What to expect and how best to prepare for your family photo shoot

If you’re like me, coordinating (corralling?) your family to come together for a photoshoot is a rare thing. How do we fit it in with the day-to-day juggle of school or daycare, swim lessons, play dates and supermarket shops? I've put together this outline of what to expect from a family photo shoot experience with me as your photographer.

Timing for a family photo 

Time is important. That’s why I keep it simple for family shoots. We aim for 30mins of shooting, with up to an hour max. In advance of the session I’ll talk with you about the best time of day to capture your family. In my household, mornings with two boys are a good time to engage and encourage them to be loving, charming, willing participants. Maybe. On a good day. Early evening can be great for that beautiful, warm dusk light depending on the location and time of year.

My homework for you 

Bribes work. Most of the time. Once we’ve determined best time of day for your household I suggest planning something special for post-photo shoot. That might be a pastry treat at the local cafe, a trip to the playground, or a trip to the pool for some hydro slide fun. (Ok all of those are pretty great incentives for my two boys). What do your kids love to do? Can you incorporate it into the day as a reward for good behaviour and being loveable cherubs for the camera?

Reality vs Instagram

But what if they’re not loveable cherubs on the day? Having photos taken is a special event that can have a whole lot of build up. Expectations are high: both of the photographer and their ability to wrangle your gang, but also of your family members. New outfits might have been purchased, fresh haircuts, makeup done. You’re hoping for best behaviour, everyone looking clean and tidy, and all following instruction. I get it. I hope that of my boys whenever we leave the house. Reality though? Reality is a little more messy, unfiltered and hilariously frustrating. And that’s what I’m excited to capture. All of you, as you are, on the day. 

Human nature

Because we’re all humans, we’re complex and we’re unique. I’m aiming to photograph your beautiful whānau as I see you, at home or at a location that is important to you. My style of photography is candid, documentary style images that really do capture the essence of you. And the result will be photos that tell a story of the personalities that day. Memories of this moment in time before they grow any bigger, before they loose that cute cherub face and before they’re off having their own lives. 

Consider makeup

Hair and makeup is an additional cost which I'm very happy to discuss, quote and coordinate for you with a trusted professional makeup artist who can come to your home. We normally allow for hair and makeup to take one and half hours prior to the shoot so this timing needs to be factored in. I always recommend having hair and makeup done for a professional photo shoot; it improves your confidence, and elevates your beautiful features for the camera.

What you get to take home

With every family shoot my package price includes planning, photographing on location, post-production work, and delivery of an edited online gallery of 10 hi-res jpeg files for you to keep. After the shoot we'll meetup online to go through an online gallery of 30-40 images from which you'll choose your 'favourites'. These will have had a light edit and are not final. I'll then finish editing your chosen images and send you an online gallery of hi-res jpeg files that can be downloaded. If you want more than 10 images I have package options for you to choose from. Some of these include printed product. My gallery also offers a premium print store option for ordering prints online, which is always available and you can easily order straight through from the gallery.

Read on for my top tips for getting the most out of your family photo shoot...