Do you have a family album tucked away in your family loft? I had to venture into my mother’s loft this weekend to retrieve her suitcase for the annual family holiday in the East Wight area. Whilst battling the heat, dust, and cramped conditions I found a little moment to sift through the childhood reading books and much-loved toys from when I was little. Among the boxes were our old photographs showing snap-shots of my life, frozen in time.
It doesn’t have to be difficult if you choose to hire a professional photographer who understands the value of your family and takes time to capture those rare moments that show the love between your selves. Whether your son is waving back at you or your daughter is hugging her baby sister, a professional photographer is quick to capture these moments that are so cherished in the family history.
Preparing for your family portrait
1. Take time to hire the right professional photographer: Choosing the right photographer for your family is the first step. Carefully look through their website, if you like their style quickly pick up the phone. Ask lots of questions to get a feel for their personality. You need to like them as a person and trust they can record your family legacy with integrity.
2. Choose a date and location: If you have a favourite park, a memorable location, or a weekend pastime that you’d like to incorporate in the session, suggest it right away to your photographer. Otherwise, you can ask them for suggestions. Professional photographers will have lots of little nooks and crannies they like to use and London has a wealth of beautiful backdrops to use. Think about:
- a location close to home
- reflects your personalities
- has coffee shops and loos
- easy transport links
3. Find the right time: Plan around your schedule and leave plenty of wiggle room around your 2-hour session. Consider when your children like their nap or whether daddy is going to feel rushed if the slot is directly after work. Get everyone on board and approach the session like a picnic in the park – it’s a fun day out with the family.
The most beautiful family sessions are in the evening before sunset. The lighting is so wonderful during this time for portraits as the sun creates luminous complexions and doesn’t make anyone squint at the camera. Equally, mid-day is one of the worst times to have your photograph taken, keep this in the back of your mind when booking your appointment for your family.
4. What to wear: Always the most pressing question on everyone’s mind. Plan ahead and share ideas with your photographer. Some people like to use Pinterest, others send a snapshot of their chosen outfit from their phone. A week before the session I send out my ‘what to wear’ pack and email my suggestions based on the location and weather. Pack your clothes in a small sports bag the night before, you’ll arrive confident and relaxed.
5. What to pack: If possible try to bring a hairbrush, blotting tissue for makeup, lipstick, and hand lotion. Try to find room for
- Outfit 1 – chunky knits/cashmere textures
- Outfit 2 – bold colours / graphic prints
- Outfit 3 – organic neutrals with 1 bright colour
If in doubt about a particular garment then my advice is to bring it along and we can always choose not to use it on the day. Don’t forget our goal is to create photos where you look you’re very best, whilst staying true to yourself.
6. Spend quality time with your family: If you’ve got this far, the hard work is over. Get everyone excited for the photoshoot. Explain why they are having a fun day in the park – perhaps they are creating a gift for grandma or they are going to surprise an aunt with a photo book for her birthday? Make a day of it by visiting a new restaurant or playground before the shoot. This family popped into Puckpool Park for an ice-cream before they met me for their family portrait session.
I often start with a story or bring along some new friends hidden in my camera bag – incorporating children’s toys into the shoot is a great way to make the photos more personal (and the children will get a boost from having something familiar with them during the session). This family portrait session in Seagrove Bay started with a story and ended with hide-and-seek.
As a passionate photographer, I’ve worked with countless families, and each one is different in its own way. My approach to photography is fresh, modern, and fun (with a little silliness thrown in). I strive to capture the character, details, love, and relationships that make you – YOU!