My 10 Family Photo Shoot Tips

Family Photo Shoot 2

After much gentle persuasion my husband has finally agreed to book a family photography session. I love taking pictures for other people and have my nose behind a camera every day snapping away at the boys, but I never seem to have many with me in them! I've found this lovely local photographer Blue Daisy Photography whose style I adore, her Cornish wedding was featured on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, (it was love at first sight when I saw the studio reception) and we are off on Saturday to meet her for our session.

Claire is totally up for a location shoot rather than in the studio (unless it pours!) I just love the idea of her being able to capture the boys in the fresh air, somewhere they can explore and have fun. Although her studio with it's wooden floor boards will be just as lovely if we are unlucky with the British Winter.

I have the perfect place in mind. I'll let you know how we get on and I can't wait to share the photos!

I'm hoping that I can draw on my own experience and really enjoy the session.

Here are my top 10 tips:

  1. Location - If your photographer offers either studio or location, explore the outdoor option. Especially if you prefer the natural style of photography. I try a mix of the home studio backdrop and out in the garden. Even just to break up the session as children get bored so easily.
  2. Props - Have you got a favourite mirror, painting or chair? Take it with you! I'll be taking some bunting, the red wagon and giant numbers with us.
  3. Make an effort and plan - You are paying good money for these photos so don't look as though you have just come home from the school run in the rain! You don't have to look like you are off to a ball either, but look your best! Take a hairbrush and touch up makeup with you, as sessions can run up to a couple of hours.
  4. Talk to your photographer - Research their style, look through all their gallery images online and make sure their style matches yours. Don't be afraid to talk to them in advance and chat through what you hope to get out of the session. Think about angles and poses to avoid. My boys have inherited my attractive double chin so I always shoot people from slightly above which slims your face. Use what God gave you! I am tall but often slouch, which can make me look like I have no neck! I shall be standing tall on Saturday.
  5. Hands and arms - Avoid unfortunate positioning especially with children. You don't want to blow up a photo onto a canvas with your hand on someone's crotch. Hold your arms away from your body to avoid the squashed and flattened look.
  6. Time - You need to work fast with little ones and bring non staining snacks. Mine love the carrot stick crisps but they leave an awful orange stain. Think dry and non chocolately like raisins, fruit buttons or crackers! Talk to them beforehand if they are old enough and explain what you are going to do. Don't make them feel rushed, they will dig their heels in. I shot a family last weekend who had spent the morning out and when I got there at 1pm, as arranged, hadn't had time to feed the children a proper lunch. Sure enough after 20 minutes the 2 year old was fed up and grouchy and refused to join in. So plan ahead. Make sure everyone is fed and happy and work round babies nap times, don't expect them to change their routine for one day.
  7. Be realistic -The whole point of the session is to capture your family. You won't look like the family in the department store adverts because they are not real! Don't squeeze into those skinny jeans either that might make you feel great (even if you can't breathe) because a muffin top is definitely not flattering in photos! The more comfortable you are the more it will show in the photographs.
  8. Think about where you will display your photos - It's not about quantity but quality. I specifically chose a photographer who offers a digital package as I want to create a photo book. I love mixing and matching detailed shots in between natural and formal posed ones. I'd like one to use as a cheesy family holiday card too so we will have a few in our Christmas jumpers! But the rest need to be more classic in styling as I don't want Christmas photos up all year round.
  9. Trust - Trust your photographer and try and enjoy it! I've waited 18 months to have this special time recorded by a professional and I am determined to make the most of it! And look at the camera! It's the photographer's job to get your kids to look at the camera not yours. So try and resist the temptation to point at the camera and say look at this! Here is my post on getting your kids to look at the camera.
  10. Clothing -Try coordinating your outfits without matching. I adore the boys in matching outfits but for these photos I have put together a set of outfits that tie us all together. I loved this post from US based photographer Kristen Duke, which encourages you to lay out your chosen outfits on the floor beforehand. Here's a handy guide to help you. I always suggest bright colours that compliment each other. Avoid large logos or slogans that may look dated in a few years. I saw this great post from Julia Boggio about using a colour wheel. Avoid clashing patterns but don't be afraid to be bold. Steer clear of the traditional matching jeans and white shirts look which can look dated.

Here is what we will be wearing. I know a lot of photographers say avoid stripes but the boys live in stripes so I am going to ignore that rule!

If I could magic a set of family photos these would be it! Natural but coordinated. Great location and use of props. Ok so we don't own a vintage car or live in a rustic fresh farmhouse but there is nothing wrong with being inspired!

Have you had a family photo session? Were you pleased with the results?! I'd love to know any thing you learnt when you were there, to help us on Saturday!

ps luckily the photographer is a dog lover and expert at pet photography so we might sneak Mabel and Moose into a couple of shots! I have got their red and blue bandanas out ready!

ps. if you'd like to see the finished photos click HERE.