Stress Free Family Photos: Tips for a successful session

SEPT, 2018
With the arrival of Spring the weather is warming up and now is the time to start thinking of a family photo session if you want images for Christmas cards and the like. But if the thought of co-ordinating your whole family in stylish outfits and getting your kids to smile for the camera strikes fear in your heart you are not alone.
Kids are notoriously unpredictable and short of a miracle, there is no way to guarantee your child will be in a happy mood when photo day rolls around. However, there are some things that you can do in advance that will ensure that everyone is prepared. I have put together a list of my top tips for a stress free family photo session.
1. Bring snacks. A child with a full belly is a happy one. Try to have some snacks on hand on the way to the session, or feed everyone a snack before the session. It’s amazing how this can reset the mood. 2. Naps: try to schedule your session for your children’s “happy” time of day. The best light is usually two hours before sunset, but if your children  are usually happy in the morning then a lifestyle session at home might be a good choice. If they are happy after an early dinner or late afternoon snack, then an early evening session around golden hour will work for you. 3. Clothing: this is probably the biggest source of stress besides children’s behaviour. If fashion is not really your thing, it can be hard to pick out coordinating outfits for everyone. A general rule of thumb is to pick two or three colours and stick to that palate. It’s a good idea to try and tie the colour palate in to your location so that you fit in with your surroundings. 4. No pressure: prepare your children for the photo session, but you don’t have to threaten them to behave. If they are reluctant to come you could promise a trip to the park, ice-cream, or another special treat. If they do have a meltdown during the session, don’t worry, they are usually smiling again a few minutes later! 5. Communicate: let your photographer know which shots are important to you. If getting a shot of everyone looking at the camera is your number one goal, be sure to make it known. Photographers will do anything within their power to get the shots you want and to listen to what you want. That being said, there must be a level of understanding of children’s unpredictability, sometimes meaning you may not get the exact shot you have in mind. 6. Prepare the kids: tell them that you are going to have a family adventure and you all have to get dressed up. Try to add an element of fun!. If they are not convinced, schedule a trip to the park or the like after a the session if they listen well.  
“The images that are cherished most are the ones where you are engaged as a family, your eyes on each other, smiling naturally. These are the ones that usually depict your family and connection most.”
7. Relax: if you ask any toddler to small and look at a stranger…….ultimately they will freak out! Instead of stressing about everyone looking at the camera, play with your kids and enjoy yourself instead. A toddler would much rather play peek-a boo with mum, or run around chasing Dad, than stare a a stranger with a camera pointing at them. Additionally, playing with your kids will bring out their true expressions and real smiles and your sneaky photographer can snap away while you have fun! The images that are cherished most are often the ones where you are engaged as a family, your eyes on each other smiling naturally. These are the ones that usually depict your family and connection most.
8. Plan: be sure to leave plenty of time to get ready! Mum’s are often rushing around before the session, making sure that everyone is dressed and ready. So get yourself ready first, well in advance of the session, even if it means getting your hair and make-up done professionally. This will prepare, you as Mum to feel confident and relaxed, which will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers and baths, dressing and grooming. When a family arrives at a session rushed and disorganised, nine times out of ten, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganised session. Allow extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
9. Bring an activity: some of the most successful family sessions usually incorporate an activity that the family loves to do together. It gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones and can bring an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read? Bring some books to your session. Do you enjoy sport? Bring a football to your session. Some other ideas include races, piggy back rides, singing, picnics, the options are endless.When your family is engaged in something you love to do together the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful photographs that are true to you and your family. 10 Avoid the cheese: try to avoid asking your children to ‘say cheese’ for the camera, it usually results in strained and unnatural photographs. Allow the photographer to naturally interact with your children. This will usually result in beautiful, natural smiles. You can help the photographer capture the true personality of your children by talking with them and coaxing out those smiles naturally.
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Maternity- Birth - Newborn- Family- Commercial

Alstonville, Ballina, Byron Bay

Maternity- Birth - Newborn- Family- Commercial

Alstonville, Ballina, Byron Bay

frequently asked questions


  • Q. My kids are gorgeous, but they don’t sit still and I’m worried they won’t behave..."

    A. I’m a mum of three busy kids, I get it, the more you tell them what to do, the less they want to do it! I usually start with a few ‘everyone look at the camera’ shots and then the rest of the session is pretty easy going, I might give some suggestions for things to do, or more photogenic places to go, but generally I just let the kids play and explore. Often the best photos are when your kid is doing the thing that makes them most happy! And if meltdowns happen (and they will!) I may take an adorable photo of that, and then we can take a little break or head on a different adventure.

