5 tips to get truly natural and authentic family photos

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At some point or another we are all victims to this age of Envy.

We scroll through literally hundreds of photos of gorgeous curated family shots in perfectly designed houses with impeccably styled children. Meanwhile your kid is wearing his underwear on his head and you have jam in your hair from breakfast. (well thats me most mornings)

You have a photo session booked and you wonder how on earth you are ever going to look as happy as the people you see in these very well thought out photos.

I started my career over 10 years ago, working for another company shooting in a studio where clients where groomed and edited within a inch of their thickly painted faces. It was just not my scene- I was craving connection, life and soul in my images. From this place it prompted me to start my own business. These days, if you love my portfolio and book a session with me- your heart is likely in the same place. Shoots with me are based on real life and the real personalities that make up your world. It feels authentic, tangible and genuine, just like you and your family.

So before you start searching pinterest or Instagram for inspo images, turn your attention back to this article, and ill give you the goods on how to be natural and feel amazing at your session.

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1.    Let it go…

Whatever images you have envisioned or pinned, stop and let them go.

I know that’s a lot easier said than done. You've more than likely stalked the featured galleries and Instagram posts of your favorite photographer and thought "I want our family pictures to look like that!” But I can promise that the families photographs that you're envying ... where most likely not planned or on the contrary- over planned and fake. During a session (particularly with kids) what will be, will be. You can’t control it, and if you try- you’re the one likely to ruin photos, not the kids! Life unravels the way it wants to, and that's the absolute beauty of it. A photographer’s job is to capture your family’s truth, not recreate someone’s insta post. No matter what happens during your session, the photos will be breathtaking, unique and full of life- just like your peoples. 

Rather than envisioning what you want the photos to look like, think about how you when you look at your family or loved one. What can you tell your photographer about your family to help them capture what you’re all about?

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2.    Choose a place you feel at home 

When picking out locations for photo sessions, I always tell my clients, “You can never go wrong with home.” That being said, the photo-shoot location could be your actual home- or somewhere you feel at home, there are no hard and fast rules.  “Home” could be a place personally significant to you like a nearby beach where you got engaged or a field where your kids play. Again, think about something unique to your family. Wherever the shoot takes place, it is highly important your location choice makes you feel comfortable and engaged with your surroundings.

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3.    Wear who you are 

Wondering what to wear is a common worry among my clients. We are so swamped with beautiful imagery on social media- some posts are inspiring, some just make us confused about how we like to dress and what is comfortable to you.

My advice? Wear who you are. In other words, wear clothes that you feel good and relaxed in- Pick something that looks like YOU. There are no rules about colours or styles of clothing- Are you a bold, loud and boisterous family? Wear designs that showcase that. Are you laid back, boho and a bit mellow? Neutrals and soft patterns might be more your style. There is no wrong answer. Just be yourself. But try and pick something that reflect your style and taste

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4. Focus on the moment, not on the lens. 

You can be the most natural and laid back person in real life, but still, when the camera comes out you suddenly suck your gut in and feel overly self-conscious?

Here’s the big secret: focus on the moment. Focus on sharing this once in a lifetime experience with your loved ones. If you are holding your baby, hold them as if you were alone and no one was there. If you are walking with your partner at your favorite beach hand in hand, walk as if this was one of your many conversations you have everyday. If your kids are mucking up- don’t stress, just play with them, be silly! Reminisce, be playful or just peaceful and enjoy a quiet moment together. Whatever your feeling will come through in the images, so rather than worrying about what you look like, be present with your people.

Focus on the moment. Focus on the now.

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5.    Be yourself 

Still feeling self-conscious? Trust your photographer has your back. We know the flattering angles and the perfect lighting- it’s all good, you will look fabulous.

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your family. You want images that you will truly treasure, and memories that you will cherish.  Be yourself even it means laughing out loud, crinkles and all. Be yourself even it means exposing your stretch marks or scars. Be yourself and smother your big and little loves with all the affection you have for them.

It’s by being real and true to yourself that we can create images that will last a lifetime.


Interested in a lifestyle session? Find out more information HERE