The most common question I get about my family sessions is “What is a lifestyle portrait session and what makes it different?”

The portrait session you might be familiar with is a series of poses and instructions from the photographer or assistant, everyone looking and smiling at the camera is the key. The sessions can be very short and usually occur in a studio. These sessions can be stressful for some people including children, the outcome is predetermined to be a very styled session of everyone looking and smiling.

A Lifestyle session can be at your home, or outdoor location, it can include a series of activities, some gentle prompts and minimal direction. I will not ask you to smile, the focus is on the emotional connection between the people involved in the portrait session. These sessions can take around 1.5 hours and we do it literally anywhere other than a studio. Most often it’s in a woodland or in your own home, but can be anywhere, on holiday, at a fairground, a boat ride! Families really enjoy them, because parents get the chance to interact with their children and get photographed in the way they envisaged their life. Lifestyle sessions are always unique to the family, no two sessions are the same.

You will become used to the camera very quickly as you relax into your day, there is no sitting still posing. If children are involved and they get tired, that’s not an issue. Tired children are real life. I document it all for you, warts and all in a beautiful way, and as we know children can change their mood in seconds.

I am often asked advice on what to wear. My answer is – wear what makes you feel comfortable.
You can of course splash out on a new wardrobe especially for your shoot, so you feel amazing and special however if you don’t feel like you in your clothes it will show through. Be comfortable, if that means wearing a slouchy hoody then go for it. My personal suggestion for natural beautiful photos is to wear clothes that have movement and flow, unless you have a special reason clothing should be simple and free of logos, we want the focus of the photograph to be you. Long floaty dresses are always lovely to photograph, men think casual rather than “interview”.

During the shoot, focus on connecting physically and emotionally with your family, feel free to embrace your partner, cuddles on the bed or sofa, holding hands, eye contact, talk to your child from all different levels, pick them up, do aeroplanes, swing them, cuddle and tickle them, kiss them, cuddle them. If you want fun photos with the family on the bed, then go for it! I may advice during the session on where you should be, but mostly the session is 100% yours to do with what you wish, take a moment to pick a flower with your children, put it in their hair, blow dandelion fairies, be aware of your environment, forget that the real world exists for an hour and enjoy the session as if there is nothing else. If you sense that someone in the party needs help, go ahead and help or ask for my help. My job is to make you comfortable and capture the candid connecting moments of love between your family.

Are you ready to have a Lifestyle session? Talk to me …

I would like a lifestyle session!

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