Professional family photography is a wonderful annual event for your family. A chance to come together in a beautiful location and have moments captured with you all present together as a family! So often its images of the kids, or one parent while the other takes the photos – or of cause the awkward selfies trying to have arms long enough to fit everyone in!
So a professional family session is something special, something fun, something that adds to your memories to come.
Being a special occasion I’m sure you want to make the most of it and ensure you do all you can to work with your portrait photographer for the perfect outcome.
Below are a few things we share with our clients on helping to make your session with Natural Lights Photography the best it can be:
When talking with your photographer beforehand really think about the timing. Your photographer will have suggestions for lighting and availability, and keep in mind your kid’s nap times, moods, when they operate best. It might be first thing in the morning or more of an afternoon. Happy kids will make for the best most relaxed images.
Clothing choice is very important. Have a discussion with your photographer about what you would like and any suggestions they may have for the location and any session themes. Things to keep in mind are: Keep it Simple! Stay away from big logos and bold patterns, add some variety in with colour choices (so not everyone is white top and jeans, but add some navy or grey) work with coordinating colours with highlights. If your theme is more elegant and styles, go with flowing outfits and pastel colours. Adding some personal elements which match – such as a scarf or hat etc – makes for even more personal images. The most important thing to remember is your clothing must be comfortable. Comfortable clothing means you won’t be worrying so much about the outfits and more about enjoying the moments.
Most photographers have locations which they can recommend to suit any look and feel you would like for your family photography. You want to have a think about this to ensure you and your family are most comfortable during the session. Are you a beach family? Or park? More woodland/bush settings. Are you a studio or indoor people? Do you have a furry friend you would like to include? What do you go with them?
Each photographer will be able to suggest the ideal locations based on your families personalities and how you want your images to look and feel. Around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, there are some stunning locations we can take you to. Whether you are local or not, we know the area and can suggest some beautiful and unique spots.
4: Be rested, well fed and leave plenty of time
When preparing for your family session, its best to ensure everyone is well rested, well fed and not rushed to get ready. The whole experience from start to finish should be fun and enjoyable. This starts at home while getting ready. Kids will lose interest fast if tired or hungry. It is best to avoid snacks at the session as eating images will never make for good images. If kids are full up they are usually raring to go and be involved. Leaving plenty of time will also ensure everyone is excited by the time you arrive on location, not cross or upset because of last-minute rushing to find shoes. Ensuring you have plenty of time also ensures you will have full time with your photographer for your session in the most relaxed way.
5: Everyone is excited participants
Sometimes with dad or older siblings, the idea of a family photo session is less than exciting. For these family members, you want to ask them to be cheerful, happy and excited. Join in and enjoy the moment for what it is. Be present and participate willingly to ensure it’s the best outcome for the whole family. It is so important that when looking back on these images you remember a good time spent together enjoying each others company. These types of images are what is left when children grow and move out, when family members pass on and when new ones are born. You want this legacy to be a true moment of your family, not one of dread or forced participation.
6: Leave the ‘cheese’ at home
Often, and always with good intention do I have parents yelling cheese at their kids. Now while cheese indeed will show teeth, it won’t show real smiles. These images look unnatural and forced. Forget about the cheese! Forget about the way you think you should have your kids be and just be. Talk to your kids, laugh with them, engage and interact. Let your photographer worry about capturing the best moments- don’t try and force them! You will see the resulting images are fun and much more real than any cheese.
7: Not everyone has to be smiling and looking at the camera all the time
Some of the best images have no one looking at the camera. These are the moments when you are interacting with each other. When you are being yourselves not worried about the camera looking at you. These moments are beautiful and real. Of cause there will always be images where you are looking and all smiling at the camera – we know that grandparents really love these ones! But don’t be worried to relax more and let the other natural images come into the session as well. These are the ones you will love the most – these are the images which most reflect you and your family connections.
8: Bring an activity to do together
The most successful family portraits have some kind of activity which you can all do together. Are you a family who like sports? Kick the ball around? Do you go on picnics? Do you read together? Play board games? Are you a family who go for ice cream? Do you swim or surf? Or bike ride? Any of these activities and many others can be incorporated into your session. These are activities you do together as a family and really show the love and connections between you.
10: Have fun
Last but certainly not least is HAVE FUN! Your family photography sessions are about coming together as a family and enjoying yourselves. Your photographer is there to capture real moments of your family. It’s a day out, a fun out of the routine activity to all get something out of. In years to come, you will look back and remember who much you laughed together and how little the kids were then. It about creating memories, not forcing a chore on everyone. So enjoy it, have fun and be present in the moment!
I hope this helps when planning for your next family portrait session! I look forward to photographing you again soon!