I love seeing my families again, so I was super excited to meet with Kimberley and her gorgeous tribe for a family session during golden hour at The Pines recently. I last met with Kimberley almost a year ago to capture her Newborn Lifestyle Session with her daughter Iris and her two boys Eli and Ollie. I see them on my screen often, as I don’t just share recent work with everyone, but also my past work. This is because I put my heart and soul into every session, and every family becomes a little part of me. I love hearing about you afterwards and seeing photos of your kids growing up. This isn’t just a job to me, this is a passion!
It’s always a little bittersweet to see the changes in your kids, and it really reminds me just how fast time goes, and why I’m so passionate about freezing some moments in time. I often wish I could go back in time and revisit my kids at different ages, just for a day. I want to hold them and cuddle them and just spend the time appreciating them without the chaos of daily life that sometimes takes that enjoyment and appreciation away a little. Although I can’t do that, a photo is a way to revisit the way they looked, to remember what your life was like at that point in time, and to remember all those little details and moments you thought you’d remember but had somewhat forgotten. I love being able to give that to my families as well.
In the year since I saw her last, Iris had grown so much. She was walking, she had a mind of her own (which is great when you have two older brothers!), and she was still as attached to her Mumma as ever. Her brothers were just as gorgeous and fun as I remembered, and spent time playing with sticks, flying with Dad and being naturally affectionate with each other. I know photo sessions can feel a little stressful when you have kids, but they don’t have to be! Just go with the flow, let the kids have breaks and don’t expect too much of them, and it can actually be a lot of fun! It’s the moments of fun that I love to capture, and this family was full of fun!
Fun isn’t just for the kids either! I always try to get some photos with just mum and dad and I want you to have fun with that too! So we dance, we do things that might feel a little silly, and then Dad comes along and just spontaneously lifts his wife onto his waist, and I just stand back and capture the perfection that’s happening in front of me! Thank you beautiful Northcott family, for trusting me to capture some memories for you again.
If you’d like me to freeze some moments in time for you as well, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio for more examples of my work. I’d love to chat with you and capture some fun, relaxed, real and raw memories for you!
Soraya’s daughter Ellie has recently turned two, and they wanted to get some family photos to capture the love and happiness in their family unit. Poor Ellie was sick the first time we’d planned our session, so we rescheduled to a couple of weeks later, and thankfully Ellie was all better! We almost had to reschedule again due to the weather, but thankfully the rain stayed away (just a few spots when we arrived). We met at Perry’s Paddock which is one of my favourite locations. It’s a beautiful spot not only during that gorgeous Golden Hour when the sun is setting, but also on overcast days like this one was.
This session is filled with absolutely beautiful images capturing the very thing Soraya had wanted – the beautiful love and happiness in their family. There was dancing, nursery rhymes, flying in the sky, spinning, and lots of cuddles. Dad was the flavour of the month for Ellie towards the start of the session, but by the end it was Mum who had her heart! It’s very obvious that they all have a beautiful bond, and I’m so glad to have been able to capture it for them. As usual, when there are kids involved in my sessions, the focus is on making things fun for them, and never forcing them to sit still or do something that doesn’t make them happy. I give them breaks when they need them, and keep them involved when they’re happy to be involved.
One thing I like to do when kids are having a little break, is to capture some images of Mum and Dad together. It’s not often we get the time to be together without kids around, and I really want to be able to celebrate that relationship as well. I’m always so happy at how parents love to do this, and are happy to have a little fun with it as well!
I loved spending time with this family, and freezing some moments in time. They’ll always have these images to look back on the time Ellie had just turned two, and it was just the three of them!
If you’d love me to freeze some moments in time for you as well, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio for more examples of my work.
Sonia and Andrew had decided that they didn’t want to get newborn photos of their little boy Easton, but that they wanted to get some taken as a family now that he was a few months old. The day before our first planned shoot, Sonia’s husband came home with a sunburnt face – oops!! We decided to reschedule their session so that his face would be a little less red in the photos!! We met a few weeks later at The Pines in Wanneroo, and although the sun was hiding from us that day, we still captured some beautiful images of this gorgeous family.
