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The do’s and don’ts of a family photo shoot

Thinking of booking a family photo shoot? Before you do, read these do’s and don’ts from Fiona Kelly, who specialises in fun, natural photography.

Hello there, my name is Fiona Kelly but you can call me Fee, most people do.  I’m a London and Surrey family photographer. I also photograph weddings all over the UK and for commercial shoots for brands and businesses. I’ve been a photographer for over 10 years, and an art director before that, so I’ve always been creative, it’s in my blood. I’m a Northerner now living in South London, with my husband, a 11-going-on-16 year old, Baxter the dog and Chili the cat. I’m a super organiser, tomboy, a lover of old musicals and I love having a great chat over a cuppa (or something stronger).

I’m delighted to be sharing my tips on do’s and don’ts for family photography because as you can imagine, I’ve seen it all over the years.

The definite no-nos

  • Don’t wear busy patterns or clothes with slogans or text. Busy patterns can look strange on photos, and branded clothing is distracting, it will draw the eye away from you as a family too much.
  • No need to consider this a formal photography session. It isn’t Victorian times where everyone has to stand and be serious and not themselves. You can relax and have fun, there just happens to be a photographer capturing it all.
  • Don’t wear matching outfits! This is your time to show off your unique personalities and have them captured on camera.
  • Don’t stress about knowing how to pose. Your photographer will make suggestions and keep it all natural, lighthearted and fun.
  • Don’t stress out about how the kids are (mis)behaving! They’re kids and it’s part of the fun of a family shoot to photograph you and capture your natural personalities.
  • Do not try and jam in lots of different locations as most shoots don’t take very long, so if you want to have lots of different locations plan it for different days.

The definite do’s

  • Do have a chat with your partner or any other adults involved in the family photography session about where you’d like to have the shoot – where is important to you as a family? Your own home or back garden can be perfect (and no you don’t need to redecorate first!) or choose a place you love to visit. Maybe somewhere you go to often as a family.
  • Do have a browse through your photographer’s portfolio (check out mine here)  to see what you like about their style and how they’ve captured their family clients. You can even refer to specific images when you speak to them, so they can get a nice clear idea of what you’d like for your photo session.
  • Do have a back up plan for a location indoors as well as one outdoors because, you know, British weather!  I always like to get outdoors if we can as its great for kids to be able to run and explore. 
  • Do wear comfortable, well fitting clothes – there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing. If you feel comfortable in the clothes you’re in, then it will come across on camera well. You’ll look back at the photos for a long time to come and have fond memories of a lovely day. 
  • Do wear comfortable shoes – this is not the day to break in those new shoes! The temptation to buy a whole new outfit complete with new shoes for the whole family may be there, but resist. They won’t be comfortable, and neither will you and instead the day will be filled with complaints rather than fun and laughter.

Fancy a family photo shoot? Then get in touch with Fee at

Find more ideas here

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