Tips

How to prepare for your Maternity Photo Shoot

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Whether this is your first or third baby, it is a very exciting time for you and your partner and for many expecting mothers, there’s no better way to remember their pregnancy and their journey to motherhood than a professional maternity photo shoot.
Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best.

When to schedule the shoot

The general recommendation is that you have your maternity photo shoot when you are between 32 to 36 weeks pregnant. For expecting mamas with twins (or more), schedule it for around 26 – 32 weeks as twins tend to arrive much earlier. Your belly will have a lovely full shape, but you won’t be too bloated and uncomfortable, as is often the case in the last few weeks. 

Decide what location you prefer

Decide if you would like an outdoor sunset session or an in-home, lifestyle session.  Outdoor locations offer beautiful light and backgrounds and they can be places that are meaningful to you. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best.}  Sessions shot in your home use natural light to capture those little moments that mean everything to you, such as your baby's nursery, your pets and your routine. Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. Plus you don’t have to worry about the weather outside.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Decide what to wear

Depending on the location you have chosen, the next step is to choose your clothes. This can be an exciting step as many women will know what 'look' they want for their photos. Whatever your style, choose clothing that is comfortable! For lots more clothing tips and inspiration, have a read of this blog post.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Undergarments play a big role!

Wear nude-coloured underwear and tube top or bra (with detachable straps if possible).  If you opted for an outdoor beach session then maybe wear a bikini top so you can show off your bump if you wish and get into the water.

Book your hair and make-up appointments

Like your wedding photos, your maternity photo shoot is a one-off session that you will never have again. Treat yourself to professional hair and make-up artists. Not only will this make your photographer’s work easier, you will feel beautiful and confident at your session. Neutral looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes. Don't forget to have a manicure too, there will be lots of photos of your hands around your bump.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Prepare your home if you are having an in-home lifestyle session

Your house does not need to look like it came straight out of a magazine, so don't stress. All you need to do, is make sure that you de-clutter the master bedroom, the lounge and the nursery. Remove items from bedside tables, close en-suite doors and wardrobes, buy some beautiful fresh flowers and put plain bed linen on your bed.

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Think about including your pet in your shoot

Having a dog at a shoot adds another level of energy, not to mention another level of cuteness as well. If your shoot is at home then cats can be included too.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Decide if you want to show off your bare bump or not

Some women feel more self-conscious about their bodies when they’re pregnant, and that’s perfectly fine and normal. Don’t try to force yourself into doing something you think you should do. Maternity photos should be beautiful, and photos of a bare bump in particular can be a great way to celebrate the female form. Bra and panty sets are also great for women who don’t want to do too much exposure, but want a sexy look. Be very clear with your photographer about what you want, and the level of undress that you’re comfortable with.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Don't forget to eat

Drink lots of water. This will help your skin look clear and smooth. Watch your diet the day or two before in particular, and don’t eat anything that you know might contribute to water retention. Have a light meal before your maternity photo shoot and if you have other children, bring snacks along too.

Arrange to have a dinner date with your partner for after your photo shoot

If you have had hair and make-up done for the shoot. then don't waste it, you will be looking and feeling beautiful, so celebrate with a lovely dinner. If this is your first baby, then take the opportunity to have a dinner date with your partner before your baby arrives... it might be a while before you get a chance to do it again.

 Maternity Photo Shoot

Get a good night’s rest the night before your session

Not only will it help reduce any bags under your eyes, but you’ll feel less stressed and more calm during the shoot.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you still have questions or would like to book your own session please feel free to contact me via my contact page or comment below.

Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Not only does a holiday provide you and your family a much-needed break, it will also serve up some of the best photo opportunities you'll see all year.

This is a great time to reach for a camera to do the annual group portrait. Here are some simple tips for taking great holiday photos using your camera or phone.

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Tip #1: Purposely make great photo opportunities

As a photographer it has always been my job to set up the shot. So naturally, I do this all of the time with my own family! When we were in Ireland in 2016, we went for a walk on the beach. I wrote my son Harry’s name in huge letters on the sand as he played. I thought it would be a great photo but even more memorable to have my child in it. So I asked my son to run past, and captured one of my favourite shots of the trip (photo above)! It is so simple to do, get your child to write their name or do it yourself and snap the results on your phone or camera.

Tip #2: When photographing groups and families you must take a lot of photos.

