Family photography session in the dunes at West Wittering
It’s July and we’ve only just booked our holiday. One week before we go. Every year it’s the same, we plan to book earlier each time but it just gets so complicated. We overthink it. Where’s the best place to go? What will everyone enjoy? How long will we go for? And so on, until time is almost up and the realisation that we might not get a holiday at all spurs everyone into action.

Family photography can be the same. Having made the decision to book a session, researching photographers and being inspired by awesome instragram images all sorts of questions start to arise:

‘Where’s best for our family to be photographed?’
‘What time of day is going to work?’
‘What will we wear?’
‘Will everyone cooperate?’

It can be a little overwhelming and before you know it, the idea is shelved for another year. The thing is your family is growing and changing. Time is ticking by. If the realisation that the opportunity may well pass you by then relax.

Firstly, it’s only natural to feel a little apprehensive albeit a stress you could do without right? Secondly, let’s be realistic, all children will have melt downs from time to time. They won’t always play with their siblings or follow direction. It’s totally natural and I’ve seen it before. That’s why I don’t want you to worry. My goal is to create natural, genuine images of your family simply being themselves. Happy, playful, and yes, sometimes a little not-so-much. It does help to be prepared though and once you book we’ll meet to customise your bespoke family session. I’ll share some advice and tips to ensure your session is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. 

Finally, having photographed families for over five years I’ve got some answers to some questions I often hear from families before they book. If you can’t see an answer to yours, just add it to the comments or contact me and I’ll be in touch.

When do we need to book our family session?
If everyone is around (in other words, there isn’t an impending birth) I recommend 4-6 weeks in advance. There’s no other family like yours, really…there isn’t and your session is bespoke. A little bit of notice gives us time to customise your session with details which reflect your family’s personality. Weekend dates are very popular and book up quickly so getting in touch sooner rather than later ensures you have the pick of the dates too. 

Which location should we choose?
With coast, countryside and urban landscape on our doorstep we are spoilt for choice. Location shoots lend themselves to my relaxed photography style and by choosing somewhere meaningful to your family, they’ll reflect your family style too. Newborn sessions are usually held in your home as are family lifestyle sessions if you like a homely vibe. I’ll offer advice based on your requirements during your pre-session consultation. In the meantime visit my pinterest board for more location inspiration. 

How long is a family photography session?
Sessions are intended to be relaxed and not rushed, enabling us to capture a set of natural images which truly reflect you and your family.  Little ones struggle with too long so we’ll aim for 1-1.5 hours but I always allow 2 to include any clothing changes and refreshment breaks if needed. Individual sessions tend to be shorter as there isn’t the need to herd family members so allow 1 hour.

What should we wear?
During your pre-session consultation I offer clothing inspiration and advise based on your own style, chosen location, season and potentially the occasion. Generally I recommend co-ordinated but not matchy-matchy clothing.  To add variety to your images, layers and accessories also work really well. Check out my ‘what to wear’ pinterest board for ideas.

When will we see our images?
Your images will be revealed to you within 2-3 weeks of your session.  Where possible, we’ll meet for the reveal and you’ll be able to choose your package images as well as ordering any additional prints, wall or display products.  You’ll receive a link to your online secure gallery where you can view and share your chosen images with family and friends.

My child is shy, how do you deal with that?
It’s perfectly natural for your child, or for anyone not to feel instantly at ease infront of the camera.  So, we’ll spend time at the beginning of the session warming up and generally chatting. I make my sessions as fun as possible and talk about the fun we’re going to have discovering lots of things and taking photographs of our adventure, encouraging them to suggest things they’d like to do in the photographs. I’ll also add a sprinkle of sillyness to proceedings which usually results in a giggle or two!

What happens in the event of bad weather?
Living in the UK this is a reasonable concern!  However, it’s not essential to have bright sunlight – in fact, cloudy conditions provide a far more flattering light and enable a lot more flexibility during the session in terms of where the pictures are taken. We book a back-up date and can reschedule in the event it is pouring, it’s snowing or conditions would be uncomfortable.

So are you ready to stop over thinking it? Don’t let those niggles stop you from capturing your family’s story. Whichever stage your family is at, whatever moment you’re seeking to preserve, I’d be priviledged to capture those nostalgic moments beautifully and for generations to come.

OK let’s do this! One more question…..How do I book a session?
The good news is that now my holiday is booked I know my availability and am around most of the Summer. It’s also really easy to book – just hop over to my contact page and get in touch using any of the contact methods detailed there. I’d love to hear from you and look forward to customising your session based on your requirements.


Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK. She specialises in children and families. For more details visit her website or facebook page.