5 Tips to Making the Most of Your Family Photo Session

1.     Know your photographer.

Have you met your photographer?

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This is important and can actually make you relax more on the day if you meet them prior to your photo session.  This is not always possible, but where you can try to meet them, even briefly, to talk aboutwhat you hope to gain from your photo session.  Primarily this is capturing your family as a moment in time for memories to last a lifetime. How does that actually look though? This can be prints to keep for your children, prints to gift, framed prints to hang on the wall or canvases, icemount/acrylics, the list is endless. The ultimate goal is to capture your family for who they are so talking to your photographer about who you are and what style will suit you and your home is important. 

Simply chatting to your photographer will help you get to know them before the session.

P.S. This is me! I normally visit you at your home before your photo session to say hi and have a little chat about your family and to see what style of photography session will suit you and get an idea of what you would like from the session. 

2.     Choose a location you can relax in.

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Be it your home, park or beach it’s important to choose a location you like.

The beach is very relaxing and beautiful for portraits but if you don’t like sand between your toes or if you have toddler that is constantly eating sand then choose another location! Parks are also great locations if you love the outdoors and think your children will be more relaxed running in a park.If you love your home, whether it be small and humble or large and modern, then choose your home. Your home is also a part of you and can be completely full of many memories. Home sessions are a great choice for young families with toddlers and babies so you have easy access to food, toilets, nappy change tables andyou also don’t need to pack bags and rush to get out on location.

 

3.     Take snacks and water.

If you are going to a park or the beach for your session be sure to pack extra snacks and water. We all know kids are happier when their bellies are full. In fact adults are too! Some families like to take bribery snacks as well to entice their little ones (and big ones!) to just give their sibling one more cuddle for the camera.

 

4.     Try not to plan a late night before your portrait session.

If you can avoid a late night the night before your session you will feel better and so will the kids! We all know kids and adults can easily become grumpy if they are tired. Best to rest in this case. It’s not often you gather for a photo session so make the most of it and get some early shut eye!

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5.     Relax and have fun with your family.

A photo session is about you and your family coming together to celebrate your bond, your characters and your love for each other. This is a day to relax and enjoy!

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10 Tips to Photographing Your Toddler or Preschooler at Home

Photography.  The art of seeing.

As a photographer I am very observant.  One thing I have learned by looking through my camera for over 30 years is that it allows you an enormous opportunity to stop and see things that you would otherwise miss on a daily basis. It has also taught me to think differently about taking photos. Gone are the days of having to sit our children still to take photos. Here are a few tips to help you take photos of your young child at home. One day you will look back through these lifestyle type photos and they will enlighten your heart and your child's. Even if you take 30 minutes a week to take 10 photos of them you will have at least 520 photos of your child a year. What a great present for them in the future. Do they have to be professional style photos? Not at all, that's what a professional photo session is for but these day to day photos are your connection with your child as you see them. Here are a few tips that may help you think differently about taking photos. 

1.     Expect anything!

Children are always different. Some are shy and some are naturals in front of the camera. Some days they completely surprise you by totally changing the way they behave. This is something all parents are sure to know from the roller coaster that parenting is!

One thing is certain, you know your child better than anyone and will surely want to have some day to day snaps to remember these early days.

Rule number one with toddlers and Preschoolers is to be prepared for anything! They will either want to have their photo taken or they won’t so be prepared for anything to happen.

2.     Have Fun

Play a game with your little one and make it fun. I have often used a little game with toddlers and young children asking if Mummy or Daddy were animals what would they be. You’d be very surprised with the answer. I’ve even had a child say Mummy would be a lizard! Get their imaginations working as a way to distract them from the fact you are photographing them.

3.     Use a zoom lens­­­

Using a zoom lens can put some distance between you and the chid letting them relax and allowing you to capture some candid shots of your child. Allowing these lifestyle shots to unfold can be truly amazing as you get an insight into your child’s personality and gives you a chance to see the quiet moments, the moments of awe as they discover something new, the moment of solitude as they are deep in thought and the moments of pure simple joy that kids can demonstrate so naturally.

