Lifestyle photography has nothing in common with the old posed sessions in studios that you might have had before. You’ve chosen a lifestyle session (I hope!) because you want me to capture your life, as it is today, in all of its beauty, not with cheesy backgrounds and fake smiles (or fake backgrounds and cheesy smiles!)I’ve put together this guide to explain how your session will work, and to answer some of the questions that I get asked most often. If you have any other questions once you’ve read through, don’t hesitate to drop me a line to ask.
On the day of the session, how does it work?
If the session is in your home (which I LOVE), I’m going to show up with my bag of tricks, and go straight for your children….they’re the ones I need to get on side after-all! I’ll also use this time to explore your home, so that I can find the best light and backgrounds. We’ll then spend an hour to an hour and a half just having fun and relaxing, whilst I capture memories for you. There is no pressure, and nothing forced. I do ‘direct’ you, in that I’ll place you in great light, and maybe ask you to look at certain people, and I’ll even use a few games and tricks to get you relaxed and capture the real ‘you’. I always try to get one shot of everyone smiling at the camera (what I call the grandma shot), but other than that, this session is about your family, and I’ll barely have any others with you all looking at the camera.
If your session is outdoors, I’ll turn up wearing likely ridiculous, but comfortable clothes, that I’m happy to lie on the floor in. Again, I’ll spend some time building a bit of a rapport with your children, and then we’ll just take a walk around the area, with me stopping you every now and again to capture moments in particularly pretty light, Again, I’ll direct you, to get the most flattering angles and capture real moments at the same time.
What happens if my child/pet dog/pet rabbit/husband doesn’t behave/has a tantrum?
These things happen. Show me a toddler that can make it through a two hour photo session without a melt-down, or a newborn baby that doesn’t wake up crying several times, and I’ll eat my hat! Your job is not to worry about this. Your job is to look calm, serene, and keep smiling throughout. My job is to capture the beauty within the chaos. To capture the real moments, in a an authentic yet beautiful way. Beyond that, I have several tricks up my sleeves that I use with toddlers (and adults sometimes too), to keep the peace, and keep everyone happy and looking like they love one another!
I hate myself in pictures, can you just focus on the children, and I’ll hide out of the way?
Ohhhh...If I could tell you the number of mums who've said this to me! And my answer is always this: One…my job is to find the light and angles to make you look your very best. Two…you may not love photographs of you now, but believe me, when you look back at those pictures in a few months/years/decades time, I guarantee you won’t see those extra few pounds that you want to lose, or some lines you don’t love, you’ll see a smiling happy mama, in love with her children and life. Who doesn’t want that? And if you don’t do it for you, do it for your children…one day they’re going to want pictures of you.
What should we wear?
The question I get asked the most! So much so, that I’ve made a whole page dedicated to this. Check it out here.
I highly recommend a white, freshly ironed sheet/duvet cover on your bed. Not only does it look simple, clean and timeless, but it reflects the light up on to your faces which always looks lovely. If you don’t have that, something simple and classic will be fine.The same applies if you're hoping to have pictures of the baby in the cot. Simple patterns are ok, but animal patterns, pictures, logos etc on the bedding are all going to distract from the baby. If you don’t have white sheets, even a duvet with the cover off can work well.
For newborn shoots try to keep the baby's clothes simple (again no logos, big pictures etc) - you can even just have them swaddled in your favourite swaddle blanket or even a pretty scarf if you prefer (I think that always looks simple and classic)...generally actual 'outfits' look a bit too much on teeny tiny newborns, and take away from their new-baby-ness...so either a swaddle or a simple/beautiful baby-grow looks stylish and timeless.
Ideally we want baby to be calm and sleepy for the shoot (don’t worry, I allow plenty of time for ‘breaks’ when they’re not so…sleepy), so it’s a good idea to try and keep them awake for a bit before the session, and then give them a good feed (ideally in the outfit that you want them to wear, so that you don’t have to change them and risk them waking up if they fall asleep!) just before I am due to arrive. Don’t stress though, nearly all newborn sessions involve a bit of crying and a few breaks for feeding!
I work entirely with natural light so it's a good idea to make sure that you're able to find a way to pull your curtains right back, especially in your bedrooms - even if it's just a bit of string or sticky tape to help keep them out of the way... Don't worry about this too much as I can help when I get there, but it's worth bearing in mind.
That's it...if you have any other questions, do feel free to ask, otherwise I can't wait to see you at your session, and capture you and your family in all of your beauty.
The main thing to keep in mind is that this is supposed to be a fun experience. Don't worry, don't over tidy, and don't, whatever you do, stay up the night before worrying about it! I promise you, whatever happens, the whole experience is going to be great - I highly recommend putting on some of your family's favourite tunes just before I arrive - it relaxes everyone and really helps get the family enjoying themselves. Can't wait to meet you all!
PS if you're not already familiar with my work please do make sure you head over to my portfolio page to check out my style before you book to get an idea of the type of images you'll be receiving from me.