Just a few things to note before youR shoot
I’m a natural light photographer so it’s good to have as much natural light coming into the space as possible. Sunlight coming through shutters or soft fabric can create lovely light and I will always look to shoot at a time when the light is at its best. Being able to photograph near windows can make for lovely shots so if there is a piece of furniture, such as a sofa, chair or bed you can sit together on near a window that would be great.
From my experience the the main living area and master bedroom often have the best light so I often tend to focus on photographing in these rooms but don’t worry if yours don’t, I’ll always seek out a pocket of light.
It’s great to capture life as it is but clutter free environments tend to make for better shoots. Elements of your interior can help tell your story and the history you are creating with your family. The odd toy and book lying around can add to the visual narrative and helps me to capture memories, however things such as hoovers, laundry baskets, parcels, general clutter can detract from the photo.
It’s lovely to be able to add texture to photography, this can be achieved by photographing on fabrics (particularly newborns). Plain, lighter coloured bedding works well in sessions, it helps avoid clashing with what everyone is wearing as well as adding a lightness to the photos. It’s a nice touch having flowers and house plants in some of the photos as they can help give a pop of colour as well as texture.
Capturing you and your family from different angles helps create interest and different perspectives. I really love photographing looking down so please be warned I may stand on your beds, on other furniture (where safe) and get myself into small spaces to get the best shot. I also like photographing near windows as well as from outside looking in and have found that clients often wish they’d given their windows a bit of a wipe!
Just as with light, colour can really impact a photoshoot.
Neutral, muted tones tend to work well and it’s often a good idea to avoid overly fussy patterns and logos which can clash and date quickly. Colours which complement each other tend to be blues, greys, whites/cream, khaki, dusky pinks and soft yellows. Dresses/skirts can add movement to a photo along with a lovely floaty feeling, it also allows children to twirl which makes for a great photo.
It's very much your shoot and I really don't like telling people what to wear as it's important you feel yourself but another tip is to pick colours which work with each other rather than being 'matchy matchy', for example don't all wear stripes!
It's also worth knowing the reds, pinks and oranges can often reflect back upon your face and make your skin tone look more of those colours than it actually is.
I find it’s good to get the kids focused on something to keep them sitting still for just a little bit. A few ideas include, playing lego, puzzles, trains etc as well as crafts, drawing, painting, cupcake/biscuit decorating.
I also love to capture parents reading to their children, tickles on the bed and snuggles on the sofa and playing in the garden. It’s your session, your memories so it’s very much about capturing you as a family and the things you like to do together, this might include bath time and snack time.
If you are on an outdoor session, you could do running races, piggy backs, throw your kids in the air, climb trees and collect bits of nature depending on the season.
Socks don’t photograph that well and can end up as a solid block of colour so my advice to everyone is to have bare feet. I promise I won’t zoom in your feet (unless you are a baby or young child as they are beautiful to photograph).
Long hair is lovely but do have a think about how much it might fall in front of faces and whether it will get in the way. Glasses can often reflect so if you wear lenses as well, I would suggest opting for those. Ladies, wear a little more make up than usual as it never looks quite as much on camera.
No one likes to be hungry so my advice especially for little children is to have them fed & watered before the shoot! Likewise with sleep, it’s best to avoid a shoot near nap and bedtime.