How to prepare for the family studio photoshoot?

Family photography sessions can be a little daunting for some. For all my sessions I will guide you in order to capture beautiful images. You will receive some “posed” shots, but know that I primarily document the moment together. My favourite images are those when you don’t notice me at all – laughing together or enjoying a moment. You will receive a collection of images that tell your story.

I use my understanding of my equipment and natural light to create images that will become works of art that you can hang in your home and pass down for generations. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your session with me:

1. WHAT TO WEAR

Comfortable clothes but not too casual

Make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable, but look good. Dress everyone how you would if you were headed to a party.

Keeping it simple

Sticking to a simple colour palette means that your photos will be harmonious. This doesn’t mean all dressing the same. Try to coordinate colours rather than match them.

Choosing your colour palette

Neutral colours with soft, flowing fabrics and textures are great…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, greys, and slate blues. Want a pop of colour and a bit of an edge to your look? Choose coordinating colours (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colours, such as hues of grey with yellow or bright red accents.

Suggested clothing colour combinations …

portrait-preparation-7

Props

I do not use props during my sessions, however, if you have something in mind please let me know. The best props are always something real and relevant to you as a family, something that means something to you. Think about what your family likes doing together, the photo-shoot should reflect who you are as a family. Any extras like sunglasses and hats are always great for photo-shoots. Things to bring might include, musical instruments, favourite toys or even fancy dress.

Things to avoid

There are some things that are best avoided, in particular:

  • Avoid large logos, pictures, busy patterns and bold stripes; some patterns are fine as long as they aren’t too dominant.
  • Ideally you should try to avoid everybody wearing matching colours such as just blue jeans and white tops; similarly, don’t have everybody wearing exactly the same colour; such looks might have been popular in the past but today they are out-dated.
  • Avoid uncomfortable clothes. A family photo shoot should be a great deal of fun; stuffy uncomfortable clothes will make you and the children look uncomfortable in the photographs.
  • Don’t have everybody wearing trainers, in fact, avoid trainers altogether if possible.

2. YOUR CHILDREN

For family sessions, leave the children to me – I’m a dad of two boys. I get it. Don’t worry if the children are being children – that’s ok, in fact, these are some of the best images!

Remember that it can backfire if children are told to pose or smile, and they can sense when parents are frustrated. Most of the images of children on my site are when they were running around with me close by to capture the moment.

For shots of the whole family, I usually direct the adults to simply “be” with the child or hold the child and we go from there.

Remember, to get the most out of your session, make sure that your little one is well-rested and adequately fed. I prefer to keep snacks at the end of the session, but we will take mini-breaks for water and play, however, I will continue to shoot during these breaks. Bring non-messy snacks and water so their little faces stay clean during the session.

Prepare the child for the session by letting them know that a friend will be taking some photos of them, it’s best not to surprise them. And show them my picture and the galleries on my website!

3. GRAB A BITE

Be certain not to book in your family photography session around the kids’ nap or bedtime, or things could go downhill real quick. Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. I meet many families who come to a photo session with lunch or dinner planned after. If this is your plan, be sure to grab a quick bite before the photo shoot.

4. DON’T LEAVE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE

If I had a dollar for every time a family arrived late for a family photography session I’d be a very rich man. It’s doesn’t worry me so much, but for you… Rushing around before a photo shoot, throwing clothes on the kids and screaming like a mad person can set the mood for your shoot. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganised it can take a bit of the fun out of it for you. These are memories you’re making here, so you want them to be happy ones. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

5. HAVE FUN

Don’t be afraid to get close uncomfortably in the group photos. Show your family members how much you love and appreciate them for being there. Have fun, laugh, joke, hug it out, kiss, wrestle… Doing these things means I don’t need to ask you on the day and avoids it feeling more staged. It also allows me to capture your family as themselves however loving/chaotic they may be.

AS FAR AS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME…

My sessions are pretty casual and relaxed, running about an hour. I will get a range of photos of you with your kids, the kids by themselves, and you and your partner or whatever the theme is. Then I pretty much let the kids go nuts. Nothing is forced, I’m very much going with the flow because having kids myself I know it’s the only way they will let you go… and really, that’s when you get the best, most genuine (and chaotic) photos, and if you have any ideas you’d like to add into the mix I’m happy to accommodate.

I can’t wait to capture your family! Do not hesitate to ask me any questions.

See you soon!

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