Family & Friends photo-shoot tips

Family Portraiture Tips

Family Photo-shoots are such fun!
And they produce images
that will be treasured for generations.
Here’s some tips to help you get the best from your shoot:


Involve the family right from the start:

When you first tell your family about your photo-shoot plans, act excited like it’s going to be SO much fun!
Attitude is usually contagious.

Lay out some clothing and prop options for your kids to choose from. 
If they get to help pick what they’re going to wear, and what toys they can bring,
they’ll feel included and be more likely to cooperate.

And make sure hubby knows what the plan is too - don't ambush him the morning of the shoot!

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Arrive  on-time, ready and relaxed:

Allow plenty of time to get everyone ready and to travel to your photo-shoot. 
Arriving late cuts into your valuable shooting time meaning missed images,
and arriving frazzled means grumpy kids and unhappy faces!

Talk with me about balancing the right time of day for the best lighting,
and the needs and routines of your children.
Let's find a time to get the best of everything!

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Don't sweat the small stuff!

A good photographer will know how to handle littlies and their idiosyncrasies. 
Allow them space to do their job and work their charm. 

If you're forever badgering your child to 'smile' or 'sit straight',
they'll quickly loose their sense of fun.   
Keep it positive. 
Play peek-a-boo, tickle, and throw the child playfully into the air for real, genuine smiles.
In ten years time, you won't care that Johnny was playing with the sand.  
You'll only care that he was there, smiling and having fun, when he was oh-so-cute!

Remember that the best family photos don’t show picture perfect smiles and poses.
The best family photos show emotion and affection between family members.
That takes a lot of pressure off everyone!

Go with the flow and laugh when things don't go to plan.
Keep in mind why you're doing this - it's for the memories!

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Carefully consider your clothing choice:
  • Simple is best - go for solid colours and minimal jewellery.
  • Avoid printed tees, labels, florals, stripes, and bold colours (especially red).
  • Avoid stark white.  The flash will make you glow inappropriately!
  • Choose clothes with similar tones (all dark or all pastel).
  • Pick one or two colours that work well together - such as jewel tones (navy, emerald green & purple) or natural colours (khaki, beige & browns) etc.
  • Consider the location and what colours will coordinate well.  You don't want to blend into your environment too much, but you don't want to be too 'shouty' either.
  • Choose clothes & shoes that allow you to move freely and sit comfortably.  Longer skirts and below-the-knee pants allow for more variety of settings.
  • Unless you're an avid gym-bunny, it's best to cover your shoulders as the camera can make this area more chunky than real-life.
  • Short-shorts make sitting shots difficult.
  • Unless you specifically want your photos to show the era in which they were made, avoid obvious fashion styles.
  • My personal favourite is to have everyone in a plain pastel shirt and jeans.  That way, the images become about YOU and not your clothing!
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Think about places and spaces that have meaning to your family.
  • Maybe you’d like to have your shoot at your family home.
  • Perhaps Rabbit Island is where you love to play.
  • Do you regularly run through Isel Park and have a warm affinity with that spot?
  • Other great places for family portraits include: Tahuna Back Beach, Washborne Gardens, Queens' gardens, Monaco Pier, or one of our gorgeous rivers.

Pack a picnic:
  • Pack plenty of water, and drink it to avoid dehydration.
  • Snack food is important if you have ‘little ones’.
  • Make it something bite-sized, and quick and easy to handle.
  • A family photo-shoot is a time when bribing kids, to aid co-operation, is acceptable!  But have fun with it – keep it positive!   Maybe we can play (your family name)’s Next Top Model with a block of chocolate for the shot of the day!
  • If it's taken a bit of effort to gather your family, and given that you're all dressed and gorgeous, why not plan a meal out together after your shoot - it's a lovely way to finish the day!

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Leave your camera at home:

You'll receive the digital negatives of your shoot within a week of it,
so there's no need to duplicate things by having your own camera with you. 
Not only is it a hassle to look after, but it's hugely distracting for the people being photographed.
Large groups tend to have half the people looking at me, and the other half looking at 'Uncle Bob' and his camera, rendering both our images useless!

Consider if any of the following suggestions are relevant to you, and pack the appropriate props:
  • Growing up, was there an ‘iconic family portrait' that forever graced the mantle? If so, let’s do a modern version of the same pose so you can place the two photos side by side!
  • Would it be fun to bring your favourite wedding photo and copy the pose in it?
  • If you have young children, pack their current special teddy or favourite toy.
  • Bring anything that helps tell your story. Maybe it’s a rugby ball to toss around. Perhaps you’d like to sit on a sand dune playing your guitar. Maybe tucking your motorbike helmet under your arm will tell us about you. Have a think about what personifies your family or defines each family member.  Whatever it is, let's make your family photography especially relevant and fun!