When I introduce myself as a family photographer, a lot of people tell me that they would love some up-to-date images of their family but are too concerned about what to wear, not knowing how to pose, or getting their children to act like angels for 90 minutes to actually book a session. So, in this blog post I have listed 5 of the most common family photography fears and how I can help you to overcome these. I hope that by the time your have read this post, you will be itching to book a photo shoot and get those long-awaited new family images up on your wall.
We don't know what to wear
One of the things I get asked most by new clients is "What shall we wear?" For this reason, I always send out a short guide to dressing once we have confirmed the arrangements of the shoot. There are no hard and fast rules, but I always suggest clothes that are comfortable, practical for the location and time of year, and colour-wise work with the environment of the shoot (think reds and oranges for an autumn shoot for example). The colour of clothing might also be impacted by where you decide to display your photos - bright red outfits may not look great on your pale pink living room wall. Finally, I advise families to dress in similar tones and styles to look cohesive without dressing identically (the lemmings look can be a little creepy)!
My children won't sit still
Most of my shoots take place outdoors at a location of your choice or my suggestion. There is always plenty of space to run around and let children be children. Forcing children (or adults) to sit in awkward poses and smile sweetly isn't my style at all. If do you wish to have a few posed family group shots in addition to the more natural ones, that is absolutely not a problem. I will talk to you to identify whether this will work best at the start of the session when the children's attention spans are longer, or towards the end of the session when they have burnt off some energy.
We have no idea how to pose
Noone - least of all me - expects you to have the body, confidence or posing ability of Kate Moss or David Beckham. My shoots aren't about over-complex poses or selfie pouts - they are about highlighting what is awesome about you and your family. I will provide gentle guidance on the day but if you are relaxed, having fun and spending time with the people you love, you are instantly going to look fantastically photogenic.
My children don't always get on / have tantrums / get bored quickly
Well...there's nothing unusual about any of those things. I have spent many years working in schools prior to being a photographer and understand that children aren't always little angels. I send out a pre-shoot questionnaire to families, so that I get to know a little bit of your background and the dynamics of the family. There's no point asking siblings to give each other a loving hug if this feels totally alien to them. I only book a maximum of three photoshoots a day so that each family has plenty of time to relax, have a break and ease any tensions should the need arise. Shooting outdoors helps to alleviate boredom and my approach is to take a walk around your favourite location and stop briefly at various points to take natural images that are as non-staged as possible. I also believe that awesome images aren't about cheesy grins and perfectly behaved children...the odd frown or cheeky expression make for much better memories!
What if it is wet / cloudy / cold / snowing
Unless torrential rain is forecast (in which case we can easily reschedule), most other weather types can produce beautiful images - from dramatic clouds, to atmospheric mist and fog. As long as we all dress accordingly, travel sensibly and no health and safety is compromised, I'm game if you are!
I hope that some of your fears and worries have been allayed after reading this post. Should you wish to book a family photo shoot please do get in touch. Tears, tantrums, clouds or clothing worries - we can overcome them all and get some fantastic family photos.