When should you arrange a family photoshoot for?

Deciding on what time to arrange a family photoshoot for depends a lot on your family and the age of our children, but it also depends on the time of year for outdoor photoshoots. Outdoor family photoshoots work all year around, but care needs to be taken with appropriate clothing for the season.

Summer: Generally you want to avoid shooting in the middle of the day both for the harsh light and to avoid anyone overheating. Shooting in golden hour (one hour after sunrise and one hour before sundown) can be particularly beautiful as the sun is lower in the sky with more golden and softer light.

Winter: The daylight hours are much shorter and in general the light isn't as harsh so the timing of the shoot doesn't matter quite as much. While the weather might be cold, having pictures in winter coats or jumpers and scarves with lots of lovely textures can be really beautiful.

Children in my experience are generally happiest when they are well rested and fed. If I had a choice I would schedule most photoshoots with small children mid-morning. If you think about when most baby groups are on, this is generally a good time, or in the afternoon after their nap if they are the age to have one.

Baby boy in ferns

What do I need to bring to a family photoshoot?

For an in-home photoshoot, you are lucky as you have your entire wardrobe, bathroom, kitchen and so on at your disposal in case you have any wardrobe malfunctions or spills.

For an outdoor photoshoot I have come up with a list of things that I have found most useful. If you are shooting in an outdoor location I like to have the option of a blanket to put down, especially if you have small children, but they are also generally good for a nice family photo. Choose one that won't clash with the surroundings or with the outfits you are wearing. More on what to wear another time, as that is a very important decision...

Have a bag of supplies that we can keep to hand but hide out of the frame. Probably the number one item I would suggest is tissues and baby wipes. Secondly I would suggest snacks for children. We want to keep the faces happy, and breaking the session up with little snack breaks or snack rewards is sometimes a good idea. A spare pair of clothes and nappies for little ones, and if it is muddy you may want to wear wellies and then change into other shoes once in position.

If little children have a favourite toy, this could be an idea to have on hand, or also a toy that makes a noise such as a rattle or something that plays music.

Family throwing toddler in air

What do I need to do during the shoot?

My sessions vary every time. A lot depends on the age of the children, but I like for them to have input into the session. I may ask them what their favourite thing to do in the forest is, or what they want me to take a picture of them doing. From climbing trees, throwing leaves, having a piggy back, being thrown in the air, collecting blackberries and so on. I may also set a challenge of finding something like the biggest possible pinecone in the forest. Anything that keeps it fun and engaging.

I like my photos to look natural and one of the best ways is to get the kids to either move or laugh. You can always tell a genuine smile from a forced posed smile in a photo. Sometimes we play games, have tickle fights, make animal noises, tell secrets etc.

As parents, you know the best way to make your kids smile and laugh. Often I will get parents to stand right behind my shoulder so when your child looks at you I can capture their interactions and smiles. I have had parents singing songs, dancing, making funny noises: all sorts. Whatever works to get the loveliest photos.

The other thing is that often the times when you don't know I am taking a photo can be the best and most genuine ones. The little cuddles, the natural laughs after doing something silly, the little games that only you play with your children. Every family is different, and every photoshoot is different. I am so glad I get to capture the moments for you all to look back and treasure in the years to come.

Get in touch HERE if you haven't already booked your session. I would love to hear from you!