The most important thing to remember is to choose something that you and your family feel comfortable in, because, if you’re not feeling comfortable it’ll show. What you choose to wear can also impact on your experience of the shoot, if you are thinking about wardrobe malfunctions the entire time, it’s unlikely you’ll be giving out those relaxed vibes we all want from our photos 😉 I am more than happy to get on a facetime or zoom call to look at your wardrobe and help you select your pieces for the shoot. Please read the info below then message me to book this in!
Colour: I love to work with warm, earthy and neutral tones. Think olive, rust, beige, dusty pink. However, these are your images, so if your favourite top is bright blue, wear that! For family portraits and larger groups, my advice is to colour coordinate tones but not to all wear the exact same colour. A really bright red does not tend to photograph well. With a really bright white next to dark black you will loose detail in either the white or black depending on which I focus on).
The environment: You’ll probably be moving around during the shoot, walking, kneeling, sitting and sometimes even lying, especially for family shoots with young kids. Dress appropriately for the environment you’ll be photographed in. For example heels for undulating terrain such as the beach or rock hopping might not work as well as it would in a flat environment. We did a photo shoot at the beach recently and I agonised over everybody’s shoes which of course we all threw off as soon as we reached the sand. If you are photographing near a body of water then also bring a change of clothes, even if it’s just for the way home. At the beach, I always pack a towel a towel and wipes as the kids will definitely get sand on their hands and faces at some stage throughout the shoot.
The weather: Blue lips don’t look good on anybody, so look ahead at the weather forecast, factor in the temperature, and bring layers just in case this changes. The beach is often super windy so an extra layer can be handy to keep the goosebumps at bay. I am a biiiig fan of floaty dresses but keep in mind that if you are in a windy environment then you might be spending the majority of your time keeping it down 😉 If you’re not sure don’t be afraid to bring a couple of options and change into them as you need to.
Coordinating: Choosing one outfit is hard enough right?! Let alone for a whole family! My strategy is to lay it all out so you can see how the colours and textures work together. I pull out all the possible options I like from our wardrobe and then narrow it down by pairing things up or seeing where the gaps are. I take photos as I go and I can flick through these to compare which option looks better. For our last shoot, I flicked a few photos to a stylish friend who helped me narrow down my selection. Once I have the final options I can clearly see any bits and pieces that might be missing. An example below of one of my planning images from our Jan 2019 Photoshoot:
If you’re still stuck for ideas choose a favourite piece of clothing or the one piece you know for sure that someone in the family will wear and build everybody else’s garments around that. Once Ruby had a super cute mustard head wrap and I added a little mustard into everyone else’s outfits very subtly. I know this isn’t for everybody but another idea is to use a costume or dress up outfit your child loves and, bring that along too =) Once I had a whole family change into superhero costumes and they smashed it! I’ve popped in a couple of images below, or you can see the full blog post by clicking here.
Lastly, make the most of all the inspiration out there, pinterest is a great resource!
Things to avoid:
- Matchy-matchy. As tempting as it may be to all dress the same (and easy) it really takes away each individual’s uniqueness and personality to dress exactly the same. Similar colour tones are great, but not necessarily the exact same colour.
- Patterns that are really large/geometric/very colourful/highly contrasting will draw the eye. I’m not saying don’t go there at all but just be aware that the eye will focus on these strong patterns, especially if only one member of the family is dressed like this.
- For little girls – bows, sleeves, dresses can all cause slight wardrobe malfunctions when they move around. I’m not saying don’t wear these, just realise they will need to be managed on the day. Dresses will fly up, or ride up when a child is being carried so if you aren’t comfortable with a little flashing, go long, or pop something underneath. Beautiful large sleeves are on-trend at the moment, and I’m such a fan, but I’ve done a few shoots, where I’ve spent a lot of time asking a parent to pull them down so they don’t obstruct the child’s face, so this is something to keep in mind. Try the outfits and accessories on beforehand and see how they wear with movement and a little handling.
Lend Me The Dress offers an amazing range of beautiful garments you can hire in a variety of sizes and colours. Use the discount code ‘photographer20’ for 20% off. We can use these at the beach, but need to keep them out of the sand and water.
Maternity clothing can be difficult, I know I always found it tricky to find the perfect outfit when I was pregnant! The following advice really is dependant on body shape, how far you are along, and how you are carrying, but as a guide here’s what I recommend.
If you are comfortable with a form-fitting garment, this is ideal as with baggy clothing as it is easy to lose the baby bump shape and it means you have to constantly hold your belly if you want to show the curve. This can look a little unnatural and limits movement and posing options.
Do an underwear check, I know that when I was pregnant, my lingerie would get a little snug;) It’s best to have a partner or friend that can be honest with you double-check this before you arrive! Bring a couple of garment options if you aren’t sure.
