Going with the flow

A NOTE ABOUT THIS GUIDE

Thank you for asking me to photograph your family for you. I’m so excited  to meet you all.

For most people, the idea of having a photo shoot can be quite daunting. I hope this guide will put your mind at rest so  it can be a really special experience. Above everything, the best advice I can give you is to go with the flow: embrace the chaos of life with young children and enjoy the precious time with your family. You can leave the rest to me.






Thank you for asking me to photograph your family for you. I’m so excited to meet you all.

For most people, the idea of having a photo shoot can be quite daunting. I hope this guide will put your mind at rest so it can be a really special experience. Above everything, the best advice I can give you is to go with the flow: embrace the chaos of life with young children and enjoy the precious time with your family. You can leave the rest to me.






My family storytelling sessions are playful and informal; they capture the magic of childhood and the story of your family's everyday life. Be prepared for a lot of fun and some hard work. You know what makes your child giggle and smile more than anyone so don't be afraid to play the fool by singing, dancing or pulling silly faces. I've found that having a relaxed attitude out performs any bribe by a long way.

While I strongly believe it's good to have a relaxed approach to the shoot, I often get asked questions about what to wear, how to deal with being camera shy and the best locations for the photo shoot. I hope this guide helps. If there is anything I have missed, please let me know.

- jess

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 quEstionnaiRe

FAQS

PREPARING YOUR HOME

WHAT TO WEAR

LOCATION IDEAS

 siblings

My clients often remark that having me in their home is like having an old friend round to visit. I love getting to know families before each session so I’ve put together a few questions to help me get to know you all a bit better. It is really important to complete the questionnaire before we meet so I can make the shoot truly personal to your family.

Once I receive your answers, I will schedule an ice-breaker phone call so that we can discuss any ideas and questions you may have.

Getting to know you 

pre-shoot questionnaIre

OPEN QUESTIONNAIRE

PRE-SHOOT QUESTIONNAIRE

Pre-shoot Questionnaire

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO DISPLAY YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS? 

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

What types of photographs would you not be happy with?

are there any meaningful locations you would like to have your photo shoot? 
THIS COULD BE YOUR HOME OR SOMEWHERE OUTDOORS. you can find suggestions below.

IF THERE ARE SPECIFIC THINGS ABOUT YOUR FAMILY YOU'D LOVE TO CAPTURE PLEASE DESCRIBE THEM HERE

Describe a typical weekend in the life of your family; what activities/hobbies do you enjoy doing together?

How would you describe each member of your family?

When it comes to being camera shy, or afraid of posing, you don't need to worry about a thing! I know that is easier said than done but my natural style of documenting real-life moments means you won't need to pose or even look at the camera if you don't want to. I want to capture natural and authentic moments so just focus on having fun with your family and I will capture it all as it happens.

Initiate games: tickles, bundles on the bed, flying through the air - all the things that you know your child loves as well as quieter times of connection such as reading a special book together. At times, I may guide you into the best light and gently direct you so the result is flattering but that is the most 'posing' that you'll need to do.

Relax, have fun and don't worry about posing

MY NUMBER ONE TIP

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What time shall we have the shoot?

FAQs

It's best that your child is well fed and rested before we start so I schedule most family sessions in the morning between breakfast and lunch (after your baby's morning nap, if they still have one). If things don't go to plan before we meet, don't worry - I factor in time for breaks and snacks.

Generally, most sessions will last around 2 hours but you won't find me clock watching and I will only finish when I have fully captured everything we set out to. 






WHat TIME SHALL WE HAVE THE SHOOT?

WHAT IF it rains?

what if my child misbehaves?

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS ILL?

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03

04

01

What if it rains?

FAQs

In the lead up to your session I will keep a close eye on the weather forecast but I don't tend to make a decision until the morning of the shoot as the forecast can be very unreliable. If it is wet we have the following options:

- Change the location to your home and stay warm and dry indoors.

- Make a feature of it: think welly boots and jumping in puddles!

- If you really want shots outside, but the weather is very bad, I am more than happy to re-schedule for another date.

- Please do not worry if the day turns out to be grey and cloudy, overcast skies produce beautiful soft light which is very flattering.

WHAT TIME SHOULD WE HAVE THE SHOOT?

what if it rains?

WHAT IF MY CHILD MISBEHAVES?

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS ILL?

02

03

04

01

What if my
child misbehaves?

What if my child misbehaves?

