Preparing for your family photoshoot

If you're reading this, chances are you've booked me to capture these memories for you. If not, another talented local photographer or you're planning to book one day in the near future. Whatever brings you here, welcome! This guide might be a little long, but it will be full of all the information you need to go confidently into any family photoshoot.


1. What to wear ideas

Getting yourself dressed most days can be a challenging task, imagine trying to dress yourself and your entire family for a photoshoot. There is a good chance that you'll be pulling your hair out by the end of the day. Most photographers can help you with this. They might provide you with a what to wear guide and provide an email with tips on colour scheming, appropriate footwear, props etc. If your photographer does not have a guide, I have you covered. Check out my What to wear guide blog here.


2. Timing

If you have time the night before or the morning of your shoot, get all of your things ready and have them in the car. This should hopefully allow you time to realx and unwind as a family before taking off for your shoot. Give yourself lots of time to get to the location. Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes before your shoot so you have time to take in that location. The last thing we want is for you to drive illegal speeds to your shoot, risking a fine and feeling stressed and frazzled by the time you arrive. This will also mean that during the start of your shoot, you will be stressed and tensed and that will show in your photographs. In terms of when to organise your photoshoot start time, most photographers locally with shoot one hour before sunset. This is when the sun is low in the sky and creates this natural light that makes everything look magical.



Depending on the time of the year, that window for shoots may not work with feeding, bathing and bed time. Rest assured, that one night on doing things a little later in the night, generally won't start any bad habbits for the kids. But if a daytime thing works best and your photographer doesn't like shooting during the day, look at doing an inhome shoot. There is so much beauty in the everyday moments in a family home. From candid moments around the kitchen table to tickle fights on the bed.


3. How to Prep

In the lead up to the shoot, get the kids excited about the photoshoot. Show them photographs that your chosen photographer has taken. Tell them about the location you have chosen and tell them that they'll get mum and dads undivided attention for the shoot with lots of love, kisses and playfulness.


I also reccomend telling all parties attending the shoot about what kind of expectactions you want with your photographs. If you're going more lifestyle, candid, in the moment photographs. Let your partner and children know that it works best not to look at the camera unless the photographer says too. Men are never as interested in photographs as us women. They usually come in with the idea they need to look at the camera at all times.

Consider any props that make your family, your family. Does your hubby like to play the guitar to his children? If so, bring his guitar along. Do the kids like to roller skate? Pack them and let them have some fun. Whatever it is, discuss this with your photographer and come up with an epic location to unquiely tell your story. Brings snacks. This is always a great way to help make any slightly grumpy child happy. But avoid anything too messy or sticky. Other forms of food bribery are maybe their favourite takeaway franchise for dinner on the way home or during those summer nights; ice-cream after the session. Let them bring their favourite soft toy or wear their favourite gumboots. Authenticity is in the finer details. If its winter, tell them they can jump in muddy puddles at the end or during summer and having sessions by the water, tell them they can get in and have a splash around with mum and dad. These will be the highlight of any session for your children.



4. Location

You probably have already discussed with your photographer on a location for your shoot. Local photographers will have a full list of places that they love to use and reccomend. Buuut, you may also have a special spot in mind. Family farms or backyards (if you have the space, just like Melodys session below) make your memories that little bit extra special. You may consider a place that you go to every year for a camping spot or pick a place you love to go as a family. You may have to pay extra for a travel fee (pending the photographer) but these do make the sessions that little bit more precious. (keeping in mind a place that isn't over crowded or has too many distractions).


5. So..you want to bring your pup?

I don't think I know any photographer who would say "NO" to have a little fur baby attend. Buuuut... there are a few things to know prior.

  • Make sure the location you have picked allows dogs

  • Make sure you dog knows basic commands. This help with making your session go smoothly. It is always good to keep your dog on a leash at all time unless you're 100% certain your dog won't run away (like my silly Ellie) and will come back when called

  • Make sure you've gotten all of their zoomies out before the shoot. Take them for a run or a big walk. Shepparton also have two off leash dog parks.

  • Pack treats and some water, especially on summer days

6. Kids will be kids....

This is the most important thing here. Kids will be kids. It is great to have this in your mind at all times and have no expectations on your kids being on their best behaviour. As parents, we generally feel embarrassed when our children show any kind of behvious in front of anyone that isn't their best self. But I can guareentee, that while you're sitting there thinking your kids are being the biggest brats ever, they really arents. I often get told during sessions that I have so much patience dealing with my clients children. But I always like to mention to all these parents that our children know how to make us tick. Even I get super stressed out at my own children during our own photoshoots. But as someone who isn't dealing with those kids on a daily basis, to us they're actually being perfectly fine. You may also stress out at the end of your shoot that we didn't capture anything good. Maybe your child cried a lot during the shoot or really didn't want their photo taken. All it takes is a split second and that's all we need. There is a reason you're paying for a professional photographer, because we know how to create magic from choas.

That is all my tips for preparing for your future family session. If you feel like I missed something or wanted to see a certain subject covered, let me know and I'll add it for you. What would you like to see covered next on Nicole Peters Photography Blog?


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