5 Secrets for a Successful Photoshoot

Family Photography

When you’re investing in a photoshoot it can feel like there are so many things to consider that you didn’t even know were a thing. All of a sudden you’re faced with a flurry of decisions, decisions to make about things you didn’t have a single opinion about five minutes ago!

The key to a successful and by that I mean relaxed and fun photoshoot with the end result being fabulous images that you love, is knowing all about these five secrets.

1] Time

So this is my number one piece of advice. Not all light is the same and in the photography world there is such a thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ light.  This refers to the direction and intensity of the natural light.  You may have heard of Golden Hour, this is the ‘good’ light, the very best light of the day which occurs in the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset.

Well that’s easy I hear you say, just shoot during those times! You’re absolutely right BUT this time changes throughout the year.  In mid winter this hour might start at 2pm, the middle of the afternoon but at mid Summer it might be 9pm! At the other end of the day, a sunrise session could be either 3am or 8am depending on the time of year.

So when booking a photoshoot with children, think about their ages and what time of year the session would need to be.  This is why Spring and Autumn sessions are so popular, the best light of the day is at a time that works well for families.

2] What to Wear

This is the next biggest thing.  As soon as a photoshoot is booked, it’s wise to start planning the outfits, the styling of a session as it can have a huge impact on the look and feel of the final images.

It doesn’t really matter what you wear as such, it’s how it’s put together.  Personally I encourage mums to be in long dresses because I love to photograph movement and oodles of fabric gives a sense of that movement as my subjects twirl and play with their kids.  If your session is outdoors then choosing fabrics and colours in soft earthy tones work really well with the colours of nature.  

Don’t go for a lot of contrast, bright white or solid black don’t quite feel right in a natural, environmental shoot but equally if you’re going for a city centre session, they might work brilliantly.

Work in tones, pick a colour palette of three or four colours and mix textures or small florals to create a beautifully put together feel.

3] Location

You might be concerned about being photographed, probably 90% of my clients tell me they’re not very photogenic.  My answer to that is always, “There’s no such thing!”.

Location can play a big part is how you feel during your session, and ultimately how you feel you look in your photos. If you feel you look uncomfortable in your images you’re not going to love them! Much of that is down to us as photographers to create a fun and relaxed session and location can help.  Being in the big outdoors with no-one else around will help you relax and enjoy your session.  I like to choose locations for my clients sessions based on what sort of a backdrop they will create, where and when I can get really great light and how quiet they are, away from other people.

4] Style of photos

Now this is an interesting one, for years photographers have been trying to get images with every family member looking at the camera and smiling at the same time, even to the extent of swapping heads in Photoshop!

I have never swapped a head (or anything else), in fact I begin each and every session with a little chat about how a session works which includes me asking clients NOT to look at me unless I ask them to (sometimes just once to get a shot for the Grandparents).

Creating images that are full of love and connection will not happen unless you are looking at and are connected physically to the ones you love.

5] Preparing your children

Hopefully by the time your session arrives, you’ll feel well prepared, styled and ready to go.  Depending on the age of your children, preparing them can make a difference too.  Many clients worry about their children ‘misbehaving’ for me but honestly, it doesn’t matter, there is no right or wrong way to behave and putting them under too much pressure with a chat beforehand or threats (“If you don’t behave you won’t get an ice cream”) often has the opposite effect.

Approaching a session as if it’s a fun walk outdoors with a photographer tagging along is pretty much what the session is with a little guidance here and there to get the best from the light and location. Just come along with one of their favourite songs under your belt and everything else will happen naturally. Promise.

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