Booking a professional photoshoot can be a little bit daunting, especially if it’s your first time.

I’m guessing by now you’ve done some research and found the style of photography that speaks to your heart and you are looking forward to being able to display your very own images in your home. At this very early stage the big question on people’s minds is often “how can I make sure I do this right?”. “How can I make sure the images are everything I long for?”.

Well, this is very much down to choosing the right photographer but there are also some things that you can start thinking about right now, to ensure you have the perfect photoshoot experience. I’ve been a professional family photographer for almost 15 years and have photographed hundreds of families along the way.

Let me talk you through some of the most important aspects to consider when planning the perfect photoshoot.

first steps

By now you should have a really good idea of the style of photography that you love. If you are still unsure … STOP right there.

Knowing what results you want from your very own photoshoot is the very first step. There are so many photographers on the market, all with very different styles and at this stage you need to really narrow down what style matches your own.

If you haven’t done so already, start doing a bit of research. Have a look at sites like Pinterest and identify the images that really speak to your heart.

Do you want traditional posed images with everyone looking at the camera? Would you rather have something more relaxed and emotive? Look at the way photographers use light – is that important to you in your images? Do you prefer photographs in nature or studio shots?

Once you’ve nailed down your style it’s time to find a photographer that speaks your language. Call them. Have a chat and see if they are the ‘right fit’ for you and your family.

the perfect location

You’re still here, great! Hopefully that means that you like my style and you love on location family photography *does a little dance.

I love on location sessions. It really allows families to relax, children can run wild in the open spaces and I find that it really encourages natural expressions and emotions. With so many stunning backdrops right on our doorstep, it can be challenging to decide what sort of location would suit you and your family. Think about what you love to do as a family. What’s your ideal day out? Do you have a location that really means something to you? Do you love a walk in the woods or prefer a ramble on the beach? Where do your children feel most at ease?

You might have some ideas or you might not really mind – you just want something beautiful. Either way that’s totally fine. I have lots of experience sourcing beautiful locations for my clients and have a list as long as my arm of stunning spots. I’m more than happy to advise you and find you the ideal location for your shoot.

The location can play a large role in the overall mood or emotion of your session. But, it doesn’t always have to be spectacular and jaw dropping. After all you are the stars of the show! Arguably there is another factor that is much more important and I’ll talk to you about that next…

it’s all about the light!

Photography is all about light and choosing the right light (or time of the day) for your photoshoot can dramatically affect the look, feel and mood of your finished images.

Take a look back at your Pinterest board of the images that speak to your heart. Look at the light. Do they look warm and atmospheric? Is there a beautiful glow of lighting the image from behind the family? Beautiful isn’t it? This is a result of shooting a photo session in what is known as ‘the golden hour’ and it’s my favourite time to shoot any session. Why? The golden hour happens at the very end of the day, typically 2 hours before sunset. At this time the sun sits much lower in the sky and takes on a beautiful warmth. Not only is this light more comfortable for little eyes, it is more flattering and a whole heap more atmospheric.

The time of golden hour changes throughout the year based on the time of sunset. Typically in the summer I will only shoot from about 6-7pm through to sunset to make sure I get the best possible light for your shoot. I appreciate that this isn’t always ideal for little ones but it is really worth engineering a cheeky late nap to take advantage of a shoot at this time of day. I have photographed countless pre-schoolers at 8pm in the summer months and very rarely have an issue. They are more often totally distracted by the adventure they are having! If you really feel that your children won’t be at their best at this time, consider planning your shoot for Spring or Autumn when the sun sets much earlier in the day.

style it up!

Clothing is inevitably an important element to any photoshoot. The clothing you choose can really change the feel of your finished portraits.

It’s a pretty big subject and can strike the fear into any parent planning a photoshoot but it doesn’t need to be difficult. The main point to remember is that you are comfortable, that you feel fantastic, your outfits works with the natural backdrop and you’re not all matching!

I have put together a really helpful guide for all of my clients which walks you through how to style your family step by step. If you’d like a copy then just click here and I’ll send you over a copy.

let me guide you

I’ve been a family photographer for almost 15 years but my key priorities always remain the same. Obviously to create beautiful images but also to ensure that you have a relaxing and enjoyable photo shoot experience. For me it’s almost as important as the images themselves. If you look back on your photoshoot with fondness then you’ll view your images the same way! It’s my job to guide you through your session from start to finish.

Communication is key and I’ll always find out everything I can about your family before the shoot even takes place. Your likes, loves and personalities. This is important to me. I’ll also offer my guidance in regards to what to expect and the things you can do to make sure your session goes with ease. I know that a photoshoot (especially if it’s your first experience) can be daunting and even a little stressful. I call it THE FEAR. The worry that you have invested both time and money in this experience and the concern that it won’t go quite as you expected. I totally get that – we’re dealing with children at the end of the day and they are nothing but unpredictable! I’m a mum too!

Rest assured that I have done this many times and have seen every possible scenario but I have the patience of a saint and have a deep passion for what I do. I know how to engineer the perfection in the (sometimes) chaos. It’s taken years to master! My tried and trusted hints & tips will help you on the road to know what to expect and have a relaxing, stress free and enjoyable experience.

the next steps

If (and I have my fingers and toes crossed) you think I might be the right photographer for you then I’d love to have a chat further. During our initial call I can find out a bit more about the types of images you love, your visions for the perfect shoot and we can see if we’re a good fit. There is no pressure. I’m not into pushy sales , that’s why my clients return year on year, The whole process has got to be 100% right for you. If you are happy and want to bite the bullet then we’ll get you all booked in. If you need more time to have a think then that’s fine too.

If you’d like to chat bout your prefect photoshoot or simply want some advice then please get in touch. Either click here to arrange a call back or drop me an email.

a bit about me

I’m Sarah and I am a specialist children’s portrait photographer living and working in Wales.

I’ve photographed countless children since I started on this journey and I’m proud to have watched many families grow over the years. I’ve taught workshops, photographed around the world, had a few magazine covers and even photographed the odd celeb. I’ve also been covered in mud, cow and baby poo, fallen into the sea, rivers and on my face countless times – all in the quest for the perfect shot. It’s not all rock and roll you know!

For me photography is about CAPTURING TIME. We get about 3650 days of childhood. That’s what we get and it flies by (trust me my eldest recently turned 20 and I had a little weep!). 3650 days of believing in magic, leaving a mince pie out for Santa, believing in fairies and dragons, playing make believe & dressing up. Children grow. They change. However much we fight it, it’s going to happen. It’s my job to record these special moments and little personalities for you with beautiful photography. Images you love so much that that you hang on the wall with pride.

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