I’ve just photographed a family (The Milewski family) who really took on board all the pre shoot tips and it was an absolute belter. To give a bit of context the family are American, have three kids (Jack 8 yrs, Will 6yrs and Kate 2.5 yrs) and moved from New York to Sussex for a few years. They really wanted the images to reflect their time in England so that in years to come they can look back and enjoy their memories in a very real, evocative way. As well as wanting their images to capture their Sussex life for future memory indulgences they also wanted some beautiful portraits of the kids to frame and hang on the wall.
My advise to them was to pick a location which holds lots of memories for them. That location would count for half the shoot and then the second half would be spent at home doing something they’d typically do on a weekend. In their case it was making pizza from scratch as a family. I also spent time discussing what the kids were into so that we could focus a bit on that too, in the case of the boys it was fossils, which was really visual and fun as they had pretty large collections.
I’ve been photographing families for ten years now and after the Milewski shoot I came up with the ultimate recipe for a family photoshoot:
The Bubble&Bean recipe for a successful family photoshoot:
Limitless BRIBES of both the sugary and toy variety (I joke not), making the experience special with lots of fun incentives and treats. I have a box full of bubbles, sweeties and confetti cannons which always creates a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.
An outdoor LOCATION which is both visually interesting and is somewhere that you regularly spend time.
Decent LIGHT can really elevate a family photoshoot. The best kind of light for us photographers to be able to shoot all day is a nice diffuse light created by clouds.
Making the photoshoot a really FUN experience for the kids, something that they’ll really engage with, whether it’s playing games, cooking or just hanging out at their favourite place.
So at the end of the day if you plan lots of fun stuff that you know your kids will love and the locations carry meaning then it’s 100% down to me to engage with the kids (and get the images). Once the kids are in the zone you parents completely relax and the shoot just flies by.
So here are the Milewski’s images, it’s a really good shoot to illustrate what can be achieved in a few short hours.