What to wear for our family photoshoot

I think the number one question clients ask me is 'what should we wear'. The answer is very individual to the family, so I thought I would take you through my thought processes on how to select outfits and how to shop for the missing pieces. For Christmas, my mother in law asked for a wallet sized picture of her five grandsons. So my mission was to create some beautiful images of all of them, and individual ones, so that I could make up a small brag book for her handbag.

The first thing I wanted to think of was what will I be using the images for? Given it was a brag book, matching colours to decor wasn't going to be important. If you are doing your photoshoot so that you can put artwork on your wall, it's really important to ask yourself what type of images will suit the space. If your decor is loud and colourful, pastels won't be a good match. Neutral spaces are pretty safe, and most colours will be fine, but you might want to think about a splash of colour. You can also pay attention to the environment you want to shoot in. Personally, I adore beach photography, so I wanted to take the boys to the beach. I knew I would be shooting in the golden hour, and so the colours would be soft and light and airy. This formed the basis of my colour palette.

For boys, I love the gentleman look. I love linens, and button up shirts. I never recommend matching outfits, as they tend to look like 'uniforms'. You want to select pieces that compliment one another and are representative of each individual. I went through their wardrobes looking for pieces to match my vision. I also asked my sister in law to bring around what she had for her little one. We laid them all out on the dining table and discussed what we liked about all the pieces. We took photos, so we would know what we had and what we needed and we did a little inventory for each boy. I will attach a couple of pictures. They are just iPhone shots, but it will give you an idea of what we were aiming for.

Family photoshoot what to wear1

Sometimes, I will create colour boards, mood boards or pinterest boards for clients, particularly for extended family sessions. For this shoot, I had the following vision for the colours:

Family photoshoot what to wear2

We then went off to the shops to find the missing pieces. We were heading to H&M as they have beautiful pieces that are very affordable. (I am not sponsored by them!) Luckily, we found everything we wanted in a relatively short period of time. We took over the shop, laying out all of the clothes beside each other, working out what we thought would work together. Some were obvious and we kept, others were obvious and we put them back, and a few we couldn't decide on, so we decided to buy extra pieces and return any we didn't want.

We ended up with this clothes rack, ready for our photoshoot.

Family photoshoot what to wear3

One last word of warning, as we were about to head out, I realised that I would be shooting at the little one's dinner time - fail! So I fed him some weetbix to fill his belly before we went out. Never have a hungry child at a photoshoot.

When we arrived at Coogee beach, heads turned. These handsome, well dressed men looked so beautiful and were a stark contrast to the sun-drenched beach goers at the end of their Sydney day out at the beach! The following images are some of my favourites from the shoot, and I think you can see how my vision of "linens, button-up shirts, gentlemen and soft, light and airy" came to fruition. I hope this can help you when you are considering what to wear for your family photoshoot.

A boy and his teddy

My beautiful son came down with chicken pox this week. All of my children are immunised, so I was shocked when I saw those unmistakeable spots all over his body. I took him to the Dr, partly in disbelief and partly in denial. The Dr confirmed what I knew deep down, and told me that he would beed to be off school for the week. We have been spending some quality time together, as I can't take him out in public. Yesterday, we went for a mini photo shoot, to capture a vision I have had in my mind for a while. I generally hate gender stereotypes, and I wanted an image that dispelled the 'rough and tumble, noisy and dirty' stereotype that can typically be associated with boy. Instead, I wanted to bring out the soft and caring, soulful and sweet aspect of maleness. I just love how these turned out and I think they are true to his sweet little personality. The only downside, was that I needed some extra retouching to remove the chicken pox.

Sweet boy and his teddy bearBoy and his teddy

Top 10 tips: How to prepare for your photoshoot

When I am booking in a photography session, two of the main questions are; how do I prepare and what do I wear? I will send you a guide, specific to the type of shoot you are having. If you are booking in a newborn shoot, I will give you a guide on what to expect and how to prepare. Maternity mammas also get an in depth guide. This post will focus more on general family photos, to give you tips on how to prepare for your photoshoot. 1. Schedule in haircuts at least one week out. This applies for the whole family. Do the boys need a tidy up? Do the girls need a trim? Do you need your roots retouched? Generally, haircuts take a couple of washes to settle down, which is why I recommend scheduling them a week before. You will know your hair best, so schedule that appointment so that on the day of the shoot, you will be really happy with your hair.

