Ask an expert: Family photoshoots

Time to update your family portrait? Find out how to get the most out of a family photoshoot.

Gone are the days when professional family portraits meant awkwardly-posed children in matching outfits in a makeshift studio at the local townhall.

Today, family photography is all about capturing the relationships and personalities that make each family unique.

Owner of Anchored in Time Photography Rachel Davie shares her tips on getting the most out of a professional family photoshoot.

Location, location, location

Rachel recommends picking a location that works best for your family’s style and personality.

“Choose a location where kids can safely run off some energy between shots,” she said.

“Picking comfortable clothes that suit the location and show your family’s personality is also important.

“If we’re shooting at the beach, don’t dress the kids in little suits and fancy dresses and expect them not to play in the sand or water.”

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Let kids be kids

“Don’t stress out and feel like your kids need to be complete angels because, let’s face it, they’re not,” Rachel said.

“As a mum, I completely sympathise with how you feel when the kids are playing up, but no one benefits from stressed out and angry parents.

“Trust your photographer to get the best from your family – I promise that photographing your child is less difficult than photographing our own.”

Get everyone onboard

“Family sessions are usually mum’s idea, but it makes a big difference if dad is actively involved too,” Rachel said.

“Kids pick up on the tension if dad or older siblings are being forced to participate, so getting the whole family involved with picking outfits or props can help everyone feel invested in the session.

“Doing something fun after the shoot also gives older kids something to look forward to – you’re already dressed up so make the most of it.”

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Don’t force it

Rachel recommends trying to relax and have fun with the shoot.

“Not everything will go to plan and if you’re forcing a smile or coercing your kid to behave, it will look forced on camera,” she said.

“I had a family photoshoot at the beach where the youngest daughter didn’t want a bar of me.

“We stopped shooting and started building sandcastles until she warmed up to me enough to get some gorgeous natural shots that really captured her character.”

Photos: Anchored in Time Photography

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