I love capturing lives, stories and moments with my camera, making true connections with the families I photograph. Every session is different, every family is unique.
This blog post offers some tips & info for your family session with me...
Time of day
As a natural light photographer, 90% of the time I don't book sessions anytime around midday. I book both mornings and afternoons because this is when the light is best. Just after sunrise and not long before sunset, when the sun is low on the horizon (the golden hours) - this is when I love to shoot. The light is beautiful, soft and saturated. It truly will make a difference to your final photos! Of course an overcast day is also great but as everyone knows there's something special about the light at sunrise and sunset.
What to wear
Family photos are an investment and I believe what you choose to wear for your photos is important to consider. What you wear for your family session can make a big difference and usually it's not until afterwards when you see the photographs that you realise this. If you're wondering what might look great for photos here's some pointers:
Start with colour
The easiest place to start wardrobe planning is with your colour palette. Think coordinated, not “matched”. Co-ordinated outfits provide a subtle cohesiveness to your photos. I suggest sticking to a couple of colours and pick out clothes for the family within this colour range. For example: tones of blue, with neutrals such as greys and creams. Or complimentary pastel colours of pink, cream, soft blues etc. Your goal is to create a pulled together, coordinated look that’s natural without being overly “matchy” or “uniformed”.
Add interest with layers & accessories
Using layers and accessories is a great way to add visual interest and create different “looks” for each family member during your session. Simply adding or removing items like sweaters, coats or scarves can give you a quick “wardrobe change” between shots. Carefully chosen accessories like scarves, statement jewelry, or a favourite hat are fun touches of personal style and personality. Necklaces, scarves, belts etc - all add texture to your photos and can add to your outfit.
What to avoid
Avoid clothes with large or bold graphics, text or distracting patterns. These can cause distractions in your photos and sometimes don't photograph well. Black and whites are great, but don't go all white or all black. Break it up if you can. Large areas of black and white in photographs can become flat or lack detail in photographs. Guys, we recommend that you avoid patterns that are smaller than a coin. For example: a checkered shirt. These small patterns can create strange visual effects in a digital camera.
Your home plays a role
Also consider where your portraits are going to be displayed in your home. For larger canvases or framed prints, perhaps intended as the focal point of a family room or dining room, consider your wall colours and the overall décor and style in those rooms as you plan your wardrobe choices.
Looking & feeling your best
When it comes to what you wear, consider how an outfit sits on your body. You want your outfit to outline & add curves to your silhouette, so you don't want anything too loose or baggy that doesn't provide you any shape at all. Take a look through my past blogs for some inspiration - you will see how different outfits, colours and accessories change the look and feeling of photos. There’s no rules to how dressed up you need to be, tidy casual is just as effective! Most importantly be comfortable & confident in what you wear. And don’t forget that I am here to help! I’m happy to offer guidance for the style & look you want to achieve and help prepare you for your portrait session so that you get the most from your portraits.
Children & smiles
My favourite photographs are natural, genuine moments that show connection, emotion and character. I find that 99% of the time asking a child to smile does not produce a true, natural smile. Let me as the photographer work for those smiles. It's my job to ensure you all have a fun, relaxed time during your family portrait shoot.
With children I often find one person behind me (usually making fun of me) is a great way to get some giggles out of a child. But having all the family standing spread out behind me talking to a child when I'm taking individual portraits doesn't work. A child can only look in one place at a time & most often in this scenario its not at me. I have taken some of my favourite portraits of children when I'm just following them around, letting them do their own thing. If I can get a child to warm to me and get five minutes with just them and my camera I often get that shot where it all just works. There's connection, its natural and it becomes the shot Mum wants framed on the wall.
Session Length & Location
I don't set time limits on my portrait sessions. Every family is unique and every story is different. Some take 30 minutes, others take over an hour. Many factors influence the timeframe but most importantly it's about being relaxed, having some fun and getting the shots you want.
Family sessions are usually taken at one or two locations. Often locations special to the family; such as on the family farm or the park where you often go with the children. I will discuss this with you when planning your session. And don't be surprised if I see a certain location during the session and decide we have to use it. I am always looking for good light and backgrounds that will work photographically. It's my job to do this for you.
Preparation is key. I will work with you on locations and ideas for your session. Take the time to think about locations & fun ideas etc. I love being able to incorporate something unique to your family into the session, whether it be using a location you always go to as a family, bringing along the family dog, letting the children bring their favourite teddy or some bubbles to blow etc. It's your family session so make sure it reflects you.
Go take a look at my previous family sessions on the blog and you'll quickly get an idea of how my family sessions work - they're fun, candid and very relaxed. Also when I send you my pricelist, this contains information pages that may help you when preparing for your session & give you an idea of what to expect.
And for all the preparation in the world just remember its okay if it doesn't all go to plan. If Miss 3 just won't smile no matter what treats I have in my camera bag, if an angry pimple makes an appearance on the day (thank you Photoshop!) or Master 5 decides to fall over in the dirt - it's okay. We'll work with what we've got and I'm all for keeping it real!
Relax & enjoy the session
My most important tip is to just relax and have fun. I know most people hate the thought of getting their photo taken, but I promise it's quite painless 😉. Getting family portraits should be a fun experience. I aim to make my family sessions laid-back, not too posed and filled with laughter.
Think of it as some special "family-time." I promise you won't regret getting your family portraits taken. Family portraits are a snapshot in time & become precious heirlooms to be enjoyed for years - one of the best parts of my job is the way my client's faces light up when they see their family portraits printed ready to go on their walls, and kids expressions when they flip through their new family album!
I hope these tips give you some ideas and guidance for you family session with me. If you have questions along the way remember I am just an email or phone call away.x