Preparing for your Family Session
Well done on getting this far, talking the family (or yourself!) in to getting professional photos done is usually the hardest part! I find it important at this stage to remind you of the reason that you are doing this, so when you get a bit stressed that you have “nothing to wear” or you were “wanting to lose a few more kilos before photos” please take a moment to remember that at the end of the day, I am here to capture your connection with each other and frame a little piece of history. It is never going to be “today” again; so embrace what you have and enjoy the experience.
I often get asked the following questions, so have answered generally below. If you have a session planned that is a little more outside the box, please let me know so that we can discuss what you are thinking in further detail...
What is a "lifestyle family session"?
My aim in these sessions is to capture the connection and the "feel" of your family dynamic. It tells a story and it captures a memorable chapter in your life. During this type of session, I do offer gentle guidance and include some formal poses, but more so that I can capture the "fall out" from the pose - that is, the magical moments before and after I have told you to stand a particular way, or if I have asked a silly question. I like to let the session unfold naturally as I find the more authentic images comes from a semi-candid focus.
These types of sessions are suitable for families of all sizes and dynamics. I love getting the grandparents in-front of my camera as well - generation photos have a very special place in my heart!!
If you are having a Port Lincoln based session, I will ask what sort of backdrop you prefer (whether it be beach, park or rural outlook) and can suggest some of my favourite locations to suit. Alternatively, photos done at home or at a location that you as a family frequent or love is always a nice way to make the experience that bit more memorable.
What happens on the day?
I will arrive and will generally ignore you a bit (no offence) while I get down on the level of any kiddos in the family. I need to build up trust and rapport quickly with these guys so I try and get in their good books straight away. I do a bit of direction in terms of asking you guys to look at each other, stand here, do this etc but I also leave you guys to be you as much as possible too.
I find it worth noting here that I am absolutely not offended if your kiddos do not want to follow some of my instructions. In fact, if they feel comfortable enough to tell me what they would prefer to do I find that even better! There is nothing worse than them seeing photos as a chore, something to please mum (lol) - so it is 100% my mission to allow them the freedom to have fun, explore, and interact with me as to what they like as well! After all... they are the ones that will most appreciate these photos for the next few generations!! "Embrace the Chaos" is one of my favourite sayings because honestly, there is just something so satisfying about sitting back and watching your kiddos laugh and smile and BE KIDS. So throw the notion of your experience with family photos out the window and enjoy it with me!
What to wear.
Neutral tones will always photograph well and tend to stay timeless as the years go on. In saying that we want to see your personalities, so keep it real by wearing what you’re most comfortable in and by being yourself. Texture is your friend. I encourage cream or muted colours, steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns. Not too matchy-matchy but within a similar tone or colour palette tends to look great. Feel free to email me a picture of the outfits you have planned if you want any advice.
START WITH COLOUR
The easiest place to start wardrobe planning is with your colour palette. Think co-ordinated, not "matched". Begin by choosing a mix of complimentary neutral colours, punctuated with pops of a brighter accent colours/patterns on individual clothing items or accessories. Your goal is to create a pulled together, coordinated look that natural without being too uniformed or matchy. Classic florals and earthy tones look amazing with my editing style and against our local landscape.
ADD PERSONALITY WITH LAYERS + ACCESSORIES
Using layers and accessories is a great way to add visual interest and create different "looks" for each family member during your session. Simply adding or removing items like vests, or jackets can give you a quick "wardrobe change" between shots. Carefully chosen accessories like scarves or statement jewellery are fun touches of personal style and can really highlight your personality while complimenting the aesthetic of your family/group.
YOUR HOME PLAYS A ROLE
It is always nice to consider where your portraits are going to be displayed in your home. For larger canvases or framed prints, perhaps intended as the focal point of a family room or dining room. Consider your wall colours and the overall decor and style in those rooms as you plan your wardrobe choices.
PREPARING THE KIDDOS
- Avoid "the grumpies" by making sure your little ones are well rested and fed before your session.
- Take any unease out of the session by talking to your kiddos about how much FUN the session will be, and that their "job" is simply to be themselves. Please don't make it feel like a chore or something they need to behave for... I want to capture their personalities and their authentic connection with you + each other. It will pay dividends for future photo sessions if it is a positive experience from the get-go.
- Pack an emergency bag with drinks, snacks, wipes, favourite toys, and any sentimental props/items or clothing accessories.