2. Make an appointment with the beautician. Waxing eyebrows, legs, manicures and pedicures is really important for your shoot. Of course, only focus on this if it is something that you ordinarily do. Your hands and feet may be visible in the photos and your face definitely will, so schedule any appointments that make you feel your best. As an aside note: I get asked the question, 'should I get a fake tan'? My answer is, if it is something you normally do, then please do so. But please do yourself a favour, and have it done professionally. A la naturale is much better than cheap fake tan. Trust me!

3. Choose Mum's outfit first. Mums tend to put their children first. We will give up something for ourselves in a heartbeat if it means our child is happier or more comfortable. When it comes to the photoshoot, I always tell the Mum to look out for herself first, and design the family around her. Look in your wardrobe, or go shopping. Pick something that you feel fabulous in. The print shouldn't be too busy or patterned, as it will overwhelm the image. Your outfit should be well fitting and flatter you. Baggy clothes don't make women look smaller, in fact, they have the opposite effect. So please choose something that fits well and flatters your body. Once you have found the perfect outfit, it's time to dress the rest of the family.

4. The rest of the family should wear clothes that compliment yours. I am not a fan of matching clothes, or denim and white. Rather, I prefer complimentary colours. If you are wearing pastels, your family should be too. If you are in bright colours, your family should be too. Remember, I am happy to help if you want to email me some ideas or bring along some options to your shoot.

5. On the night before the shoot, everyone should go to bed on time, so everyone is happy and refreshed in the morning.

6. We should schedule the shoot around nap times. If the session runs into normal nap times, we are likely to have tired, cranky children that won't photograph well. The only sleepy clients should be newborns!

7. If the children are sick, we should reschedule. I know it's tempting to push ahead, but the images will be much better if your child is feeling well.

8. On the morning of the shoot, try not to make the event a big deal. Don't worry about coaching your child or telling them that they need to behave or smile. We want them to have fun, with natural smiles and laughter. So please leave this up to me.

9. Bring along anything that is important to your child. A photo with their beloved teddy bear or trusted blankie will be priceless in years to come.

10. Relax and have fun. Your photoshoot should be an enjoyable experience, and will result in gorgeous images of your family, that you can enjoy for years to come. I want you to relax and enjoy the experience.

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Sydney Photographer - Hyde Park in Winter

I couldn't have orchestrated a better day if I tried. This beautiful family flew in from North Queensland, and Sydney had been cold and wet in the days leading up to the shoot. On the day we were to do this shoot, the weather warmed up, the sun came out and we had perfect winter weather conditions in Hyde Park. For this session, my client wanted to focus less on posing and more on connection, and what a connection they have. A small, close, beautiful family. The sun filtered through the trees and I just captured their love as it happened. It was truly one of those sessions that melts your heart. And it doesn't hurt that they are beautiful, inside and out. I hope you enjoy these winter family photos from Hyde Park, Sydney. sydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographer sydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographer sydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographersydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographer sydney family photographer, child photographer, hyde park, sydney baby photographer

Acrylic Collage | Oatlands Family Photographer

When my client from Oatlands hired me, she had a very clear vision of what she wanted. "A large black and white collage with 30 odd images of my family being natural". It was a very specific brief. In order to achieve her brief, we had to have a lot of fun. We took photos in the bedrooms, the lounge, the park, and outside. We ended the session with a big splash into the pool. It was so much fun! Collaboration on the collage was a team effort and was the result of a few meetings over coffee. I love the final result. It is a 1.5 metre by 0.9 metre family heirloom on acrylic. I cannot express how amazing this image looks. I literally had tears in my eyes when I opened it. My clients' vision was amazing and I am so proud of what we achieved together.

This is the final collage:

Oatlands Family PhotographerHere are some images of us having fun along the way...

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Behind the scenes | Sydney Family Photographer

I had a few private messages and emails about the following image, so I thought I would give a behind the scenes look at what my vision was and how this image was created. A little bit of background first...when it comes to photography, I like clean lines, clean processing and uncluttered imagery. I have been trying to push myself lately, both in terms of imagery and processing. I am pushing my vision of styling the shoot and telling the story. I am also playing more with post processing, to try and enhance the story telling.