One particular thing I noticed was the beautiful affection both Sonia and Andrew have for their boys. Effortless kisses and face strokes, and real un-posed connection. These are the moments I love capturing the most – the cuddles you give your little boy and the way he gives you nose kisses back, the fun moments of dancing and flying and rides on Daddy’s shoulders, and all the little moments that make your family your own. Sonia also wanted me to capture the little swirly bald patch on Easton’s head – that little symbol of babyhood! As with all photo sessions, my aim is to give my families a fun and relaxed experience so that these natural little moments and connections can be captured. These are the moments I value the most and that I love to share with my families.
If you’d like to book a session for yourself, Contact me here and we can have a chat! You can also view my Family Portfolio for more examples of my work.
Hyde Park is one of the few locations where shooting outside of Golden Hour can still produce some gorgeous images, so it’s also a great choice for young kids who can’t stay up until sunset. I met with Jackie, Ben and their two daughters Scarlett and Lucy at Hyde Park last week to capture some images of their family together as she wanted a relaxed family session. I’m all about relaxed family sessions, and I absolutely loved the energy that the two girls had – they were running, rolling around, doing cartwheels and generally being fun and silly. I actually encourage this during a session!! I really don’t want parents to stress about their kids sitting still and looking at the camera – their job is to just have fun, and my job is to capture it all. I promise you that no matter how energetic your kids are, I’ll always find a way to capture them, and it’s usually these genuine moments of play and connection that are the best images from the session. Scarlett in particular was FULL of energy and fun and I truly loved her enthusiasm for the camera and for simply having fun with her sister and her parents. Little Lucy was a little more apprehensive of the camera, but that’s totally okay. Kids don’t need to be pushed to be in the frame – the less ‘pushing’ we do, the more likely they are to just relax and join in. Plus, those moments of tired cuddles are just beautiful to capture on their own.
Scarlett and Lucy also have a beautiful relationship and this was special to capture. They were affectionate and full of fun and joy together – at one point I turned around and Lucy was sprawled across Scarlett’s back! Of course this is a moment worth capturing! Even Lucy’s bunnies joined in on the photo shoot which is gorgeous as her bunnies are such an important part of who she is during this time in her life. Thank you for letting me capture some beautiful images of your gorgeous family Jackie!
If you’d like to book a fun, relaxed family session for yourself, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio for more examples of my work.
Last year I captured Amy’s family photo session and this year her and her brothers bought a voucher from me for their mum Mandy’s 60th birthday. Amy is a photographer as well, but it’s so important to also be in the frame, and to capture some images of their entire family together. Photographers also need a photographer sometimes!! They booked in their extended family session, and we chose a spot in Joondalup which overlooks the lake Mandy lives, and the pine forest opposite Amy. Getting the whole family together can always be a challenge with such a large group, but it’s so worth it! It’s not often you get to see how you all look together, and keep some memories of how life looks for you all right now. It’s also a perfect opportunity for cousins to get together, and to watch their special relationship. Little Emily loves her real live baby cousin Taj (who wouldn’t – he is gorgeous!!), and that was obvious in the way she constantly wanted to be near him and to be touching him. The older three were happy to run and spin and play ring a rosy – all gorgeous childhood memories. We also made sure to get some images of Amy with her mum, as they missed out on some together during Amy’s wedding. They’re very close as well, so it’s special to capture that bond. I had some photos with my own mum recently during our own family session, and it means a lot to have them. I hope that my kids choose to have photos with me one day too!
During an extended family session, sometimes there is a family who would prefer their images not to be shared, and that’s completely fine. I’ll always make sure that people are happy for images to be shared, and if they would prefer to keep them private, I’ll make sure not to include them. I had lots of fun shooting with Amy and her family, and I hope they enjoy looking back on their memories forever!
If you’d like to book in a session for yourself, or gift a voucher to someone you love, Contact me here. You can also view more examples of my work in my Family Portfolio.
Every year my family holidays in Adelaide with my parents, which is where I grew up until High School. We always stay on the beach in Glenelg (which is the only time we go to the beach!), and this year I wanted to get a family photo shoot to celebrate our holiday together in a place that is very special to us all due to all the memories we’ve created there. I’m part of an amazing photography community called Click Love Grow, and through there I knew that I wanted my photographer to be Michelle Crush Photography as I wanted her to capture those candid moments and connections and I’ve seen that throughout her work. Even though I hate being in front of the camera (super awkward!), I also know how important it is to have those family memories. These are some of the things I learnt by having my own photo session:
Styling is Hard!
