Family is everything isn’t it? I think we are all feeling the importance of family ties even more after a difficult year of lockdowns, social restrictions and not being able to do some of the things we used to take for granted.
That’s why it’s so important, perhaps now more than ever, to make some positive and lasting memories with the ones you love, and a family photo session is the perfect way to do that. However, you may be feeling a little apprehensive, particularly if you’re not used to being in front of the camera or if you haven’t done anything like this before.
I’ve put together a few little bits of advice that may help you in the lead up to your shoot, but don’t forget you can always pick up the phone or email and ask me anything you’re really not sure of.
It’s OK to be nervous. But be excited too!
Your feelings of apprehension are perfectly normal. Unless you’re a trained and experienced model, I wouldn’t expect you to know exactly how to pose, how to behave or what to expect from the shoot. These are all things that I’m here to help you with. My sessions are very relaxed and we will spend as much time chatting and getting to know each other as we will taking photos. This will help put everyone at ease and stop you from over thinking about the camera. Anyway, often the ‘bloopers’ make for the best images – I absolutely love this one below from a summer shoot at the Pershore Confetti Fields – no matter how long you spend setting up the perfect shot, photographing four young children is always going to invite some kind of drama…embrace it, have fun, laugh lots!
What to Wear
This is a question that I get asked a lot by clients in the run up to their photo session. Most of my photo shoots take place outdoors so my best piece of advice is to dress for your chosen location. I remember once, on arriving at an engagement shoot at Kinver Edge (think woods, sand, uneven ground, big hills here…) the bride-to-be was wearing a pair of absolutely gorgeous, but enormously high, stiletto heels. She looked incredible, but I think the shoes lasted about ten minutes before she admitted defeat! I got some really fun shots of her being given a piggy back by her fiancé though!
So, if you’ve chosen a lovely countryside walk for the basis of your shoot, wear comfortable shoes. If you’ve opted for a beach shoot, perhaps shorts and sandals would work better. You want the photographs to look natural and genuine and dressing for your location will really help with this.
I’d advise sticking to plain clothing, rather than anything with heavily patterns or logos. These can be distracting in the photographs and take away from what we really want to focus on – the emotion and fun. You may also wish to wear similar colours to the rest of the people on the shoot so nothing clashes heavily when you’re stood or sat together.
For outdoor shoots, light colours work well in the spring and summer as you’ll stand out from the colourful backgrounds better. Autumnal shoots work great with earthly colours or whites, to either compliment the surroundings or to keep it neutral and really make the colours in the trees pop. Winter shoots are all about the layers! Cosy, comfy, hoods, boots, big coats – not only will you feel much warmer and more comfortable, you can get some really snuggly photos too!
Where to Go
Are you a keen hiker, or does the idea of scaling a mountain make you want to hide away for a week? Maybe you love going for walks through the woods with your dog. Perhaps your kids love the local park. There are SO many places you could choose from for your photography session and there is never a “one-size-fits-all” option.
That’s why I don’t often take the lead on deciding the location for your shoot. Being based in Kidderminster, locations within ten miles of my home are included int he shoot cost, with places further afield being a little extra, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go wherever you’d like to! I’ve travelled down to Dorset with a couple for their engagement session before’ It’s where they got engaged so was important to them. My point is, maybe choose somewhere that means something to you. Somewhere you like to visit as a family, somewhere you know well, that maybe hols sentimental value. That doesn’t have to be the case though – you may want to go somewhere with amazing views, or somewhere local that has pretty gardens. You may want to stay home and have the shoot in your house or garden. The choice is entirely yours!
One thing to note though; some privately owned places (for example some National Trust or English Heritage sites) ask for advance notice and approval for professional photographers, so if your chosen location requires you to purchase entry tickets, it’s worth checking first so you don’t waste your money if they don’t allow it.
Keep it Personal and Be Yourselves
Often, the first thing I get told when arriving for a family session is that one of the family members hates having their photograph taken, or is super nervous. Well here’s the thing…it’s really rare for me to work with a family, couple or individual who LOVES being in front of the camera. It’s simply not something a lot of us find comfortable, and because of this, it’s easy to put on a front, behave in a way you feel you should – this can often be more formal and reserved than you usually are.
Try to relax – I will help you with this. My sessions are fun, adaptive, and much more about your relationship as a family and your personalities than they are about awkward posing. Just have fun with your partner, your children, your pets – the rest will come naturally and the photos will be gorgeous.
A good photograph is one that makes us feel something. Makes us feel how we felt when it was taken, or makes us feel strongly about the subject(s). You’re with the people you love the most so we are already halfway there – the rest is just about having some fun and being you!
Invest in Prints or an Album
Yep, OK. This is where it gets slightly biased on my part as a photographer. But I just feel this is SO important.
In printed form, as an album, your images will be passed on physically through the generations of your family. Your children, your grandchildren, maybe even your great-great-grandchildren, will touch these pages and learn about you from them. It will forge a link across years that not much else can. Plus, I just feel there is something so much more valuable and important in the shape of printed photographs over digital files.
Don’t fancy an album? Then why not some gorgeous artwork for your walls? Something that you can look at everyday to make you smile. I offer a range of canvas, acrylic, aluminium and framed prints.
For more information on booking me for your family shoot, please click here to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!