So if you’ve ever visited my studio you will most likely have heard me talking about how I’m never in my family pictures. I’m always trying to persuade mums to get in front of the camera while adamantly reassuring you will love them in years to come. Us Mums you see, we usually don’t like the way we look! (I know, unbelievable right?!) Well I decided it was time to take my own advice! I booked a shoot with a good friend and colleague Claire Tennant and I am so so happy with the results.
Here’s my top tips on styling your family shoot!
Tip Number 1 – Timing
Ok so when I talk about timing I’m thinking of 2 things- Time to the shoot and time of the year. Firstly, give yourself enough time to style your shoot. Don’t hastily book for next week unless you have a great idea for outfits and you have them already in the wardrobes. I had about 4 or 5 weeks to pull these outfits together. Think about shopping, delivery delays and possible exchanging etc. You want to give yourself time to make it stress free! For me shopping for clothes is a lovely experience as long as I’m not on a deadline! Secondly think about the time of year. The season, the weather. Will it be warm or cold? Will the ground be wet (Probably, it’s Scotland we live in!) Will the trees have leaves and what colour will they be? Will it get dark early? Will the kids have time off school? Will my favourite spot be busy? All these questions will be affected by the time of year and all the answers will affect how your outfits look so give it some serious thought.
Tip Number 2 – Location
Ok so the location is a huge factor in how your shoot turns out! For us I wanted a spot that was a little bit close to our hearts. We did this shoot in Dalkeith country park and the reasons were A. Its absolutely beautiful and B. we are there literally all the time. I’ve got so many memories around this spot, we walk there every week as a family and have done since the kids were small! I knew I wanted an Autumn look and the park is just beautiful in the Autumn so it was perfect. It is a super busy spot year round so we decided to shoot first thing in the morning and we only had to deal with the odd dog walker which was great! I also knew all the locations I wanted and Claire and I had chatted about it before so that helped us both have an idea of how it’s all going to look.
Tip Number 3 – What will you wear?
Ok so this might sound a bit crazy but hear me out- your going to want to co-ordinate the outfits a little bit. I know, I know it sounds naff and a bit “trying too hard” but honestly it’ll make your images look SO much better! Now I don’t mean everyone has to go out looking like some weird twinning family with the exact same outfits on I just mean following a simple formula to have a bit of flow. Here it is and its easy- Choose a main colour, add a texture then add a pop colour. Your main colour should be an easy colour to wear- Cream, Blue, Brown, Black even, something everyone has in their wardrobe. For our shoot the main colour was Navy blue, it fits with the time of year and it’s a colour that everyone suits. Your texture can be any type of fabric that’s not standard, Denim is obviously a popular choice or if its summer you might want to go with Linen. If there’s a lot if ladies in the family maybe a lace or silk, Christmas time definitely calls for a touch of plaid. Last but not least add a pop of colour, for us it was this Mustard/Ochre colour and I picked that to tie in with the Autumn look in the park. Everyone wears a spot of each and viola, you look like you were styled by a professional. A top tip for us mum’s is to make sure you’re wearing clothes that fit properly, if you’re going to have to keep adjusting it then don’t wear it. One more thing to remember, no busy patterns and no writing on your clothes- its distracting and the camera hates it.
Tip Number 4- Plan for every eventuality
So this session took place on 31st October, it was cold and damp and the forecast was for rain. We took along our winter coats and when we were done shooting and moving between locations we would pop them on then take them off again for the shots. I also brought along a blanket we could throw on the ground for some sitting shots (I had to get a blue one obviously to fit with the colour scheme.) I also bought a big blue umbrella just in case the heavens opened half way through, if your planning an outdoor shoot in Scotland in Autumn there’s always a chance of rain!
Last but not least – Talk to your photographer
Make sure to let the person who’s behind the camera know what you want from the shoot. Most will ask first either throughout the booking process or on the day but make sure you tell them what you have in mind. Give them some must have shots and locations you really want included. Tell them about the image you want to hang on the wall eventually. Oh and if you don’t know that yet then give it some serious thought because otherwise your maybe going to end up unhappy with the final result and that’s the last thing we all want! Claire knew I wanted the country park and she knew I wanted great family shots with an Autumn backdrop but I also let her know that I wanted some special shots with my beautiful boys and I have to say I got what I asked for.
Putting some work in beforehand really led to some gorgeous images, I’m so happy with the results of this shoot and it was so nice to just turn up and let Claire do all the hard work. I can’t thank her enough for capturing my family in such a special way and I know I will look back on these images and be so happy to have them.