Tips to help you have a great family photoshoot
Usually when we book a photoshoot we think of having photos, but the best way to have great, authentic photos is to have a good time to start with, then the photos record that and are the cherry on the cake.
The first thing is good communication:
- let me know what you like and don’t like, before and during the shoot. I’m happy to try your ideas, but do also go with mine if at all possible, trust me, if you like my photos and my style, just enjoy the session.
- Do let me know if anyone has special needs- whether it’s physical or any other need and if you can help me tailor the session so it’s enjoyable for everyone.
- Tell me what the kids or teens are into, what makes them smile, laugh, what they are passionate about, so we have a common ground from the start. If the kids are happy, often the parents relax. I used to be a primary teacher, I like kids and enjoy playing with them.
- While I try to get photos where people look at the camera some of the time, it’s not necessary. Photos where people interact are full of stories and substories and can be much more interesting.
To have a great time, everyone needs to be comfortable and happy so here are a few pointers. For everyone: it might be good to have a rug to sit on or check if you’re happy sitting on the floor/ trees, rocks..
For the children please bring these during the shoot (don’t leave them in the car)
- a change of clothes – socks and bottom- especially if there is water or mud nearby
- favourite/ comforting toy
Location- some pointers:
- Even in winter there are beautiful areas outdoors. In winter it’s best to avoid bare branches as the “stag” look doesn’t suit humans usually, so we look for tall grasses, ferns, evergreens..
- Going into a play area, climbing trees, , building dens, having a picnic, a game of football, all great ways to capture people in action. I also have activities and games for people to do together.
- The best light is 1-2 hours after sunrise and before sunset. Otherwise we need soft shade, not dappled shade. Shooting in the sun means people squint and /or have dark shadows on their faces, not a great look.
- Indoors is best near a window with lots of light but no direct sunshine.
- Paddling in water is great fun, in boots or barefoot if it’s warm. For adults too! If we go near water when it’s warm, please bring some insect repellant (I always forget)
- the rule of thumb is to have everyone’s clothes as if one person was going to wear them so it’s all about harmony rather than uniform!
- Avoid logos, writing, big patterns, anything that detracts from the faces.
- You can- but don’t have to dress for the season- not just in terms of weather, but colours. Or choose colours you like in the house so when the prints are up it’s in harmony.
- Don’t worry about shoes, I don’t often take full length portraits and when I do people look at your face, not your shoes. Having said that avoid fluorescent or shocking colour shoes, may be
- If you want to bring different outfits or props, or accessories, do!
- Hats are difficult to shoot with as they hide your eyes so if it’s sunny we’ll look for shade. Same thing for sunglasses or darkening glasses.
- Rules are there to be broken so if there is something that is very YOU, go for it, stand out, be original, it really is fine!
- Have a look on the blog at what people have worn, you’ll see that everything can work as long as you feel good in it.
If you want a theme: 1940s, vintage, circus, sci fi.. let’s do it! why not? If the kids want their own shoot, with their ideas, let’s do it too, we can mix and match, we can do anything and everything so everyone is happy.
If it’s a big party, we’ll have a mix of big group, small groups, couples, family units, siblings, and any combination possible to capture the relationships within the family, from grandparents and grand-children to auntie and niece or favourite cousins. Ideally I can take couples and small groups away from everyone looking at them so each time is special and nobody feels too self conscious. We’ll also make time and space for natural shots, so have a picnic, a game, a walk, play with the dogs, jump on the trampoline …