You’ve booked your session and penciled the date in your diary. Now you are probably asking yourself how to prepare for your lifestyle family photography session and also, what really is “lifestyle photography”? I’ll explain all you need to know for a successful photography session in this article.
WHAT IS A “LIFESTYLE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION” AND HOW CAN YOU PREPARE?
Lifestyle family photography sessions will give you the chance to show not merely what you look like at a certain point in time but who you and your loved ones authentically are. My sessions embrace the connections in the relationships with each other. They create very personal images that are not just beautiful, but also show the emotions you felt that moment.
I would describe my style as something between documentary and traditional. This means there will be more guidance than documentary photography but less posing than traditional photography. I will give you lots of prompts to encourage natural engagement between family members. What you will not hear a lot of is “smile and look at the camera.”
Please don’t think you need to prepare for a perfect portrait. I will most probably include a few, but it’s not the focus of these active sessions. After all, we have to ask ourselves ‘how realistic is it to get the perfect family portrait when children, especially smaller children, are involved?’ We have to work around the children’s patience and mood. I always arrive at your session with a plan and lots of ideas in my mind but never forget that each and every family is unique and what works perfectly well with one family may not work with the other. My goal is to help you remember your family as you are. Chaos and love, fun and emotional moments.
A GUIDE TO PREPARE FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION?
At the beginning of my journey as a photographer I was convinced that I needed to send a guide to my clients before their photo shoot. I designed a beautiful one, but quickly realised that they are useless. Why? I will explain.
If you are considering booking a photo session, but the standard photos you see around are uninspiring and not something you are excited to hang on your wall, then a photography guide will steer you in the wrong direction. Guides can be great, don’t get me wrong. I personally have a Pinterest Board full of guides, tips, and anecdotes for everyday life. But what they don’t tell you is how to be you.
So the guides on how to prepare for your session went in the bin. I much more prefer to take the time for a chat with you, whether on the phone or in person. This way I will get to know you and your family a little and give you some recommendations. Most important is:
Wear what makes you feel great, in a place that inspires you, doing what you want, with those you love. I will help you down that path with advice on how to bring your story to life; no clothing list is required!
A little check-list FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR A LIFESTYLE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION
Remember: Life isn’t supposed to be perfect, calm and polished. Let kids be kids.
Here is what I would talk to you about before your session:
- Have a chat about the photo session with the youngest family members ahead of time. You could say a friend is going to be taking their photo. It’s never a good idea to drop this on them the day of the shoot.
- Let them be involved in the reparation. Pick out clothes you both love and agree on. There is nothing worse than asking them to wear what WE love, but they don’t feel comfortable in for whatever reason.
- I always recommend to eat ahead of time, to take a nap if needed, and plan on bringing dry snacks in case anyone gets hungry during the shoot. Dry food options will help keep their faces clean for photos.
- EMBRACE the chaos that might ensue on the day of the shoot. Your child likes to explore the area, jump over water puddles, play hide and seek, wrestles with their siblings, or run everywhere? Awesome. I love to run too. I promise I can keep up.
Do you know what makes for great photos? When your children play and run, and YOU run WITH them. Play and engage with your kids just like you would at home. Hide and Seek, a ball game, dancing. Please avoid saying, “No. Sit still.” It never works. Trust me. Allowing them space to run, explore, play, and scream makes it easier for them to calm down for a sweet hug later.
Your session is a bit of a documentary look at your life as a family. Enjoy your time, and let me worry about the rest.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR A LIFESTYLE FAMILY SESSION
Wear what makes you feel fantastic. It will show when you feel comfortable, confident, and like yourself. I will probably be asking you to walk or run with your kids, to lean against a wooden fence, to sit in the grass or on a tree trunk. Ask yourself ‘Am I feeling comfortable doing these things in my clothes?’
Coordinate, don’t match. Avoid everyone wearing the same color or style. When in doubt, send me a photo for my second opinion. You can simply lay the clothes next to each other on the floor and snap a photo with your phone.
Avoid solid, vibrant colors. Super bright colors can actually reflect back in your face and your skin tones may be affected.
Long sleeves create long beautiful lines in photos.
Again, dress in a way you feel your best. The rest will work itself out.
While I have several great spots in Richmond and the surrounding areas I can propose to you, have a think about a meaningful or unique place where you could imagine your session taking place. My aim is to tell YOUR story in YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE.
I’m always up for trying new spots. Think about a place that speaks to your family. Do you prefer an urban environment or the woods?
A lot of my favorite spots require a short walk. If walking is involved I will warn you ahead of time.
On sunny days I recommend that outdoor shoots happen during the golden hour—the time shortly before sunset as the light is ideal. Overcast days are also beautiful. The sky is often filled with dramatic clouds and add so much mood to the images. I shoot in any weather condition, unless it’s raining, in which case we can reschedule the session.
DOGS AT A FAMILY SESSIONS
Your pet is a valued family member, please bring them. I am very comfortable with dogs and wish I had one myself!
A couple of things to remember when pets are part of the session: Pets in a family session will NOT always be looking at the camera. Most of the time, they will be just doing their thing, and that’s OK. It’s best not to stress about what they are smelling or which way they are facing.
Important is to include your dog, well behaved or not. It won’t be the same with one member missing when you hang your picture on the wall.
Either in-between or at the end of your session, there is always time for a few couple portraits. When was the last time you got a great portrait taken of your partner and yourself? Often I hear ‘Oh, it’s been on our wedding day’. It doesn’t take long, it’s a great way to finish a family session and you will have an up-to-date image of the two of you.
That’s about it. This ended up to be a rather long article I have to admit, and I dropped a lot of advice. The most important thing in preparing for a lifestyle family photography session is to show up and be you. Let your kids be themselves. Embrace connection and be prepared to set aside perfection.
Ready to find out more about how a Lifestyle Session might fit your family? You can give me a call on 07493.386333 and we have a chat or drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send me an e-mail to discuss the available options and find together the best solution to suit your needs.