15 tips - How to prepare for your family photo shoot!

I thought it might be helpful to write a quick list of 15 tips to help you prepare for your family photo shoot!

I've been a Cardiff family photographer for 14 years and so I've met a lot of families, in all seasons, all weathers and loads of different locations all over South Wales. Every time I go on a shoot I learn something, either a tip for myself (there's no point in wearing wellies in the sea if they have holes in them) or for my clients.

family photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths Photography

Don't worry! Prepare for your family photo shoot.

1. You are beautiful. A lot of people have a little panic about their appearance once they have booked their shoot. They worry about hair, eyebrows, weight - all the usual stuff. But, let me tell you now - stop worrying about it. You are who you are and you are loved by your family. A stray hair or a couple of pounds on or off won't make any difference to your shoot. Take a long good look in the mirror. Say "I love you" to your reflection and move on. Sometimes parents will say they just want me to photograph their children and they don't know if they need or want to be in the pictures. I strongly recommend that you get in the frame. You are just as important as the rest of the family and you need to exist in photos too.

2. Enjoy. Think of the photo session as chilled out family walk in beautiful countryside. No phones, just nature in all her glory and a friendly photographer to keep you company. There's no pressure for anyone to perform or behave in a certain way. I have two children myself and have been in this business a long time. Your children won't do anything I haven't seen before!

3. Don't say cheese. It's very tempting to say to the kids 'Say Cheese!' or 'Smile nicely' or sometimes, say 'Smelly socks/sausages etc'. Saying those things to your children will result in a fake, stiff smile, sometimes with teeth gritted. My advice would be for you to have a think about what your child/ren might think is funny in advance of the shoot. Do you have a family joke, or something that you know will make them laugh - genuinely? I've never seen a comedy fall fail but that might not be the best option if you want to keep your outfit clean. The point is, the more relaxed you all are, the more relaxed you will look.  Feel free to mess around, pull faces, tell jokes etc. Everyone will look much more natural in the images as a result.

4. Don't look at me. One of the best ways of getting natural family pictures is for you to forget that I'm there. I don't need you to be standing stock still with a fixed grin every time I point the camera at you. I know it can feel a bit weird, trying to behave as you normally would when someone is taking a photo of you but honestly, it's the best way. I'll be directing you throughout the shoot, so don't worry about knowing what to do. I'll be shouting (only shouting because I might be far away), things like, 'look over there!', 'don't look at me!', 'look up!' etc.

 

family photo session at the beach

Be prepared

5. Outfits. What you wear for the shoot is super important for a number of reasons. Firstly and most importantly, you need to feel comfortable. I'm not talking about trakkie bottoms and pj top comfy, but you, on a good day, feeling happy with what you're wearing. Next, it's important to make sure that you all blend together. There's no need for matching outfits but try and choose colours that complement each other. Choose a colour palette of two or three colours if possible. Wearing patterns is fine - florals, stripes, spots, checks etc. It's best to avoid big logo's or pictures though. No one wants a massive Hollister or Adidas logo in middle of their image.

The right colours can depend on the location or season. Don't worry though, I'll send you a big Pinterest board full of outfits for some inspiration. Head over to my blog to see a family shoot with the perfect outfits!

6. Hair cut. If you're going to get your hair cut, do it a week or so before the session , just in case you need to get used to your new style!

7. Have a chat to the kids. If your kids are old enough to be blackmailed with chocolate buttons then they're old enough to have a chat with about the session. Explain that we're going for a nice walk and going to have some pictures taken. There's plenty of time during the session for kids to run around, pull faces, fall over, have a snack etc, so there's no need to put any pressure on them to 'behave'. The more relaxed and natural they are, the better. Everyone has different parenting styles, so I'm not going to give specific advice on how to talk to your own kids but remember that the most important thing is that they are happy and enjoy the experience.

