3 tips to help your family session run smoothly

Working with kids! You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it! Do I really need to repeat the saying? Ok fine. For the people in the back! They say never work with children or animals. Whose they? (Another question for another time!) Have you ever been hesitant to book in family photos because you are worried your kids will run riot, do that were camera face smile and waste all the money you invested in capturing your little angles? I get that!! I said to myself we would never invest in a family shoot until our kids were old enough not to ruin it. In my mind that meant waiting until my oldest child was about 10 years old (she is currently 6) HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! WAITING ANOTHER 4 YEARS TO PAY A PROFESSIONAL FOR A FAMILY PHOTO?? JUST BECAUSE IT MIGHT WORK OUT BETTER??? How many moments would I miss out on in between? Crazy talk Eileen!

When you hire a professional family portrait photographer they should know (and expect) that when little (and sometimes big) kids are involved, it’s not going to go to plan. you kid hasn’t had a day sleep in months and yet, on photo day, he falls asleep. When its time to wake up … it doesn’t happen gracefully and before you know it, you’ve turned up late with a child who needs to be carried surfboard style from the car. Or they need a nap and decide that family photo day is the day to try and do without one. As parents, we freak out and we get stressed. But it’s ok. Your photographer should know how to still get those sweet candid moments, how to coax a smile out from a deadpan “i-will-have-nothing-to-do-with-that-camera-lady” face and how to help you, as the parents to enjoy the session and make a family memory out of it. Here are my 3 tips to help your family session run smoothly!!! Enjoy!

3 Tips

1: Book your session when it best suits your kids.
Got early risers? Maybe an early morning shoot is the best for you. Early morning light is just as beautiful as sunset golden hour and chances are it will be less windy!
Do your kids still nap? Book a session after scheduled nap time (remember to make time for getting them to dress and travel to the location!)
Maybe an early picnic dinner and then photos after is a great way to incorporate a lifestyle aspect to your photos.

This photo was taken about 40 mins into the session.
This little man had decided that photo day was too exciting to have a sleep. Subsequently he was pretty upset most of the shoot. Poor guy!
And yet, in the last 10 mins he give me all the smiles he can, all unprompted (but delightfully encouraged.)

2: Fill them up!
Make sure your kids have had something to eat before the session. Full bellies make for full smiles. I also tell parents to bring snacks with them for the kids. These either get used as bribes or as a distraction while Mum and Dad have their own photos together!

While all this is happening ….

These boys are tucking into a snack box – wonderfully distracted so we could take some of their parents!
Occasionally they run into the shot because … who wouldn’t!!!

3: Stress Less and go with the flow
You can set all the expectations with your kids in the world but a new location can set of curiosity in the most well-behaved kid and they get up to mischief. Often, if the parents are stressed, the kids feel the energy and have a hard time feeling comfortable in front of the camera and play up on purpose. There is a very limited chance a kid will produce a natural smile if mum and dad are getting cross with them for not doing what they are supposed to do. My advice – go with the flow and try to not stress about your kid’s behaviour. I get it! I have 3 kids! I know how hard it is to get them all looking, smiling naturally and interested in having a photo taken (and they get LOTS of practice!!) Sometimes I’ll ask the parents to go out of site so I can work with the kids on my own and that can help them loosen up.

The best part … treats for having photos taken!! I love the girls concentration as mum opens a packet of deliciousness!

I hope these tips have helped!! If you have any questions just click here to head over to my contact form and drop me a line! I’m excited to hear from you and help you out any way I can!

x Eileen

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Gnangara Pine Plantation | Howe Family

She was rostered on to Room 5. It was the only birthing suite that was occupied at the time. The midwife about the finish her shift came in and spoke to me. “You’re doing so well and it has been lovely to help you during your labour. My shift is about to end. The next midwife rostered on is Nicole and she says you know each other. She just wanted me to check that it is OK with you if she can come and help. If not, she will swap her rooms with another midwife.” That was one of the best things that happened the day my first daughter was born. It was an answer to a prayer I had prayed without knowing how it could possibly happen. That I would have someone there who was a professional knew me personally and who I knew cared about me and my experience.

“Heck yes! Let her come in!”

I had previously met Nicole at 2 separate weddings I had photographed. She was a bridesmaid at both and we sort of went from acquaintances to friends online. I knew she was a midwife but it never crossed my mind that God would put us together in this way. What a blessing she was to be in that room with me as I laboured with my first child. The birth itself was far from textbook. In fact, she told me she remembers that birth for all the wrong reasons. It’s a story for another day but what I remember most is that for every day stayed in hospital after my daughter was born, Nicole came and visited, even if she wasn’t rostered on to the ward. Amongst the complete lack of sleep, a crying/always hungry newborn and dealing with the shock of what my body went through, I remember her caring nature, her kind smiles and her willingness to help me.

Nicole and her family always hold a special place in my heart. I love that I get the privilege of photographing her own growing family. From the first maternity session to these family portraits. I can’t wait to do it all again soon!

