family with kids dressed in blue photographed by family photographer in preston lancashire

What to wear for your family photographs

Ask the Photographer - What to wear for family photographs

In my last blog I spoke about why you should have family portraits – beautiful timeless photographs around the home. But what should you do before the session to ensure they are as good as can be?

Firstly, think where you are going to put your portraits. Having those amazing, printed images on your wall is what I want for you, so that you will walk past them every day and see them, the family all together and connected. If you are looking at these images every day for years to come, you want them to stand the test of time. While something might seem really great now in an image, if it is sat there in ten years’ time will you still love it? Those logos, stripes etc will date, so it is something to think about.

Family with teenagers in white studio by family photographer in preston lancashire

What clothes to wear for your family photography

Outfits is a biggie. I love seeing matching or complimentary tones in images, but it is up to you. Again, for the reasons I put above, you are making an investment in time and money to have these images taken and the art on your walls, make sure you can live with them. Another thing to think about is will they match the décor in the room you wish them to hang? Talk to me about this and I will make sure we can come up to clothing colours and I’ll suggest studio background colours that will compliment to create a great image. If in doubt then neutrals like creams and beige are always great, I love denim with plain white and black. Greys work well on both light and dark but if you want bright colours, they can also work well as long as it compliments.

What about my arms?!

Sleeve length is another thing that people worry about. Quite often I find people don’t like their upper arms, if this is the case then go long sleeved, it works well if all are in the same but don’t worry too much if you have different sleeve lengths, it’s my job to make it all work in a portrait.

family of four in photography studio on white background by Family photographer in preston lancashire

Feet and faces!

Footwear is a personal choice but it’s one I can help you to decide on. In my experience, shoes on or shoes and socks off work but it has to be the same for everyone in your group. Bare feet for everyone are timeless and won’t draw attention in an image. White trainers in an image of all black or dark colours will stick out like a sore thumb! If you have a more formal portrait in mind then you should encourage everyone to wear dark, smart shoes.

That’s enough of me talking about what to wear, but have a think about things like haircuts and nails etc. Mismatched nail varnish isn’t going to look great, the same as a brand-new hair style that you haven’t settled with yet. I want you to be comfortable in your images so don’t worry about all the little details, that is my job.

Which family members to include in your family portraits?

Last thing I really want to talk about it a little more personal, I often have parents, grandparents etc coming in with children for a shoot but not wanting to be in the images themselves. I hear all the excuses, wrong clothes, too much or too little make up, not lost weight or too thin… all the excuses as to why. Forget all that, It is about existing in portraits for years to come, to build that legacy behind you so that when the time comes when we don’t look like we do or in fact, we are no longer here for our children then we are still there for them in these lasting images.

If in doubt, get in touch and I will talk through things with you because, at the end of the day I want you to have the best portraits for your family at the studio in Preston, Lancashire.

Family with teenagers in white studio by family photographer in preston lancashire

How Important Are Family Photographs?

Family with teenagers in white studio by family photographer in preston lancashire

When Should You Have Family Photographs Taken?

We often have milestones in our lives, something that is important to us and we celebrate or make memories for that. In the UK we tend to have a more conservative approach to having family photographs taken than  in other parts of the world. Take the USA as an example; baby portraits, child portraits, family portraits yearly, seniors’ portraits (teens), marriage, pregnancy and the cycle continues. These are all very standard for American families. In the UK, weddings, babies and perhaps one family portrait is what UK families tend to celebrate and record with photographs and in particular, professional photographer portraits.

Now as a photographer, obviously I want more and more people to have professional portraits taken. I want to encourage that and I want people to know why I say that. Of course, it’s my job, But beyond that I care about your memories because of my own experience.

Famiy with young baby by family photographer in preston Lancashire

I wish I had more family photographs…

I come from a large family, had the most incredible parents who loved us so dearly. My Father was my best friend growing up, he did everything he could to support me. I was 17 when I lost that best friend suddenly, leaving a huge void in my life. The only things I have left of him are those precious years of memories and photographs. I have ONE photo of my Mum and Dad together, it was taken at a family members 18th Birthday and it’s a small, blurry print. It is so important to me that I have it scanned, backed up to dropbox, on my phone and on three hard drives. The original sits in a padded envelope and is well looked after. I cannot replace that and it means the world.

I understand that you might be reluctant to get into the photo, but it’s so important. 