8. Bring snacks. It's worth bringing along a treat that might be persuasive, just in case. Chocolate buttons work well, chewy sweets, not so much. Chewy snacks are difficult because they take a while to be eaten and sometimes get tucked away for later, leaving your child looking like a squirrel. Biscuits and crisps leave crumbs on the face. Marshmallows are sticky. Have I mentioned chocolate buttons? One of those, placed directly into the mouth, generally does the trick.

 

family photo shoot near cardiff

9. Speak to your partner. It's usually one person that books the shoot (well done Mums!), which means that sometimes the other partner (hello Dads!) doesn't know too much about the process. This can sometimes lead to 'Grumpy Dad' syndrome. So, to avoid this happening, it's worth having a chat to your partner about the shoot. Show them my website so they can see other family shoots. Talk about the cost of the session. Discuss what you might like to do with the images afterwards - wall art or family keepsake album etc. Get them involved in how to prepare for your family photo shoot. Try and engage them in the process so that it doesn't feel like a chore.

10. Timing. Think about when you'd like to book the shoot. Try not to book the session during or after an important event - family wedding, big night out, World Cup Final - to avoid upset and/or hangovers.  It's best if you're all perky and well rested.

11. Supplies. Apart from the aforementioned chocolate buttons, there's a few things that I'd recommend bringing to your shoot. Extra layers and a change of clothes are useful in case anyone falls over or gets chilly. If your shoot is at the beach, bring towels. Wipes (for little noses) and a hairbrush are also handy.

12. Your rug. I'll always ask you to bring your own rug or blanket to sit on. It's mainly to protect your clothes and make sure you don't get them wet or dirty. However, the rug/blanket will be in the pictures with you. If you have any gorgeous knitted, checked rugs or blankets from any National Trust shop then we're onto a winner. But, any plain, neutral coloured one will do. If you bring along a bright neon pink rug, then that's what we're going to be using. Choose carefully...

 

family photo shoot vale of glamorgan

It's all in the details

13. Phones. My advice would be to leave your phone in the car for a few reasons. Firstly, it can be a distraction during the session - the last thing you want to be doing is checking your email whilst we're out and about. Secondly, it can be tempting to take a few pictures yourself, whilst standing behind me, but this can be very distracting for the kids, who don't know who they should be looking at. Finally, if you have your phone in your pocket it can give you a big phone shaped bulge - which is never a good look.

14. Embrace the wildness. If you like perfect hair and creaseless clothes, then perhaps an outdoor photo shoot isn't for you. Outside, it can get windy and hair will fly all over the place. Personally, I love the windswept look, especially on the beach! There are ways to try and control fly-away hair with hair bands and clips etc but it's important to realise that you won't be getting perfect hair in every shot. For me, it's more important to try and capture your family love and interaction together and I don't mind if you have a few hairs flying around your face.

15. Clothing choices. Think very carefully about what you're going to wear, from your top down to your shoes. Try things on and look in the mirror before the shoot. Sometimes clients will be unhappy about their choices after the session and that will affect how they feel about the images. If you feel uncomfortable in an item of clothing - don't wear it.

So, there you have it. All the things you need to know to prepare for your family photo shoot! You family shoot will be full to brim with love, fun, jumping, twirling and squeezing. Relax in the knowledge that I've got your back. I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

Thanks for reading how to prepare for your family photo shoot. - if you have any questions, drop me a line to find out more.

See more of my recent work - follow me on Instagram!

Book your family photo shoot today!

Gemma Griffiths is an outdoor family photographer based near Cardiff in South Wales. She offers shoots in all over South Wales, including, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, RCT, Bridgend and Swansea.


Coronavirus Update

I've had lots of enquiries asking whether I'm still able to offer shoots during at this time, so I wanted to give you a quick Coronavirus update!

Are shoots still going ahead?