FAQs

It's natural for your child to not want to have their photograph taken - and even play up a bit for the camera. As a parent myself, I know the more you ask of a small child the more they will resist so I always try and follow their lead rather than a specific "shot list".

To capture your child's true personality we need to make sure they are having a fun. Before the shoot, I will ask you to complete a questionnaire. Please include details about your child that will help me make the shoot really enjoyable for them. This might be a specific activity, game or a location you know your child feels most relaxed.




what time should be have the shoot?

what if it rains?

WHAT IF MY CHILD MISBEHAVES?

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS ILL?

02

03

04

01

What if my child is ill?

FAQs

It's important that your baby or child is feeling their best in order to capture happy and joyful images.

I am happy to offer one re-schedule free of charge due to illness. Please note that further re-schedules are subject to a re-booking fee (50% of the original session fee).

WHAT TIME SHOULD WE HAVE THE SHOOT?

WHAT IF IT RAINS?

WHAT IF MY CHILD MISBEHAVES?

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS ILL?

"Thank you so so much for the wonderful prints, ALBUM and frames. They truly capture our family at this moment in time and it is wonderful to have these and all your other photographs around our home.
We are so lucky to have found you all those years ago!"

SARA / TEDDINGTON

If your home doesn't look like it belongs in the pages of an interiors magazine, please do not worry! Over the last ten years, I have photographed families in homes of all shapes, sizes and styles of decor - including small basement apartments. I can craft beautiful stories in any home and lighting condition as I believe there is beauty and light everywhere. Your home is your safe place and the foundation of your children's memories; as such it's the most natural setting for your family photo shoot.


Having a photo shoot
in your home

Having a photo shoot in your home

Preparing your home

GETTING READY FOR YOUR IN-HOME SESSION

When I arrive at your home I will take a walk around looking at the light and backgrounds in each room: your bedrooms, main living areas, kitchen as well as your garden. 

If you want a real documentary feel to your images then let's roll with the chaos that is family life - it all adds layers and texture to your story and will make them all the more meaningful as the years go by. If you prefer to have things 'just so', or somewhere in the middle (like me), then feel free to have a clear up before I arrive.

- Try and clear things from your bedroom and living areas that could cause distraction in the photographs, or that could look out of place e.g. clutter from your bedside tables or kitchen surfaces. 

- Please try and hide or put away any plug wires

- To keep us all safe during the pandemic, please see my Covid-19 safety measures before my arrival

Choosing a location

The best location for your photo shoot is one that is meaningful to your family and where you know you and your children will feel most relaxed - this could be your home or out and about in the great outdoors. West London and Surrey have a unique blend of urban and natural settings that make beautiful backdrops. Let's head out out to some of the special places you like to spend time as a family. It could be the park, down by the river or even roaming around your local neighbourhood. 

Richmond Hill & Riverside
Terrace Gardens
Richmond Park
Bushy Park
Marble Hill Park
Kew Gardens
 


RICHMOND UPON THAMES

Wimbledon Common
Cannizaro Park

WIMBLEDON

surrey

Chiswick House Gardens
Gunnersbury Park

CHISWICK

Holland Park
Battersea Park
Notting Hill back streets


KENSINGTON & CHELSEA

london sight-seeing

Please note some locations will be subject to a location or entrance fee. Please ask for details.

What to wear for your family photo shoot

lOOKING & feeling YOUR BEST

The most common question I am asked by parents preparing for their family session is "What should we wear for our photo shoot?". And while I can provide some tips and ideas for clothing choices, I feel what is most important is that you allow your family's personalities to shine through. I really don't want to direct your wardrobe too much as the memories we are capturing are yours and not mine, so my best advice in this regard is to stick to your personal style. If you do feel you want more guidance on what to wear for your session I have included some suggestions below.

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Be comfortable - Choose a piece of clothing or a colour that you love, and work the rest of the family's wardrobe around that. Relaxed, casual clothing like jeans and a simple tee or blouse, or a long floaty dress work really well. 

Think about the location - Another consideration when thinking about outfits and colours are the backgrounds we are shooting against. Go for shades and tones that complement the decor and styling of your home, especially if you are looking to display the photographs as wall art. A good guide is to keep things neutral.  

In the spring and summer, a skirt or jeans and a tee are perfectly relaxed as are summer dresses. Outdoors, there is a lot of bight green around at this time of year so consider complementary pastel hues as well as natural shades. Dusty rose pinks, soft blues and dove-greys are beautiful spring-time colours and work particularly well when shooting against cherry and apple blossom. (Cont...)




