You probably have a TON of images of your children on your smartphone, right?
Now that we each have a camera in our pocket we can capture each moment as it happens - face covered in ice cream? Photo. Cute new jacket? Click. Hanging upside down from a tree? Heart in your mouth photo! So why, with all of the images you already have and are going to have, do you need a photography session with a professional?
Firstly (and most obviously!) professional photographers taking photographs for a living. They have honed their skills over many years and know all of the tricks and techniques to get the very best shots of you and your family.
Secondly, they’ll be able to get everyone in the image as nobody from your family has to be behind the camera. How many of the images on your phone have you in them? There may be a hundred images of your kids and partner for every one of you but it’s so important to have you in the photographs that document your family life!
Lastly, the photographs taken by a photographer will be the ones you want to hang on your wall and send to relatives so they can do the same. Children and babies grow so quickly that it's important to capture the moment in time. It’s so easy to forget each stage of childhood as your kids grow up.
Five years from now you can be sitting next to your cool, grown-up teenagers but be able to look at pictures of them when they were still missing their front teeth or covered in mud!
Who are you going to include in your family photography session? While you might only initially think of parents and children, it may also be a great opportunity to get your wider family all together. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can all be involved and might also reduce the session costs, by sharing them between a larger group. You may have a beloved family pet - ask your photographer if they can join in the fun too!!
If there’s a baby in the group then it’s wise to structure the shoot around their needs. A photographer won’t mind if the session needs to pause for a nappy change or a feed - with three children of my own I totally understand! - and keeping them comfortable and relaxed is in everyone’s interests.
As well as some great group shots of everyone together, some of the best images you’ll get from your family photographer will be those that show the relationships between your family members. Siblings, whilst often quarrelling at home, might find a quiet moment during the session to show you how special their bond is. It’s also a great opportunity to get photos of the parents as a loving couple, something that might not have been done since your long-ago wedding day! If there are any particular pairings or specific group shots that you’d like to be included (especially if you’re a large family group), let your photographer know in advance to make sure it’s captured on the day.
Once you’ve gathered everyone together, why not make a day of it? You could plan a picnic or a meal for after the session; the kids can play while the adults relax.
Just as there is a large choice of photographers, there are several different styles you can choose from for your photography session. Not all family photographers will offer all of these styles but I’ve suggested a couple of Edinburgh based professionals for each category to start you off!
This is a great time of year for a photography session, with fresh and vibrant colours, new shoots of growth and increasing light. Lauriston Castle and The Meadows are both great spots for capturing the energy of spring.
There are so many beautiful beaches within a short drive of Edinburgh - a great choice for summer sessions. If staying within the city is better for you, Holyrood Park has many wonderful spots for summertime photographs.
With its ever-changing colour palette, autumn is a magical time for your family session. As you might imagine, anywhere with woodland is a great choice at this time of year. Lauriston Castle, Corstorphine Hill, Davidson Mains Park, Cammo Estate, River Almond Walkway, Spylaw Park…all great for beautifully coloured natural backdrops.
Winter in Scotland can be a challenging time for a photography session, but for those brave enough to step outside, the results are very much worth the effort! Crisp, bright and frosty mornings make for excellent photographs. Princes Street Gardens are great for a city centre photoshoot at this time of year - the wonderful Christmas lights provide a colourful backdrop too.
It’s also worth considering what time of day your session will take place, as it can have a big impact on the overall style of your images. Discuss this with your photographer and find out what they can suggest - they will know the best times for each location and season. Ask about the golden hour - a magical time of day that can really make your family shine!
So now that you’ve chosen your photographer and booked a date in their diary, how do you prepare for the session?
Not everyone feels comfortable in front of the camera, I get it. I too was once a photo avoider! Your photographer should help you feel at ease but please do let them know in advance if there’s someone in your group who is particularly nervous in front of the camera and they’ll do their best to accommodate this.