WHAT TO EXPECT ON
YOUR FAMILY PHOTO SESSION
Whether this is your first photo session or your a seasoned pro, this guide aims to help you better prepare for your family photo session. I want you to get the absolute best from your photo experience and arrive on the day without worrying about anything.
Thinking about what you wear at your photo session can be stressful for some so I have included some tips and advice on clothing. What is most important is to wear clothing that you are comfortable in so you are relaxed and can enjoy the session. Enjoy reading and as always please contact me if you have any questions.
If you are in a hurry, you can skip the reading part and watch my videos below :-).
My photo shoots are informal, personalised and fun. It’s about capturing great images of your beautiful family and having lots of fun while we do that. I have a few little games and tricks up my sleeve just to ensure everyone, even the smallest children have an enjoyable experience. The best images come from children and families enjoying themselves.
Making great images is also about teamwork. I will give you a little direction just to ensure we are making the most of the natural light we have and capturing everyone at their best, the rest is about you, having fun and spending time together as a family.
The shoot will last around 2 – 2.5 hrs. Great images take time to make and I prefer to not rush. Sometimes it can take longer if younger children are camera shy. I try to go at the pace of the children. With little ones you can take as many breaks as you need.
The weather can change during our shoot. If this happens and we experience rain, we either take shelter or take a break and hope it passes. Bringing extra clothing in case it rains or turns cold is important. Families who select a morning session will find it can be cooler, so layers are recommended.
GETTING CHILDREN INVOLVED
WHAT TO BRING
You may wish to consider bringing a change of outfit, if you would like as much variety as possible in your images. You can also limit the clothing changes to the children. Layers are a great way of managing this without the need for changes. Please bring extra layers just in case it’s cold outside. When we get cold, it’s game over, especially for the little ones!
Please bring snacks for the children as required. Oh and wipes, hankies, etc, it’s amazing how many of these we get through especially with younger children (think runny noses, dirty faces, or hands). Having a hairbrush and hair clips handy can be very helpful. Bring anything else you think you might need.
BRING YOUR OWN IDEAS, BE CREATIVE
It’s important that I make your photo session as personal as possible. If you have any ideas on shots or props you would like to include, please let me know and we can discuss.
I encourage children to bring a favourite toy or item with them which can help personalise their photographs. Think teddy, scooters, bikes, books.
If children have hobbies it can be lovely to incorporate these into images e.g. dance, gymnastics, football, musical instruments.
Phones – Try to leave your phone in your car or a bag. If it’s in your pocket, it can give you a phone shaped bulge, not a good look. Phones can also be a distraction on your session.
Embrace the outdoors – Being outdoors with children gives them a great sense of freedom. They may get a little dirty. Parents, you may get your clothes a little dirty from little foot marks and hair will blow around. Don’t worry about it.
Timing – Try not to squeeze your photo session in around other big family events. We do need a little flexibility with the weather in case we need to move your session on the day or to day before. Sessions can often run over in time so plan a little buffer time in case you do have something planned after a morning session.
Lucy and Kenny
James, 7 yrs
Nicola and Alistair
Sophie, 8 yrs
Fiona & Gary
Julie & John
WHAT TO WEAR GUIDE
A beautiful image is about the people in it, less about what you wear. The key is to wear clothes that are comfortable, so that you feel yourself and can relax and enjoy the photo experience. Keep clothing simple. Clothing choices can take the attention away from your child’s face or family, and really they should be the main focus of your images.
I would recommend you think about what you wear and the colours of your family’s clothing in advance of your photo session. Below I have lots of tips and advice on how to get started. Begin with the location we are photographing in and then refer to my colour palettes and clothing inspiration below.
Outdoor photography in Autumn brings the most stunning palette of colours. From deep greens, to russets, golden yellow hues and orange-brown tones. A quite different background to summer/spring. Below some of the colours to consider in your clothing options that work well in this season.
As a general rule plain clothing with neutral or complimentary colours and fabrics work well (everyone wearing neutral colours or pastel shades). It’s great to have a pop of colour in your photographs, so my advice is to use the neutrals as a base, and add a hint of colour in the accessories you wear (scarf, wellies) or with a piece of clothing such as cardigan.
The weather can be changeable also, and its important to not get cold when we are outside. We can remove the layers if it’s too hot, and add them when it gets cold. 🙂
Try to avoid having everyone matching or wearing the same type of clothes. Think white top and jeans. It can look dated.
Think about the textures of your clothes. Denim, wool jumpers, a straw hat can add interest to the photo.
Clothing with large writing, logos, characters and loud patterns can be distracting.
Layers are a great option for different looks in your images. Adding a sweatshirt or removing a cardigan can create a new look. As with accessories, adding a hat or scarf can create a new look.
LOCATION AND SEASONS
Match your style of clothing with the location of the shoot. If we are outdoors in your garden, at the park or beach a casual style is best. You may not want to sit on the grass with a fancy dress, and children in white clothes/tights will be guaranteed to get dirty.
In Spring and Summer we have lots of vibrant greens, and floral colours outdoors. There are lots of complimentary colours that work well with this backdrop such as pastels and neutral colours.
In Autumn yellow, orange, blue and purple tones work well. (see my palettes below)
Too many Bright and Vivid Colours can take attention away from a person’s face, such as Reds, Bright Pinks and Green.
Adding a hint of colour can work well on a neutral base, pastels work well.
Neutral colours can look really fresh and beautifully simple.
For all seasons, your photographs will work better using neutral coloured clothing with a splash of colour in line with seasonal colours.
ACROSS THE SEASONS
For some ideas of what to wear take a look at my Pinterest board at,
Polly Harris Photography.
(+44) 07740 069013
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