6 top tips on how to prepare for a professional family photography session with kids

Updated: Feb 9, 2020

Are you considering a professional photography session for your family? Or maybe you are overdue one? I capture my children’s day-to-day lives as often as I can. I shoot with the amazing Canon 5D Mark IV camera, and love being able to create those high-quality images of my little ones. Mostly outdoors in local parks (Ampthill Park is one of my favourite) and in my studio based in Flitwick, Bedfordshire.


But… at least once a year I invest in family photography with a professional photographer.


You may ask WHY?


Well, there is something almost MAGICAL about having some stunning images created by talented photographers. It is like having a morning or afternoon out with the kids for some fun and play as a family.



So how do I make sure that my family session is a success?


Here are my 7 top tips for having a successful family photography session.


1. FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER


A quick search on Google, Facebook or Instagram will present you with multiple choices when it comes to family photographers in Bedfordshire. So how do you decide who to pick?


The first question you need to ask yourself is, what type of session you are interested in? Do you prefer studio, in-home or outdoor session? If you are looking for having a family session with a new baby, a studio or in-home session may be a good choice for you. Outdoor family sessions are always fun for families with toddlers and older children. There is plenty of room to run around and play, and often photographers can create a mix of posed and candid photographs for you.


It is always a good idea to ask for referrals from family or friends who have children. I find this the best way to find a family-friendly photographer, and trust me, not everyone has the skill to bring those natural smiles out of your little ones if they are not in the mood.

And finally, trust your instinct. If the photographs in their gallery make you smile and bring you joy, then you have found the right photographer for you. You have got to love their style to ensure you have some stunning photographs to display around your home or gift to family and friends.


2. ASK FOR A MORNING OR EVENING FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION


The harsh mid-day sun during the day limits the photographer to take the photographs in “open shade”. This is why the best photographs are created in indirect light during the Golden Hour, especially in warmer months. You may be wondering what the Golden Hour is? Put simply, it is the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. During that time, the sun is low in the sky creating beautiful soft, golden light – the kind of light that is perfect for photos.


If you are a young family, pick an early morning session. Toddlers and young kids are almost always more cooperative at the start of the day. The older kids may find it fun to be able to go out in the evening and do something different from their usual bedtime routine.


3. MAKE SURE THE KIDS ARE WELL RESTED AND FED


Prepare the outfits for your session the night before and get the kids to bed early to make sure they wake up rested and happy. Enjoy a nice, big breakfast before getting dressed for the session. Rested and full up kids will have plenty of energy to enjoy the family photography session without getting moody. It is always a good idea to bring some mess-free snacks such as rice cakes, squeeze yogurts or oat bars. Don’t forget their drinks too!



4. THINK ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS AHEAD OF THE SESSION


To create timeless photographs that won’t date it is a good idea to avoid wearing outfits with logos, characters or strong patterns. I love when my clients spend time thinking and coordinating their outfits, i.e. follow a similar colour palette. I know this can be tough! But this effort always pays offs – this does really look stylish and makes the photographs extra special. Plus a good photographer would be happy to offer you advice and support with your outfits. Just ask!


5. PREPARE THE KIDS FOR THE SESSION


…and make it a part of a fun-filled day.


I love when my family photography session is part of a family day, rather than a thing that everyone has to do. Most of my clients make the most of the day and take kids for a special meal, picnic or a walk in the local woodland after the photoshoot. They talk to them about the plans for the day and get them excited about playing together outside or in the studio during the session. There are often no complaints from the kids (and dads!) the entire session who are also excited about the next adventure coming up soon.


6. BE OPEN-MINDED


Come to your family photography session with an open mind. When our photographer suggested taking our coats off on in the middle of December (I was 30+ weeks pregnant at the time!), my immediate thought was, “Nah. No thanks.” Luckily, I didn’t say anything and followed her directions. Ironically, these photos ended up being one of our favourites. The colours of our outfits matched beautifully the surrounding area creating some stunning portraits we simply love.


And finally, MAKE SURE YOUR ARE IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS


I know this is a constant struggle for mums. I have 1000s of photographs of my children but only a handful of photographs that include me with them or all four of us. It is not surprising though, we are usually the one behind the camera! Prepare for the session – get a good night's sleep, drink plenty of water before and get yourself a special outfit for the occasion or block out some time to do your make-up and hair. Take advantage of the family session and be in as many photographs as you can. I promise you won’t regret it!



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