Day In The Life Of A London Baby And Family Photographer
BEFORE A FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION
Family portrait sessions tend to start at 10am. This is because children are often at their jolliest in the mornings, and the light is the most beautiful then too.
I take my daughter to school, and still have time to pack my camera bag and answer a few emails at home before setting off!
I choose comfortable, stretchy clothing so I can get into the strange positions often called for! Down low to photograph babies crawling, and almost always at eye level with babies and children.
I wear layers to cope with taking photographs both at families’ homes and outside in their garden or a park.
I choose shoes that I don’t mind getting muddy. Keeping up with scampering toddlers doesn’t often involve sticking to a path! I always take my shoes off when I arrive at a families home. Even if a family doesn’t have a no-shoes policy, shoes can be very restrictive with getting into the best position to photograph little ones.
Generally, I avoid car journeys where possible for environmental reasons. For a family portrait session, though, I have to admit that I usually drive. I worry about my camera case being snatched on the Tube. There are precious memories on those memory cards, and I need to keep them safe!
The Family’s Priorities
Before I arrive, I read through my notes again about the family’s priorities. Some families particularly want photographs of their baby or children, for example. Some want a mix of family shots and individual portraits.
Each family is different. There are often subtle differences in what each family is looking for from their portraits. Life’s busy for parents and it can be easy to run headlong into a portrait session. Taking time to think about what you actually want from the photographs is so important. That’s why I discuss the family portrait session with parents a week or so beforehand.
The pre-session consultation encourages parents to think about what they’d like from the photographs. That way, parents get the most out of their portrait session.
PHOTOGRAPHS AT HOME
Behind The Scenes On a Family Portrait Session
When I Arrive
I make a point of saying hello to each child, and making sure they know I’m interested in them.
It’s amazing how much difference a big smile and eye contact makes with winning over babies and children.
If children are shy, I’ll give them plenty of time to stay wrapped around a parent’s leg. As always, there’s no rush!
Asking shy children to help their parents show me round their home can be a good way of helping them relax.
Finding The Best Light
I’ll look around the family’s home with a parent, to see where will work best.
Usually, the rooms highest up are good options as they tend to be brightest, and whichever rooms catch the morning light.
Children’s bedrooms are often great spots to photograph children in. Little ones tend to feel most comfortable in their bedrooms, and find it exciting to show their favourite toys.
Sometimes parents worry that their home is too small or dark. Looking round together reassures parents that there’s always locations that will work well.
Photographing The Whole Family
I usually photograph the whole family together first, before babies and toddlers become camera aware.
With older children this isn’t such an issue, but I generally find that I get the most natural indoor group shots earlier on.
I don’t tend to take many photographs where the whole family is looking at the camera. Grandparents do tend to like those ones the best, though, so I’m more than happy to take them.
I’ll also look to get photographs where the family are laughing and giggling. This is often the moment for parents to give their children a good tickle, or to work through some silly noises!
Following Your Child’s Pace
The rest of the session is led by the children. Their favourite activities, for example, and whether they’re in a quiet or boisterous mood.
I gently keep things moving so that children don’t lose interest. I aim for children to feel they’re getting a lovely amount of attention rather than having to do anything special for a photograph.
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS OUTDOORS
When I’ve got beautiful photographs of each child, siblings together and parents involved too, we’ll head outdoors.
I love photographing families walking together. It makes for such emotive images seeing parents holding little hands.
With babies who are sitting, it can be lots of fun to have them up on a parent’s shoulders too, and being thrown (safely!) into the air as an aeroplane.
With toddlers, I love to capture their wobbly little steps and bandy legged walking.
With older children, running races and hiding behind trees can be great ways of relax and be themselves. There’s nothing more lovely than capturing delighted giggles!
I’m sensitive to your children’s moods and energy levels. Once they start to run out of steam, we’ll call it a day. Parents want photographs of children at their best, not getting frazzled!
If you’d like me to, I’ll stay to photograph the start of nap time. This can make for some wonderful photographs.
I’m also conscious of not leaving parents with over-tired children, just with fun memories of a special morning.
Back-Up And Admin
Back up after taking family photographs is essential.
As soon as I’m back at the office, I upload the photographs to my computer as well as an external hard drive. My entire computer also gets a complete back-up to the cloud every 24 hours.
My cameras also record photographs to two memory cards at a time. This means that there’s an immediate back-up as I’m shooting too.
After grabbing some lunch, I settle down to a few hours at the computer. The afternoon is spent
- Updating the website
- Editing photographs in Adobe Lightroom
- Answering emails
- Following up with new bookings
- Speaking with clients whose portrait sessions are coming up
- Processing print and album orders
- Packing up product orders.
Seeing the finished products in stunning albums is one of my favourite parts of the day. It’s wonderful thinking of families having these for years to come.
Three days a week, I’m home in time for school pickup. It’s lovely to spend several hours with my daughter, and enjoy some quality family time!
I love my job. It’s a total pleasure capturing special moments between families. It’s a privilege to give families portraits that they’ll treasure for generations to come.