In the images below you can see the black outfit I was in blended into the green environment and my baby bump got a little lost. With the black dress and the shape of it you can’t really tell I’m pregnant from the front! Having a light or white option to change into can be great if you are photographing in a darker environment.
HAIR & MAKEUP
If you’d like to look into having hair and make up done, these are a few of the gals I recommend that I know will 100% look after you and have you looking your best. Each will have their own individual prices and availability so please contact them to organise along side your session if it’s something you would like.
WHAT TO BRING
If you’re bringing things to location, try bring it all in one bag so nothing gets lost. (A backpack is best as I can wear it for you while we shoot)
It is a good idea to bring a drink and some small snacks ( nothing too messy or that will stain clothing), for little ones who seem to burn a lot of energy very quickly.
Something to do
If you have active younger kids who have a limited attention span it can help to bring something your child enjoys playing with. A toy, a favourite outfit, bike, musical instrument, balloons etc. Click here to see an example of a family that choose to use balloons and bikes to keep their two active boys happy during the shoot! A favourite toy or cuddly can calm them down if they are feeling overwhelmed during the session but if you don’t want this in all the photos leave it at home!
When I am photographing your newborn please feel free to include any items you would like to use that are special to you. It is helpful to have on hand some wraps in case your baby is unsettled (non-patterned if possible).
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SHOOT?
I approach most of my shoots in the same way, here is a rough guideline of what you can expect. In the beginning, I will often chat and at the same time I will be scouting the area we are shooting in for the best light, sometimes I don’t shoot a single image for the first 5-10 minutes. I’ll usually start with poses that involve movement (such a walking) etc. I’ll always try to get one shot with the whole group looking at the camera and this is usually best done at the beginning of the shoot. The rest of our time together will be determined by how the kids are responding, and will usually involve casual groupings that are semi-posed or based on an activity that provides something other than the camera to focus on. If you know there is a family member that is camera shy, please let me know. It can also help to share with them some of my work in advance so they know what to expect and put their mind at ease.
Be aware that sometimes we may not need the full timeframe of the shoot, I work quickly and can capture a lot in a small amount of time. On occasion, we may need to photograph for slightly longer. Sometimes children need to stop to eat, breastfeed or have some time out if they are misbehaving or just need a break 😉
Engagement or couples shoot
I’ll often start this session by offering suggestions for relaxed and candid posing that will be super flattering for you both. If this is an engagement shoot I will also walk you through the approach I will take for your portrait session on the wedding day so you are well prepared for the day.
I approach this more like an engagement shoot or if children are also involved like a family shoot. We’ll use movement, walking, and non-cheesy poses. A lot of women are self-conscious about their pregnant figure. Don’t worry I’ll pose you in a flattering way. If there is anything specific you are worried about please let me know in advance. I have found that Dad’s to-be sometimes feel a bit apprehensive about what the shoot is going to involve. Have a chat about this in advance and if it helps to show them some of my work you like to put their mind at ease.
Newborns are in a league of their own and are in their own little time zone, a great way to photograph them is asleep, so a good feed about 20 minutes before I arrive is recommended. Don’t panic if your baby suddenly is not tired at all, your images will still be beautiful with their eyes open. The newborn session can go longer than a regular shoot, this allows for additional feeding time, cuddles, settling, a nappy change or two and of course the shoot itself. If it is cold have a heater handy that can be moved from room to room if need be. If you use white noise to settle your baby please have this ready. I usually shoot newborn images in the room with the most natural window light. If this is your master bedroom one way to prepare before I arrive is to clear your bedside drawers, or just remove anything distracting. I will usually use the bed in this room and a light coloured sheet or duvet is ideal to have to cover the bed.
Children are unpredictable, so it’s my job to be ready for anything!! Family shoots can feel chaotic and full of energy, don’t apologise if this is how your session plays out, this is just kids being kids!! Some parents get frustrated because their children aren’t doing exactly as they’re asked, but it is often those unpredictable moments make the best shots. Don’t worry I have never had a shoot that was a complete disaster yet, and usually parents are surprised at the results. So relax and join in with what your kids are doing as much as possible. Children match your energy, so if you can show you are having fun, they will certainly join in, making for relaxed and candid images of you all.
No cheese please!
Please don’t worry about having your children say cheese! We will have much more fun ways of getting natural spontaneous & genuine expressions, from you and your children by way of play, singing & dancing for example. I will often photograph children away from parents for a bit so that they will focus only on me and my silly jokes, as they often will behave for a stranger, and this can make all the difference. Other than that, remember this session is showing you and your family with all the little quirks and things that make you unique, so relax and enjoy!
Day in the life sessions
Although I approach this session in a documentary style and you don’t have to be doing anything apart from going about your normal routines it does help to have some fun activities or traditions that you can participate in as a family up your sleeve. For example, making cookies together, playing a favourite game, bath time, reading books, fruit picking, etc. While I won’t ‘pose’ you I may ask you to move into better light, and shift a few things around the room if they are really detracting from the image.