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How to get the most out of your Family Portrait Session – Rowan’s Tips

Family portrait sessions are fun!
These sessions are not meant to be formal or overly posed, but should be relaxed, fun, candid, and enable the unique personalities of your children to come out. To get the most out of your family portrait session you need to have a plan, set realistic expectations and get the whole family on board. Follow our tips below to make your family session amazing.
• Plan ahead – there are several things to consider before booking your shoot.
• Where do you want the shoot to take place? There are advantages to having either a studio shoot or a shoot outside on location. Most photographers should be able to offer both. But think about the style and type of images you are after and which type of shoot would give you the look you desire. If in doubt talk to your chosen photographer and ask their advice.
• What time of day is best for everyone? As a general rule if your family shoot involves little ones a session earlier in the day is much better. You should plan for photographs to be done after nap and feeding times so your children are happy, cooperative and well rested. Trust me, you want to take your children along when they are at their best!
• To prop or not? Props can make a massive difference to the end result at a family portrait shoot. They can make the photographs more personal to you as a family if they include a musical instrument a child is learning, equipment from a child’s favourite sport or props from a hobby you as a family enjoy. The options are unlimited and most photographers rise to the challenge to accommodate even the most unusual of props. But if you just want to take along yourselves that’s fine too.
• Don’t prepare your children too much. We want your children to be natural on the day and that won’t happen if you’ve spent ages practicing your smiles! Talk to them casually about the shoot, not too much though, so they don’t get worked up about it. Then on the day tell them how much fun you’re all going to have and leave it at that. A good photographer will be highly skilled at putting children at ease and coaxing natural and charming expressions from them without the need for cheese!
• Be on time (or early). Before I even get my camera out in my studio I like to get to know your children a bit better. I spend a fair amount of time playing and joking with them so they get to feel comfortable and confident with me. This makes such a difference to how they will respond in the session, in fact it’s one of the most important parts of the whole shoot, so try not to be late.
• Coordinate your outfits. Thinking about what each member of the family will wear is vital preparation if you want your family photographs to look cohesive. We don’t mean everyone to come in matching outfits (that would be weird!) but coordinating colours and styles always looks good. Choose coordinating colours from the same colour palette that compliment each other. This is not something you do as a family every month so view it as special, make an effort with everyone’s appearance, hair and clothes and if you’re the mum get a bit dolled up (because you’re worth it!!!)
• Finally, relax and be yourselves. This will have a massive impact on not only how much you will all enjoy the session but how natural, modern and fresh your finished images will look. Bring your happiest mood with you and your children will naturally follow your lead. Natural smiles and having a real laugh at your session will shine through into photographs that you will treasure as a family forever.

Where are you based and do you travel?
We are based just near the historic city of Winchester and most of our wedding photography is done in and around Hampshire as well as Dorset and the Isle of Wight. However, we love to travel! Our wedding prices are fully inclusive for anywhere within 50 miles of Hampshire, for anywhere else in the UK there may be a charge for travelling expenses. Destination weddings are always a source of excitement, the fee will include the cost of the package you want together with any travel expenses ie. flights and accommodation. We are only able to take on a small number of destination weddings each year of if you are getting married abroad and love our photography contact us as soon as you have your date and wedding venue booked.
What is an engagement/pre-wedding shoot?
An engagement or pre-wedding shoot is a great way to get used to us and get to know us a bit better as well as getting used to being in front of the camera. It’s a fabulous opportunity to get some lovely relaxed and informal photographs of the two of you before the big day. We can shoot at our family portrait studio based near Winchester or at a location that you love or has special meaning for you. Any images you love from the shoot will make amazing save the date or wedding invitation cards
Are you insured?
Yes, of course. As a professional portrait and wedding photographer we have public liability and professional indemnity insurance, as well as insurance for all our equipment.
How long will you spend at our wedding?
Each couple have different requirements and needs for their day. You will probably have your wedding day planned down to the last second so we will work out how much time we need to get the photographs that reflect your day. Our minimum booking is for 4 hours for a weekday wedding.
How many photographs do we get?
So many wedding photographers offer thousands of images but we believe in quality over quantity. Your wedding day will be unique to you and so will your wedding photography coverage. We don’t specify a set amount of images but we can guarantee you all the fabulous ones from the day, typically anywhere from 300-450 images. These will of course be individually edited and retouched, colour and black and white and supplied as high resolution digital files.
Do you do any formal shots?
We believe it is important to capture some lovely family shots. After all it’s probably one of the few times your whole extended family is all together in one place and looking fabulous. However, we are masters at getting these photographs done in the least amount of time and with the most amount of fun. You won’t believe how cheeky we might be with Great Uncle Alfred!! For most of your day we will be working in an unobtrusive way, capturing relaxed and natural images as your day unfolds.
How soon after the wedding will we receive our photographs?
Your photographs will be ready approximately 3 to 5 weeks after your wedding date (sometimes sooner). We will set up your online gallery and the link and password will be forwarded on to you so you can start sharing your images with your family and friends. The gallery is password protected and has a secure shopping facility so prints can be purchased directly from it. Your digital files will be then be sent to you. If you have an album as part of your package we will discuss this after you have received your images.
How do we book you?
The best way is to contact us and arrange for us to meet up for an informal chat. This usually takes place in our studio. During our chat we can discuss your requirements, answer any questions and concerns you may have and it also gives you a great opportunity to have a good look through previous weddings we’ve done, particularly if any of the wedding venues are the same as the one you’ve chosen. You may decide to get to know us a bit better by arranging a pre-wedding shoot. Once you’ve decided you love us and our work you will fill in a wedding contract and return to us with the deposit. That’s it, it’s that easy!
Do you do any other photography besides weddings?
We just love photography and capturing special moments in people’s lives. As well as providing fabulous Hampshire Wedding Photography we also run a successful Family Portrait Studio where we specialise in family photography, focusing on families, babies, couples and pet photography as well as offering fabulous newborn art. Check out some of our work here.
If you have further questions or would just love to chat give us a call on 023 8027 6148, email us at  info@rowanwatts.co.uk or fill out the form on our contact us page. We are looking forward to working with you!

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