Especially when you’re trying to style for a family of 6, plus my parents. I knew I wanted to keep it light and that I wanted to include some pattern and texture, and that I wanted everyone to be comfortable. I was pretty sure of the outfit I was going to wear, so I based my colours around that. I ordered the clothes for the boys from Zara online – I wanted them to be similar but not ‘matchy’ – and in the end I decided to put Alby in the overalls to keep him looking a little different (and also because I love the texture of it and he looked ridiculously cute!). Alexi was originally going to wear a denim onesie, but then my mum chose a denim top with some gorgeous texture on it, and with Alby also wearing denim I thought it would be a bit of a ‘denim overload’ so found a feminine patterned onesie for her instead. My husband was the last on the list, but we found something in the wardrobe to tie in with everyone else. Basically I followed my own advice, and started with one outfit (mine) and then worked the colours for the others around that and added some texture and pattern. I also didn’t get the boys hair cut because I actually love their crazy locks – it’s a part of who they are and I didn’t want them to be all stiff and styled. I wanted them to be THEM! You can read my Styling Guide here and more Styling tips to help you plan your photo shoot here.
The stress is real!
Even though I wasn’t after the perfect ‘everyone smiling at the camera’ photo, I was still anxious about the kids moods before the photo shoot. I was worried about their sleep, and the fact that we’d be up well past their bedtime (sun sets in Adelaide around 830pm and the younger ones are normally in bed by 7pm!), and I was worried about them cooperating. These photos were important to me, as I know they are to anyone who takes the time to organise a photo session, and I wanted them to go ‘well’. Luckily I also had complete faith that my photographer would be able to capture something even if the kids were tired and not cooperating. Which leads me to my next point…
There is no ‘perfect time’ for photos
Don’t wait for the ‘perfect time’ for photos. There is no more perfect time than now. The kids don’t need to be a certain age, the weather doesn’t need to be a certain way, the time of day doesn’t matter (it’s one late night), everyone doesn’t have to behave a certain way, you don’t need to have the ‘perfect outfit’ or be the ‘perfect weight’. You just need to be YOU. NOW. YOUR FAMILY. There may be things that make it more stressful (young kids), things you’d prefer to be different (no gaps in their teeth), or other things that aren’t quite ‘perfect’. But when is that perfect time? There’ll always be a reason to stop you, a reason to make it harder or to put it at the bottom of the priority list. But who you are now is not who you’ll be tomorrow, and you should capture today. Look back on it in years to come and remember it – the good, the bad, the ugly. Life isn’t perfect, and neither are we – so don’t wait for that perfect time for photos. It certainly wasn’t the ‘perfect time’ for us in the sense that being out until past 9pm with an almost 2 year old is never going to be fun – yet that’s what our life is now, and I’ll remember that when I look back on the photos. And that’s real!!
A photo session should be done more than once
I’ve actually never had a family photo session (Shock, horror!) aside from capturing my birth with Alby, and then his newborn lifestyle session. But I’ve never had a photo session just for my family and this experience has taught me that me taking photos of my kids and occasionally handing the camera to someone to ‘grab a quick one of me too’ is just not enough. It’s taught me that I plan to do way more of these photo sessions – I want to capture my family all together at least once a year. I want to capture the connections and the changes, and us interacting whilst someone else observes. I want to see us through the lens and keep those memories precious for my kids, and for me.
It’s way better than a selfie
I can’t even explain to you how emotional I actually felt looking at these photos of ME with my kids, and even with my mum and husband. A photo beyond a selfie, or beyond passing the camera to someone. It felt like I was glimpsing into my life from the other side – I was seeing the cuddles from Louie and his little hands around my neck – I was seeing the way I bend down to talk to Alby and all those other little moments. These photos mean a lot to me, because as much as I love taking photos of the kids, it’s only part of their story when we’re not in them too. Seeing us in the photos too, seeing me in them, made their story feel more complete.
The investment is worth it
And yes, it’s an investment. I know how much time goes into a photo session before, during and after the session. It’s way more than just ‘clicking the camera a few times’. Yes, anyone can ‘take a photo’ but not everyone can create a beautiful image or capture a beautiful moment in an artistic way, and if you want someone to do that for you, then it’s an investment which is well worth it. Frame those photos afterwards, put them in a photo book. If it’s important enough, there’s always a way to make it happen and invest in some precious memories before everything changes again.
A huge thank you to Michelle Crush Photography for her amazing skills, patience (grumpy toddler/resistant 8 year old), and for delivering me some beautiful memories that I’ll cherish always. If you’d love to create some beautiful memories of your own family, I’m more than happy to help you out! Check out my Family Portfolio and Contact me here.
