FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should the shoot be inside or outside?
For children up to about 18-24 months old I recommend photographing inside – the light’s more controllable and they don’t need to be bundled up outdoors clothes. Once they’re properly on the move (and certainly over about 3 years old) then outside is often nicer – the backgrounds can be better and there’s more room for them to run and play (see this outdoor shoot example). However, if you’ve got a lovely house, inside can work well too with older children, like this indoor shoot example.
Eek, you’re coming to do a shoot at my home – how should I prepare?!
Window light is beautiful for photographs (light’s more important than background). I tend to base baby shoots in the lightest bedroom in the house (loft conversions are often great), and for older kids playing near a window/french doors can be lovely. I’ll advise on the best spot when I get there (but call if you’d like to talk through in advance). Please tidy up a bit if you can. I tend to focus close up on the kids’ lovely smiles and the background will be blurred so the place doesn’t have to be pristine, but it’s MUCH better if a bit of clutter is cleared away. For baby shoots it’s worth putting on a plain duvet cover, removing dressing gowns from the back of your bedroom door, tucking away the alarm clock etc…although we can quickly do this together when I’m there if we need. I’m pretty slovenly at home so I promise I won’t be surprised if the house is a mess!
What should I bring for the shoot?
Spare clothes (for babies), snacks/bribes (!) and a few toys if you think they’ll elicit smiles. I don’t tend to work with a lot of props but if you’ve got favourite hats/blankets/teddies/booties etc do bring them along and we can see if we can incorporate them.
What happens if my baby/children don’t behave?
Parents often worry about the little ones playing up and the shoot being a disaster, but I’ve photographed over 100 sessions and we’ve always got some lovely shots. I expect half the time to be feeding/bribing/jiggling but that’s fine – we don’t need a huge amount of time to make lovely images. My biggest advice is to avoid asking children to smile at the camera, and threats to behave themselves – have fun and be silly with the kids, and work with me to get natural smiles! Distracting them with tickles or funny games tends to work better then telling them off….and certainly it’s worth relaxing any normal rules you’ve got (apart from don’t hit the photographer!) for the hour of the shoot. I’ve got two unruly little boys myself so I won’t be judging parenting skills!
Do you have a studio?
Nope – my style suits natural surroundings (plus in my experience, children don’t love sitting in front of a white background for an hour!), so I do most of my shoots at my clients’ homes (within about 45 mins of my home in Englefield Green, Surrey). This works well because, as well as being convenient for you (apart from the tidying!) it’s a nice familiar environment for the children, plus the background is meaningful to you. Alternatively we can go to a common or park (see question ‘Inside or outside’ for more info on that issue!).
Help – what should we wear?!
A few tips…
- The most important thing is for the children to be happy and comfortable – however beautiful an outfit is, if it’s uncomfortable it’ll make the child grumpy, and we want to avoid that where possible!
- Choose a colour palette (or a favourite piece) and arrange coordinating outfits (not too ‘matchy matchy’). For example everyone wearing soft blues and pinks looks lovely, or this family used blues with a splash of yellow and looked fab.
- I generally encourage mums to cover their upper arms as too much skin can be distracting, but wear what you feel best in.
- The photographs will be on your walls for years to come so go classic and avoid cartoon characters/big logos or text.
Textures, patterns and layers photograph well (as long as they co-ordinate with each other) and have fun with accessories if you want!
How does a session work?
My sessions are really relaxed and my clients generally find them surprisingly fun! I normally start photographing the little ones by themselves and then get the parents involved. I capture you all interacting, and having fun. Having the children there is a great distraction so even parents who don’t love being photographed tend to find the process painless!