3 tips for Creating Your Ultimate Family Portrait Session

3 Tips for Creating Your Ultimate Family Portrait Session

Family Portrait Session Gold Coast

Like anything new, if you’ve never had a family portrait session, this unknown can be a time of a little stress and that feeling of, “is this what we are meant to do?”  Firstly, let me clear one thing up, there is no right or wrong way to be the family being photographed. Every family is different and every family has their own unique session, no two can ever be the same, as the session is really about you. The idea that any of my families would be stressing about their session is concerning for me. It should not be a cause for concern at all. So, in the spirit of calming anyone’s nerves, there are a few things you can do to ensure the session goes smoothly and we get the most important thing of all, family memories for you to hang on your wall.  Today, I want to share with you 3 tips to create your ultimate family portrait session. To really ensure that together we create images that will be treasured for generations to come. 

The 3 tips I want to show you are:

  • Plan and prepare for success,
  • Allow me to creat for you and create the images you are looking for, and
  • Keeping your expectations of your children at bay (you need to read on for this one, its really important].

Why is it so important to follow these tips? 

To be honest, its not the make or break type scenario.  Whether you do all three, or even just one, or non for that matter.  When you book in for a session, I will take you through the process step by step, and anything outside of that is going to turn out just fine.  However, we are all busy people with a gazzilion things going through our brains at light speed. A few tips to remove one or two of those concerning thoughts can only help the story, and can give you peace of mind that you are all ready to go. 

 1. Prepare and Plan

Like most things, success is the result of good planning.  I have been doing this family portrait gig for a while now, and my most successful sessions are those where the parents are relaxed and enjoy the time, which usually happens if they feel prepared for their afternoon ahead.  How best to do so?

  1. Plan out the wardrobe – usually the biggest challenge for parents, and rightly so, you have to look at these clothes forever.  So, lay out all the clothes together, make sure those that will care are wearing what they would like and always feel free to send me through a photo of it all together if you are concerned. Have a look at this blog post for more information on What to Wear. 
  2. Discuss the session as a family, twice.  Once about a week before, and once the night before.  Make sure everyone knows its happening, they know that I am coming.  They need to know of any expectations you have in relation to their part in the session, and they also need to know that you appreciate their participation.  Tell them how important these photos are to you and that you want to enjoy the session and have fun. Then, tell them you are going to do something for them after the session.  Take them bowling, to the movies, out for dinner, Grandmas house, to the park. Whatever would be top of their list, make it the activity straight after the session and let them know that is coming.
  3. And, just because I like to contradict myself, don’t overbook the day.  Yes, you need to ensure they are happy and enjoy the session, and make sure they have something amazing to look forward to.  But keep the routine fairly simple for the rest of the day. Nap if naps are needed and keep the food nice and simple.

2. Let me do my thing and create the session you really want

I can photograph anyone, anywhere at any time.  However, I also know that there are certain conditions I prefer to photograph in because I love the results so much more.  This pertains to the way the light falls at that time, to the location and how the land lies in comparison to the surrounding fauna to how most kids are at different times of the day.  So, for example. If you are looking for a session with heaps of natural light and warmth (like most of my work), it’s probably best to not ask me to shoot your family in the middle of the day or late morning when the light in South East Queensland is harsher and without that warmth we get in the late afternoon.  When I say to you, 4pm is best, I’m simply ensuring that we get the images that your heart desires. OR, if I say, let’s do a morning session at your home, I’m usually thinking about your 1 year old and their nap situation and how I know that late afternoon is probably not going to be their happiest time.

3. Let them do their thing.  So, this would normally sound a little rude to me, but I’m going to lay it out for you.

I do this, a lot. I’ve dealt with kids climbing on me while I photograph their siblings, I’ve climbed trees to photograph kids up there, jumped on trampolines, I’ve ran up Sand Dunes to photograph bigger kids.  What you see as being bad behaviour or disrespectful, I just expect, and I fully understand that under normal circumstances you wouldn’t tolerate it. However, this isn’t a normal circumstance for any child, so in order to capture that beautiful cheeky smile, I’m completely happy and expect for the boundaries to be stretched a little.  Unless I let you know I need you to help me get their attention or to deal with the craziness that can occur, or, more importantly, in regards to safety, if things look dangerous, let it go. I’ll get the shots we want, and you’ll get to hang back and let them be kids. Everyone wins.

Just remember what the end goal is.  I can’t photoshop happy and relaxed into my photos – that comes from the light in your eyes and your expression.  I need to see you with your babies, however big they are, in your most relaxed and engaging self. That’s how they want to remember you.  And from my perspective, a child playing up vs. a parent in the background with a scowl on their face. Well, lets just say I know which is easier to fix. 

If you are ready to capture the happy in your family, let’s chat, plan it out, and then make it happen. Contact me now and we’ll book you in to capture them forever.

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    Chapel Hill, QLD 4069.



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    When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.


    Robert Frank