Firstly, yes, I am still offering shoots at the moment. The current Welsh Government guidelines mean that I can continue to offer shoots.  I'm also able to travel to different counties for work. I cover the whole of South Wales, including Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan, RCT, Bridgend and Swansea. I am based near Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan but if you live in a different county, I am able to travel to your county (not vice versa,). There are lots of fabulous locations everywhere, so don't worry about not being able to travel!

All my shoots take place outside, which means that we are much safer, out in the fresh air. Social distancing is also easier outdoors too. The lenses that I have are able to capture you from a distance, so there's no need for me to get close to you. Of course, I carry hand sanitiser with me and use it before, after and sometimes during a session.

Finally, I am offering password protected online galleries to clients as an option, instead of in person viewing sessions. This means that you can view your images from the comfort of your home.  I'm available to chat over the phone and help with any advice that you might need.

Latest work

In spite of this nightmare, I have actually been really busy since the Summer. Want to see what I've been up to since lockdown restrictions were eased earlier in the year?

To finish my Coronavirus update, here are some images from recent family shoots at Southerndown beach, Dunraven Gardens, Nash Lighthouse, Ogmore Castle and not forgetting front gardens!

Cardiff family photographercardiff family photoshootsouth wales photographer beach shoot

cardiff family photographer photo shootfamily photography cardiff

ballet shoot south wales

business headshot photo sessiongirl running in the sea

cardiff family photographer family shootgirl in the sea

silhouette photography

beach photo shoot south walescardiff family photographer

 

Follow me on Instagram to see lots more of my latest shoots!

Check out my newly updated family portfolio, children's portfolio and headshots and personal branding portfolio too!

 

Gemma Griffiths is a Cardiff family photographer, based in the Vale of Glamorgan. She offers outdoor family photo shoots across South Wales.


7 tips for taking the perfect beach silhouette

Silhouette images can really pack a punch! They can be very striking and have the 'wow' factor. But how do you take them?  Follow the tips below to take your own perfect beach silhouette images!

"A silhouette is an image of a person (animal or object) represented as a solid, usually black shape."

 

silhouette image of girl dancing with her dad.

 

All the images here, were taken either on the beach or on the cliff tops above the beach. The beach is a great location for silhouette photography because of the wide open sky and uncluttered background. Read on for tips on taking the perfect beach silhouette.

 

silhouette image of girl dancing on the beach at sunset

1. LIGHT SOURCE

The first and most important rule for shooting a silhouette is to have a strong source of light. To take a great silhouette, you'll need the light source BEHIND your subject. The most obvious choice is to use the sun, which is why you'll see most silhouette images being taken outside. You'll also need to be mindful of the position of the sun. Sunsets, therefore, are some of the best times to shoot a silhouette as the sun is LOW in the sky and easy to position behind your subject. It is harder to shoot a silhouette at midday because the sun is HIGH in the sky (unless you're planning on shooting upwards!). Of course, you can shoot a silhouette anywhere, at any time of day, as long as you have a strong light source behind your subject but if you want a quick and easy result then going to the beach at sunset is your best bet.

 

silhouette image of a family of 5 at sunset on the beach

 

2. BACKGROUND

You'll need to find a light, clear, uncluttered background for your image. This is necessary in order to be able to see the OUTLINE of your shape clearly. A large section of open sky is the easiest option and that is why shooting silhouettes at the beach is very popular.

 

silhouette image of a family of 3 at sunset on the beach

 

3. VISION AND DIRECTION

Think about the image that you'd like to create BEFORE the shoot. It's helpful to have a few different ideas to experiment with and see what works. I love to capture connection in my images and so always make sure that my subjects are interacting in some way. It adds to the emotional impact of the final image. It's very important to direct your subject and explain how you'd like them to stand or pose and what you'd like them to do.  You can ask them to look at each other, jump in the air or twirl around. Make sure that you can see their outline and that the aren't standing too close together. A hug, for example, could look like a big clump!