My vision for this shoot was a boy in a boat. He is on an adventure and is looking out to the distance, contemplating what is ahead, what is in the future. My vision had a whimsical feel. And with that in mind, I headed out with my 5 year old twins into the bush.

This is the plate shot, the basis of the image.

Waterfall, hunts creek, boy in a boat

This is a pretty magic setting in Carlingford, but still, I wanted something more whimsical. I wanted the water to be more misty. I knew I needed a slower shutter speed to make it happen. I was going to experiment with my flash, to see how far I could lower the shutter speed, however, it was a cold day and I didn't want my son to have to wait in the cold as I experimented with my equipement, so I decided a composite would do. My tripod broke (yes, everything was going against me that day), so I used a rock as a tripod to get this image, which became the water shot.

Waterfall, hunts creek, boy in a boat

I knew I wanted the boat to have a sail, so I made one from some material I have for my newborn shoots, and a stick we found on the way into the bush. My twins helped create the image.

Waterfall, hunts creek, boy in a boat

And finally, I got one of the boys into the boat in the pose I had in mind.

Waterfall, hunts creek, boy in a boat

I took all of these images into photoshop and merged them together. This process was quite time consuming, as I was quite specific with what I wanted my image to be. So there was plenty of cloning, masking and patching to make the final image just right. This is the final result and I was so pleased that it turned out very close to my original vision.

Waterfall, hunts creek, boy in a boat

A sister is a friend for life | Sydney Family Photographer

I photographed two very beautiful sisters. I originally had a vision for a ballerina on black. We then incorporated the chair and became a bit more funky/contemporary. And the Mum brought along the sweetest pink dress so I knew I needed to photograph that against something much softer, so I used my bone backdrop. This Mum has impeccable taste in clothes. That, coupled with the most beautiful girls and it really is so easy to photograph them.

As many of you know, my favourite product by far is acrylic wall mounts. The image looks like it is printed on glass and comes ready to hang.  I know it sounds cliche to say it has the wow factor, but it literally does. When people walk into a home with acrylic, they gasp 'wow'!

We had the images in the chair printed on acrylic and they look amazing!

Here are a few images from our session.

The acrylic wall mounts:

Sleeping beauty...

An old friend | Sydney Family Photographer

One thing I am loving about my photography journey is that it allows me to catch up with old friends. I haven't seen Nat since we worked together more than a decade ago! (I used to be an accountant in my past life, in fact, I am still CPA qualified). Nat has since had two beautiful daughters and we met up for a family session. We headed out to a new location that I had just found, which has everything from trees, to lakes and even a mini beach in Sydney's west! Even the ducks came out for our photoshoot.

Sydney harbour | Sydney Family Photographer

As I explained earlier this month, I wasn't actually born in Australia. And although I still have nostalgic feelings for Ireland, I definitely call Australia home. When I am away, I just love it when I fly in over Sydney Harbour and see the magnificent glory that is beneath me. From time to time, I have international clients, who may be visiting Australia, the may be living here for a short time, or like me, they have decided to move here permanently. These clients wanted to have family photos to send back home to relatives. They really wanted a quintessential Australian backdrop. And there's nothing that says Sydney, Australia like the Oprah house and the Harbour Bridge in the background.

This was a beautiful family and isn't little Jack cute. He was actually a little bit sick on the day of the shoot, but he was a little trouper and didn't complain at all during our shoot.

Family beach session | Sydney Photographer

I mentioned previously that I am selling a lot of acrylics lately. I don't know if it genuinely has overtaken frames and canvas' as a medium, or if I am just so excited about them that my clients feel this excitement too. Either way, I am loving it and I am so proud to deliver the orders! When this client called me, she too had acrylic in mind. So we decided to go to the beach to bring out those tranquil background colours. And lets face it, we have some amazing beaches in Australia.

So we headed off to Coogee beach for the photoshoot. These sisters are just stunning and were a joy to photograph. They were troupers as it was quite a cool evening We also took some beautiful family shots and the sun set behind us. If I could just photograph at the beach, I would.