If you’ve never had a professional family photo shoot before, a mini session can be a great taster for what to expect. They are also perfect for quickly updating the family album or capturing some portraits to gift at Christmas time. 
Here are 5 tips on how best to prepare for your autumn mini session:
Themed Mini Sessions are released at selected dates throughout the year, sign up now so you get to know dates first!

1. What to wear for your mini session

Don’t stress over outfits and don’t go buying a whole new wardrobe! Keep your choices authentic to you and be comfortable. Dress for the weather! If it’s cold and crisp, wrap up in woollies, warm coats and scarves. Layer up so if you want to remove coats for some photos, you don’t freeze doing so. 
One rule of thumb is to coordinate but don’t match. Choose one persons outfit, usually Mums, then choose everyone else’s to coordinate with that. For autumn, keep colours neutral and in keeping – beiges, stoney creams, rusty oranges and reds, khaki greens etc. Try to wear solid colours rather than florals or patterns. Solid colours don’t steal the show whereas heavily patterned designs can attract the eyes straight to them. Don’t fight with strong willed youngsters though, forcing a child to wear something they really object to will not result in happy photos! 
A few other tips: 
  • avoid neon or bright colours that will cast a colour onto skin, this includes the inside of coats too. 
  • Avoid large logos, character tees, jumpers or coats. They just don’t look good in photos! 
  • Check clothes fit well and are free from holes, stains and aren’t thread bare! 
  • Accessorise with hats and scarves if you wish. 
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the weather and location.  

2. Get an early night

You’ll enjoy your session the most if you’re well rested so try to get a decent nights sleep the couple of nights leading up to your session date. Easier said than done I know but it’s worth it, especially for the kids. 

3. Eat beforehand

Hungry people are not happy people! Obvious I know but just a gentle reminder to eat before your session, even a light bite will keep the hunger monsters at bay! These sessions are only 20-30 minutes so a bite to eat beforehand should keep them happy during the session. Feel free to bring a sweet treat that can be used towards the end of the session if needs be! Yes, I’m talking about bribes, no shame there!!

4. Arrive early

I can’t stress this enough. Please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes before your session time. This gives you time to park if it’s busy and calmly collect yourselves on your short walk to the meeting place. Mini sessions are scheduled almost back to back with a short amount of time between session times so if you’re 10 minutes late, that’s 10 minutes off your session length and less time to capture a variety of photos for you. It has to be that way to be fair to clients booked in after you. 

5. Come prepared & have a gameplan

Feel free to let little ones bring a favourite teddy or toy (that you don’t mind being in the photos!). It often takes little ones a few moments to warm to a new person with a camera so a comforter may help. These first moments are the perfect time for me to capture ‘head over the shoulder’ type shots and snuggles if you’re carrying them. If they’re walking but shy, using your legs to play peekaboo can create lovely, candid photos too.
For older children, try to gently discourage bringing toys, instead let them pick up a stick and use their imaginations with it. 
Whilst I have game ideas and talking points to encourage interaction and relax kids, you know your kids better than me so it’s helpful if you have a few ideas ready on the day to get your kids to relax. Don’t stress and don’t worry about grumpy tweens, I’ve worked with them before! Feel free to bring a blanket to sit on if you wish, it can also be used to play with! 
Last tip….
Just remember to relax and have fun! Try to think of the session as half an hour of uninterrupted family time to snuggle, play, dance, chase, chat, tickle and be silly rather than a stiff, posed photoshoot. We will do a few posed family portraits, usually walking and standing (stay close together and touch!) as we walk through the trees from the pool to the river where candid, easy-going moments of laughter and togetherness are captured, and an opportunity for sitting portraits. There’s no need to look at me for every shot, our goal is to capture natural moments of connection and the soft, loving ways you look at each other. 

A few tips for during your mini session

Stay close to each other & always touch

Hold hands, snuggle, bear hug, carry toddlers & young ones, kiss with lips or noses, bend down to their level & make eye contact, put your hands on waists or shoulders. Make as much contact as possible and stay close together to really show the love and connection you have.  

You don't always have to look at the camera!

Interact with each other: talk, look at each other, play, walk, look into the distance or point out things to children. These candid moments are the most natural and are often family favourites. You don’t always have to smile either! A set of photos that look the most natural are those with a range of normal facial expressions. I will ask you to all look towards to me at suitable moments and we will get natural portraits of you looking at the camera but we also want to capture natural, candid moments too for a varied gallery.

Let your kids play wild

It’s ok, they’re kids, they’re meant to run and explore! We’ll be aiming to get the family together portraits and kids on their own portraits at the beginning, after that let them be themselves, give them the freedom to play so I can capture them more naturally and candidly. Relax yourself too, play with your kids, snuggle, tickle or if they’re a bit older, talk, tell jokes, make fun, dance if you wish! Try not to tell them to say cheese or look at me, let me direct when I need to. 

Relax! Dads, it will be over before you know it and you may actually find it painless! Mums, don’t worry, you are beautiful and your kids will thank you for being in the photos! Remember too that kids often respond better to the camera when parents aren’t looking. It’s ok to keep a slight distance or talk to your other half a moment while I chat to your child(ren), that’s often when I get the best portraits of them. 

After your mini session

After your session, I carefully choose all the best moments captured and carefully hand edit each image in my unique style (which you can see on my socials and website!). If I have your consent to share, I may post one or two images on Facebook or Instagram as a sneak peek. Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook and let me know your IG handle if you would like to be tagged in these posts. (Clients are always asked for consent to share before sessions commence. Some clients prefer to keep their photos private.)

All final edited images (10-20) will be provided in a password protected gallery 1-2 weeks after your session. Your mini session comes with 5 high resolution images to download. 

Additional digital files are available for purchase individually, in sets or you can purchase the entire gallery. Professional print packages are also available for purchase through the gallery.

I hope this blog post has been helpful and you feel prepared and confident about booking a mini session. I’m so looking forward to meeting you! As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions to ask! 

Themed Mini Sessions are released at selected dates throughout the year, sign up now so you get to know dates first!