How to Create Natural Family Photography by Embracing the Essex Countryside
Today, we explore how shooting outdoor family photography in the beautiful Essex countryside can achieve the natural shots you’ve been searching for.
As someone who has been involved in family photography for many years, I know the importance of my work in making memories for my lovely Essex couples. Be that the first few shots of their newborn, wedding or engagement celebrations. Each of these big stages in life are vitally important to cherish, and to look back on with fondness. And that is why our job, as a lifestyle photographer, is so pivotal in the business of creating keepsakes for our couples.
Shooting the perfect family photography session is, however, no mean feat, and I often have to get creative with my Essex couples in order to create the memento they deserve. Because, as the adage goes, ‘never work with children or animals’! And kids, in particular, can be very unpredictable, often inattentive and sometimes just plain shy when put in front of a camera. So, they can be a challenge, especially when paired with a couple, or extended family who probably haven’t taken part in any professional modelling before.
The key to ensuring that these family portraits are a success, is to make it a fun and rewarding experience for the kids. And for me, that means getting out of the studio, and into the great outdoors. Because as soon as you give children some distractions, or mini-adventures, they’re suddenly not bothered by the strange lady pointing a camera at them! And once the kids are happy, and relaxed, the family usually follow suit, bringing a homely, comfortable vibe to the photoshoot.
Whether you’re new to the business of making memories, or you’re an Essex family looking for tips on how to create a successful photography session. Read on, and I’ll share my tips on how to achieve that perfect, natural family portrait, almost every time!
How to Create a Natural Family Photography
Engage with the Family Before the Session
Making sure my Essex families feel comfortable while being photographed, has always been key to a producing a creative family photography session. And the art to doing this is to start the relationship well before you even pick up the camera. In fact, picking up the phone, or jumping on a Zoom call before the shoot, is one of the best ways to make a session flow and really helps you in making some memories for your clients. Take time, chat and engage with the family. Learn how they like to spend their time, what their children are into, and create a picture of them all as a whole. Putting together this info will guide your preparations for the shoot, and help you create a scene that genuinely means something to the family. And subsequently relaxes them on camera.
Take Away the Stage, and Bring on the Adventure
As any photographer will tell you, location is key. And in particular, when shooting family photography, I’ve found my Essex couples respond dramatically differently depending on their environment. Often when placed in a cold, featureless studio, parents, and children tend to clam up. They become rigid in an environment that is alien to them, and devoid of anything meaningful to interact with. And this is why I always try to shoot families at home, in a space they’re familiar with and preferably, outdoors. Because when out in the fresh air, my clients are free to roam, to explore and act naturally in an environment that encourages adventure. And in the main, this applies to children too, who often become enchanted by this strange, yet wonderful world all around them — and just want to discover everything! In turn, this creates honest, natural and fun reactions from the whole family.
Distract the Kids, and You’ll Relax the Parents
9/10 times when parents meet you for their photography session, they’re not overly concerned with their performance in front of the camera. They’re anxious about how their children will react. And this overt concern can often affect the parents’ ability to relax on camera, and create the natural shots you’re trying to create. Therefore, it’s key that you entertain, and distract the kids as soon as possible. And having props, or pre-prepared sets on location, is often a great way of doing this. Objects and tactile environments, that promote exploration, free from constraint, will help to instantly calm a child, and distract from this unusual event. This could be musical instruments, balloons, fun outfits, or even whole sets — like the lemonade stand featured in this post. Getting little Louie to start interacting, and playing with that set from minute one meant that he was totally involved with the job in hand. He was having fun and behaving completely naturally, which in turn relaxed his sweet Essex parents and helped them in making pure memories on their family photography session.
Take Your Time While Making Memories
If you’re an Essex photographer who hasn’t shot family photography before, it’s understandable that you could underestimate the time it takes to achieve results. But it’s important to understand that you’re shooting real people, with busy lives, and occasionally that can mean families are late, or that a shoot overruns. But if you’re serious about making memories for your clients, then you need to roll with these punches, and give families the time they need to feel comfortable on camera. Because, due to the hectic lifestyles that we all lead these days, it can take a while for people to decompress. To shed the weight of the day just gone, and enjoy the moment. And that is why I always allow extra time for family photography. Making the effort to press pause on the busy lives of my clients, and create real, genuine moments that matter to them, is endlessly important to me.
If you’re looking to book a family photography session in Essex, it would be a pleasure to create your photo album for you. All of my photoshoots are fun, lively events that can take place wherever you feel most comfortable. Be that in your home, out in the countryside or by the sea. Of course, if you’d like a more formal setting, my professional studio just outside Colchester is also available, where there is an extensive range of backdrops and props available for your use. If you’d like to see a selection of my past work, please visit my family photography page. And if you’d like to get in touch to book or ask me anything, please use the contact page.