require that you get permission to have a photography session there. It’s always best to check first.
But don’t stress. If you’re stuck and can’t think of a location then let me know. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot at some great places so I can always make some suggestions and help you find a location for our family shoot.
PRE-SHOOT TIP: You know your family and you know your kids, so pick something that they will enjoy and what they’ll be comfortable with. If they like to stay at home and play with their toys, great! Let’s capture that. If they are happiest running around the park or playing in the garden, that works too.
Should we get any props?
Baby shoots are a great opportunity to capture some of the earliest moments with your newborn. It’s a beautiful thing and so I approach my baby portrait sessions with a mix of moments with you and your baby and some really simple uncomplicated portraits.
I’ll generally avoid using props and unnaturally posing babies during these sessions. I really love to encourage parents getting involved instead. Babies love a cuddle, so it’s good to keep them happy I say! I believe it’s best to have your babies items in these photos, so I won’t bring blankets or anything that doesn’t belong in your home. I’m there to capture YOUR baby create memories about YOUR life.
Here’s a few more specific things to consider ahead of your baby shoot;
- Keep the house nice and warm to keep the little one nice and comfy.
- Book your shoot around the time that best suits your baby, but I usually find mid morning to early afternoon work well.
- Try and keep them awake before our shoot so they can take a little nap for our pictures.
- It’s fine if they need feeding/changing mid shoot.
BABY SHOOT TIP: If you do have special blankets or sentimental toys these can make for some really special pictures, but they aren’t essential.
What do we wear?
Black or White? Spots or Strips?
This is bit of a grey area if I must be honest. I want to say keep it smart but casual as these pictures will be for you for many many years. So you want to look back at these pictures and always remember how great you looked. Here’s a few things to consider;
- Try not to wear cloths with heavy branding, they can be bit of a distraction.
- If we’re going out to a location avoid bringing a bag if you can or maybe consider a smaller bag as you’ll need your hands for hold, and cuddling!
- If it’s cold, make sure you wrap up warm as we’ll be outside for an hour or two.
- Last, but not least, shoes! Although I want you to look amazing from tip to toe, if we are heading to a park or forest, we might get a tinnie bit muddy. Not knee deep in mud of course, but if you’d prefer to keep footwear as clean as they started, please let me know ahead of the shoot. Especially if I am arranging the location of the shoot because I love a walk through the forest.
- BRING SNACKS! Kids get hungry, and thirsty so don’t forget to bring along a little something to keep them happy.
At the end of the day, wear what makes you feel comfortable. These photos should show your personality and represent your family. So just relax and be yourselves and wear what makes you all feel comfortable.
Just be yourselves
All you need to do is just cuddle and have fun.
I find it easy to read when people don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, it’s one of my special powers! No really. Ok, well it’s not exactly a power but bit of a skill I’ve picked up and I can read this in people and this always shows in photographs. So I’ll do everything I can to make you and your family feel relaxed when I’m around taking pictures so you can really enjoy your time together and we can get some amazing photographs of you all.
For me, portraits during your couple shoot are simply candid moments of you all together and so I simply place you in a spot that compliments you with good, creative light just shoot away. It’s great fun for both of us and at some points, you’ll forget I’m even there. So just relax and be yourselves. If you feel like you want to laugh, do it. If you feel like you want a little cry do it! Who am I to stand in your way – family sessions are about you and your family so every photograph should show a little piece of you all.
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