Preparing for a Family Stories session at home
There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen couldn’t be more right. The place we call home is the place where our memories adorn every wall and shelf and space. It’s the place we feel most safe and loved. And it’s probably the only place we can really be ourselves and relax.
A Family Stories session should capture all that and so much more. By coming in to your home and spending time with you, watching how you are together as a family, seeing the photographs and memorabilia that represent your life and history, listening to the creaks and ticks of a well-loved home and doing my damnedest to capture all that on camera for you, I aim to give you those memories of the small things, the everyday things for you to treasure for a lifetime.
Preparing yourselves and your home for a session is really simple…
Time of day
Choose a time and day where everyone you want included in the photo shoot will be present. Set aside a good 4 hours of time – 3 hours for the shoot itself and a bit of time beforehand for me to come in, chat with you all and get to know you all. This is particularly important with children as they will need to be totally comfortable with me and my camera around, capturing them doing whatever it is they’re doing. Depending on the kind of session you want, this will also dictate what time you choose. Maybe you want me to come round early and photograph your family getting up and getting ready for the day ahead, enjoying breakfast together. Or maybe you’d rather I visit in the middle of the day, capturing a cake-making session in action, afternoon naps and quiet time on the sofa with a colouring book. Have a think about these things before deciding what time to book your session.
Things to do
Having things to do works great for two reasons. Firstly, it acts as a distraction method so that you’re not really paying attention to the camera in front of you. And secondly, it helps to create some really natural and beautiful shots instead of you looking awkward because of heavily staged and posed directions. It can be absolutely anything – taking the dog for a walk, cooking or baking, sitting curled up on the sofa with a favourite book and a giant mug of hot chocolate… the choice is yours. Have a few different activities planned to start off with. You’ll find you’ll start to relax as time goes on and eventually will hardly notice me clicking away!
By this I mean don’t feel you have to create the perfect environment for photographs or dress up in the fanciest clothes and have full on make-up and hair sessions before I arrive! I want you to feel comfortable and relaxed in your surroundings. By all means, ladies, if you want to put a bit of makeup on and run a comb through your hair, go for it. If it makes you feel better to put on a clean outfit, then sure, why not. And if you feel you want to run the hoover around and do a bit of tidying, that is entirely up to you. But if there’s a cup ring on a table, dust particles showing up when the sun shines through the window or your little one has a smudge of chocolate on their shirt, it really doesn’t matter. This is not supposed to be a perfectly styled photo shoot, it’s supposed to be you and your family in your home the way you are every day. It’s supposed to be me capturing the ordinary life of you and your family. Because they are the moments you’ll always look back on and remember in years to come.
Trust your photographer
We all have parts of our bodies we don’t like and insecurities about being in front of the camera. Here’s the crux of the matter… they are YOUR insecurities, no one else’s. You might hate your chin or your nose but I can bet your other half or kids don’t see what you see. Maybe you hate the way you smile with your eyes closed. Guess what? Everyone else thinks it’s seriously cute. When I capture your images, particularly as you get more comfortable and start to notice me less, there may be times I might catch something about you that you don’t necessarily like. In all honesty, I won’t see that because what I will see (and shoot) is the laughter, the fun and the love I see in front of me. If that means you’re pulling a slightly silly face at the time, then so be it. I’ll probably think it’s adorable and so will everyone else! Just trust that I will not make you look awful, that I won’t show anything that you might think is horrible or embarrassing. If you can trust that from the very beginning, you’ll look a thousand times better in your photos anyway! 🙂
If you have anything that really is off-limits and you don’t want photographed, then please do tell me beforehand so I can make sure to avoid it as much as I possibly can. The last thing I want to do is make you feel totally uneasy or unhappy – this is supposed to be fun and something that fills you with happiness! On the other side of the coin, I am always up for something a bit more daring too. If you want to breastfeed and have it captured on camera, for example, I will be more than happy to oblige. Just let me know what you are up for!