Clothing suggestions

for mummy

CLOTHING 1

CLOTHING 2

wHERE TO SHOP

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...For autumn shoots shades of teal, rusts, claret and mustard work particularly well as do natural tones like camel or taupe. For warmth consider knits and accessorise with a scarf rather than heavy winter coats.

Coordinate but don't match - A good tip is to try and coordinate what everyone in the family is wearing for a cohesive look. Choose 3 or 4 colours and shades that work well together but don't all match. A photo with everyone wearing blue jeans and white shirts will look flat and dated - let everybody's individual personalities shine through.

Go for neutral or natural shades and pastels - I am personally not a big fan of primary colours. Red can cause a colour cast on the skin so bright colours are best avoided. Instead, choose shades like blue-grey, cream, hues of pink or soft green. Like-wise, richer colours and can also have impact depending on the location and the season of the photo shoot: olive or forest green, indigo blue and dark purples are all great colours to consider for your family photo shoot.

Clothing suggestions

for mummy

clothing 1

clothing 2

WHERE TO SHOP

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& Other Stories
Anthropologie
ASOS
Blanqi
Boden
Free People
Isabella Oliver
John Lewis
Louise Misha




& Other Stories
Anthropologie
ASOS
Blanqi
Boden
Free People
Isabella Oliver
John Lewis
Louise Misha
MABE Apparel
Mango 
Mint Velvet
Monsoon
Serephine
Sezane




MABE Apparel
Mango 
Mint Velvet
Monsoon
Serephine
Sezane

Favourite shops

for mummy

clothing 1

clothing 2

WHERE TO SHOP

find it fast

Please do not feel like you have to dress smart for the photo shoot. Relaxed and casual clothing like jeans and a t-shirt, light shirt or a sweater work particularly. Starched shirts and Sunday best will feel too formal and make it harder for you feel relaxed and in the moment. The most important thing is to be yourself and to feel comfortable.

Be careful not to choose pin stripes as these do not photograph well. Softer, neutral colours tend to photograph better than bright colours - especially since bright colours can reflect on your skin.  

I prefer bare feet but if you prefer to wear socks be sure to choose a pair without holes!

Clothing suggestions

for daddy

clothing

WHERE TO SHOP

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Arket
ASOS
H&M
John Lewis
Octobre Editions
The Hip Store
Urban Outfitters
Zara

Favourite shops

for DADDY

clothing

WHERE TO SHOP

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- Keep it simple. Let your baby’s natural beauty shine through. Simple baby vests, a romper, or even just a nappy, will show off their soft skin and gorgeous baby rolls.

- If your baby has blue eyes - wearing a blue top will really help to bring out the colour.

- Avoid brand logos and cartoon characters - cute slogans can add personality and humour to the photographs but should be used sparingly.

- Pretty or characterful patterns can add interest and texture, but it is best to avoid large prints or checkered patterns.

- Please avoid shirts with collars as they will cover your baby’s face.




Clothing suggestions

for babies

CLOTHING 

wHERE TO SHOP

LAYETTE

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Petit Bateau
Scandiborn
Smallable
Small Folk
Little White Co.
Zara Mini

Favourite shops

for babies

clothing

WHERE TO SHOP

layette

find it fast

Choose blankets and swaddles that work well with the styling of your home and with what the rest of the family are wearing (see next slide). Colours should harmonise and not clash.

Some of my favourite brands for swaddles etc. are...






Choose blankets and swaddles that work well with the styling of your home and with what the rest of the family are wearing (see next slide). Colours should harmonise and not clash.

Some of my favourite brands for swaddles etc. are...






Layette

WHERE TO SHOP

layette

CLOTHING

for baby

Avery Row
Baby Mori
Cam Cam Copenhagen
John Lewis
Little Blue Nest
Liewood
Molly Meg
Scandiborn
The Modern Nursery

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For the most part, the ideas are the same for your child(ren). If you want to document your children just as they are at this moment in time, it might be important for their (and your) memories that they wear their beloved Spiderman t-shirt or Princess Elsa tiara. If however, you would like some guidance on how to create a more styled look to the photographs, here are a few suggestions. Above all, make sure their personalities shine through.

Avoid logos and large patterns or stripes as they can distract. Instead stick to small prints and patterns.