4.     Play dress ups

Some children love to play dress ups. Whether that be in princess costumes, tutus, superhero outfits, policemen, firemen, the list is endless. They may even want to put a flower in their hair or wear a hat and goggles. Let them absorb themselves in the dress up. This can be lots of fun and if they are like my son they may end up going to sleep as their favourite super hero!

 

5.     Play in the back yard

Get outside! Explore the garden or set up a treasure hunt,  play soccer, skip, ­­look for four leaf clovers. Ideas are endless in the backyard. Enjoy the sunshine and enjoy some time in the fresh air. Not only will you have the chance to photograph them in their childhood environment for keepsake but you’ll be surprised at how relaxing it can be enjoying the fresh air with them.

 

6.     Let them paint

Toddlers and Preschoolers love to get messy and paint. It can be a simple as painting rocks, paper or even painting the concrete or their feet. Use washable paint that is non toxic so you can relax about the mess. They will soon be so absorbed in creating a masterpiece that you will have the chance to get a few snaps.

7.     Get down low

Quite often we are very busy trying to looking after the many needs a child has that we tend to see them at the same angle all the time. Even if you allow yourself 5-10 minutes a week to get down low and sit on the floor with your children you will see them from their level. Look at them playing with their toys on the floor and see the joy in their face as they have tea with a doll, talk to their favourite stuffed toy and race their fastest racing car in their make believe Grand Prix. Children are truly skilled at being in the moment. Take a moment to see them like this. You may see them in a way you have never seen.

 

8.     Look down at them

Watch them from above where they are sitting to see what they are seeing. Colourful toys, books, little feet, little hands. Then get them to look up at you. This angle can be the cutest look and their eyes will generally be so wide as they look up at you.

9.     Let them take a photo of you as well

If you are trying to take a photo of them but they are reluctant models let them have a look through the camera so they can see what you see. They may find the camera a bit odd or foreign. Let them take a photo of you or their toys. Sometimes this can help them relax a little around the camera.

 

10.  Let them pull faces

Think of emotions. Tell them to pull their funniest face or their crankiest face. Ask them to show you what your face normally looks like, or their Grandparents face. This can be very telling. Ask them to put wide eyes on or play pick a boo.  The list is endless on this one. If you let them be a little silly at the start they will relax a little and give you a chance to take a few nice shots.

 

Most importantly, have fun with your kids! This time is fleeting and you be glad you took the time to truly see them. 

 

 

 

 

Let Them Be Kids

Kids are kids right? 

Well, as adults we tend to forget to have fun. We forget we all have character, good, bad and crazy mixed into one! Why should they be any different when they are being photographed? Especially when it means so much to parents to have them behave and smile? 

As a Mum of two cheeky boys and a photographer well experienced in photography and navigating the family dynamics at a photo session I can tell you it never pans out how any adult expects. It’s either you discover you have amazingly photogenic kids who love to smile for the camera OR you have kids who can pull the funniest of faces just as the shutter is released. 

There is great news! IT IS OK! Perfectly ok. You are a family with all of your love, hugs and smiles comes the crazy faces, the rough and tumble hugs and the child who would like to just sit and play their ipad instead. So, how do we manage as a team to get them to have their photo taken?

Here are some hints, most of which I work on when I take the photos, some where I ask for your help.

1. Embrace their character on the day.

2. Hold back any negative reaction to any cheeky behavior. This can be an opportunity to get some fabulous and fun shots.

3. Talk about what interests the kids. Minecraft, Peppa Pig etc. I have a little questionnaire for you so I have this magic conversation starter up my sleeve.

4. Help me by being silly next to me when I am photographing the kids. Pull faces at them, tell them jokes, anything to get them to relax and have fun.

5. Relax! Don’t stress about your kids being perfect models at the photo session. I truly don’t rush you and allow plenty of time to allow for anything.

Before we know it our kids will be adults with enough to be serious about. Capture your family as they are – adults and kids – funny faces and all.