Corrina is the face behind my logo, and she’s also designed some lovely Gift Vouchers for me – I would have been lost without her help when starting my photography business! I wanted to provide her with some beautiful family photos as a thank you, although her husband Marco took a bit of encouraging to attend and be in the photos as well. This is very common – men often don’t like the idea of a photo session – but I think it’s so important to encourage them anyway. One day your kids will want to look back on photos with both their parents – those memories will mean so much! I’m so glad that Marco decided to join us. Alex wasn’t overly thrilled to be part of the shoot either – but we managed to sneak in some beautiful images with him anyway – and ALMOST caught him in a smile (simply by telling him NOT to smile!). Miss Gemma loved the camera as much as it loves her – I absolutely loved capturing the connection between her and her mum. They have since bought photo books of their images to give to their Grandparents as gifts, which I think is a lovely idea. Follow this link if you’d like to find out more about Why I love photo books.
If you’re interested in capturing a family session, Contact Me for further information. If you’d like to view more family sessions, look at my Family Portfolio.
January is a month where life is different to any other month. The kids are all home, the weather is warm, and there are way less routines than normal. I’m actually one of those mums who LIKES the school holidays, and I don’t really want them to go back to school! Maybe it’s because for the most part they keep each other entertained, and the older ones are a massive help with the younger ones; maybe it’s because time is less restricted – we don’t need to be out at a certain time every day, and my days aren’t broken into a million pieces (meaning more relaxation but also a lot more opportunity for working with less interruptions); maybe it’s the break from after school activities and all the juggles of school assignments, assemblies and homework; maybe it’s because when they go back it signifies that they’re another year older – that time has really moved on and things will be different. Or maybe it’s just because I actually just like being around them. Most of the time anyway! They can drive me nuts, and I yell way more than I would like, but I have to admit, I do love it most when everyone is here.
Water and Snow
What says summer better than water fights in the backyard? The kids had so much fun getting soaked with the hose! And then in other extremes, Louie and Alby created ‘Snow’ with their sand. They were throwing the sand allllll over the decking “Look! Snow!”
School holiday mornings are slower than school mornings and I love this. Although it doesn’t mean I get to sleep in, moving slower is a big change from the hectic school mornings. Often I come out in the morning to see all three boys awake and sitting on the couch together – usually they’ve also stolen a snack from the cupboard. My daughter is usually still asleep – she definitely takes advantage of sleeping in during the holidays!
Although the mornings are less rushed, the nights are mostly just as rushed. When you have little kids there is often more of a routine where the nightly bath and bed routine needs to be at a particular time, making every thing a little rushed leading to that point. Every night Alby runs off naked towards the bath and then the boys share a bath. These little things happen every day, and are important to me to capture so that I can remember them when they stop happening.
When I think about photographing my kids, I want to capture all of the routines and daily moments – things that are so ‘normal’ we often forget about capturing them because we don’t necessarily see the beauty in routine. But it’s there! It’s there in the way Louie gets his stool so that he can reach the Greek yoghurt in the fridge, it’s there in the way he cuddles me every morning when he gets changed (I got my husband to take these shots!), it’s there in the way Alby reaches onto the bench for his dummy, and the way he and I always say goodnight to the baby in the mirror before I take him to bed (this is a routine I used to do with Louie as well).
Just as I love to capture daily routines, I also love to capture new skills. When you have kids, there are always things they’re learning. These skills which we take for granted are so momentous for them, and the amount of excitement and pride we all get when they achieve them, is just another example of how the ordinary becomes extraordinary when you have kids. This month Alby learnt to jump, and is learning about where items belong (such as shoes on his feet). Louie learnt to undress and dress himself – he is very proud and always wants me to watch him do it!
Alby always has food. He loves to feed himself with the spoon or fork – and sometimes tries to feed us as well! He also loves watermelon. He’s learning how to say it, which is really cute. Until recently he was calling it ‘bapples’ which is what he also calls ‘apples’ so it would get quite confusing. It’s so fun listening to him learning new words and being able to express himself.
As always, I mostly love just capturing the kids when they’re doing something that they enjoy doing. These are the best memories, and the most real and authentic memories too. I don’t often ask them to look at the camera, and I don’t get them to change what they’re doing (unless it’s to maybe move into the nicer light). One morning Alby was having so much fun putting dice in a cup and watching them all bounce out. He repeated that little activity so many times! Another time Kohen placed Alby in a bucket and took him for a ride down the hallway. Then there is also Alexi tickling Alby, and Louie drawing. All moments of natural childhood fun!
