Planning a photo session with your family


Planning a photo session with your family

How can I get good photos of my family?

The first answer is to have a camera yourself, and use it well. Every day many millions of photos are taken of families, by members of families. I do it myself – in fact, that is where I learned the ropes of family photography.

If you would like to improve your own photos of family, you could book a photo session where the aim is for me to take some photos, but also to teach and guide you in your own family picture-taking.

From my daughter’s first unaided step in Dulwich Park to my granddaughters posing in Croatia

Baby photoshoot black and white

Photoshoots involving very young babies are best done:

  • Indoors – perhaps with a few outside if the weather is right, but mainly using the peace and soft lighting of the home.
  • Working with your baby’s natural rhythms – you know when liveliness or smiles are most likely, when sleep and quiet are more likely, and when we are almost bound to have a cry.
  • Fairly quickly – it is unlikely that a two hour session will yield a great deal more than one.
  • Remember that pictures of sleeping babies are also cute!

Toddlers are best photographed “at work”. In other words, they play, in all the seriousness of that word, and the photographer gets down and enters their world.

This kind of session can happen in the home or garden, or in a larger area where play with bigger toys is part of your child’s routine. Play stations where the child is fairly stationary but active – water, plasticine or sand play, for instance – can give some great images.

Playing on tricycles and in push-along cars etc is also great, but the yield of usable photos can be more hit and miss.

toddler photo session

Older children, through to teens, may really enjoy a trip to a park or regular play area. Taking things slowly is helpful, especially if some of the children are nervous of the shoot, or overly self-conscious.

Sometimes, involving the children in taking some of the photos can be helpful.

In the shot here, four cousins, two late teens and two pre-teens, met up in a park and climbed and posed on tree stumps.

If computer games beat the park for your brood, remember that some great concentration shots can come out of screen time.

Older teens and family groups can enjoy photo sessions at home, but going out to favourite places, parks or restaurants is often the best way. Planning a programme of activity – food – walk all accompanied by a photography can be a fun half day on a Saturday, and can produce a wealth of great images.

Pre-university is often a time when families think about this type of shoot. the age of doing stuff together as a family may be coming to an end, and a record of “what we looked like” can be a very precious thing. Prints are sent to grandparents, a book is produced… use your imagination.

If going out for food is part of the plan, try to pick a place where the lighting is good – either with big windows on all sides or even skylights. Terrace cafes can be great, providing we aren’t in the glare of full sun.



Based in London, but frequently found in Surrey and Sussex and the Home Counties in general, I am a freelance wedding, family and commercial photographer committed to delivering quality photographs at an affordable price.