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Family Photoshoot 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


My family photoshoots are relaxed and informal. There is no time limit, it takes as long as it takes, but in general most of my sessions are done in around 45 minutes. There is no rush though so if you need to stop for feeds, changes or cuddles, then you are very welcome to. I'll first focus on getting shots of all of you together, then I'll aim for images of 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! So feel free to stand behind me and dance, sing or do whatever gets a smile from your little ones!


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! 


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.


If you don't have a location mind then I can certainly help you find one. I have several fabulous spots that I use all the time and are perfect for a family photoshoot, no matter the season. Please download <What3Words> before your session - this will make it really easy to find each other. Please bear in mind when choosing footwear that depending on the time of year and the weather conditions, it may be a little soft under foot (or just downright muddy!) so changing your shoes once we get to our spot might be a good idea.


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.

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

What you wear and what you feel comfortable in is of course your decision. But if you're feeling little lost about what colours work well for outdoor sessions, then I have a few tips for you. Take on board any that resonate with you, discard those that don't! A good rule of thumb is to choose three colours that complement your surroundings and build your outfits around that palette. For an outdoor family photoshoot, you cannot go wrong in whites, creams and soft beiges. If you want some colour think about muted pastels such as blush, pinks, blues or yellows. You can also add in some navy or grey as darker neutral. These colours and shades all work to complement the outdoor settings of your session.

what to wear lavender family photos
what to wear lavender family photos

Add Texture

When it comes to your family photoshoot outdoors, avoid large bold patterns and opt instead for small, subtle patterns like ditsy florals, broderie or soft stripes. If you don't want plain pieces, you can add interest using texture instead. Think pretty lace, delicate tulle or subtle embroidery. Layers can add depth to your images too. In the spring or summer, a light jacket or cardigan can work well. In the cooler months think about a gilet, chunky knits, hats and scarves.

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.


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 if we've had some rain. 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.


Don't stop at your ankles! Shoes are a key part of a look and should 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. In the autumn and winter, you might consider ankle or knee high boots, smart trainers. In the warmer months, ballet flats, or sandals (which trump flip flops every time!).


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.


For a family photoshoot, think about a pretty scarf, a light jacket, a gilet perhaps or a cardigan. And don't forget jewellery. But avoid large distracting pieces. These are all a great way to jazz up your accessory game and add some interest and texture, particularly if you've opted for plain colours in your outfits.


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.


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.

What Not to Wear

When deciding what to wear for your photoshoot, avoid large, bold patterns as they often dominate the photograph and detract attention from your beautiful faces. Whilst we're at it, you should also avoid logos and bright colours, as well as black.

Need Some More Inspiration?

If you're looking for a little more inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards for some ideas on what to wear for your outdoor family photoshoot.

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