Steer clear from bright, primary, colours. Choose soft hues like pastel shades and neutrals.

Clothing suggestions

for children

where to shop

clothing

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Bob & Blossom
Bonpoint
Four Fairies & a Prince
Gray Label
Happyology
H&M
Kidly
Lousie Misha
Marks & Spencer
Mar Mar Copenhagen


Bob & Blossom
Bonpoint
Four Fairies & a Prince
Gray Label
Happyology
H&M
Kidly
Lousie Misha
Marks & Spencer
Mar Mar Copenhagen
Next
Nellie Quats
Newbie
Smallable
Small Folk
Zara Baby


Favourite shops

Next
Nellie Quats
Newbie
Smallable
Small Folk
Zara Baby

for children

CLOTHING

where to shop

Siblings

All too often, we hope of getting a 'perfect' photo but our young children have a completely different take on what that means - or refuse to comply at all. I see this all the time, so please do not worry if it happens! 

I love the challenge of getting siblings together for a photograph. One minute they are all cuddles and the next, too busy to take any notice of the other. For toddlers and babies I've found it’s best not to pressure them into anything they are not happy to do as they will more than likely refuse altogether. A little reverse psychology may be needed or a different focus until they are ready. For older siblings, it’s always fun to find something they enjoy doing together. It could be a case of raiding the dressing up box and playing pirates or as simple as reading a book together (see below for more suggestions).

Activity ideas

The main thing is to enjoy your photo shoot and if you are having fun, your children with have a great time too.

- Feel free to be expressive and incorporate special things that mean the world to you: your pet dog or a family heirloom for example.

- If you have a hobby or interest that you enjoy to do as a family, let’s capture that. It could be baking cupcakes or just eating them! Planning an activity that the whole family enjoys is always a good way of helping everyone feel relaxed. Other ideas include: den building, tree climbing, playing in a sprinkler, fancy dress, making ice cream sundaes.

 - Break the rules for one day. Let the kids jump on their beds or have a daytime bath. If it means happy & smiley faces who cares?!

A note to Mums

As a mother, you are probably the family memory-maker, far too often behind the camera and never present in the photographs yourself. My aim is to celebrate the very special connection between you and your child(ren). Together, we'll create beautiful images that tell the story of your everyday moments and love; photographs you'll both treasure forever. 

Like so many women, you may not feel comfortable in front of the camera. Try and put these feelings to one side and remember the importance of being present in your family's photographs. In twenty years time, you will see yourself in a totally different light and your children will only see how beautiful their mother is and how much love you had for them.


If you begrudgingly agreed to have photos, and are dreading the idea of spending a few hours with a camera pointing at you, then you are not alone! At the end of the session you may be surprised how much you actually enjoyed it. All you need to do is have the right mindset: be present with your family, play with your children and show them how they are loved. I won't even ask you to look at the camera if you don't want me to.


A note to Dads

What to bring

While I don't use props, you may want to gather any items that will have a sentimental value to you in the future. Be sure to choose pieces that are meaningful, otherwise it might end up looking contrived.

Consider:
- A range of blankets, crotchets or patchwork quilts.
- Any family heirlooms you would like to include.
- Special items like a first pair of shoes, a favourite teddy bear, toy or book.
- Wet wipes to wipe up any dribbles and runny noses. - For outdoor sessions a blanket, wet wipes and any of the other items listed above, plus a drink and a few snacks for your children if they get hungry. I recommend natural foods like fruit rather than wrapped snacks.

When to expect your images

Once the shoot is over, I will personally retouch your photographs and make other artistic enhancements typical of my style. This process normally takes 3 weeks but can take a bit longer during busy periods.

Once finished, your images will be displayed in an online proofing gallery so you can choose the photographs you would like to buy. Please note that your gallery will be live for 2 weeks only. Due to the volume and size of the files I work with, I am unable to keep any unordered photographs for longer than this period.   

My work is only truly finished the moment I hand over beautifully printed products that will become your family's future heirlooms. My services include fine art printing, album design and bespoke framing.

To view the full range of products available to purchase after your session follow the link below.

Displaying your memories

PRODUCT OPTIONS

I hope this guide covers everything you need to know to prep for your family session! However if there is something I missed, or you need a recommendation, feel free to email 
jess@jessmorganphotography.co.uk
or call 07941 967764

I look forward to meeting you soon!


THANK YOU

-  JESS