Seven tips for a family photo shoot

seven tips for a family photo shoot

On a recent winter day we braved the cold and headed outdoors for a family photo shoot. Our photographer was Amber from The Keepsaker who specialises in natural light and lifestyle portraiture. We had a fabulous morning and we are thrilled with the results! Here are seven tips for a light heartened and successful family photo shoot.

Location

Seven tips for a family photo shoot
Seven tips for a family photo shoot

Photographers are often “in the know” about great photo shoot locations. The first thing to think about is whether you want the photos in a studio, your home or at a location. We went with an outdoor location for a few reasons. We love natural light for family pictures. The light in winter is softer, making for lovely photos. A park worked well for us. The boys could run free and make plenty of noise. Confining them to a studio setting would not work well for anyone. Amber suggested Callan Park. It was a fabulous location as it provided a variety of settings for photos and also gave the boys different spots to explore.

If you’ve got little babies, your own home is probably the most relaxed environment for them. If you don’t have a kid that is crawling, photos in a beach setting are gorgeous.

Clothes

Seven tips for a family photo shoot
Seven tips for a family photo shoot

What to wear is always a dilemma. As were were outside on a cold day our wardrobe choices were somewhat restricted. Perhaps the most important things are for everybody to wear clothiers they are comfortable in, that fit well and that don’t obviously clash. There’s no need for everyone to wear all white or all black. Being a family of boys, we have loads of blue clothes. I joked to Amber that our colour scheme would be 50 shades of blue. We all wore something that was blue or had blue on it, in various shades and textures. I think it worked ok?

The other tips for clothes is to work out what you are wearing and lay your outfits out the day before your photo shoot, perhaps even earlier. Do this for all members of your family! Mr Wallace and I had a few tense moments on the morning of the shoot because the jeans he wanted to wear were wet. Despite the fact that I quizzed him the night before about his outfit choice!

Choosing your photographer

Seven tips for a family photo shoot

There are loads of professional photographers, so chose wisely. A great starting point is to ask friends for recommendations. Otherwise, think about the style of photos you want (posed/styled versus candid/natural or a combination, studio or location) and look at a selection of photographer’s portfolios. Pick a photographer whose style and photos are similar to the photos you hope to have. Also, the rapport you have with your photographer is important. You all need to feel at ease with your photographer so you have to have an affinity for them. If you feel uncomfortable that tension will show in your face.

Learn from past experiences

Seven tips for a family photo shoot

If you’ve had family photos done before, think about what worked and what didn’t. We had some pictures taken when the littlest lad was about 3 weeks old. They were disappointing. This time we went outside for the photos, rather than everyone going hyper in the house. I also gave Amber some insider tips on the boys. Specifically, there’s no need to get them excited! They have lots of energy already, they don’t need to be hyped up. Kids natural smiles are so wonderful but my big boys have terrible fake smiles. I asked Amber to avoid telling them to smile or ‘say cheese’. I’ve no doubt she was all over this already. Instead we went with some more classic boy ‘toilet’ humour. The result was much better!

Pack a bag

Seven tips for a family photo shoot
Seven tips for a family photo shoot

I’m not a big fan of props in photos but giving kids something to play with can help them to be more relaxed and enjoy the experience. I let the boys pack some toys in a basket and they went overboard. Allow some toys but limit it to those special, treasured items. If you are heading outdoors, a ball, or a kite on a windy day can be fun. Remember to pack a drink and some snacks that won’t be messy. The little lad seemed to get hungry and we kept popping sultanas in his mouth. He stayed clean and thankfully didn’t disrupt the flow of the session.

Timing

Seven tips for a family photo shoot
Seven tips for a family photo shoot

Chat to your photographer about a time of day that will work best for your family. Often early morning or late afternoon is best with the light, but it’s not as crucial in Winter. With young kids, avoid nap times and make sure everyone has a full belly before the session. Tired and hungry kids don’t make for great photos. We were typically running late due to a little guy who resisted his morning nap. Some times things don’t go according to plan. Thankfully Amber was very accommodating.

Stop while the going is good

Seven tips for a family photo shoot

Like anything with kids, stop while the going is good. There’s really no point pushing kids to get one last perfect photo. If they are over it, the photos will reflect that. Recognise when they have had enough and wrap it up!

That’s my cue to wrap this post up! Thanks ever so much to Amber for the lovely family photos. It is wonderful to have some fabulous photos of our family of five. Didn’t she make us all look very swish? If you’re in Sydney and are keen to have some photos taken I highly recommend Amber!

12 thoughts on “Seven tips for a family photo shoot

    1. Excellent idea! I did Father’s Day photos for Mr Wallace one year as a surprise, he loved the photos but was annoyed that he wasn’t in them. But he hates having photos taken and was in a foul mood this day. I can’t win!!

  1. These are gorgeous Claire! Great tips too. I’ll definitely keep these in mind for our next shoot. We had some done when number 2 was 3 was old as well. Were about due to get some more done I think. Xx

    1. Thanks Ruth, yes indeed. We’ve used a photographer that was wrong for us in the past and were disappointed with the photos. You’ve got to want the style of photos that the photographer takes otherwise it won’t be worth the effort!

  2. Those photos are gorgeous! I love the outdoor setting. You have reminded me that I need to organise a family photo session for us for Christmas. We have never done a family photo and its getting a bit sad! I love the final tip about knowing when to stop. So true. Bron x

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