Nicole came to see me for a maternity session and she was due in Spring, initially we were hoping to catch the magnolia for her family session but baby was so comfy that we missed the blossoms but caught some cherry blossoms, buttercups and the lush green of spring. This session was taken May 8th 2023.
I love family outdoors sessions, kids need space to move and have fun to get the best smiles!
Nicole wanted a natural, wild look and I went about looking for a perfect location, we narrowed this down to bluebell woods, a nature reserve with a beautiful pond and the SANGS land over Ewshot. The land over Ewshot has parking very close by and a park. With a 3 and 8 year old we knew we would need something to bribe the kids into posing with and promises of the park were perfect.
The location that Nicole and I choose has real sound of music vibes with gorgeous far reaching views of English countryside, a family of horses in the field, buttercups an orchard and bluebells close by so was perfect for providing some range of images.
Here's an image I took to show Nicole the location first:
Rainy Day Family Photos
English weather is famously unpredictable and we were checking the weather for our session all week hoping that we wouldn't get rained on, it was raining for hours before and after our session but thankfully we avoided the rain for the 90 minutes we were out but the rain prior did pose a few additional challenges.
It was incredibly grey. Personally I like the soft look of midday sun through clouds as its flattering light on faces and you can turn in any which way for great lighting but I did have to 'blow out' the sky which basically means I had to overexpose the sky in order to make the photos look sunny!
The ground was muddy, I have tarpaulin in my kit bag so I put this down and then the blanket meaning my family could sit without getting wet and muddy
I brought two clear plastic umbrellas, these can be used in the rain and don't block light (but thankfully I didn't need to use them!)
Young Children Posing
It's undoubtedly difficult to get 3 year olds to stay still, smile for the camera etc. I have several tactics for this to get the best possible photo for the family and being a mum of two small children myself makes me uniquely positioned to be able to handle these situations.
I start sessions with games, Nicole's family had a frisbee and a football to play with, this helps everyone loosen up and bond while giving me a chance to set up.
I take a bit of time before I take any photos to get to know kids and make friends with them, all my clients get a questionnaire and I ask a few questions about kids so I already know what they love to talk about and that gets me off to a great start.
I get my families into a group when they're ready and then let them talk, giggle, tickle and do whatever it takes to get kids to smile!
Bribes are a firm favourite, I'll ask parents and carers to bring favourite snacks, drinks and wipes for little people who need a little extra persuasion.