Lifestyle photography has a candid and relaxed look to it, however, just winging it on the day isn’t going to yield the best results for your family photos.
Just like with anything in life, if you want great results for your family photos then you need to prepare adequately for them.
I’ve put this list together so you can prepare for you photo shoot and get the best out of your family photos!
Let the kids be themselves
While it is important to prepare your children as to what to expect at a photoshoot, I don’t expect them to be perfect little angels. I expect them to be kids. If they’re being a bit silly, play along for a bit. Encourage a bit of silliness if it helps generate some genuine smiles and laughter.
You know your children better than anyone so think of some things that get them giggling – maybe the tickle monster, a funny face or voice you put on or even just making fart noises?
If they’re excited to show you a cool move for the camera, let them even though that’s the last look you want in the photos – we humour them and then we’ll ask for some more traditional moves. It’s a fine balance of give and take!
I encourage you to forget about them modelling their best behaviour and just engage with them so that they have fun and feel like the centre of your world.
It also helps that on the day of the photoshoot you don’t pack too much in. While I know life doesn’t stop for family photos, as much as possible try to avoid back to back play dates, parties and sporting activities on the day. Ensure they have eaten well (but don’t load them up on sugar!)
Happy and relaxed kids make for fun family photos!
What you wear matters
There is no way around it, what you wear is going to impact the overall look of your photos.
Now you certainly don’t have to be in the latest styles and you don’t have to wear anything you wouldn’t normally, however, you want to put some planning into it to ensure what you all have on is true to your style, practical for an outdoor photoshoot and comfortable enough for the kids.
When building your family’s wardrobe for the photoshoot, the aim is to create a cohesive overall look, and not have each outfit competing with each other.
Start with your outfit and choose some complimenting colours with the same tone as your outfit. If your outfit is a rusty earthy tone then other earthy tones that will compliment could be mustard, navy and dusty green. Don’t try pair it with pastels or bright primary colours (and vice versa).
In terms of what to physically wear, you can’t go wrong with a maxi dress or skirt. They suit almost any body shape and the movement created by the flowing fabric is beautiful in photos. However, if you’re not a dress person, that’s totally fine too – you do you!
Keep the children’s outfits simple (plain tee and slacks or a dress) because they’re going to want to play and move! You can definitely add little embellishments (like this little lad here) but if your toddler becomes distracted by them or keeps pulling them off, then rather leave it! Your partner should also feel comfortable and good in what they’re wearing and should just avoid big distracting logos on Tees.
Don’t forget Melbourne’s weather can turn at any moment and therefore always pack something warm in as well. Especially if your kids feel the cold!
I’m always happy to chat to my clients before the shoot with wardrobe advice.
Show connection through touch
One of the best ways to show authentic connection is through touch, especially things like holding hands, placing your hands over your children’s hands when they cuddle you or leaning into your partner and placing a hand on their arm or chest.
During your photoshoot I want you to all be connected as much as possible.
From the obvious cuddling or ticking but also to small endearing acts – think placing your hand on your child’s shoulder if they’re standing next to you, playing with your daughter’s hair or getting nose to nose with your kids.
All these things give your hands something to do and physically express that beautiful family connection.
Choose a location and time of year that’s practical for your family
I shoot at a couple bush and park locations throughout Melbourne’s east and southeast or at the beach in Melbourne Bayside. During autumn and spring I also shoot at locations that highlight those particular times of year.
One major rule I have and insist on when photographing at the beach is the timing of the shoot – an hour before sunset. This means in summer the session can be quite late.
I am more flexible on the timing of the shoot when at a local park because then I scout out a suitable shady area.
Therefore, again depending on your children, you know best if they can handle a late night or if an early morning session would be better. Bear in mind that the time of year is going to impact the start time and if you’re wanting an earlier sunset session (starting around 4pm) then be sure to book this with your photographer in advance before they become fully booked.
No matter what happens, Let It Go!
Often getting the whole family ready for anything, let alone a photoshoot, can cause stress and tension.
Add to this your child might skip their nap on the day, traffic could be a nightmare and Melbourne’s erratic weather could turn adding even more woes!
However, when you step out of your car at the photoshoot I need you to be like Elsa and Let It Go! No matter what went down in the lead up to the shoot, just let it go!
For the next hour, focus on how much you love your family and what makes them so special! That is after all why you’re doing this in the first place!
Don’t let a bad mood ruin the session. Take a deep breath, relax and focus on having fun, because while kids can pull off the cute grumpy look, adults can’t!
And that’s it! The secret to beautiful family photos is basically preparing your family as best as you can and then rolling with the punches on the day and just embracing the beautiful chaos that is family life at your shoot!
Bonus Tip: Book the session.
Don’t put it off because it’s easier to shove into the too hard basket. Capture this time before your children grow up in the blink of any eye!
Your family is only this young once! Isn’t it about time you captured these memories in the most beautiful way?