Sometimes I just see light and need one of the kids to stand in that spot so I can grab a photo! I particularly love shadows and directional light – I really love the mood that it brings to an image.
And then of course there was our holiday to Adelaide. I’m not one of those people who looks forward to holidays – I think I get too anxious about it all going well, and I get overwhelmed with all of the packing and planning. It’s not until I’m there that I’m able to enjoy it and truly understand why it’s so important to take little breaks away. This holiday was the best one yet. We go most years with my parents and we all stay together on the beach. This year was hot (one day was 46.6 degrees!) but this meant that the kids were able to go swimming and do other water activities which they love, and we thankfully had air conditioning back at our apartment. This holiday I also focused on just capturing natural moments with my camera. The kids commented that they thought I took a lot less photos. In reality, I took just as many but I wasn’t intrusive. I very rarely got them to stop what they were doing and smile for a photo. Instead I just captured moments as they happened. And I love them. You can see more of our holiday images in the slideshow at the top. It might give you an idea of ways to take photos on your own holidays as well!
If you’d like to book me to capture some memories of your own family, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio here.
Angela organised a voucher for an extended family photo shoot for her mother and father in law who were staying with her over the Christmas period, and she also wanted to include her brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Over this festive season I’ve done quite a few extended family sessions, and it always feels special knowing that people are all together with their loved ones – often for the first time in years – and that they’ll always have these beautiful memories to look back on and remember once they have to be separated again. Extended family sessions are just as good for family living at home. Often we think about our immediate family – but how much time do you spend with your siblings, your cousins and your parents? It’s really special to think about those people you love, and to spend an hour capturing some images together. These are the memories you can look back on forever!
We went to the Pines during golden hour for their session – which is the hour just before sunset. I always love those 15 minutes after the sun has set as well, so I usually schedule sessions to allow us to take advantage of that gorgeous magical light. The Pines is a beautiful place to shoot – we’re really so lucky in Perth to have some gorgeous locations, and I’m super lucky to have this one just down the road from me. The last couple of times I’ve been to The Pines, I’ve seen some kangaroos – during this session we counted 3 kangaroos who were quite close and watching us!
I usually start my sessions with the big group shots, and I always tell my families that I don’t expect them to always be looking at the camera and smiling. In fact – I encourage them not to!! I personally hate being in front of the camera – I find it really awkward and I’m totally aware that it can feel quite strange to have someone pointing a camera towards you! I always tell my families that if they’re not sure what to do, to just look at someone (not me!), tickle someone, cuddle someone or touch someone. And I always want people to be close!! Being close to each other allows you to naturally start feeling comfortable, and to start expressing your natural connections with each other. This is also why I like to get some images of each couple together as well. I often just ask them to get nice and close, to think about when they met, to dance together or hug each other tight. I really want people to have a moment with the person next to them where they can block out all of the ‘noise’ of life, and just BE together. Without fail, couples relax into each other and their natural connection shines through.
I loved capturing these two brothers together. It absolutely fills my heart when I see siblings who are so close and who actually LIKE each other. I grew up without siblings, and so the relationship between them always fascinates me as well as makes me so happy. Dylan and Brandon were naturally so affectionate and comfortable with each other that I was able to capture so many images of them that I absolutely love. I mentioned to Brandon that he was lucky to have a big brother like Dylan, and Dylan replied ‘And I’m lucky to have a little brother like him!’…how can you not melt when brothers say such beautiful things about each other?!! Speaking of brothers, Angela’s brother in law had come over to live in Australia so that he could be closer to his own brother. They now live in the same suburb (hopefully for many years to come once all the Visa gets sorted!), and he and his girlfriend get to spend time with their nephews.
I was so happy to capture this beautiful extended family session. Life is about family, it truly is. There is nothing more important, and I love being able to give people some time to really think about those they love and to spend some time being close to them.
If you’d like to book a session Contact me here. You can also see more beautiful images in my Family Portfolio.
