Hello and thank you so much for booking your family photography session with me, I am really looking forward to meeting you and capturing some special memories of you and your family. I have included some information below to help you prepare for your session and hopefully answer any questions you might have.
What should we wear?
This is the first question most people ask after booking their session. What you wear is important because it can really enhance your final gallery. I want you to feel comfortable in what you are wearing because that will ultimately show through in your photos.
The first thing I suggest you do is have a look in your wardrobe and think about your own personal style. We all naturally gravitate towards certain colours and textures. Pick your outfit and then co-ordinate the rest of the family around what you are wearing.
Bold, jewel colours (eg: red, yellow, navy) or soft pastels (eg: blue, yellow, purple) can all work very well. Try and keep your colour scheme to three main accentuating colours (too many more can be very distracting). If the thought of picking a colour palette induces panic, neutral colours such as grey, black, white, beige and navy are timeless and can be mixed and matched on their own or with one main, bold colour to great effect.
Textures such as linen, cotton, denim, corduroy, silk and lace always photograph wonderfully. Once you have picked your outfit, have a look at the rest of the family and co-ordinate with complimentary colours and textures.
I do strongly suggest avoiding the matchy-matchy look (everyone is black t-shirts and denim will seriously date your photos). Also try to avoid large brand names or logos on clothing as they can be distracting. These images will be in your family for generations to come - so it's definitely worth putting some thought into what you might like to wear.
Autumn sessions: If you have booked an Autumn session, I would suggest giving a good deal of thought to your outfits because this is one instance where the colours you choose will have a big impact on how your photos look. Shades of red, burgundy, maroon, bronzes, golds and greens will all work very well with Autumn colours. Neutrals like grey and blue as well as various shades of cream and beige are also always an option.
Purple, pinks and pastels tend to clash with the foliage and can be distracting in your final gallery.
What can I expect from our session?
My sessions are very relaxed and all I want you to do is have fun with your children, while I snap away with my camera. I don't need you all to look at me and smile for every single photo. So you don't need to look at the camera, unless I ask you to.
If you have booked an in-home session, I'll meet you at your home at the time we have agreed, kick off my shoes and introduce myself to your family, making sure to chat with your children and explain what I am going to do (this is where knowing about their favourite things comes in very handy). If you have booked an outdoor session, we will agree a time and place to meet. Please do be on time so that we can get the most out of our time together.
It's helpful if you tell your children that a friend will be coming around to take photographs of you all so they know what to expect, it is best not to surprise them.
I am primarily a natural light photographer, which means, when I photograph in your home, I use light coming in through your doors and windows to take my photographs. When I arrive I may have a look around your house just to see where the best light is. It would be helpful for me if you can make a note of which rooms have big windows or sunlight coming in the windows at the time when we will be having our session. These tend to be the best rooms to photograph in.
TOP TIP: The most helpful thing you can do is snap a few photos of your rooms on your phone and email those photos to me. This helps me plan our session and also gives me an excellent idea of where the light is best in your home.
If the light is good, I really do like taking photos in the master bedroom, especially as most children love being with their parents on the bed. I'm really short so often need to climb on your furniture to get the best angles! I do always ask :)
If you are having out an outdoor session, I will have scouted out the location before we meet to find the best places to take your photographs.
I may direct you to stand or sit in certain places, according to where the light is best, but if you have booked me, then you are obviously not after stiff or overly posed photos. I take a more documentary/lifestyle approach (as you can see from my portfolio). I really want to capture those natural connections between you that make your family unique to who you are. So instead of having everyone posing for the camera for the whole session, I encourage you to play or engage in an activity together to get those natural smiles and big, belly laughs. My sessions are fun, especially where small children are involved, and I keep things light-hearted and a bit silly to get the best out of you and your children. I aim to get photos of the whole family together, as well as individual portraits so you have lots of variety in your final gallery.
Do I need to tidy up for an in-home session?
You do not need to de-clutter your entire home before a session, (after all your house reflects your unique personality which is what makes in-home sessions so great) but you just need to be aware that whatever is in the room will end up in the frames I shoot.
I'm worried my children will not want to smile for the camera or misbehave
Please rest assured that I don't want your children to be anything other than themselves. I don't need them to sit still or 'be good', I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old who point-blank refuse to pose for me, I've become an expert in taking photos on the run and I have a lot of tricks to make sure that I get those lovely, connected family photos that you are after. Please do not bribe your children to behave for me, I find this never works (especially if sweets are involved). Of course you know your children best and if you want to give them something as a treat at the end of the session as a motivating factor, that is entirely up to you.
If you have toddlers or small children, please don't worry if they have a tantrum or a meltdown during our session. It's my job to make sure you get the kinds of photos you see in my portfolio and I can guarantee that melt-downs routinely happen at every single session I do that involves small children. If your child becomes upset, we'll take a break, distract them and make sure they are happy before continuing.
I find it helps (especially with toddlers and babies) if they have had a nap prior to our session and are well rested. It's always a good idea to have snacks and a drink on hand if we need to take a break for little ones to refuel. I generally let the children lead our sessions. I want them to be fun so that you all enjoy the experience (yes, even you Dads!). So I tend to play a lot of silly games - incorporating movement into my photographs is always important to me. My goal is to keep them engaged in what we are doing so that they stop noticing the camera.
What happens if it rains?
We all know just how unpredictable the great British weather can be. If rain looks inevitable then we will rearrange the session at a time to suit you. If it is merely overcast then we will go ahead with the session. At certain times of day, overcast skies are actually preferable for photographers, those clouds keep the harsh sunlight off people's faces and if there are lovely flowers or bright colours about, they really pop in that even light. If it rains unexpectedly during your session, I'll provide you with any photos I managed to capture and we'll take cover and see if we can resume our session as soon as possible.
When will I get my photos?
I promise to get your full gallery to you within 10 days of your session. I normally do an initial edit and I like to post some of my favourites on my social media accounts within a few days of our sessions as this helps me promote my business. If you do not want me to share your photos, please do let me know. Your gallery will be live for three months so that you can download, save and print your photos.
One last thing before you go...
If you haven't already done so, please would you fill in the questionnaire I have sent you. Having your contact details, the names of your family members and knowing a little about your family in advance of our shoot helps me to get the most out of your session and capture unique images that reflect who you truly are, right now.
If you have any further questions or want clarification on anything mentioned above, please do not hesitate to message, call or email me. I can't wait to meet you and photograph your family!