Preparation and Tips
Before we discuss what to wear, a couple of pre-shoot tips.
As we generally shoot in the last hours of the day, it's best to have eaten dinner before you head out (not just the kids but husbands/partners too!). No one will then be thinking of hungry tummies and it makes for an unusual adventure, heading out to play after dinner! Likewise if it's a morning shoot, best to have full bellies.
If you are not in a shot, it's best to stand to the side of the camera so the kids aren't looking in your direction (to get connection with camera). Unless i ask you to do silly things behind the camera in which case, get down as low behind me as possible so they are looking directly into camera.
What to Wear
Tip: start with Mum's outfit, something you feel gorgeous in, and work out from there!
Be creative. Fun, colourful outfits can be great. Lots of textured layers create are interesting and create depth. Vintage clothes, boots can also be great.
Hats, scarfs, woolen or furry hoods create a frame around the face and also add a gorgeous level of texture and depth.
Accessories are fun and add interest and colour and framing. Big beautiful flowers in the hair are gorgeous. Simple is always best though, we want the focus on the subject, the fact, so the accessories should complement and frame rather than grab the viewers attention.
Lay out chosen outfits to see how the work together. Swap things in and out until complete. Often more than four colours over the group can be too many (but depends on the style, more colours if work together can be fun and funky). Running one main colour throughout the family's outfits, the rest being neutral can look great and cohesive.
What not to Wear
Try hard to avoid writing or logos on clothes. Tricky indeed for boys and men but start preparation as soon as possible for them. Sometimes even a last minute shopping trip won't help, every item on the boys shelves having a logo or picture on them! Check in with friends, they may have something you can borrow if necessary as this is one of the most important what not to wear tips.
Avoid black if possible. It creates a very dark area in the image which can be distracting.
Avoid very white unless it's a white dress in which case, leave it to the part of the session closest to sunset or sunrise. In the brighter light, it creates a large highlight in the image.
Lighter tones are better than dark tones. Creates a brighter, happier feel.
Best if you can leave watches at home, they can often be a distracting element, catching the light.
Props and ideas
Props can not only add interest and colour to a portrait, but give a focus for children to look at, play with or sit on. Having something for young children to sit on can make a great portrait. If they are not walking, it means they are not having to be held in every shot. If they are walking, it keeps them in one spot long enough to take a photo! Old suitcases are great for this or gorgeous looking wooden ladders.
Antique anything can be gorgeous - trunks, dresses, toys, suitcases, rocking horses etc. Vintage Books invarious colors: pastels, bolder colors, and neutral colors. Crates are perfect for sitting on.
Confetti, feathers (spotlight), big colourful candy balls.
Flower head piece. Lots of examples on how to make on pinterest.
Chalkboards are great for adding messages to shoots.
Musical instruments such as bugles!
Bunting/Garland : check out pinterest for make your own or etsy for ready made.
Helium balloons, normal balloons, masks, lanterns, bunting. Bunch of wildflowers, blankets to wrap yourselves in ... anything that will add a fairytale or romantic setting or style to the shoot or location. Things to hang from trees, colourful fruit to scatter, piles of cushions. Lanterns, pillow fights. If you bring a favourite toy, hide it for a week before the shoot so they are happy to see it again and don't bring it out until the camera is snapping. Gumboots are great (can be worn with dresses or bathing suits, anything!).
Re-create a favourite (or dreamed of) activity. Outdoor tea party, pretend fishing, dinghy, kites etc. They can create a fun family which can end up with great laughing happy shots.
Themes such as circus inspired: shirt with suspenders, fun tights, dance costumes, hula-hoops, balls, buckets, cover a board with burlap then paint on stars etc.
Baby animals! Ducklings, chicks etc
Bring a rope for a family game of tug of war.
Game of hopscotch. Dress up (parents shoes, clothes etc).
If shoot at home, nice pegs for clothesline with cute clothes or sheets hanging.
A bunch of wildflowers can add great colour and interest.
Props are not necessary at all, but if you have an idea you want to run with, let me know and we can discuss. Throw any possibilities in the boot and we can look at it before the session begins.
A chair or stool is also useful to bring young children up to the same height as the parents.
Please call me for any questions! Feel free to lay out outfits and take a quick phone photo if you'd like some feedback. Or we can discuss at the beginning of the shoot. Changing clothes during the shoot is great, can bring variety. Most important however is a happy smiling family so don't stress if you don't have all or any of the above. They are guidelines and ideas only. See you soon!
Babies are great to shoot once 7 months old. They are smiling, cuddly, interactive, can sit and just altogether adorable.
Maternity are great to shoot around 35 or 36 weeks. Kimono's, beautiful white flowing dresses, or your favourite maternity dress that makes you feel beautiful.
We can start at your place if you'd like some at home shots then head on location somewhere close like a park or beach. Otherwise we can meet directly on location.
Some great options are:
BELGIUM : Edge of fields (Waterloo etc), Belgian Coast, Parc Felix Hap, Parc Tervuren, Aboretum of Tervuren. Rouge-Cloître, La Hulpe, and Hallebos. Parc Tenbosh, Wolvendael or picking fruit (http://www.mariesgarden.be/en/selfpicking-guide)
AUCKLAND: Devonport North Head, Cornwall Park, Western Beaches
On the day
At times I'll sit back and snap without saying anything, especially if the light and setting is right. This is the time to interact together. Reach out to each other, make each other smile laugh, try and do so without talking to much ;) so capture smiles rather than talking. So tickling, smiling at each other, playing, running, jumping, dancing.