- Work with your kids early on with regards to wardrobe. Support their choices with latitude and gentle guidance to give them confidence, and to make the process more fun!
Who will be in the photos?
You guys will be! Yes, all of you! Being in photos with your family is so important and you may not feel like it at the moment but trust me, you will appreciate my bossiness one day. Being present both in real life and in your framed photos are such a confidence booster for everyone, but especially for your kids. My sessions are a mix of lifestyle and relaxed-posed photography. This style is something I stamp on my sessions to make them uniquely a RMP experience. If you want to include people outside of your immediate family, I can certainly accommodate this. Please let me know when you are booking in your session.
What happens after we have had the session?
Once the session is complete, I will go home and back up your session and from here all suitable images will be edited. If you have requested that you would like to see a sneak peek, I will aim to have this up within 24-48 hours pending if I am on the road or at home. You will be notified when your images are ready, allow around 4 weeks for your full gallery.
General Advice - This advice may seem a bit "stiff" and at odds with how I like to photograph BUT it is always handy to glance over and please simply ignore what doesnt apply to you and your family! If you aren't a hair-brushing or shoe-wearing family, don't do it just for photos!
Hair – If you’re getting a hair cut for your shoot, consider doing so about two weeks beforehand. This will allow for your hair to grow out to show off a more comfortable and "true to you" look.
Hair accessories – If you’re shooting outdoors, be ready to put your hair up in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favourite accessories.
Glasses – If folks wouldn’t recognise you without glasses, you want to wear glasses in your shoot – however, the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. If this is something you would prefer to avoid, you can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don’t worry, it’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies), or ask your eye doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames, or you can also visit an inexpensive company online like Specsavers and buy a suitable pair of duplicate frames on the cheap.
Red eyes – Eye drops can be your friend. Not getting drunk the night before your shoot helps. [Don’t think I kid, I’ve shot plenty of hung-over clients.]
Lips – You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip balm or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your smoochers look their best.
Teeth – If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your shoot.
Breakouts – Drink lots of water in the few weeks leading up to your shoot and try not to drastically alter your skincare routine in the same timeframe. Equally important, it may be best not to cake on a lot of make-up to try to hide blemishes – it’s almost always easier to smooth over pimples than to clean up overdone make-up.
Make-up – A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure that you are comfortable with how much you put on, do not feel that this is a necessary addition if it is something you would prefer not to do! If you are wanting to apply make-up, make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look a different shade compared to the rest of your body.
Moisturizer – Dry skin can detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. When you get out of the shower, dry off until lightly damp, and slather on moisturizer. Focus on your arms, shoulders, neck, face, hands, anywhere you’ll be exposed to the camera. This includes your legs if you’re shooting in shorts or a skirt.
Nails – A fresh coat of nail polish can look nice for photos if you like to wear it. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits. Freshen the morning of the shoot, then be careful not to scuff it while prepping. Your photo shoot is a great excuse for a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles.
Bloating – Avoid high salt and high fat foods for two to three days in advance of your shoot. Being bloated will sap your confidence and comfort in front of the camera. A glass of room temp water with lemon each morning is also a good digestive kick-starter!
Undergarments – Bra straps on show won’t do anything to help your outfit look its best. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden.
Sun burns and tan lines – If your shoot is booked for Saturday, don’t go to the beach on Friday. If you plan to (naturally) tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc.
Ironing – If you own clothes that require ironing (haha I know I don't own many!!), iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.
Shoes – Think of the sort of photos we are doing, most of my sessions are rural, so I love slip-ons or a nice comfy pair of boots. If we are off to the beach, thongs or sandals are fine as we will most likely take them off any way.You know what you like as much as you know what you would love to see on your walls so if the kiddies have an old pair of sandshoes or some tattered boots, hide them away for the day and get them to wear something that compliments your outfit (not stands out in a bad way!).
Clothes - I also get asked about clothing a lot too, particularly for the under 10s. It is no secret that I adore Jamie Kay and Country Road for garments that photograph really well and are also quality enough to be everyday staples (they are in our house!). The Bay Room and Daisy and Hen also have fantastic ranges of kids clothes with brands like Toshi and Wilson and Frenchy. Anything similar to this sort of style is going to photograph really well in colour and B&W for my style of photography. Planning outfits is part of the fun!