A stress free, sunset family portrait session

So you've seen all these dreamy family photoshoots on Instagram or Pinterest and decided you wanted to book one too...

But then you've gone to book and your photographer is suggesting or will only a do a time that is WAY past the kids bedtime.

And that sounds well, way too stressful right? Impossible even?

Now I'm not going to lie, there's often A LOT that goes on behind the scenes of a family session that you don't see on Instagram.

Including tantrums and kids that just want to do their own thing. And at the time, it definitely can feel chaotic.

If you've got toddlers (I have 2 of my own), you know what I mean... toddlers are essentially walking tornado's right.

So if you have young children, I won't ever promise you a perfect, smooth sailing experience.

Toddlers will be toddlers, and children will be children at the end of the day.

But I can promise you that if you follow the tips on this page, and TRUST me, that dreamy photoshoot you've been envisioning isn't impossible after all.

Tip #1

know that the TIME we book in for does make a very big difference.

I always book my sessions within the last hour of the day. And yes, this means that over summer, some sessions might be booked for 7:45pm. This is because here in New Zealand our light is very harsh and it's not until the sun drops very low in the sky that we'll get the soft golden light you see in all these images.

I know this can be daunting. Remember, I have two toddlers of my own! But honestly, from my experience, once your little ones are out amongst nature, with the wind in their hair and sand in their toes, they're usually very happy regardless of it being bedtime.

There is no amount of editing I can do to replicate this light. When the sun is higher, and harsher, you'll get lots of unflattering harsh shadows on faces and no golden glow. That's not to say your images won't still be beautiful and treasured, but to avoid the unflattering light, I'd usually recommend a different location than the beach so we can find some shade or some way of filtering the harsh light.

So if golden light is the vision you have and what you want, then you'll need to be prepared for a late one, especially over summer.

TIP #2

Be prepared to be flexible

Unfortunately, we can't control the weather and that golden light also requires sun. If you have a timeframe for your images e.g. Frames for Christmas gifts, or maternity, it's important to book your session well ahead of time so that you have room to reschedule for better weather. I am always happy to reschedule to another available date for better weather where possible. Do note however that not all photographers allow this due to their individual schedules or other commitments. So if golden light is a deal breaker to you - make sure to discuss it with your photographer before booking. As you can see here though, even without golden light, we can still make magic.

Tip #3

Be prepared

While there is so much magic to be captured in truly just letting go of perfection and going with the flow, there are definitely a few things I've noted below that you can prepare or think about ahead of time to make your session go as smoothly as possible.

  • If we're shooting in Raglan, there's usually a 45min drive from Hamilton. So remember your little one may get a little nap in the car that will help. Otherwise where possible, you can always try to encourage a nap earlier on in the day.
  • Prepare some snacks. But best used towards the end of a session or as a last resort. You also want snacks that won't get clothes messy and can easily be wiped from the face (e.g. I'd avoid chocolate).
  • Make sure the outfit you've chosen for your little ones is appropriate for the weather. Cold children will not be a fun time, and we can always remove layers once they're running around.
  • Consider making your photoshoot night a take out night or have some dinner ready in the car for afterwards depending on the timing of the shoot/sunset that day.
  • Have a towel or wipes and a change of clothes ready in the car. That way you can utilise the beach showers to get rid of sand and wipe your little one down after the session. Then you can get them changed before heading home. So if they fall asleep on the way home you can pop them straight to bed when you get back.
  • Use a backpack to bring essentials (wipes, water, snacks) with you to the photoshoot site. There may be a small walk to our location and a backpack will be easier to carry, especially if you have to carry little ones in your arms back to the car.

tip #4

Let kids be kids

I want you to LOVE your images, and for these images to bring back beautiful (and sometimes funny) memories when you look back on them in the years to come.

Expecting our children to listen perfectly for 40mins, sit still, follow all instructions and smile on demand is unrealistic. So if you're expecting that of them, you'll end up walking away from your session feeling stressed and disappointed, and your children may even feel stressed too!

With kids, you've got to make it fun. You've got to simply, let them be kids. My style is to actually encourage you to let go of perfection, and allow your children to play and explore the environment. I will occasionally attempt to grab their attention to get "the shot" instead of asking them to constantly look at the camera or co-operate.

Also, worst case scenario, we have a few tantrums. I deal with these on the daily with my own kiddies, so these are no big deal to me and will generally only be short lived anyway. So just relax, trust me, enjoy the experience and remember, It's my job to make sure I get the beautiful images! So just enjoy some fun with your family!

So as you can see, your dream family portrait session may be possible after all.

If you'd like to book in your own family portrait session, make sure to get in touch!