Aug 31, 2021

5 tips to get the best family photos

The thought of having gorgeous, candid photos of your family to display on your walls is enticing, but I know the reality can be daunting. What should we wear? Where should we go? How do I get my kids to be happy and natural during the shoot?

I’ve been photographing families for years now, and I’m sharing my tried and tested methods with you today.

Every family that books a shoot with me also gets full access to me – you can email me photos of your clothing ideas for feedback, pick from my favourite locations (or take advantage of my help to choose somewhere unique and equally as beautiful), and let me choose the best time to get that golden sunset light that we all dream about.

My wonderful families also get sent my clothing guide, and my “getting the most out of your kids” guide. I’ve got a preschooler, I know how unpredictable kids are!

Once you’re booked in, I’ve got you covered!

And here, to get you started, are my top 5 fail-proof tips to make the most of your family photos.

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  1. Work with your kids – preparation is key!

Kids… am I right?! I adore our daughter more than anything but I’m the first one to tell you that things can go off the rails pretty quickly. On our way to get our family photos taken this past summer, Zoe fell asleep in the car. You can imagine what happened when we had to wake her up. So let’s chat about how to give you the best chance of having the best kids for your shoot.

  • Prepare them. Tell them about what will happen, a couple of days in advance. Give them time to understand what you’ll be doing as a family.
  • Fun fun fun. Make sure your photographer has a fun shoot planned. Plenty of running, chasing, tickling, and playing will keep the kids entertained and help them forget they’re being photographed.
  • Bribery. Nothing like the rattle of a box of Smarties to get kids attention and motivate them to behave.
  • Come a bit early. Arrive at your photo spot 15 minutes early. Let the kids have a run around, and get comfortable in their location.

My clients all get access to my full kids guide, which has more tips and tricks!

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2. Timing is everything

Every location has a different “golden hour”. Some look better at sunrise, some at sunset. Some spots I shoot at get that golden glow 15 minutes before the official sunset time, and for some it’s 90 minutes.

Research is key, and your photographer can do that for you.

Autumn, winter, and spring offer a great opportunity to get golden sunsets without having to wait until 8:30pm, which can be hard for little ones. The trade off is that they’re often not as gloriously warm.

It’s always worth targeting that perfect light, even if the timing is a bit of a challenge to work with. There’s nothing quite like golden hour!

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3. Choosing an outift

My #1 tip is to be comfortable and be yourself. If you don’t usually wear boho maxi dresses, don’t do it. You’ll feel self-conscious on the day and it will show in your photos. At the end of the day, no matter what you wear, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable, and you are being yourselves.

A super handy idea is to lay the family’s clothing ideas on the floor side-by-side. You’ll quickly see if any item stands out or doesn’t blend with your palette.

Don’t try to match the family (eg all in white tops and jeans) or you’ll look very early-2000s!

I get plenty of photos of clothing sent through for advice, and it’s usually perfect. Trust yourself!

4. Location, location, location!

Choosing a location can be tricky! If you have no idea it’s no problem, just ask your photographer. We’ve all got trusted, tried and proven locations that always deliver.

If you’ve got a spot in mind that is special to your family, that’s lovely! Chat to your photographer about it and they can help you choose the best time of day to shoot there for the best light.

The colours in your location have a big influence on your final images. No matter how much editing I do, I can’t make a lush green park look like a hillside of dry grass.

On trend at the moment is natural colours, and these are so easy to find around Ōtautahi. From fields of long grass overlooking Lyttelton harbour, to beaches, and golden sunsets on clifftops, this city is a treasure chest for natural backdrops.

5. Trust your photographer

I’ve got you. I do this for a living and here’s my chance to share all of my knowledge with you, so you get the best photos.

Once you’re booked in with me I help with every aspect of your shoot. Need advice on your outfits? No problem! Not sure how to make the shoot fun for your kids? That’s my specialty.

This will be a stress-free process, and I can’t wait to see your walls covered in stunning images. Let’s do this!

If you’d like me to take the stress out of family photos and create some magic for you, get in touch for a completely obligation-free information pack.


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