Preparing for your family portrait session

Wahoo! I am so excited to be doing a family shoot with you! Below are a few pointers to help you prepare your family for the shoot. If you have got this far, I am sure, you know that I do not work in a studio but out in the wild!!! I will work with you in your home or on your farm, or in a woodland of our choosing to help get those gorgeous and REAL looking images that capture your family as it really is!

I use a style called "unposed" some of the shots we will stage and I will help you get the right angles and positions, but for some, I will get you to interact with me and each other, play games, tell me stories (for parents of young kids, you may be dancing or singing... be warned) all of this aims to elicit genuine, natural laughter and delight from you all. The best advice I can give is to RELAX, bring your love of your family, try and have fun. It is not your responsibility to make your family look good in images, that is mine and I will work super hard to do that.


For single families (Mum, Dad and children) allow about 45 minutes, depending on the age and stage of the kids, we will whip through it as quick as possible for littlies and as below, it may be good to have a friend come along for the shoot. For extended families allow a little longer, up to an hour, for large extended families, especially if you have multiple family groups (eg. Mum and Dad, 4 adult children and their children) the time can vary quite a lot but could take up to 1.5 or 2 hours.


This is totally up to you, whether at home and in your garden or in a different location, I am happy to help you choose the best place for you and I am always full of suggestions so if you are stuck on what will work best, let's chat!

Outfits and personal presentation:

So family outfits, try and have them non-clashing and something that reflects your family. The best thing to do is choose a theme or colour palette for your family (or one you all agree on for extended families), suggestions from my end would be:

Pastels or neutrals, Forest colours, spring colours, ocean colours, or earthy tones.

Please try to avoid super bright colours and vividly patterned clothes where possible as this doesn't look great in photos.

Depending on how many people there are, it is worth potentially laying out your outfits the night before on a bed or floor and seeing how they match together.

You will need to find the balance for your family between formal and farm clothes... If you have people involved who are already resentful or grumpy about doing the shoot (teenage boys often fit in this category...), I would recommend not forcing them into clothes they reserve for weddings and funerals or clothes they hate. They may look super dashing but will feel awkward and be even grumpier and that will show in the images, and actually very formal wedding attire doesn't work well for lifestyle portraits (which is what we are doing) either! So if you can find a middle ground where everyone is comfy but not in stubbies and a singlet or a ball gown that would be fabulous.

Perfect for photos is women in dresses that they maybe would wear to brunch, church or dinner out, men in chinos and shirts, kids in lovely dresses or overalls, cute sweaters or nice jeans.

As a side note I would also 100% recommend bribing reluctant members somehow. At the end of the day, the main thing is for everyone to feel comfortable and good about yourselves!

If there are young daughters involved in the shoot, be aware that dresses and skirts do NOT stay in place in photoshoots so if you have bike shorts or leggings they may be a great idea for underneath if you want girls in dresses, this allows all the jumping, running and sitting on the ground you like without worrying about anything.

Ok, the last suggestion is for adult women, if you have the chance it can be really nice to make a day of it and consider either getting your makeup done professionally or doing it yourself if you have the skills. This is not a necessity, however, getting your makeup professionally done does provide vibrant yet natural images without looking like you have makeup caked on. We have a bunch we recommend here in Hamilton and a few are listed below:

Support needed?

If there are young children involved, it can be so helpful to have a beloved person; grandparent/aunty/friend/neighbour come along to help, play and support the kids. It can help get them looking the right way as well as entertaining them if they are not in every set.

If you do not have a “helper” it is worth planning something for the kids to get excited about. Think, bubbles, or frisbee, kites or bikes, anything that your kids will want to play with.

I actually cannot wait as I love this! I hope we can make wonderful photos together and create some pretty cool memories along the way!

Hannah x