 

silhouette image of children jumping on a cliff top

 

4. WEATHER/TIDES

It may be obvious, but it's important to consider the weather and tides when planning a beach shoot. It's not ideal to be shooting in wet and miserable conditions, so make sure you check the forecast before leaving home. Equally, when planning a shoot at the beach, make sure that you've checked the tide tables to ensure that you have a safe environment to shoot in. You'll also need to think about protecting your gear at the beach from the salt water and sand.

 

silhouette image of a maternity shoot, couple kissing

 

5. CHANGE YOUR APERTURE

If you change your aperture settings then you can create different effects. The 'sunburst' in the image above is created using a small aperture (f16). It's fun to experiment with different aperture sizes to see the different looks you can create. Try a large aperture for a more blurry/hazy background.

 

silhouette image of a family of 4 at sunset on the beach

 

6. SHOOT LOW

I always shoot my silhouette images from a very low angle. I do this to make sure that I'm getting as much as I can of my subject in the frame. If you shoot from a higher angle, for example, you can often end up with legs and feet merging into the floor and losing definition.

 

silhouette image of a family of 4 at sunset on the beach

7. UNDEREXPOSE

Use your exposure compensation dial to underexpose your image. If you've no idea what I'm talking about then check your manual for instructions. It's a very simple, effective technique and it will make sure that your silhouette is dark. Experiment with how much you underexpose - take a few different shots with different settings and see which one works best for your situation.

 

silhouette image of a mum throwing her little girl in the air

So, there you have it. 7 tips for taking the perfect beach silhouette. If you have any questions, get in touch! 

If you're looking for further information and inspiration on beach photography, check out this great article on the Pixpa blog called 15 Tips For Taking Awesome Beach Photos.

You can see more of my beach work in my recent Mini Beach Shoot blog and more family work in my portfolios and on Instagram.


Cardiff Family Photography - Telling your story

As a Cardiff family photographer, I want to tell the story of your family.

A family is more than the sum of it's parts.  I don't just want to take a photo of you all together and then dust my hands off and go home. Oh no. I want to spend some time with you. Take a walk. Have a chat. I want to try and capture the unique bonds and relationships that make up your family. How do the kids interact? Are they adventurous or playful? Are they shy and thoughtful? Do they talk non-stop or take time to get to know people? How do you hold them and snuggle them? Do you play with them in the sea or give them shoulder rides? Each family is totally unique and that is why I like to spend time getting to know you and planning the perfect session.

"I want to try and capture the unique bonds and relationships that make up your family."

Before the session, we'll have a chat and decide on a location together. It might be the gorgeous Welsh coastline, or a park, or forest. Wherever you feel happy. Next, is planning outfits. I always suggest something comfortable and in keeping with the chosen location.

The shoot itself can take anywhere between 1-2 hours (sometimes longer!). I'm not in any hurry and there's no strict time limit. Usually little ones let you know when the have had enough! During the shoot, I'll aim to capture a mixture of posed and unposed images. It's great to a variety of images to choose from, including ones looking at the camera and a more documentary style.

"I want it to display the essence of your family love."

After the shoot, you'll come to my home office for a viewing session. You will see all your images in a slideshow. I create a nine image collage after every shoot, so that you can see your story, through my eyes. I try to include a real variety of images in the collage - I want it to display the essence of your family love. Seeing the images in the collage also really helps you to see what they will look like when they are displayed together at home. You can choose to order a collage print or a multi-aperture frame with a selection of your favourite images.

Have a look below and see a small selection of family stories from lots of different locations around South Wales. If you're looking for a Cardiff family photographer - then get in touch to find out more about booking your family photo shoot.

See more of my work on my blog and Instagram account. If you don't like having your photo taken then have a read of my article - featured in the latest edition of JUNO Magazine!

This little one was a pocket rocket. She thoroughly enjoyed her forest adventure and playing amongst the gorgeous Autumn leaves.