People generally complain about having their picture taken and want the experience to be over quickly. You need to work quickly in order to get the job done within their limits of patience. And you need to keep the experience as fun and friendly as possible, so they remember it in a positive light. Don't put pressure on yourself to have everyone looking at the camera, often the favourite photos are the most candid and playful ones like this one.

 Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Tip #3: Don't use flash indoors

It is very tempting to turn on the flash on your camera or phone, but please don't.  The light from flash, especially from the tiny flashes on digital cameras and phones - tend to produce harsh, flat, and cold light. This is rarely a complimentary way to illuminate your subject. Plus you might find everyone is temporary blinded afterwards too! So instead, put your subjects standing near a window or door instead of relying on the flash. Even at night, in a darker room, you can still avoid the flash by just turning on extra lamps or other ambient light.

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Tip #4: Don't pose - allow the candid moments to shine

Take some candid photos during the holiday of everyone having fun. You can capture great expressions and moments when your subject isn’t aware that the camera is pointed at them. Kids often freeze and put on their 'fake' smile when they see a camera pointed at them. If you’re shooting with a big camera it’s much more obvious that you’re taking photos, and your children can start to behave differently or get camera-shy, so sometimes it can be better to use your phone instead.

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Tip #5: Shoot your food!

It’s easy to take a great shot of a mouth-watering plate of food by zooming in tight on the dish (or some phones have a "Food" feature too). This is a fun photo you can take to remember the delicacies you enjoyed on your trip.

 fig and salmon salad

Tip #6: Pass the camera around

How will anyone know you were there if you stay behind the camera the entire time? Have others in your group take pictures or shoot video of you having fun too. Don't forget to include the selfies too!

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Tip #7: Don't forget the night shots

Don't put your camera away after the sun goes down, that's the time when you can get some of your best shots. Christmas time is the best time to capture the lights, decorations and sights. City lights and storefronts, neon signs and strobe lights – you simply can’t get this during the day, so take the time to see how you can creatively use them.

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Tip #8: Take a step back

As you're traveling, one of your primary goals as a photographer is to take in the sights. You're likely to encounter many breathtaking views that you'll want to remember just as they were.

 The cliffs of Moher

Tip #9: Avoid the cliche

As you visit new and exciting places, resist the urge to just stand people in front of a landmark or view and snap a picture. Try instead to create clever poses and compositions that you won't see in the photos of everyone who has ever been to that place.

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Tips #10: Know when to put your camera down

This might sound counter-intuitive for an article about simple tips for taking great holiday photos . There is a time to shoot pictures and a time to just be with friends and family. Rather than 100 photos of your family doing one activity, just take a handful and use the rest of your time to simply be with your loved ones and enjoy your time together.

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If you’ve found this blog post useful, please share it with any of your friends who you think might like it too! I hope my tips help you to take great photos of your summer holiday.

Take lots of pictures, but most importantly have a great time!

If you would like to get in touch, you can contact me via this page

8 tips for a family portrait session that you’ll actually enjoy!

 family portrait session tips

When it comes time to book your family portrait session, do you start to feel a little nervous? Do you worry that your kids will misbehave? That they won't smile or co-operate? Do you worry about what to wear for the session? Well fear not, I have created a list of family portrait session tips to help you prepare and make sure that you actually enjoy yourself!

Tip 1: Choose your clothing carefully

Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Remember to take into consideration the location of your shoot. If it is on a beach, then choose clothing that is suitable for sitting on sand, strolling in the surf etc. Bring a spare set of clothing for young children, as accidents with food/drinks on the way to the shoot do happen. Having a second outfit for kids that fits in with your colour scheme is a great idea too in case young children choose to run into the sea at the start of the shoot.

Tip 2: Be well rested and well fed

Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime.  The best time for lighting is the one hour before sunset and after sunrise.  If this is a bad time for your children consider having an at-home lifestyle shoot instead as they can be scheduled for anytime during the day.  Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach.  Be sure to give kids a healthy snack before the photo shoot as shoots can run over time.

 family portrait tips Sydney

Tip 3: Don't teach your kids to say "cheese"

Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese!”  Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs.  Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children.  This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles.

 family portrait tips

Tip 4: Parents, stay calm and let your kids be kids

Children are unpredictable, especially kids under the age of five. They are little. Make it fun and try to go with the flow. Expecting them to sit still and smile at the camera on command can stress you out and they will feel it. Try to relax and allow your photographer to capture your family connections and the personalities of the kids as they are now. Not a forced fake version of them. I promise you that (even if you don’t appreciate it now), photos of those moments when they are “misbehaving” or expressing their emotions will be priceless mementos in just a few short years.

