Things I learnt from having my own family photo session!

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.

The Agostini Family

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.

Ways to display your photos after your photo session!

So you’ve had a photo session and you’ve got some beautiful photo memories – what do you DO with all those photos? I’m a big believer in not only creating those images, but also in DISPLAYING them. Leaving them on your computer means that they’re likely to become lost and you’ll rarely look at them – what is the point in that?? You had a photo shoot for a reason – because you wanted to capture some memories of a special time or moment in your life. You went to the effort of preparing for your shoot, paying for your shoot, styling yourself and your family, and you spent TIME on the shoot. These are your memories!! There are some easy ways to display your  memories so that you can look at them frequently and remember those feelings you had during that time in your life. These are just some suggestions to help you out.

Frame them!

I have a photo wall in my house (maybe I have a FEW photo walls in my house) filled with frames of different sizes. I use the 3M hooks to hang them up (no holes in the wall – bonus!!) and I have a variety of colours and styles to break up the wall. I also include some canvases which I think are beautiful ways to keep your favourite images. I try to update the images each year, although I always feel guilty getting ‘rid’ of a photo so I leave it behind the new photo. This means that I end up with a story of images which have been in that frame – a story I can see when I next change the photo over! Throughout the year, I try to keep photos I think I might consider enlarging in a separate ‘Enlargements’ folder on my computer. This makes it easier to be able to go back and choose in the new year rather than going through alllll of my photos (as you can imagine, I have A LOT!).

I also have a number of photo ledges from Ikea where I have regular 4×6 frames. I try to print some photos each month to keep in albums, and from there I choose some to display in the 6×4 frames. I’ve been super behind with this plan this year and still have photos in them from almost a year ago – but I plan to get back on track!!!

I’ve found some frames which I absolutely LOVE. They’re timeless and beautiful and each colour and style goes so well together. I have these available to purchase to help compliment your images. View a Video of the Frames here.

Canvas

As mentioned, I also love canvases. They break up a photo wall and add interest and texture, and also look great as stand alone images. I choose an image for a canvas that I know I’ll love for a long time – for example, I have a canvas of each of my babies on the first day they were born, and a canvas of images taken on our honeymoon (a loooong time ago!!). You don’t need a frame for them, and they also look stunning in kids rooms and nurseries! Click here to see a video of one Clients Canvas Video.

Photo Books

I think this is one of my favourite ways of keeping my photos. I absolutely LOVE displaying them all around my house, but there are only so many you can display (which in my case is still a lot!) and then as I mentioned, I always feel guilty when I swap an image over!! With photo books I have easy access to pick up an album and browse through my memories easily. Photo books look great, they don’t take up a lot of space, and you can fit a lot of photos in there!! I do a photo book each year and I organise it in month order (throughout the year I also store my photos in their month folders so it makes choosing the photos easier). I also do a photo book for the first year of each of my babies lives, and any special occasion (such as a gorgeous photo shoot!) deserves a photo book all of its own! I offer gorgeous linen photo books in my Deluxe Collection, and all my Birth Stories also receive a photo book. You can see a Video example of a photo book, and read more about Why I love photo books.

Good Old Photo Albums!

Yep, I still print some photos for regular photo albums! Photo books have taken over as my main way of storing them off of the computer, but sometimes you just need a hard copy of a photo! Think about school projects, or craft activities, or sending to Grandparents. There are many times when I’ve needed to pull out my trusty old photo album and retrieve a hard copy photo, so I just can’t stop using them. I have limited the ones I print a lot though, because albums are very bulky, and I take a LOT of photos, but we don’t have a lot of space to store the albums! So I only print off a handful each month, just so I have some there, just in case!

There are so many other ways you can get your photos off of the computer and into your lives – think magnets, keyrings, collages, cards, Christmas decorations – the list is really endless! The point is, try not to let them just sit there on your computer where they rarely get looked at (or at least if you do, share them on social media so that they come up in your memories!). All of my collections include at least one print because I’m so passionate about displaying your images, but make sure you frame that print and hang it on your wall or your shelf – maybe even get a canvas or a photo book. Get your memories out into your world where you can see them and they can make you smile! These are some examples of some clients images and the way they’ve displayed them. You can get more ideas from looking at my Pinterest board for displaying photos

If you’d like to book a session or discuss ideas on how to display the images from your photo session, Contact me here.

Why I love photo books

Recently I’ve added photo books to one of my collections. There are many reasons I love photo books:

  1. I’m a big believer in displaying memories and looking back on them. I also love printing some images and displaying them around the home, but photo books are the perfect way to preserve those memories even when you update the frames around your house. As time passes, the photo book remains as something you can look through any time you like. Images in frames may change, but the photo book will always be the same.
  2. I’m a storyteller through my images. My main goal when doing my sessions is not to get the ‘perfect everyone smiling at the camera’ photo (although sometimes we’re lucky enough to get those too!). My main goal is to tell the story of your family – whether that’s on location or in your home. I tell the story through detail shots, through moments captured, emotions and moods, through different perspectives and things that make you, YOU. Some of these images may not be ones you’d frame – and yet they tell the story of you and your family. Photo books allow them to be preserved and remain part of the story. Nothing makes me happier than when a client can have all of their images, and keep them in a photo book to look through in years to come.
  3. They look beautiful. The photo books I create have a linen cover – there are multiple colours to choose from to suit your session – and are customised with whichever title you choose. They look beautiful displayed on a shelf or in the nursery – which makes them easily accessible to look through compared to bulky albums.
  4. You’re more likely to look at a photo book. Images in frames may change; images on the computer may be forgotten; images in bulky albums may not be opened – but a beautiful photo book which is specific to one moment in time is much easier to keep on hand (think bookshelf, coffee table, nursery) and therefore much easier to always look through.
  5. They’re perfect gifts. If you’re looking for a special gift to give someone, the photo books are a perfect option. One client recently ordered an 11×11 for herself, and an 8×8 as a gift for her sister. Another bought some photo books of their family session for the Grandparents.
  6. You can choose which images you want in there. I create a photo book, and then share it with you online. Once you’re happy with it, I’ll order it. Delivery usually takes a few weeks.
  7. They just feel special. Including them in packages allows you to get something tangible and special from your session. It’s a beautiful way to remember the time which is obviously special to you – as you’ve gone to the effort of booking a photo session.
  8. Time passes so quickly. The big reason I love taking photos is because I want to freeze time along the way. It all passes so quickly. The newborn won’t be a newborn for long; your family won’t look the same in another year…or 5…or 10…; your pregnancy will be a memory in only a few short months; your birth can never be re-experienced. Photo books allow you to revisit that time by picking up your book, and soaking in those memories of a time since passed.

These are just some of the reasons I love photo books and have included them in one of my collections. I don’t want to just give you images that will get lost – I want to give you memories that will last. If you’d like more information on photo books, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.