Cardiff family photography

This shoot took place on one of the hottest days last year. We were all roasting! The kids absolutely loved playing in the water at the end of the session. In fact, Mum and Dad couldn't get them to leave. I would have stayed there too if it wasn't for my two cameras and massive (unnecessary) coat.

Family photo shoot on Southerndown Beach.

Cardiff Family Photography

A walk in the forest at the end of Summer for this family maternity session. This little guy was making the most of having the full attention of both parents before little brother arrived on the scene.

maternity family shoot. Bryngarw Park

These two have a strong connection with the ocean and so a maternity beach shoot was the best choice for them. The sunset was a spectacular pink colour. It matched her dress perfectly! It's such a special time to spend as couple - waiting for the birth of your first child together.

maternity beach shoot south wales

This family looked awesome on their Autumn family shoot. They chose a blue and pink palette which worked really well with the green backgrounds. I love it when siblings are so close and love hugging each other and playing together.

cardiff family photography

Lots of adventure on this shoot! There was tree climbing, a walk along the cliffs and exploring the secret gardens too.

cardiff family photographer. photo shoot at Dunraven Gardens

Big brother was off to University and so it was time to get some family photos taken to remember him by! It was so much fun hanging out with this lot.

cardiff family photography

Love the shades of burgundy and navy in this shoot. Another fabulous sunset on my favourite beach! We had a gorgeous hazy pink sunset and the beach to ourselves, which meant lots of running and jumping around. Making the most of the wide open space.

Cardiff Family Photography

You can't tell from the pictures but this was a super gloomy day with plenty of rain. We managed to dodge the showers and play among the flowers before the rain set in. It was really lovely to have Grandparents and the pet dog on this shoot too!

cardiff family photography

Summer at the beach. There's no more perfect setting for a family shoot! This family love the beach and love exploring so I wanted to capture their adventurous spirit.

cardiff family photography

Sunset is the perfect time to take a silhouette picture! We had great fun playing in the waves at the end of this shoot. There was a gorgeous sunset too, which provided the stunning golden light.

cardiff family photography

Another shoot with the Grandparents and this time, they'd come all the way from Africa! The big sister and little brother relationship was soooo sweet too. They didn't stop smiling!

cardiff family photographer

This was a really special shoot with James and his family for the Wouldn't Change a Thing charity book (blog post coming soon!).

cardiff family photography

Who knew a beach shoot in April could be so much fun (and so wet!)? Three sisters with three totally different personalities. They all loved the water though!

cardiff family photographer

This shoot was a surprise for Dad's birthday. He loved his birthday canvas!

cardiff family photographer

Gemma Griffiths Photography. Cardiff family photography based in South Wales. Available for outdoor family photo shoots.

View family portfolio and pricing page for further information.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Maternity beach shoot near Cardiff

Maternity beach shoot near Cardiff

This maternity beach shoot near Cardiff, is one of my favourite shoots of 2019! I love maternity shoots and so I was super excited to have a client that wanted to meet on the beach at sunset. We're so lucky to have such a beautiful coast line so near to Cardiff.

She looked absolutely beautiful in her baby pink maternity dress, which perfectly matched the sky as the sun set. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect scenario. A walk on the cliff tops was followed by a small panic, (we thought the baby was going to make an early entrance!) but luckily all was well and we managed to get down to the beach just as the sky was washed in the most gorgeous pink hues.

A wonderful set of images for them to cherish and to show their son when he's older.

After each photo session, clients visit my home office to see their images in a slideshow. They also get to see a 9 image collage of images created especially for them. They can choose to order the 9 image collage as a print or in a multi-aperture frame. I really enjoy putting the images together to suggest how they might like to display their images at home. See more about my products on my products page.

I'm now offering limited edition beach mini sessions for 2020. You can book a shoot directly through the website, or drop me a line to find out more.

See more beach shoots on my Instagram account too!

Gem x

 

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