how to prepare for your family photo shoot

I have been a Berkshire family photographer for 12 years. It has been my greatest pleasure to have met thousands of families during the years. I would like to go through my top tips for of how to prepare for a family photo shoot in this blog post. Proper preparation and planning will put you at ease and help you feel in control and relax more when you come to the studio.

1. choose your outfits in advance

A very important part of the photo shoot is your choice of outfits. It is not necessary that you all wear the same colours, however colour coding is ideal. By choosing and preparing the outfits in advance, you take off a huge pressure off yourself on the day of the photo shoot. Do not leave it till the last minute to decide what you will wear. For babies and young children it is recommended that you bring a change of outfit too, in case the one they are wearing gets dirty. It is best to avoid outfits with big logos or distracting patters. It is also a good idea to have a look at family portrait ideas for inspiration beforehand. My suggestion regarding clothing is that you wear clothes that you are comfortable in, clothes that you would usually wear so that you do not feel that a particular chosen look is very distant from your personality.

When choosing your outfits, there are quite a few things to consider. You can include one formal and one informal outfit in your photo shoot to give you two very different looks.

Answer these questions for yourself before you start planning your outfits:

Where will you be displaying your photographs?

We might have a slightly different look of your family photographs if we are displaying the final images in the living room or in your bedroom. You might want to match your family photograph to the the function of that room.

What colours are your walls?

When choosing your outfit colours, consider the colour scheme in the room where you will be displaying your photographs.

is your house modern or traditional?

Knowing the answer to this question will also help us decide about the styles of the images beforehand, whether we are posing for a modern or a more traditional look.

2. hair and make-up

If you or anyone in the family is going to have a hair cut, do it a week or so before the photo shoot so that you have enough time to get used to the new look. Regarding make-up, there is no need to go over the top, but wearing make-up in your photo shoot will really enhance your photographs. Depending on your preference and the look you would like to achieve, you may want to have a nice minimalistic make-up, or one that you would wear for a very special occasion. It is completely your choice to do it yourself or get it done by a make-up artist. I advise that you wear make-up that you would wear usually, and one that gives you a very timeless look.

3. preparing children and partner for the photo shoot

It is just as important to prepare our partners as our children to the family photo shoot. You could also bring along your children at the time of booking if you do it in person, or you could simply talk to them about what is going to happen on the day of the family photo shoot. Children sometimes can be quite shy at the beginning when meeting new people. For young children you could bring along their favourite toy. Bringing snacks as well will help the whole photo shoot run smoother. Consider bringing snacks that are not too messy and will not fill their outfits and faces with crumbs. I do not advise chewy snacks either as they take a long time to eat and they can get stuck in your children's teeth, which will leave them with pulling unpleasant facial expressions during the photo shoot. Just consider anything that can give them a little boost mid way through the shoot.

4. timing

The timing of the photo shoot is crucial when we are working with babies and young children. Make sure that you do not book it for their nap time nor before or after an important family event. It is important that we are not rushing the shoot and the children. Please also arrive on time for your photo shoot.

5. Don't say cheese

It would be tempting to keep encouraging the children to say "Cheese", however, I advise against it. Let me do my thing and entertain your children so that we can get some real personalities shine through and some real giggles for the camera. Have you got a family joke? Or anything that makes them laugh? Bring some funny topics for conversations during the photo shoot. Laugh, play, tickle your children during the photo shoot when I promoted you so that we can get some really nice natural photographs.

6. Grandparents

It is lovely to include the grandparents in your family photo shoot. Feel free to bring them along if you can. If you decide that you do not want to bring grandparents along for the photo shoot, it is still a good idea to consider them when you are ordering your photographs. Older generation really loves printed images and wall arts.

7. phones

I do have a strict no phone photography policy in the studio. My advice is to leave your phone in your bags during the session. If you have your phone in your pocket it can give you a big phone shaped bulge, which is very unpleasant looking in the photographs.