My Family: 2016 Portraits - Getting everyone camera-ready

For where your treasure is
there your heart will be also.
- Luke 12:34

The year of the Monkey is an especially special one, as it is the year my awesome daddy turns the big 60! The family man who is funny and finds most joy in ensuring our family has the best in life; the man who prays and spends every night doing Quiet Time with us, when we were little kids. He is living such a very full life!

This is also the year, the youngest in our family, my brother, takes his first flight out of the nest, heading to pursue his degree at the University of Queensland.

So to celebrate, dad requested that we did a proper family portrait session on the first morning of the Lunar New Year.

Photographing your family and getting everybody in order was no easy task! Instead of beginning at 8am (like I wanted to, cause the sun hits directly into 80% of our garden), we only began our session a full hour later.

With that being said, out of the many photos I've taken over the last year, these images (taken in that tiny shaded patch) are definitely my favourites.

I also know now how my clients feel, while prepping for a session. And I truly appreciate them for making an effort to get ready for the camera, and get to the venue on time. If you are planning for a session, here are some tips to help you.

1) Plan your outfits in advance
It's a good idea to sort out your outfit choices at least the day before the session. That way you have ample time to make adjustments in colour. You wouldn't want to arrive at the session venue, only to discover the little boy in fire-engine red, and dad in neon green. You may not need everyone to wear the exact same shade, but choose complementary colours, and clothes which are comfy and easy to move around in.

For parents with little children and babies, it is good to bring a change of clothes (just in case).

2) Get well-rested and energised
The best time to have photos taken is from 7.30am to 9.30am in the mornings and late evenings from 5pm-7pm. My sessions are usually structured within these time frames. I find that children are at their best and most affable in the morning - when it's breezy and there are less mosquitoes. It is important to sleep early the night before and set your alarm, to ensure enough prep time is allocated, before the session. With enough sleep and a little food, the little ones (and big ones too) will definitely be a lot happier.

3) Plan an activity which you enjoy doing
One of the things I enjoy most is photographing families at their most natural. You can think of an activity you like doing together, like reading, kicking a ball, having a lego-building competition, or even playing boardgames or chase. For my family, we love spending time with each other, drinking coffee and laughing at the antics of the 3 family cats. 

Looking at the camera is not entirely necessary. Sure, we will have a few of those, but most of the time, I want to photograph the love connection and what makes your family unique. That happens in the unscripted moments.

The most important thing is to have fun together! Don't be afraid to let your normal beautiful self shine through.