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Tip 5: Make this session about fun and your family's connection

Talk to your kids about how the photographer likes to be silly and get natural smiles and laughter. No stiff poses and “smiling for the camera”. Think of some activities and games that you like to play together that could be incorporated into the session. Does dad enjoy throwing the kids up in the air and making them laugh? Do you like to tickle each other or blow raspberries? Do things that are fun and you’ll end up with great, natural photos of candid laughter and joy.

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Tip 6: Include a favourite toy that could be featured in your shootI

It not only helps to get your children to relax but it can also make a wonderful keepsake to look back on their favourite toy.

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Tip 6: Remember that eyes follow the camera

It’s tempting to try to grab a couple of quick phone shots for Instagram or Facebook when the kids are adorably posed. Don’t do it. The minute you pull out your phone, you’ll distract your child. Instead of looking directly at the photographer, they’ll be looking at you. Get snapshots before or after your professional session.

 beautiful fun family photography westleigh

Tip 7: Get into at least one photo with your family

Be honest with yourself. How many photos do you have of YOU with the kids? As women we can be over critical of our appearance, feeling like we are not the right weight, or that we look tired etc.  But the truth of the matter is, we need to be in pictures with our kids because these are images our children will look back at in the future. If you don’t exist in photos, how will you be remembered?

 family portrait tips

 Tip 8: Don't promise your kids anything

I think it’s no secret. Kids are impatient. Promising your kids toys or lollies during a photo session will make them want that promise more than EVER making them impatient and cranky. A promise will make their thoughts focus on something other than the photo session which will make your photos look difficult and awkward. “Smile to the camera and I’ll give you they did what you asked and you still didn’t give them a biscuit. Instead, prepare your kids by talking to them and SURPRISE them at the end of your session (without saying anything about it prior) with a trip to the ice cream place on the way back home because their were such a big kid about the whole experience. They will love you forever.

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Bonus tip: Don't forget to get a photo with just your partner

When was the last time that you had your photo taken with your partner and no kids? A selfie doesn't count! Many couples admit that they haven't had a photo taken of just the two of them since their wedding day. It only takes two minutes at the end of the shoot to take some photos of you both. Cherish the love you two have and cherish the special moments you create together with beautiful portraits of your both.

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I hope you enjoyed these family portrait tips. If you would like to book your own family portrait session, please get in touch.

Brilliant pregnancy clothing tips for photos

Your tips for what to wear

Do you panic about what clothing you should wear for maternity photos? Many women feel that they have put on lots of weight during their pregnancy and that they will look awful in their pregnancy photos. Well don't worry! I have some brilliant pregnancy clothing tips for photos to ensure that you will always look and feel beautiful.

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 maternity gallery

I love the full range of options that are available for today’s mum-to-be, such as soft and flowing or crisp and modern. There are so many options to choose from.

Here are some pregnancy clothing tips on what to wear for your photos that will show off your belly and give it the definition it deserves

DO

1) Try flowing dresses or skirts that can be gathered to show off your figure.

2) You can’t go wrong with jeans and a dark or white tank top or bandeau. For jeans and pants, try for “under the belly” style to show off your bump.

3) Go barefoot for a more natural and fun look.

4) Another gorgeous option is to wear a long tutu skirt and matching lace bandeau, or a pretty chiffon dresses (see the photos below).  I have both of these cute items available for my clients to wear so if you would like to wear them, just ask :-)

5) Scheduling a hair and makeup appointment prior to the session will pull together your look almost as much as selecting the perfect outfit

6) Bring a large sunhat for summer shoots, it can look great with a long dress, plus it will protect your from the sun!

7) For a winter maternity photo shoot you can wear a tight chunky sweater over jeans to show off your belly.

8) Have a look at Pinterest for more pregnancy clothing tips and create a board of your fav items.

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DON'T

1) Just prior to your session, try to avoid anything tight that will leave a band mark or indentations on your belly.

2) Don't wear baggy or shapeless clothing. Embrace your beautiful new shape!

3)In general avoid wearing jewellery and watches during your shoot (unless there's a really good story behind the piece). The BIG exception is wedding and engagement rings! Classic diamond studs make sense and are totally appropriate.

4) Don't wear clothes that have patterns (particularly pin stripes or small checks) or large obvious logos.

5) Don't forget to be comfortable at all times. Wear clothing that reflects your personality and that you feel gorgeous in.

Have you got any pregnancy clothing tips? Comment below and I will include them.  s on what to wear for maternity photos