Extended family sessions are so much fun! They’re generally noisy, chaotic and there are so many different connections to capture. Often when we think about a family session we only think of our immediate family, but there are so many people beyond that who are just as important and I think it’s a beautiful way to create some memories together. Kerry contacted me to take some photos for her and her extended family, as everyone was together for the first time in EIGHT YEARS!!! Her mother-in-law and father-in-law were over from South Africa, and her brother-in-law and his family were over from Brisbane for Christmas – the first Christmas they’d spend together in many years. A photo shoot is a perfect way to preserve memories of this time together, especially after it being 8 years in the making!! Christmas this year would be very different for all of them, and very special!
Throughout the shoot I couldn’t help but think about how it must feel for the Grandparents in that moment. To be reunited with their two sons and their 5 grandchildren and to see them all together in one place for the first time in so many years. I imagine the bittersweet emotions – the joy of all being together, but the sadness of their separation. I think it’s truly beautiful that they experienced this photo shoot together so that they could have gorgeous memories to look back on during the time that they would need to be apart again.
It had been such a long time since they’d been together, that the cousins had only just met each other the night before! This did mean that they were a little reserved with each other and needed some more encouragement to interact, so we played some Chinese Whisper games amongst other things to help them become a little more familiar with each other. During my shoots I really want people to have fun and enjoy themselves, and to focus on the person or people in front of them. I want them to think about what they mean to each other, and take some time out of crazy life to just BE together. I’m always warmed by the interactions that result from this – the dancing couple, the natural laughter, the hands holding and the playfulness that comes when people are relaxed. Throughout this shoot there were many opportunities for me to capture the genuine connections between each family, as they would just naturally come together and show their affection towards each other. It was also a little cold so some extra cuddles were helpful!!
I hope that the Krause family enjoy looking back on their memories for many years, and I also hope that it’s not another 8 years until they’re all together again!! Thank you for letting me into your world!
If you’d like to book a session for yourself, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio here.
Stacey is from my youngest son’s mothers group. It’s a mothers group I’ve unfortunately not had much time to be able to catch up with due to the chaos of 4 kids and running my own business, but I was so happy when she contacted me to arrange an extended family session to celebrate her mum’s birthday along with her sister and her family. We met at The Pines in the evening in the hour before sunset. This is always the best time for photos due to the gorgeous golden light – but is not always the best time for young kids – especially during warmer months when the sun sets that bit later. Despite this, the kids did amazingly! There were a few grumpy moments – but that is completely to be expected with young children, and is something that I don’t want people to worry about. During those moments, we just go with the flow and let the little one have a break for awhile, or let them have a cuddle with mum or dad (often these are the most beautiful images of the lot!). My sessions are never focused on everyone being still and just smiling at the camera, so I love to embrace a little chaos and just go with the flow. Whenever there’s a moment where the kids are happy and cooperating, we just take advantage of it and run with it. When they need a break, we focus on the adults for awhile. And if all else fails – we pull out the bribes!! There may have been a run back to the car for some food bribes towards the end of the session!!
Little Lucy is 6 years old and not only loved being in front of the camera (she can be my model any day!) but also loved being BEHIND the camera, and was so helpful in taking some images for me herself. I think she did an amazing job and I couldn’t have done the session without her! Lucy was a cuddly little monkey with her Mummy and I absolutely love those images – these cuddles are so precious and are beautiful memories to hold onto. Connor had a few little wardrobe malfunctions with his pants falling down and I made sure to grab a couple of images of that as well! They all did so well and I really love the images we were able to capture together. These are real life moments and real life memories. As always, I feel privileged to be a part of it.
If you’d like to book a session for yourself or someone you love, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio here.
Okay, so we all love taking photos of our children – but how do we do that without losing our minds?!! They always say never to work with kids or animals, but there are definitely some approaches that I use during my sessions, and that you can use as well, to capture your kids without everyone losing the plot!
This is probably the main thing. Over the years I learnt this from my own kids, and especially from my son Kohen who would always be so painful to photograph – we’d constantly be yelling his name and eventually we’d all get frustrated and it just wasn’t a pleasant experience for anyone! And then I let go of the expectation that everyone needed to look at the camera and smile in the perfect way, and I started to actually enjoy just capturing them the way that they were. Yes, I still put them together for a photo, but my expectations are different. I now actually often ask them NOT to look at the camera, and this is actually the best way to get the photos I love as they’ll start interacting with each other, or they’ll focus on something they’re playing with and I’ll be able to grab the expression on their face. So adjust your expectations – realise that a photo doesn’t have to have everyone looking and smiling for it to be beautiful, and that capturing their personalities is just as great. Let go of expecting kids to sit still and focus – they just don’t want to do that!
