How to prepare for a family photo shoot

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What to expect and how to prepare for your family photography session at Milk Photography Studio Auckland

What to expect and how to prepare for your family photography session at Milk Photography Studio Auckland

I always forget how clients must feel when they arrive for their family photography session as I’m not a Mum myself, just highly experienced working with kids and babies.

Usually what plays out, Dad’s worried about his Dad bod so hiding in the background, he’s a skeptic too, very unsure what his wife’s got him into.

Mum’s not had her roots done so she’s constantly playing with her hair or asking how to pose. Little Johnny’s just pooped his pants and wants the photographer’s pig to play with.

Katrina’s lost the plot and throwing a wobbly and pulling the most ridiculous faces.

Mum’s smile fades and disappointment sets in, the artwork she wanted above the fireplace for all her friends and family to admire, yeah that won’t be happening, or will it? All sound familiar?

It’s pretty normal, truth is we see this nearly every week, and we always manage to get gorgeous photos, we have to work very quickly and have high energy and above all make all family members feel comfortable.

I’ll never forgot the time a Mum came to see me with her daughter she was so excited to have her daughter’s portraits taken with us, after her makeup was finished her daughter decided she didn’t want to be at the session and just burst into tears.

I stepped in and managed to cheer her up, we then had all of five minutes to get some memorable photos, which we got. The Mum absolutely loved the photos, it was all just a new environment for Lucy she just needed reassurance from our expert child photographer and a few treats and she was away laughing- literally.

I remember another lady calling me, she said “Yes my Charlotte, she’ll just pull faces, but that’s just her!” She sure did, probably the best shoot I can claim I’ve done to this day.

The truth is there’s a real art to understanding families you must adapt and mould to what they like otherwise you can’t capture the spontaneity and love.

If a child starts to have a tantrum I usually step back and remain quiet, as sometimes it can be fixed easily with soothing. Of course I have lots of other tricks too..It’s also really important to not overwhelm a child, if the parent can’t help, then I’ll step in.I may ask the parent to leave the room, sometimes this works really well, some children perform differently for each parent.


Here are some tips to make for an easy session

  1. Always read our booking letter, it only took me 6 months to create, and full of so much valuable information to make your family photography session run smoothly.
  2. Always talk to hubby about the investment, show him our work and the website, so he knows we aren’t about long sunrise beach walks and cheesy smiles on a chair.
  3. Bribery is key for children’s photos and works oh so well, treats and a potential trip to a movie or park will keep them happy as larry.
  4. Allow enough time to get to your session so you don’t get stuck in traffic, we are based in Birkenhead on the Northshore but we travel Auckland wide. With all the new motorways it’s fairly easy to get to.
  5. Would the grandparents like to be involved? Make it a full family photo shoot, you never know what could happen going forward and it’s so nice to document a milestone with artwork.
  6. Think about what you want out of your session, where will the artwork go, measure up before you arrive to choose your photos this takes the hassle and stress out of choosing.
  7. Let the family photographer know what your style is so she’s prepared, what’s the priority for the photos so we can make sure to get baby photos first or sibling shots or are you really hoping for a beautiful family photo?
  8. Make sure your children are well slept, if they are sick always reschedule
  9. Don’t prime your child how to look, we can help out with that naturally. Let your child pull faces and be silly at certain ages it looks hilarious, we have ways to get those natural smiles too.
  10. Mini photography sessions are a great way to get an update at a fraction of the cost however if you think your child takes a while to warm up might be better investing in a full session.
  11. Have you thought about whether you want an outdoor session at a memorable place, the bach or at your home? Or do you want the photos taken at our studio?
  12. Clothing, well I’m a big ambassador for Jamie Kay, I love her clothes for kids, I love all the neutral colours they work exceptionally well with our style too, have a look on her site for some inspo.
  13. Not sure what age to book your children’s photos? To be fair we can see that families are busy and life gets in the way. Book your session in while you remember, otherwise it just doesn’t happen. The amount of parents I met at the baby show that were upset they didn’t capture a certain milestone, just do it.