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Vines Resort Wedding | Shannon and Pierre

I had the biggest privilege of being the photographer for this Vines Resort wedding. Ever since that first inquiry email, I knew there was something special about these two. In every email since, they have been my dream clients. You can read a little bit of there story here and here to catch up. Shannon was the perfect mix of knowing what she wanted and trusting me to get those photographs she would look back on to tell the story of her wedding day. Pierre is her rock, her perfect mix of fun, support, keeping her grounded during the process and cheekiness. Together they are a perfect team. (I’ve used the word perfect a lot, I realise this but its for a reason!!)

Their January wedding came around and they picked an amazing day weather-wise. 27 degrees and some cloud cover. The Vines Resort is such a beautiful place to get married. Their ceremony at the Garden Pavillion was simply beautiful. I’m a sucker at weddings and was holding back my own tears when Pierre saw Shannon walk down the aisle. It was evident that becoming husband and wife was so important to them. Their personalised wedding vows, the way they looked into each other’s eyes and their celebration as they walked back down the aisle, hand in hand as husband and wife.

Thank you for including me in your wedding day. Shannon, I’m so glad that you just happen to sit on the train next to my mother in law and chatted with her about the fact you were engaged. Thank you both for trusting me with such an important part of your day. The journey has been incredible and I’m so blessed that I have been able to share it with you and now to continue to do so as friends! You guys have such big hearts for each other and others and I can’t wait to see how you grow in love for one another. Here’s to the next adventure!

Shannon and Pierre’s Dream Team
Venue: The Vines Resort
Celebrant: Barb of Alluring Ceremonies
Wedding Dress: Alfred Angelo (sourced through Facebook Marketplace)
Suits: Roger David
Bridesmaid Dress: Dotti
Videographer: Venture Forth Films
Florist: Heather Cummings
Hair: Sarah Towers for Starlet Concepts
Makeup: Stephanie Bellini Makeup Artistry
Cake: Dark Cherry
DJ: DJ Debz

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Yellagonga Maternity | Baby Bennetts

She was pretty game. “Is 5:15 too early?” I asked. I was about to book my first sunrise maternity session.

“Nah, I’m already awake by that time and if we did it then, I’ll be home by the time my daughter wakes up.” That settled it. My first sunrise shoot. I was super excited. Having kids (or at least kids like mine) means you are awake before the sun rise. Sometimes by choice (in my case) and other times, not by choice. I packed my camera bag the night before and set out my outfit. I was ready for this.

It was still dark (obviously) when I woke up to the alarm. Surprisingly it was also a bit colder than I had thought it would be (Summer in Australia). I jumped in the car and headed down my street. A couple of drops of rain landed on the windscreen. Nothing to get worried about I thought. 5 mins later I saw lighting and then the thunder came. It as still dark outside. I was hoping the storm clouds weren’t going to ruin my sunrise start time too much.

Sunrise Sessions

It’s magical being up and about outside before the rest of the world. It’s still, quiet, peaceful and in this instance, as I was the only person in a national park, was sort of otherworldly. The sun streaked through the trees and thanks to the weather there was some fog around which was lit up by the golden rays of the sun. It’s what I imagined Narina might look like as the snow was melting away when Aslan was on the move!

The most amazing thing about this shoot was what happened once the session was over. We walked back to the car and chatted about our plans for Christmas. Alice was due to have her baby in a couple of days. She was hoping that she would go into labour before her due date (due to hospital policy and pregnancy complications she would be induced) We chatted about braxton hicks and so on and so forth. The next day i get a text as follows …

Hey Eileen, thought I would just message as, when I got home from our shoot yesterday I started having contractions and actually had our little girl last night at 10pm. We got the shoot done just in time!

We were so lucky on this shoot! I do recommend not waiting til you are 39 weeks to get your maternity photos. Depending on which number pregnancy you are carrying, anything from 30-36 weeks is ideal! First time pregnant bellies tend to pop out later where as a second or third (or more) tend to show much earlier and you might feel more comfortable booking your session around 30 weeks.

Yellagonga Maternity Sunrise Shoot
Yellagonga Maternity Sunrise Shoot
Yellagonga Maternity Sunrise Shoot
Yellagonga Maternity Sunrise Shoot

It was so incredible. Those photos mean so so so much more now as well. Thank you so much for my maternity photos. They are gorgeous. I couldn’t be happier!!

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Christmas Portraits | Hall Family

There is joy in watching children grow up. Mostly your own, but also those close around you. When Naomi contacted me the first time, she was pregnant with her first child. We didn’t know if we would be able to squeeze in a maternity session as she spent the last few months of her pregnancy on bed rest. That was over 5 years ago. Naomi contacted me every Christmas since then to take her families Christmas portraits. I can see the value in these regular photo sessions and not just for ‘now’ to use as gifts. She can see that when her children are grown they will look back on these photos and see the joy! They will see the love and connection between them as a family. They will see their parents when they were young in a new and exciting stage of their lives. What a gift to give yourself now and in the future!! I could go on for days about how I feel about portraits. Have you had yours taken recently? I don’t mean on selfie mode on your phone either!! Hope you all are enjoying the count down to Christmas!!

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