Let Kids Be Kids!
Following on from this, the best way to photograph kids is to let them be kids!!! Let them hang upside down or jump on the bed, let them pull funny faces or express their emotions (even those bad ones!). Similarly, let them rest when they need to, and cuddle if they need comforting. There are multiple benefits to this. Firstly, they’ll be less likely to resist being photographed, as they’re being allowed to have fun. Secondly, this will cause everyone (including parents!) to be less stressed, and thirdly by allowing them to be kids, you’ll let their little personalities come out and this will be captured forever. You’re much more likely to get a genuine smile by letting them be a little childlike compared to forcing them to sit still and smile at the camera.
Tips and Tricks
Having said this, sometimes you really want them to look at the camera, even just for ONE photo. This can be challenging for multiple kids but there ARE some ways you can make it more likely that you’ll grab that photo. Here are some ideas:
- play the ‘frozen’ game where you need to stay still for the count of 10
- show them their photo on the back of the camera, and ask them whether they can give their absolute best smile next time to make an even better photo, then show them the results. Kids like seeing themselves on the back of the camera!
- tell them to imagine that their faces are stuck together – this usually results in smiles as everyone presses together really close
- ask them questions such as ‘who is the naughtiest?’, ‘what’s your favourite toy’, ‘who is funniest – mummy or daddy?’ – or anything age appropriate which allows them to feel like you’re paying attention to them, and takes the focus off the fact that they’re having their photo taken?
- ask them to show you what they’re playing with – e.g. a leaf or flower. Usually this means they’ll hold it up to the camera and they’ll actually look at the camera as well
- ask them to squeeze the person next to them as tight as they can
- tell them that on the count of 5 they’re going to either get tickled, or tickle the person next to them
- be silly, let them be silly, get someone else to be silly directly behind the camera
- say their name or age wrong – this usually encourages them to look at you and smile whilst correcting you
- get down on their level and talk to them WITHOUT the camera in front of your face
Fun and Games
Kids love games, and games are great for adults too! Think tickles, flying in the sky, spinning, follow the leader, jumping, running races, blowing bubbles, piggy back rides, lifting each other up, Simon Says, Chinese Whispers, and other games like this which encourages movement and interaction. This helps to loosen everyone up and bring out those genuine emotions!
Follow their Lead
If they’re not in the mood, you really can’t push it. If none of the tricks are working, and it’s just leading to a meltdown, you really just have to let it go. If it’s during a photo session, this just comes back to resetting expectations and realising that those images where you’re comforting your child, or they’re laying with their head buried into your chest, or even screaming in the background, can be beautiful too because it’s just capturing LIFE. REAL LIFE. We can’t predict or control kids moods, but the biggest way to ruin a session is to get angry or stressed about their behaviour. Just go with it. If they need a break, give them one. If they’re happy being photographed, then go with that and take as many as you can get until they lose interest (and they WILL lose interest).
If you’d like to take the pressure off of yourself, and get ME to capture some beautiful images of your kids, Contact me here.
This year I did some mini sessions at Hyde Park, which is one of those locations where I’m happy to shoot outside of Golden Hour. The purpose of mini sessions is to give the opportunity to people to have a short and sweet session, whilst still capturing some beautiful memories and also saving money in the process! My mini sessions also come with some print enlargements, which is a great way to either hold onto your memories at home, or gift them to someone for a special occasion. I was so lucky with the weather for both my mini session days, and I was also super lucky with the amazing people who came along for their sessions. Everyone was on time (big tick – especially for a mini session where time is so important!), everyone looked amazing, and everyone was willing to have fun with it all! Although mini sessions only come with a small number of images, there is the option to upgrade, and so most people walked away with all of their beautiful images and memories to keep forever. It’s amazing how many we can get in such a short amount of time!
