Family Photoshoot Autumn Session Guide
So, you've got a photoshoot coming up! I'm here to help make it as relaxed and as fun an experience as I can. So grab a coffee (or a gin) and have a scroll through this guide. Any questions, just pop me a message or give me a call.
What You Need to Know
WHAT TO EXPECT
My photography sessions are very relaxed and I aim to capture natural images of you and your family. I'll take a variety of images: all of you together, each parent with the kids, siblings shots and individual child portraits. Subjects willing of course! If you have anything specific in mind please do let me know. I might ask for your help with the kids. This might be sorting out that hair clip that's slipped or straightening that dress. Or I might just need your help getting the kid's attention. There is nothing like the look of love a little one gives their mummy or daddy!
I do my photoshoots in the morning. I find that kids, especially young ones, are more alert then. But mostly it's to do with the light. It's softer and more flattering in the early mornings or late afternoons. A strong sun high in the sky casts harsh shadows and makes everyone squint which is never a good look!
WHAT TO BRING
My sessions aren't particularly long but it's best to be prepared! If you have other young children it’s a good idea to bring some snacks and drinks with you for the little ones, although nothing too messy, please! Wipes, obviously. It’s also wise to pack a change of clothes for the younger ones, just in case. If you have any cuddly toys or special items that you'd like in the photos please do feel free to bring them along.
Well, we are in England so let's face it, there's a very real possibility the weather won't be on our side! Blue skies and wispy clouds are of course lovely but don't be put off by cloud cover. I actually much prefer a cloudy sky for my photoshoots. The clouds act as a giant diffuser, giving us soft, pretty, flattering light. Whatever Mother Nature has in store for us, I will take a call the day before. If we're rained off I will reschedule.
In regards to location, I shoot exclusively outdoors. I favour small parks or country fields and try to avoid large popular destinations (think the big London parks) if possible. These are stunning but they tend to get really busy and when people spot a photoshoot they tend to stop and watch. I want you all nice and relaxed which you probably won't be if you've got an audience! You might have somewhere in mind but if not I have a few lovely little spots that are pretty and quiet. A little caveat here is that if your chosen location requires entrance and/or parking charges, these will be added to your fee.
Please download <What 3 Words> before your session - this will make it really easy to find each other if we're in a big park or somewhere similar.
Next up, misbehaving children! Please don't worry about this. Kids will be kids and as a mum myself I've seen it all before. I've got lots of tricks up my sleeves. So don't stress and don't worry if they won't look at the camera or give me a big cheesy grin because I'm after natural moments and smiles anyway. There are a few things you can do to prepare your kids for a family photoshoot though. You'll find a link at the bottom of the page.
What Happens After the Shoot?
After your session, I will spend some time choosing the very best photos from your session. Each one is carefully hand-edited in line with my editing style. I will touch up little scratches or blemishes and apply light softening to the skin, but I don't completely remove things like wrinkles. If you require this level of editing please let me know in advance. When they are ready you will receive an online viewing gallery of beautifully edited images. This will typically take around 2 weeks. You can then decide what you would like to buy.
Some Useful Resources
What to Wear
Dressing yourself in the morning can be hard enough when you don’t have to stand in front of a camera and be your best self. Choosing what to wear for your photoshoot can be stressful, but don’t worry. This is very normal! Before you lose sleep to late nights spent online shopping for the whole family, let’s talk about what works and what doesn’t.
All About You
This is possibly the most important piece of advice when it comes to what to wear to your family photoshoot. Dress yourself first. No matter what you put the kids in they will look adorable to you because you're their mum and they're your babies. If you manage this process like you do every other aspect of family life (ie putting everyone else before yourself), then you will find yourself rushing around at the last minute, fretting over what you are going to wear that will go with those cute outfits you sorted out for everyone else. And if you don't feel happy and comfortable and beautiful in what you are wearing then you won't like your images. It's as simple as that. So read through this guide, pick out your outfit, and then co-ordinate everyone else with what you are wearing.
Your Colour Palette
For an autumn family photoshoot, remember that rich reds, oranges and browns will be the backdrop to your photoshoot. Use nature's own palette as your inspiration.
Warm neutrals, creams, tan, beige, burnt oranges, mustard yellows, and berry colours all work really well. You can also consider navy and grey. Primary colours are incredibly striking, but can sometimes have the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you and your family). So instead of bright orange, opt for ochre. Instead of bright red, choose a deep burgundy. you get the drift. Sticking with neutral tones and muted hues is always a winner.
A good rule of thumb is to choose three colours that complement your surroundings and build your outfits around that palette.
When it comes to your autumn family photoshoot, so as not to clash with all those lovely autumn colours avoid large bold patterns. If you don't want plain pieces you can add interest using texture instead. Think pretty lace, fine or chunky knits, delicate tulle or subtle embroidery. Layers can add depth to your images too. More on that below.
Some Top Tips
Let’s talk about comfort because it's really important. The best route is usually to go with something that’s tried and true. Something you know moves with you and hugs you in all the right places. What matters is that you show up as yourself. If you want your images to be authentic, then it’s all about the feeling of being in your own skin.
Don't stop at your ankles. Shoes are a key part of a look and ideally complement the rest of the outfit. Remember how we talked about looking native to your environment, being authentic and being comfortable? Select the right shoes based on the location, and consider what you’d normally wear if I wasn’t following you around with a camera. Always consider context when choosing footwear for both aesthetic appeal and practicality.
We have a dog, a labradoodle called Bella, and she's very much part of our family. So your dog is incredibly welcome to join us. If they need to be on a lead, ditch the harness.
That means dressing for the great outdoors in the autumn! Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we’ll be shooting at. You’ll want pain-free feet. It may well be a little soft underfoot. It might also be a bit chilly, but try and ditch the heavy winter coats if you can and use layers and warm accessories instead. It's easier to find complementing outfits than it is to try and match all your coats! The idea is to look relatively native to your environment.
Aim to complement, not match. For the aesthetics of your photos to really sing, you want the whole family to complement each other as well as your surroundings. The idea is to have everything look good together without everything looking the same.
For an autumn family photoshoot, think woolly hats, scarves or cosy snoods. These are all a great way to jazz up your accessory game and add some interest and texture if you've opted for plain colours in your outfits. Maybe a cosy gilet if it's a little chilly? But try and ditch the big winter coats if you can.
HAIR & MAKEUP
You should look like you. So do whatever you need to do to feel confident and beautiful. And don't forget your hands. Treat yourself to a little subtle manicure or make sure your nails are neat and tidy before the shoot. As for hair, up-dos are OK but when it comes to capturing a moment, hair down is the way to go. With your hair down you get movement, you get interest, you get some perfect slices of imperfection in the best possible way.
TIPS FOR MEN
Dads often carry their phones, keys or wallets in their pockets. They really show up in the photos, so pop them in mum's bag out of the way. Men's watches tend to be quite large and can be a bit distracting. A nice dress watch is fine but, and this is a personal choice of course, I would ditch the smart watch.
If you wear glasses all the time then having photos without them might mean that you just don't look like you. And we don't want that so it's fine to keep them on - we'll just need to keep on eye on glare. But ditch the sunglasses. And the transition lenses. We will seek out the shade where we can and transition lenses often end up looking like sunglasses. Switch them for a pair of normal lenses if you can.
Avoid large, bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful faces. Check or plaid is good for an autumn shoot, or an autumnal floral pattern in a pretty jewel tone. But less is definitely more with this one, try to limit yourself to one pattern at a time. Matching patterns is a tricky task, and it’s super difficult to do well. Whilst we're at it, you should also avoid logos and bright colours, as well as black.