Family Portrait Session Guide

This guide is designed to help you and your family get ready for your outdoor portrait session.

I hope it has some great tips on how to prepare you and your family for what to expect while I capture you together.

What to Expect

First and foremost FUN!

Of course there will be some initial nerves, that’s normal! To be honest I’m always a bit nervous too.

I want you and your family to interact as natural as possible this enables me to capture actions as organically as possible, which in turn will make gorgeous memorable images true to your families natural relationship.

Most children are naturally curious so they will usually interact with me quite easily so there isn’t much need for you to ask them to look at the camera. In my experience this has the complete opposite affect! Instead I find it much easier for the parents to look at me (when directed) and let me grab the attention of the children. Deal?

I try not to ‘pose’ families too much I find it much easier if families or couples just align themselves naturally. If I feel some direction is needed I will always gently offer it to angle you with the best light or in the most flattering way.

Try not to fuss over clothes, hair etc… I know this is so hard as you want everything to be perfect but let’s be honest life isn’t perfect and to me capturing your family in the most organic way will translate to more emotionally connected images in the long run. 

What to Bring

There isn’t anything in particular you need to bring however, feel free to incorporate toys or other fun items that your kids love such as dolls, teddies, cars or trucks. Theses may help mark this special time on your lives and help them feel at ease during the shoot. There are ways to hide these toys too so don't worry they wont be in all the photos (I hope). In saying this we usually walk quite a bit so please remember to limit what you bring with you that might be unnecessary such as shoes if your on the beach, sunglasses unless you really need them, large bags or prams if we have rocky terrain. Avoid putting your phone or other bulky items in your pockets. If you can squeeze all your essential items in one bag do that!

What to Wear

This is a question I get asked the a lot. My reply, something you feel most comfortable in. When you feel comfortable you will look comfortable. When you feel good you look good, simple!

Deciding what to wear for your family portrait session is a task well worth your time and effort. I always recommend picking out outfits at least a week or two before your session and laying everyone's outfits and accessories out to see all together.

Think about where your images might be displayed in your home, what season you are being photographed in and the location you wish to choose. These can all play a part in what you wear.

Try to coordinate outfits without looking overly “matchy”. Avoid wearing the same colours and instead find a colour palette you love or suits your family home. Such a neutral tones warm whites, cream and tan. Inject some of your personality were possible. Add accessories to pump up an ensemble with a hat, scarf or necklace. Wearing bright colours in small doses is great too or by adding pops of colour in an otherwise flat palette can make a big difference.

Kids like to move, so fuss free clothes are always best. Layers are fantastic as you can add or remove items to change a look. Avoid any large logos and distracting or tiny prints. Larger strips, checks and polka dots always look great, but keep it to one person if possible.

Click the link below for some examples which might help co-ordinate your look.


Have a think about where your family loves to visit, is it the beach, the gardens or the country side? Is your style more modern or classic?

There are some amazing places to visit and capture your family but the location that you choose will have a big impact on what kinds of photos you will end up with.

Outdoor sessions are best shot 1-2 hours before sunset for the best and most flattering golden light. The time of course will depending on the time of year you do your session. Winter mostly between 3-4pm and Summer between 5-6pm

Sunset Beach

Almost uninterrupted sun set views, perfect for relaxed couple or family portraits. You'll feel like the only person for miles. Dog friendly too!

Australian Garden

Beautiful muted hues with mostly Australian fauna, perfect back drop for neutral toned homes especially with that amazing golden light.


Beautiful warm tones but also cool contemporary concrete spaces as well. Perfect for a modern home.

Cactus Garden

Wonderful warm golden hues will transport you to Mexico or Palm Springs. Amazing array of cactus plants from all over the world. Wonderful little nooks and winding pathways. Perfect for families.

Mountain to the Sea

Who couldn't go past the majestic Illawarra Escarpment as their backdrop? Lots of great little pockets with awesome texture but also lots of open space for larger groups. Beautiful for golden hour sun light too.

The Quarry

Taking a walk through Bombo Headland among the unusual basalt columns feels like you're on the moon! The basalt walls and columns are a legacy of blue metal quarrying in the 1880- 1900s. Awesome adventure if your up to it.


Hopefully we have a beautiful sun filled afternoon however if not you can capture some amazing images if you have clouds or overcast weather too. Often this type of weather gives us even more ways to shoot without the worry of shadows or direction of the sun.

Sadly if it is torrential rain or seriously crazy wind it would be advisable to postpone your shoot to another day.

Feed them

As sessions tend to be in the later part of the day little people might get hungry depending on their dinner time. I would advise either to give a light snack before you arrive or carry some easy to eat items and drinks for when the time arises during the shoot. Full bellies make for full happy hearts.

It's also advisable to check if little ones or big ones for that matter need to use the rest room before your session.

Let's Go!

I hope this has given you some information about what to expect with your portrait session with me.

If you have any questions please get in contact, no question is ever too silly!