  • Q. Should I wait until everything is perfect?

    A. Is family life ever perfect? Your kids want to see you, with them, so they can hold those memories and feelings in their hearts. You may never lose those 5 kilos, you may never re-paint that feature wall, and that is okay. Your kids don’t care, time goes fast, don’t wait. (or if you’re like me, a photoshoot is a great deadline haha).

  • Q. So how does it work? Where do we start?

    A. Great question –  click on the contact tab above to chat with me!

  • Q. When should I book my family session?

    A. If you need a weekend, I am usually booked out 2-3 months in advance, so get in touch ASAP to check availability. If a weekday suits you, at least 2-4 weeks notice is great. I do get the odd cancellation, so it’s always worth checking if you aren’t sure!

  • Q. When should I book my newborn session?

    A. If you want to capture your bub when they’re brand new, book a session as soon as you can. I usually book you in for your due date initially, then whenever your little one arrives we can make a firm date and time then. I only take on 4 newborns a month so I am able to be flexible if they need to be rescheduled. My sessions however are very relaxed and don’t require bub to be asleep to perform any crazy baby yoga positions, so even if your bub is 4-6 weeks old by the time you are feeling up to photos, they will still capture all that new baby love.

  • Q. What if my baby arrives early or late, can we move our newborn session?"

    A. Yes, absolutely! Often babies don’t like to stick to their due date and that is fine. I usually recommend booking your session for your due date, and if bub comes early or late we can work out an available date to move the session.

  • Q. What days/times do you do the sessions?

    Outdoor sunset sessions I shoot Monday-Sunday, we start 1-2 hours before sunset, depending on the location.

    Real life sessions I shoot on Sundays and the time can vary depending on the activities you choose to do and the light in your home/yard, generally 2-3 hours before sunset

    Newborn sessions I generally shoot these Monday - Friday, we generally aim for a 9.30am start if that works with any older kids and naps. If you need a weekend session to include older siblings this can be arranged also.

    If you have a wedding or other occasion, I do have some flexibility outside of these days/times, so please Get in touch

  • Q. Where can we do the shoot?

    A. I absolutely love photographing families in places that are special to them, whether that is your family home, or the beach or park you always go to together, if the place is special to you, the photos will also be that little bit more special in the years to come. If it’s just a photogenic location for your sunset session you need, then head to the contact page and I’m happy to recommend some options around the Byron Bay or Northern NSW.

  • Q. Can my dog be in the photos?

    A. Absolutely! I have a dog who is very much a special part of our family, I couldn't imagine having family photos without him! Let me know if you want to bring your fur baby and we can make sure it's a dog friendly location. They can be in all the photos if you want, or we can find a shady spot to tie them up or let them roam free if they are allowed, up to you!

  • Q. How much is it?

    A. Head to my contact page and get in touch to find out. Alternatively my pricing page will give you a starting price for the various sessions.

  • Q. Can I have a discount?

    A. For past clients who have had a full family or newborn session with me I offer a $100 discount off your chosen package. If my sessions aren’t within your current budget, keep an eye out for one of my mini sessions by following me on my Facebook or Instagram, as they are announced here first.

  • Q. Do you do mini sessions?

    A. Yes! I usually do mini sessions around mothers day and Christmas mini sessions in November. These sessions are shorter than my regular sessions, with a small number of images at a discounted price. Best to keep an eye on my Facebook or Instagram as they are announced here first.

  • Q. What if the weather is bad or we’re sick on the day of the shoot?

    A. Cloudy skies make for great photos, but I certainly don’t want to get stuck in a storm. If it looks like it may rain and this will affect our shoot, I’ll be in contact in the days prior and we can decide if we should reschedule.

    If you or your little ones are sick, please try to give a least 24 hours notice, and we can reschedule when everyone is feeling better.

  • Q. What should we wear?

    A. I’ll send you a detailed guide after you book your session, including lots of info on what to wear, what to expect and how to prep for your session. But if you have any questions, head to my contact page and we can chat!

  • Q. Do you photograph extended families?

    Yes! The relationships between cousins, grandparents, aunts is truly special and many families gift a session to a loved one for special occasions. You are welcome to also split off into separate family groups for photos also. Head to my pricing page for starting prices on family sessions or my contact page to chat with me.

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