How to prepare for your family photoshoot


You've booked your photoshoot and finding your dream photographer and a date that could work for your whole family was enough of a journey in itself! Now you need to choose what to wear for yourself and your family, to select the location and to combine all the elements to coincide in perfect harmony at the exact time of your sunset photoshoot. That's a lot, and you haven't even started the photoshoot yet! But, relax, here are my top tips to help you to prepare for your photoshoot with little stress involved.


What to wear

Neutral, earthy tones, and muted, pastel colours, creams and whites bring warmth to a photo and will ensure your photos won't date and will withstand the test of time. In addition to tonal warmth, consider layering clothing to allow you to adjust to changes in temperature throughout your session.


Complement each other's outfits with similar colours and tones, varying textures and muted patterns that work together, not clash. As a starting point, Mothers should select their outfit first, then style the rest of the family around them.


In most cases, avoid harsh dark or bright colours, bold patterns or big logos. Males are encouraged to ditch the collared shirt and go for a more smart casual relaxed approach as this will also help you to relax into your session. My sessions encourage movement and connection, and my photography style suits beautiful, long flowing dresses and smart casual clothing to enable this.


Wear clothing that makes you feel your most beautiful. Your photos are a mirror of you, your experience and this moment in time so, if you're not feeling it, your photos will show this. Book in to have your hair and make-up professionally styled if you feel that will help.


Documentary style photoshoots are designed to show your true personality so Batman costumes and tutus are encouraged!


Read more about what to wear to a photoshoot here.


Where to go

The location you select for your photoshoot is the backdrop or canvas for your images so consider what colours, tones and ambience you would like to achieve with your images when selecting. Do you like green nature colours and settings? Or do you prefer golden fields or moody oceans, bright blue skies and white sandy beaches?


Consider what types of images you want captured and where your family is best placed to achieve these kinds of images. Does your home create a relaxed environment for you all? Or perhaps your family is in their element adventuring through an outdoor location. If you're worried by the weather or how your home will appear in images, firstly, natural light photographers need only one window of light in a small room to create magic, but you may prefer a natural light studio setting to alleviate any stress here.


Read more about how to select your location for your photoshoot here.


What to bring

If you've selected an outdoor location for your photoshoot, find out the conveniences prior to your session. Is there pram access? Bathroom facilities? Is it dog-friendly?


If snacks are necessary for children, bring light-coloured food that won't stain and avoid lollies until the end of the session to avoid fixation. They make for a great bribe! Bring wipes and tissues to ensure sparkly faces, spare nappies and bottle and anything else that will help to settle children in a session.


Bring shoes to walk between locations and layers to warm up or cool down.


Preparing your home

A home session doesn't require you to tidy your entire home. Natural light is essential so a window with an abundance of light is important. Rooms that are generally best to work with are children's rooms, parent's rooms and living areas. Capturing the front of your home can also make for a lovely memory. Moving furniture and props can help to prepare an area as well.


The day of the photoshoot

I know it's easier said than done but, try to take your time to get ready on the day of the session. Mama, get yourself ready first (the old oxygen mask adage!). Lay out clothes for your family earlier in the day. Dress children when you arrive to the photoshoot in case of accidents on the way. Arrange dinner in advance or make plans for an after session dinner (which also makes for a great bribe!). On that, bribes are totally encouraged! An ice-cream or favourite meal can work wonders to get children to participate. When you arrive to the session, it's time to relax, take a breath, and enjoy this time with nothing to do but connect with your family.


During the session

When you meet at the session, consider yourself off duty as a parent, and on duty as a fun time. Your photographer will do what they need to do to get your family in the mood and participating in the session, and all you need to do is join in the fun. It's rare that parents today get to enjoy time focused solely in the moment with their children. Usually clients leave a session grateful for the time with their children, to really notice things about them and to get extra cuddles and time to connect. Children feel this even more so, with their parents gaining their full attention while you explore and play together. It's a beautiful time for everyone and your photos will show this too.


Children at a photoshoot

Children at sessions can demonstrate a range of emotions but primarily it's excitement to be out and about or showing a stranger to their home. Prepare that they will generally be their best behaved selves for the session, but there are no guarantees about what happens after the session ends, of course! Games, bribes and activities to involve children throughout the session will keep them involved. Sessions are children-led and while gentle guidance will be provided, letting them take the reins will ensure the most lovely session for everyone. Sometimes big emotions can surface and that's fine. It's a chance for parents to get down and connect with children in an intimate moment of soothing and makes for a realistic and beautiful representation of parenting.


Babies at sessions also dictate how a session will run. Working with feeding and sleeping needs is best to achieve a happy babe, but if you'd like photos of them feeding, do it first up in the session, and if you would like a sleepy baby, feed before we start.


I know you've had a lot of preparation to get here. Sometimes you've worked right up until you arrive, and if you're a parent, you never stop working! But just know that once you're completely immersed in the moment with your family, magic will happen and children especially will be asking when the next session is!


My clients gain access to my full Preparation Guide which includes access to my stunning complimentary Client Wardrobe, dress hire discounts and styling advice, and location advice and the insider tip on my favourite photoshoot destinations.


See also my where to go for a photoshoot what to wear to a photoshoot.


Do you have a question about how to prepare for a photoshoot? Get in touch, I'd love to help you to plan the photoshoot of your dreams.


-MELINA x