Common questions about family sessions
What happens if it's raining or cloudy?
If it's a rainy day I am more than happy to re-schedule! I tend to be aware of what the BBC weather forecast is at all times, so will email you a few days in advance of your photoshoot if I think we may need to postpone. Sessions on cloudy days will go ahead as scheduled particularly if you have a sought-after weekend appointment, as these tend to get booked up many weeks in advance! You would be surprised at how beautifully soft the light is on overcast days, which can make for really gorgeous photographs.
What if my child is ill?
I almost didn't include this question because working with children I completely understand that they may be unwell - it's no problem at all to reschedule.
What if my child won't sit still for even a second?
Don't worry. As all my clients will attest, I am hugely patient and will always come away with beautiful portraits of even the most rambunctious toddlers! It's funny how often parents will apologise for the way they perceive that their child has behaved, but in my experience it's rare for a child to be interested in being photographed or "behave" for an hour, whatever that really means. As far as I'm concerned there is always ample time in an hour's session to create lovely genuine portraits and I am very used to dealing with tantrums, demands to go to the playground or children running in the opposite direction! Whilst we're on the subject, I am also very used to dads not being especially keen to be photographed and I promise to make it as painless as possible!
From a technical point of view I am sometimes asked whether the photos will be blurry due to how fast kids move. I know this is a common experience parents have with iPhone cameras and in low light, but it's a non issue with professional cameras and lenses which operate with shutter speeds of over 1000th of a second. In fact some of my favourite kids photography is where movement has been captured!
Can you edit out my wrinkles?
In a word, yes. Whilst the emotion and connection I like to capture in family photographs is very natural and real, I know that most women would prefer not to see every pore on their face in all it's glory (I know I don't)! I sensitively retouch skin and blemishes with a very light hand with the aim that you won't even know when you see the images. It's also worth bearing in mind that I never photograph my subjects with direct light on their faces and instead seek out soft, luminous light so that minimal skin retouching is needed.
Can you edit the photos to look like it's a sunny day?
I am particularly known for the quality of light in my photographs and the way in which I work with sunlight. Sadly there is no way to edit an image to make a cloudy day look like a warm summer evening - I wish there was! This is why I always recommend that sessions are booked for either as early or as late in the day as possible to take advantage of 'golden hour' and 'magic hour'.
What should I wear?
For child and family portraits in spring and summer, I generally recommend soft, muted colours in neutrals or pastels such as denims, blues, creams, pinks etc. These colours flatter most skin tones and work really well in natural, organic locations. I would suggest that you avoid bright primary colours, black and bold patterns/stripes if possible! These do tend to distract the eye from the subject. Layers, knits, floaty dresses on mums and sweet little prints on children can be absolutely lovely. For autumn and winter photos, chunky knits in berry, jewel tones and mustards can look fantastic! Formal clothing tends not to work so well for my style of family photography, which is designed to look both natural in outdoor environments. The exception to the rule is clothing for pregnancy photographs, where beautiful long boho-style gowns are particularly recommended. Feel free to send snapshots of clothing if you would like a second opinion, or bring a few different outfit options with you.
We prefer photos where we are not looking at the camera
I always aim to take a variety of posed and more natural unposed images of families interacting with one another. Please do let me know if you particularly prefer one over the other. The best advice I can give is to simply interact with your children with cuddles, tickles, games, collecting flowers, and anything else that springs to mind. Have a look at my portfolio of black and white family photos to give you more of an idea of my style of ‘lifestyle’ family photography.
What are your favourite locations?
I photograph families throughout North, West, Central and South West London (I am based in Kensington & Chelsea myself), and have favourite locations for my shoots depending on where you live and the time of the year. Favourite spots for family portraits include the ever-popular Richmond Park in South West London, Wimbledon Common, Chiswick House & Gardens, Holland Park, Kensington Gardens and Hampstead Heath, all of which I know really well! However, I also regularly photograph clients in various private garden squares in Chelsea and Notting Hill, as well as locations outside of London, such as the Mayfield lavender fields in summer.
What about urban family photography in the city?
As well as outdoor family photography in natural, organic locations, I have recently started photographing families in very urban locations in central London! Whilst anyone who has followed my photography will know that urban portraits are not what I am typically known for, I have become hugely inspired by the leading lines and clean shapes of the city. As with anything, it's refreshing to step outside of my comfort zone and try something a little different! Most commonly I have photographed American families who have been based in London for the last few years who are leaving the city to return home and want a family portrait session with a more 'meaningful' backdrop.
Can we have the RAW or unedited files?
I take huge pride in my work and will only give you beautifully edited, finished photographs that look their very best. For that reason the RAW, unedited images are not available for purchase or otherwise, simply because they are only "half-baked" and not the finished product the way I envision it to be. Only I know how the images are designed to look - and my editing process is as much a part of my artistic skill as the way I take the photograph.
Can we include grandparents?
Yes! It’s wonderful to include grandparents in family portraits, and many of my clients time their family portraits to coincide with when grandparents are visiting from overseas.
Do you do black and white family portraits?
Yes. The images are created as colour files, but these can be converted to beautifully rich black and white photographs, so both options are available. Black and white toning is particularly well suited to my brightly-lit style of family photography, as my photos tend to be high contrast (i.e. with bright whites, and deep blacks). It is high contrast images which is the key to creating good black and whites. I love black and white photography and usually include some monochrome images in my clients’ galleries for them to view and choose from. Stripped of colour, this style of photo has an incredibly timeless feel, and a way of conveying emotion in a very real way.
“WOW!! The photos are beyond amazing. We have spent most of the evening looking through them all over and over again. We are so delighted I cannot tell you.”
Hannah | Battersea Park, London