So you have a family portrait session coming up! How Exciting! Have a read below of some information that may help you prepare for your session, I can’t wait!
Advice for the little ones
Make sure they are well fed beforehand (nothing too sugary), and also well rested. If we are doing a sunset session, I’d suggest trying to give them a nap beforehand so they are well energized versus ready for bed!
Have wetwipes and tissues on hand, especially if we are outdoors or including any kind of food or messy play!
Have a few bribes/treats on hand, but don’t offer them until we run into trouble. If kids know there is a treat before the session, they may not play ball until they get it. Whoops!
If you have kids that are a little bit shy and unsure, show them a picture of me and tell them my name and that I’ll be there taking some photos, so they know what I look like before I arrive. Sometimes it can be helpful to let them know that I’m a mum too!
Your mood also matters. If you are stressed and focused on trying to get everything picture perfect, they will feel your negative/stress and may respond negatively. You may even have to act a bit silly, have a few jokes or silly faces up your sleeve! Remember we are capturing your family true to who they are versus creating a fake photo of who you aren’t, we want this to be fun for all!
If you’re looking for location ideas I know of a few! I am always up for going to any location, especially new ones! I always encourage my clients to pick a location that is special to you, interests you, or somehow represents you or your family’s personality. If you need some ideas, Halswell Quarry, Botanical Gardens, Victoria Park, Port Hills, Taylor’s Mistake, Kennedy’s Bush, Sumner or Brighton Beach, Central City, Lake Ellesmere, Lincoln Liffey Springs, Bottlelake Forest are some great ones.
Time of Day:
I usually ask parents to pick a time where their children are relaxed but energetic, working around their feeding and nap times is best.
When shooting outdoors, the most beautiful and flattering light for portraits is usually captured early in the morning or right before sunset. Parks and urban locations are another option for out of those times, to provide shaded areas that let me get the best light for your session. Summer sunset is later, which doesn’t always work for kids, so picking a session in winter or the transitional seasons (autumn and spring) always work well.
One of the benefits of shooting outdoors is that you get a different background just by moving a few feet. It gives kids more space to run and feel free. A fun environment, whether it be a park, beach or even your home, lets me capture the best of you and your kids is what lifestyle photography is all about.
What to Wear!
Dressing yourself in the morning is hard enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Choosing what to wear for a photoshoot can trigger even the most confident clothing guru to pull their entire wardrobe out onto the floor in search of the perfect outfit. There’s going to be a lot of information below, take from it what you like, but these are just some tips if you are stuck.
Number one thing I want you to remember? Being comfortable is EVERYTHING. You should look and feel like yourself, first and foremost. If you love jeans and T-shirts, I’m cool with that!
Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we’ll be shooting at. You’ll want to be warm enough (or cool enough!), have pain-free feet, and look relatively native to your environment. The idea is to authentically capture you wherever you are. Think through your clothing choices logically based on location, vibe, and comfort level.
Incorporate Texture & Movement
Pick fabrics that move and flow with you. Ones that add a cosy texture, or get picked up by the wind, filter the late afternoon sun, and glow in the morning light. Natural fibres like linen, cotton, or wool are amazing. Avoid stiff-seeming garments with collars as they look a bit too formal and often get tucked in weird spots and need adjusting.
Aim for neutrals, earthy tones, and metallics. These colours compliment the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go and look damn fine as a printed, framed photograph. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a beige world of quiet and inoffensive colours. By neutrals, I just mean softer tones. Primary colours are incredibly striking, but can sometimes have the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you). So for example, instead of electric blue, go for something closer to sky blue. Instead of bright orange, opt for ochre or apricot.
A rule of thumb here is to choose to either complement your natural environment or contrast it. A mustard dress in a deep green forest will look epic, whereas a bright pink, patterned dress doesn’t really fit in with your surroundings. It totally depends on what you’re looking for! For families it’s best to keep your colour scheme limited to four colours. You can choose one person to wear a feature colour and have everyone else’s outfits complement that.
The colour wheel is a great reference point when trying to figure out what colours look a bit weird together and what colours are a match made in heaven.
These colours, the ones that look incredible together, are called complementary colours. They complement each other and create a visual harmony. They’re salt and pepper, Bonnie and Clyde, peanut butter and jelly. Complementary colours sit across from one another on the colour wheel (i.e. blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple).
Analogous Colours – yes this is a word!
But it’s not all about contrast. We’re all built so differently and respond to colour combinations differently. For those less taken by the ‘pop,’ analogous colours could be the way to go. Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel, and can be quite soothing to the eye. Think of the jungle and all of the lush variations of green, or the ocean and the infinite hues of blue.
