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How to Prepare for a Family Shoot

OK, so the photo is actually someone preparing for a wedding, but you don't often photograph people getting ready for a family shoot. You'll just have to imagine it!

I thought it would be useful to get some tips on what to do prior to your family photoshoot (as the subject, not the photographer). It can seem like a long time between booking the shoot and the day itself, so I hope this helps plan your time and know what to do.

Before the Shoot

  1. If you plan to have hair and nails done, make sure you leave time for it. It goes without saying not to do it on the day, but quite often people forget to book. If you aren't booking somewhere, make sure you do your nails, or at least have them clean and bot chipped polish.

  2. If you have young kids, keep them informed of what's coming up. If they know what's happening ahead of time they tend to be a bit less shy on the day.

  3. Plan your outfits in plenty of time. Again, it sounds obvious, but try to pick put something before the day as it can be stressful to pick something on the day itself. If it's an outdoor shoot, make sure to check the weather or have a couple of weather options.

What to Wear

  1. Depending on the weather, you should wear something comfortable. Dresses and 'flowy' items show movement better, but the photo should look like you. Don't wear something you wouldn't wear ever again. For men a shirt and jeans or trousers works. T shirts don't look great, but collared t shirts are OK.

  2. Comfortable shoes as you might be standing. However if they don't match the clothes then we can swap them for the full body shots.

  3. Try not to wear all the same colour. Complimentary colours work well or same palette, but too much of one colour, or a whole family wearing clashing colours will look odd.

  4. Accessories work, but again, make sure the colour goes well.

  5. Make sure any nail polish fit the colours too. Too bright a colour stands out in photos.

  6. Hair volume always works. Try not to go for a tied-back look, but you don't have to get an experimental perm! For men, neat and tidy (you can even use some hairspray if it's windy).

  7. For the groups, try to dress to the same level I.e. don't have dad in a 3 piece suit and everone else in jeans.

What to Bring

  1. Snacks (especially if there are kids or pets)

  2. Water, so you don't have to run inside or to another room

  3. Men are notoriously uncomfortable with photos (me too). If you want to have a beer, that's fine! Just don't start the party until after the shoot.

  4. Change of clothes (if we are shooting away from the home). Especially if the weather looks bad or the kids have their eye on the muddy puddle.

  5. If you have mementos or keepsakes and so on, these can sometimes add to the story.

  6. If you have a picnic blanket, this is good for a rest or even part of the shoot

Posing / The Shoot

  1. No need for cheese. The classic "say cheese" always looks fake. Try to have fun or crack jokes as the real smiles and laughter look 100% better.

  2. Have fun! The first few shots will generally look quite stiff, but try to relax and chat or cuddle or even shake it out if needed.

  3. I'll guide you as needed, but it's better I don't stage every shot. Some of the best poses come naturally.

  4. Tell me if you need a break. I might too!

I hope this little guide helps, but feel free to ask me any questions to have too!

If you'd like to book a family shoot, please do get in touch, and let's get something in the diary!

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