Today I want to talk to you about some tips I have to help you prepare for a family photo session. Some of it is obvious, and some not so much.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Make sure that everyone knows what’s going to happen.
This is the ultimate basic photography session tip. It’s hard to prep small kids for anything in advance, but generally making sure they’re not hungry or sleepy is a good start.
2. Read from the same hymn sheet.
Generally my photography sessions are very relaxed, and I hate it when everyone stands stock still with a rictus grin, so if you have a family that likes to get outdoors and play then we’re onto a winner. However, if your expectations are different to mine then we need to reassess. I don’t mind doing more posed kinds of shots, but I do need to know about this in advance.
3. Don’t worry about being camera shy.
Pretty much everyone I know hates having their photograph taken. Me included! It’s one of the main reasons why I opt for natural light, unposed subjects and no studio. It helps to relax us all. And I’m not afraid to do something stupid to make you laugh – whatever it takes to get a shot of you showing genuine warmth and character.
Little kids are spectacularly camera confident. They often want to explore the camera themselves and that’s absolutely fine with me.
4. Think about what you’re going to wear.
If you’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of family, that’s fine. I’m more than happy with that. If you want to jazz it up a little with your outfit choice then that’s fine too. I suppose something that I’m aware of is sometimes families can look too matchy-matchy, when everyone’s wearing dark trousers and blue tops. It’s good to look different enough that you don’t match. Some muted tones can be beneficial because that way you’ll notice the feeling in your photographs more than what you wore that day.
5. Show up.
Obviously, you have to attend your own session, but that’s not what I mean. I mean show up ready to have your photo taken. Try not to argue in the car. Make sure you’re ready to take part. I don’t need you brimming with bubbly enthusiasm (because I’m never like that myself). I do need you ready to go.
6. If you want to get an image to hang on your wall, say so.
This is perhaps the thing that people often overlook. Do you want an album? Do you want a canvas or large print to display in your home? If I know about these things in advance then I can really work out what’s going to work best and get the perfect shot with you.
7. Choose a location you actually like.
If you’re not a rugged/windswept kind of person do you want to go to the Peak District? Yes, it’s beautiful, but will those images speak to you? Would you be happier in your garden, with your dog? I’m very flexible in where I’ll go for a photo session, so don’t be afraid to ask. I love unique locations, and will happily scout locations out if you’re thinking about them but aren’t sure.
8. Enjoy the session!
It’s not a serious thing, just a way for future-you to remember your family at a particular time.
I always try to keep things fun and lighthearted, and hope that comes across in your photographs. We take so many photos on our phones these days that a proper photo session is a really special thing, so make the most of it.