Mini sessions can be great for kids – sometimes parents worry that it won’t be long enough to get them to cooperate, but during my sessions I don’t expect kids to cooperate the whole time anyway, and a mini session is no different. The shorter time frame means that things move quite quickly, and that kids can move on to the next part of their day sooner rather than later (ice cream anyone?!). All we need from the kids is a few minutes of them ‘cooperating’, and the rest of the time it’s up to me to capture genuine moments and things they’re interested in, or those beautiful moments where they’re reaching for a cuddle from their mum or dad. The benefits of a mini session include:
- less time (20 minutes compared to one hour), which is especially great when kids are involved
- they can be for any session type (maternity, family, couple)
- save money
- sessions may be outside of ‘golden hour’
As there is less time in a mini session, we tend to move through things a lot quicker. The flow is very similar to my regular sessions though, and it gives you an idea of what a full session might be like. Typically, we start with the full family shot, and this usually just involves getting everyone to sit or stand together. Although we might get some where everyone is smiling at the camera, usually I encourage people to interact with each other, and I do a lot of the moving around myself to capture different angles and details. From there, we usually try to get the various combinations that you might want – such as dad with kids, mum with kids etc. If there are kids, we really take the cues from them just as with a regular session. If they’re feeling it, then we keep them involved in taking photos. If they’re getting restless or frustrated, we give them a break and focus on something else. Once these types of shots are done, we might get some playful ones, such as spinning, chasey, follow the leader, shoulder rides, and jumping. This has the benefit of letting everyone relax and have fun, whilst also creating some beautiful genuine emotions. My aim as always is to capture those expressions and images which will remind you of what life was like at this point in time.
I only do a small number of mini sessions, so keep an eye on my Facebook page or Contact me to register your interest in my next mini sessions. Below are some sample images from my most recent mini sessions.
The Milner Family is like my own family, as Ciara has been my best friend since High School. I grew up sleeping over at their house, and experiencing what life was like in a large family compared to my own tiny one at the time (not so tiny anymore ha ha!). Since then, we’ve been in each others weddings, held each others babies (Ciara stayed the entire night one night and held my youngest baby so that I could sleep – now that’s a true friend!), had play dates with our kids, and Ciara’s sister Anna’s children go to the same school as my own kids. Ciara is ‘Aunty Ciara’ to my kids, and I’m ‘Aunty Lans’ to hers. I’ve shot for Anna’s mothers group, and I’ve shot for Kevin and his dog Rocco. I was so happy to shoot for their entire family recently at Perry’s Paddock. There is always a lot of fun and laughter when this family are together, and I love being around them. They have a great sense of humour and don’t take themselves too seriously, so they were more than happy to have fun with it all. We had adults being lifted in the air, kids being spun around, shoulder rides, Nanna and Bop dancing together (yes, the kids call their Grandfather ‘Bop’ – so cute!) and running races. All of this makes for some genuine laughter and genuine emotions – which is what I love to capture the most. The kids also had a lot of ideas themselves, and I was hearing ‘Alana! Alana!’ as they wanted me to take a photo of them doing something particular! Although it was pretty cold down at Perry’s Paddock that evening (particularly for those in sleeveless outfits!), I think we all had a lot of fun. Thank you Milner/Armour/Slim clan for letting me capture some memories for you, and thank you for always welcoming me into your family!
If you’d like to book a session for yourself, or organise a gift voucher for someone else, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio here.
Wow – what a gorgeous family!! Dana and her family came along for one of my recent mini sessions at Hyde Park, styled just perfectly! Her two boys Cooper and Clayton were just ridiculously gorgeous, and so easy to photograph! The blonde curls on Clayton are just to die for! They had a very natural and easy affection, and so I was able to capture a lot of naturally beautiful moments between each member of the family, including tickles, cuddles, hand holding, and of course wrestling between the two brothers. Even though there is only a small age difference between the two boys, Cooper obviously seemed to take on the big brother role, and I love the images of him with his arm around his little brother whilst he is looking down protectively at him. Making this session even more special was the fact that Dana is three months pregnant, so she wanted to get some images which highlighted this special time in her life. Her two boys were more than happy to cuddle into her and to kiss her stomach – celebrating their new baby brother or sister! Chris and Dana are unsure whether they’ll find out the gender of their new baby (they didn’t with their other two!). Whether their new one is a boy or girl, I know it will be a very loved little baby, with two beautiful big brothers.
Prior to my sessions, I ask clients to fill out a pre-session survey to get an idea of their personalities and what kind of images they would like. Dana mentioned that Chris is uncomfortable in front of the camera, and I totally understand him on that! I hate being in front of the camera (which is why I spend most of my time behind it), but in my sessions I encourage people that if they’re not sure what to do, just touch or kiss one of their loved ones, or even just look at them or interact with them in anyway they feel comfortable doing. I think Chris did an amazing job!
If you’d like to book me to create some family memories of your own, or to purchase a gift voucher for someone, Contact me here. You can also view my Family Portfolio here.