These are my seven top tips for maximising and enjoying your family photo shoot

  1. Play and have fun. Relax your parenting expectations about your child being well behaved in front of me (they’re almost guaranteed to act out at some stage of the shoot). Go with the flow, gently remind them of the behaviours you’ve agreed in advance, flip up the mood by surprising them with play. 
  2. Agree together as a family what the rules and roles of the shoot are in advance. Sometimes giving each family member a role for the event can help (and distract). Tasks such as telling the jokes, remembering the snacks, or checking everyone has their shoe laces tied are some suggestions. 
  3. Consider your outfits. But don’t worry too much. My general advice is block colours that work together. Avoid large logos or patterns. These things distract from the expressions and can date the photos quickly. 
  4. Treats and incentives. Agree together what your child sees as a reward for participating well during the session. We don't want to use threats (that the treat will be taken away) but as fun things to look forward to together after the mahi is done.
  5. Energy boosts. Little candy treats, easy/non-messy fruit snacks and water on hand can help if their energy levels start to dip. And that's just for the adults. Checking that everyone has their basic needs met (food, water, bathroom etc.) before the shoot helps too.
  6. Smile but don’t force it. Telling your child repeatedly to smile can have the effect of generating some of the less photogenic ‘smiles’ you can imagine. And it’s hard to wind back those silly smiles once they're out of the box. Instead use non-verbal ways to make them smile. Do something mildly embarrassing that makes them laugh; give them a tickle, blow a raspberry on their cheek, or dare them to an arm wrestle. Come back to that instinct of play and having fun to generate some of the most beautiful reactions and smiles on those adorable faces. Those priceless joyful expressions that can go into hibernation as they get older. 
  7. Consider ‘mandatory’ photos in advance of the shoot. I’ll always be aiming to capture a group shot, parents, siblings, mum with child/ren combinations. But perhaps there’s something else you want captured for posterity: the kids under the fruit tree where their placenta is planted, a portrait with Grandma’s framed photo, or your youngest with their cuddly toy. Surprise me! Be sure to tell me ahead of the shoot so that it isn’t forgotten in the moment.

Next steps

I'm so looking forward to capturing these precious memories for you and your family. And if you haven't yet booked: give me a call or an email to discuss what might work for your family dynamic. Don’t let them get any older, don’t leave it another year. Just take the time now, and that might be no more than half an hour in your home, to capture everyone in this life moment.