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How to get the most out of your family lifestyle shoot

I can hardly contain my excitement at finding my stride with newborn and family lifestyle photography. Whats great about this way of working is it fits perfectly with the bleak winter weather, making the most of cosying up indoors with your best people. Above is a picture of the beautiful Maddie at the Simpson Family Lifestyle shoot, you may want to also check out the Foley Family who were the winners of my recent Facebook and newsletter competition to win 'Couples Lifestyle Shoot'. So I thought I'd share a few tips with you lovely people about how I think you can get the most out of your family lifestyle shoot. I'd also like to clear one thing up - there is absolutely no reason for you to be running around with paint brushes and rollers in an attempt to make your house 'photography worthy'. What I want to photograph (and what I hope you will appreciate too) is your HOME, the place you live, eat, work, argue and laugh together. This is really important. If your house normally has toys everywhere, dogs pelting round, washing put out to dry, this is exactly what makes you YOU and you should be proud of that. So here are 8 ways you can make the most out of your lifestyle photography session.

  1. TEA + CHAT. Having a stranger come into your house can feel a bit weird, so have a cup of tea (mine's coffee) and have a chat with me first. It'll give me the chance to explain what I'm looking for and the best way we can achieve that.

  2. LOOK AROUND. I'll ask you for a tour of the house. What I'm looking for is good window light/sofa positioning/ a clean wall to sit up against. I want the photographs to look as natural as possible, which means using natural light as much as I can. This is not always possible, in which case I'll improvise with the most natural looking light I can create with soft boxes/flashes etc.

  3. 'ACT NATURAL' (NO CHANCE). Its easy for me to say 'act natural' and then for you look like the most unnatural human being that has ever existed. So, to get around this, I'll give you something to do. I'll then tweak this to ensure I'm getting good angles and making the most of the lighting.

  4. ROLE PLAY. What I like to do is ask you to role play 'a day in the life of...(insert family name). This fits with the above point I've made about you acting naturally. Generally, your day starts in bed for most people, but again this can feel a bit weird. Note - I'm definitely talking above the covers. Once you've got over feeling weird, I can get shots of parents and baby/child(ren) leant against headboard, cosying down etc. Then afterwards, you just follow the rest of the day through. Go to the kitchen to make (more) coffee, toast, prep milk bottles etc. I'm looking to photograph you looking in wardrobes, chatting, sipping drinks and just being yourselves. You can really relax into the shoot at this point because you know what to do, you do it every.

  5. DETAILS. Although I don't recommend re-decorating for the purpose of your photos, I do often bring a white throw to chuck over your bed. This will just ensure everything is clean and bright. I'll also take photos of your baby alone at this point too (if he/she is newborn) on the bed from every conceivable angle. I'll focus on all the details - eyelashes, knee chub, gummy smiles.

  6. WINDOWS. A good way to make the most of the natural light is to insist that you 'check the weather' at every window you have in the house.

  7. SOFA. If we haven't made it to the sofa yet, I'll ask you all to sit here for a while. I have a few positions which will work best and generally involve your baby/child getting the Superman treatment. I'll finish up with all of you in front of a wall (somehow and try to photograph you all looking towards me. This is probably the only point during the session whereby I'll have you all looking in the same direction as children and babies by default tend to always be facing their parents.

  8. OVER TO YOU. Once you've let me run wild and create what I hope will be a collection of photographs that really speak to you, I'll ask you if there's anything you would like to try. I'm not at all precious with my work, the whole objective is that I produce something you are happy with and if you have a burning desire to try something, generally I'm always happy to oblige.

I hope this helps shed some light on what to expect from these sessions. If you would like to see some more examples of my lifestyle photography and didn't catch it at the beginning of this post, check out The Foley Family or The Simpson Family. PS, At the moment, my lifestyle sessions are £180 for up to two hours with your edited high res images on disk, client gallery and permission to print and a one 11 x 14 inch print of your choice. I'm going to be putting this up to £250 in the new year, so if you are considering booking in, now's the time to do it! We can arrange the shoot for any time in the new year, so long as you book in with me before 1st Jan!

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