5 ways to a great family photo-shoot | wollongong photographer

A family photo can be a great experience for everyone that results in fun memories and photos that become family heirlooms, or it can end in tears, yelling, frustrations and utter disappointment. Here are some things you can control and work towards having your family photos turn out the way you want.

1. Communication is key

This is by far the most important advice I can give to help you prepare for a family photo shoot. Chat with your photographer, complete the session questionnaire with as much information as possible. If you have any expectations for how you want the shoot to go or how you want the photos to look, then let your photographer know your expectations! A great photographer will take the time to get to know you, your family and find the spark that makes epic imagery.

2. Getting the family on board

There is always one person that drives the process of organising a family photoshoot, therefore it is important to have buy in from most of the family members attending the session, otherwise you will feel disappointed if when you see your images not everyone is engaged. Most families say they want nice photos, however if you dig deep and communicate your true desires for family photos you will have everyone onboard and engaged. For me the reason for family photos every year is that I want to document my family, the new connections that we make and most of all celebrate us as an awesome family unit. I love seeing photos of me with my boys and the way they look at me so lovingly and caring.

3. The transfer of trust

A great tip for children, is to use the photographers name a lot, start talking about the photo-shoot, the day, the time, the location, how much fun it’s going to be with the << insert photographers name”, will make the transition from meeting your photographer at the shoot to engagement so much faster.

I always say to my boys, wow I cannot wait for Jade to take us to the park and take photos of us, it is going to be so much fun. Then on the day of the shoot, I always make sure that my hubby and I give our photographer a big hug and use their name, even if I am meeting them for the first time. Giving my photographer, a huge hug is a process of transferring trust, when my boys see me trusting and befriending someone, it gives them permission to be relaxed, fun and engaged.

4. Dress to compliment not match

One of the most common questions I always get is, "What should we wear?" Well, like a lot of other questions, the answer is, "it depends." You have to think about the weather, the location, the overall feel of the photos, and of course making sure they all go together.

The location and the clothes should also match the overall theme or feel you want for the photos. Consideration on colour and style of the clothes themselves, this should reflect your personal style and your goals for the shoot, there are some basic guidelines that can be helpful. Solid colours always look better in a photo. I love a crazy pattern as much as anyone else, but when you hang your family portrait on the wall, do you want the centre of attention to someone's shirt or your family members? The best advice I can give you is choose a colour pallet, warm, cool or neutral and then from there complement each other without matching.

Above is me and my family, I picked my hubby's outfit first and then worked from there. Here is a an awesome Pinterest board on how to be complimenting without matching.

5. Forget, engage & see

This one is for the grownups of the family, it is a very simple one, hard to do, but very important.


  • About work

  • The pile of clothes that need folding

  • The fence that needs to be fix

  • The animals that need feeding and water

  • The stressed communication you had to get ready and out the door to be on time

  • The tiny tiff you had on the drive to your family session


  • With your children

  • With your partner

  • Enjoy the experience of having nothing else to do for 60-90 minutes but have fun with your loved ones, have a cuddle, grab a kiss that lasts more than a peck and embrace the awesomeness that is the uniqueness of your family. No other family is like yours.

  • And embrace the chaos

Stop and See, truly see

  • How much your children, adore each other and love their friendship

  • How much you are loved by your children

  • Your partner and how much they adore you

  • The joy that is your family

“You have nowhere else to be, nothing else to do, except be with your loving family, the world can wait one hour" _ Natalie Rachlewicz, Nina Photography

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