Compliment each other, don’t match each other
You don’t want to create the illusion of being your partner’s siamese twin. When multiple people wear the same colour, sometimes their matching outfits blend together so much that you can’t really see any of them properly. The viewer can’t tell where one person begins and another one ends. They turn into one uniform blob. In order for the aesthetics of your photograph to really sing, you want to find complementary outfits that showcase a variety of colors, textures, accessories, patterns, and tones. Complement the other people in the photograph as well as your surroundings. The idea is to have everything look good together without everything looking the same.
Be Careful with Patterns & Prints
Avoid large bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful face. Usually, subtle smaller patterns work best. Flannels or a light floral print are great when they complement the location. But less is definitely more with this one, try to limit yourself to one pattern at a time. Matching patterns is a tricky task, and it’s super difficult to do well. If you’re not quite sure what category your patterned clothes fall into, shoot me an email or send me a text and I’ll be happy to weigh in.
Logos? Much like crazy patterns, clothing with writing or logos on it tends to be a bit distracting. We’re not getting paid for Adidas’ notso-subtle product placement. However, if the logo or phrase is tasteful (read: not tacky), in theme with the shoot, and fits your personality, I’m all for it
Wearing layers is great form (and function). Not only does combining layers and textures create more visually interesting photographs, but it preps you for all sorts of weather conditions, too! Think jackets, cardigans, hats, scarves, tights, and headbands.
Accessories – Hats, sunglasses, socks, and jackets are a great way to jazz up your accessory game if they are your thing. Throw some fun extras into your bag but avoid large distracting pieces. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m interested in shooting you (not your clothes or your bling).
If you wear heels like a pro, I definitely don’t have the authority to tell you not to do that! But if you, like the rest of us mere mortals, find heels to be moderately uncomfortable, then do yourself a favour and ditch ‘em. In most cases, we’ll be stomping around on some relatively uneven terrain and I don’t want you spraining an ankle–not on my watch. If there’s kids involved, there will likely be some running and walking, so you’ll want to be ready for action.
Select the right shoes based on the location, and consider what you’d normally wear if I wasn’t following you around with a camera. Being barefoot makes sense on the beach, and boots are beautiful in the mountains.
This is a link to an amazing colour wheel which shows you the colours of different seasons, a deep vs muted colour and more. Thanks Pinterest!
Hopefully I haven’t just overwhelmed you, hopefully it gives you a few ideas when you are picking what to wear, if you are unsure, you are welcome to send me a few photos of what you are thinking of wearing to get a second opinion 🙂
What is the process after our session?
After the session I will back up your photos, and then go through the images and edit the best ones. I will also send through an invoice for the remainder of the session, which will need to be paid before photos are released to you.
Once your images are ready, I will load your images into an online gallery for you to choose which prints/digital files you would like. Your online gallery will be ready within 14 working days after your session. You are also more than welcome to share your gallery with family and friends so they can view and purchase any images.
From your gallery, you will easily be able to select which digital files you want, and any high quality prints.
Once your gallery has been shared with you, the link will be active for 2 weeks, to allow you a bit of time to decide what you would like. After this time, if you still haven’t decided, the gallery can be reactivated for a small fee of $25.
Share the LOVE!
I’ll always check with you, but sometimes I like to share a couple of images on my website of a session or on my social media accounts. This is hugely important for me and my business, as without showing images I don’t have anything to show people of what I can produce!
If you are sharing your images on your own social media I’d love a shout out too! Tag my business page on Instagram or Facebook, or even just mention who took your awesome photos. ???? Word of mouth is a big part of how I am able to get to shoot amazing sessions like yours, so every little mention of my business counts!
Please don’t add filters to my work! I’ve developed my editing style over many years and it hurts a little when I see an instagram filter added over the top, which does not express how I originally wanted the image to look/feel, and I’m unsure how cheap filters make a professional photographers work look better, you’ve booked me for my images/style right?
Feel free to print more photos at a later date! My BIGGEST advice, is to either get them printed through me, so I can guarantee colour, sharpness, and quality archival paper, otherwise proper photo labs are your next bet. You really get what you pay for with photo products, so we obviously always want things to look their best, and LAST!
Don’t be afraid to leave a review to tell everyone just how much you enjoyed your session and love your photos.
I hope this has fully prepared you for your photography session! Don’t worry if you feel nervous, it’s totally normal being infront of the camera isn’t something we all do every day! Remember we are capturing who you and your family are, we are real people, not all models. Embrace the chaos, the laughs the fun, cherish these moments with each other, let your love and bonds with each other show in your photos, I can’t wait to capture your family!