I always do my upmost to get parents involved if they come into any portrait session. If I am photographing their child, I get a portrait or two with them. I hear all the protests, my hair isn’t right, make up isn’t perfect, I need to lose/ gain weight, my clothes aren’t right. I don’t photograph well, I have heard them all… What I say and what I say to you reading this is this, whilst portraits are important for now, what is really important is that those portraits are here in the future to support those memories we all have, to remind us of those stages in life. Let me tell you this, no child or parent of someone who is no longer with us, looks back on a photograph and says, wow, so and so didn’t have their hair done, make up right, hadn’t lost weight, when looking at that image of a loved one. They cherish the fact that they have that printed image to look back on, to remember them. THIS is what makes family portraits so important.

family with kids dressed in blue photographed by family photographer in preston lancashire
Family with teenagers photogrphed in black clothes on dark backfround by Family Photographer Preston Lancashire

Family photographs are something you will treasure for years.

Yes it is an investment, time and money but, they will be there long after that latest iphone is obsolete, that fancy car is in the scrap yard, so please, make those memories for people who mean so much to you and get those portraits booked in. They don’t need to be formal, they can be casual and fun, my own style is posed but relaxed and most of all, timeless and cherished.

Don’t wait… book now

When you choose Art of the Portrait as your family photographer, you are deciding to book a multi-award winning photographer, who trains other photographers. Art of the Portrait is chosen by MANY professional photographers as their own family photographer – a testament to the quality of the images you will receive and the memorable experience that comes with it!

Take a look at some more examples of my family portraiture in the gallery, and do get in touch if you’d like to book. I have very limited weekend availability so if you have a special date in mind then book early.

10 Things Your New Photography Studio Needs

What you need in your photography studio

Every photography studio is different, some are very clinical, others quirky and some are so homely. How you set yours up depends on how you shoot and who your client is – but there are certain things that I would recommend you have in one.

One piece of advice I always give is “buy cheap, buy twice” – if you scrimp in the early days, you’ll end up regretting it and having to replace things. Spend time researching what is the best for your new photography studio, and your kit will last for years.

1. A comfy sitting space for clients

Whether you are having a chat with clients when they arrive in your photography studio, changing set ups or want a space for parents to sit while you are photographing their children, a comfy seating area is so important. Something that is easy to clean when you get children with messy fingers are in the studio is what I would recommend. A small sofa or a couple of chairs is ideal and if you shoot some boudoir, a sofa bed like a click clack style is handy as it can be multi purposed.

2. A drinks station!

A kettle in your photography studio for those of us that like a warm drink (white coffee for me, please!) and always a few bottles of water for you and the clients. A coffee machine is a nice bonus, but I prefer a cafetiere as it takes up less room. De-caff options and fruit teas are very popular, especially if you shoot maternity.

Photography trainer Gary Hill in a new photography studio

3. Parking or access nearby to parking

Almost all clients unless you are based in a city centre will be travelling by car so somewhere secure and close that they can park is pretty essential. It’s a good idea to provide directions with parking info to your clients ahead of their portrait session – they are more likely to arrive on time that way!

4. Samples of your work

So, so important. Clients buy what they see, so if you want them to buy wall art or albums, make sure you have samples on your wall. BIG as you can get away with is what I would say and only items you want to sell and that compliment your work.

5. Sockets!

No matter how many you have you will need more and always have a couple of extension leads. You need to move your lights around to suit what you are shooting so make it easy for yourself and have places you can plug in.

6. Storage

It doesn’t matter whether you think you won’t use many props in your photography studio, you will accumulate lots of items and they need to go somewhere – not on the floor! Things always look better when they can be put away, so get as much storage as you can fit in without encroaching on your shooting area.

7. Stools and crates or other posing aids

These can transform your images in particular if you shoot groups or families. Find something you like and try and get different sizes, so you have one for every eventuality. My Blessence Props Crates are my most used items after backdrops.

8. Lights and modifiers

Even if you only shoot with one light, get a spare and at least one big modifier and if possible a strip box too. With those two and two lights, you can do so much. Backdrops that suit your style, if you don’t like it, don’t have it.  Items like a TriFlection from Click Props are great additions to a studio light set up.

9. Viewing area

Use of a large screen TV or a projector to show the clients their images is a fantastic addition, and a laptop or computer that can link to Youtube or iPlayer can keep young children occupied if you need to work with the adults.

10. Facilities

At some point, someone is going to need the toilet and it is ideal if it’s in the same area so you can keep the flow of the shoot going as well as possible if a toilet trip is needed, a private changing area as well or a suitable screening off portion makes clients feel very comfortable whilst changing. A baby changing mat is a useful addition if you have babies and families visit you, wipes and nappies can be useful to have to hand, too.

Gary Hill training photographers on how to set up a new studio