In the leadup to your family portrait experience, you might be wondering whether you’ll be “good at being photographed”; will you smile the right way, stand the right way, will you look like yourself or will you look posy, will the kids behave?

Our aim is to create meaningful, powerful, memorable pictures for you, and in our experience pictures like that don’t come from the way you stand, pose or respond when you’re told to smile.

Pictures like that happen when we’re able to help you focus entirely on the incredible family you’ve created and also on the love story that started it all. And wouldn’t you prefer images on your wall that remind you of that than a picture that shows you smiling obediently at the camera with your head tilted at the exact angle the photographer requested?

So, we’ve got a few things that can make a big difference in your pictures. Between now and your portrait experience, put aside just ten minutes as a family each day to take a break from the everyday and focus on the most important relationships in your life.

Choose a few things from this list, or draw inspiration from it to make up your own (there are points for anybody who completes the entire list!):

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1. The Crazy Name Game

Take it in turns making up new names for each other, the sillier the better. The only rules are 1) the names aren’t allowed to be mean of course,  2) you can’t use any name twice and 3) don’t overthink it. Go back and forth making up names as fast as you can. If somebody has trouble thinking of a name, call them Banana and see what they come back with! Tell the kids that it’s a practise for the Grand Final of the Crazy Name Game, which will be held during your portrait session.

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2. Adventures

Plan a surprise for your family – something you know will light up their faces – that’s happening sometime within the next 3 months. Keep it a secret until your session. It doesn’t have to be huge … but it can be.

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3. Pride

Put a notepad on the fridge, preferably up high where only grown-ups can read it. Between now and your portrait experience, make a quick note whenever somebody in the household feels proud. It might be that they’re proud of their own achievement or proud of another member of the family. Tell the kids that everything on the list will be revealed at the session.

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4. Kids Rule

Have the children plan out an amazing family date. Tell them that you’ll choose the best ideas from the list, pick a date, and at some stage during our session you’ll make the announcement. It might be planned for the day after the session or the month after. Guide them in their decisions for the sake of practicality and safety, but otherwise be as encouraging and supportive as possible of their ideas. Let them pick what to do, where to go and where to eat.

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5. Gratitude

Have each member of the family write or draw a note to each other family member, expressing one thing they are most grateful for about that person. Keep them a secret from each other until our session.

When we meet up for your portrait experience, there’ll be lots more games for the kids. Just let us know which of the activities on the list above you’ve done so that we can work them into the rest of the session.

Good luck, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss any of this. Or if you need co-conspirators to plan an even bigger surprise, we’d love to help with that too. Most of all, just have fun!