Bluebell season is one of the most popular times of the year for family and child photography. If you are planning a bluebell photoshoot this year, here are 10 tips to get the best out of your session and get great images.
1. Think about your clothing
The bluebells give a strong pop of colour, they are the showstoppers, so choosing colours that fit well will make the image cohesive. Think soft , Spring shades like dusky blues and pinks, greys and neutrals.
Navy looks great with this colour pallet, and is much more flattering than black.
Add some layers to your outfit, springtime in Wales can be unpredictable. Sometimes it can be warm in the sunshine but chilly in the woods. Bring some warmer clothing to keep chills at bay.
2. Be aware of the conditions
Remember, we’ll be in a forest in the Spring. It’s likely to be at least a little muddy. Also, the woodland is on a slope so can be slippery, so choose sturdy footwear with a good grip. Put the children in something that you don’t mind getting muddy. Kids will be kids and will find any tint patch of mud. Wellies look super cute on children, even which dressy clothes. Your feet will mostly be out of view in the images, but you can also bring some shoes to change into for when we are sitting down.
If it’s wet, we will have to reschedule the session.
3. Work Around Your Children
Choose a time when children will be happy and not too tired. The good thing about bluebell sessions is that in Spring the sun set is earlier, so you can get pretty, afternoon light when it’s not too late for little ones.
4. Be Prepared
You don’t want to arrive at your session feeling flustered. Make sure everything is washed and ironed the night before so you are not rushing in the morning. Have outfit options for everyone in case of toothpaste, jam or nappy related accidents. Mum, make sure you get some time to get yourself ready. I know you will be super busy getting the rest of the family ready but don’t forget about yourself. You will love the images more if you feel good about how you look. Let the kids hang about in their PJ’s for a little longer, turn a blind eye to the amount of YouTube they have watched and take some time for yourself. You deserve it!
Leave in plenty of time to get your location and if it’s somewhere you have never been before, ensure to check directions carefully and know where to park.
5. Make Sure Little One’s Have a Good Time
Before the session, tell little ones about the session. Get them involved and get them excited. Make sure they know it’s something to look forward to. Don’t bribe or threaten them to that they have to sit still or they will go into the session with a negative attitude.
If your child is shy of new people, considering bring a favourite toy. It will comfort them and keep them happy. It’s also lovely to have favourite toys in the images. You may not be sure of having a threadbare teddy in your photographs now, but when they are grown up it will be a lovely reminder of the time teddy was part of the family. Also a few little treats always go down well. Choose something that’s not too messy, such as white chocolate or apple slices. Hand a few out during the session to keep everyone happy. If you withhold them as a bribe until the end of the session the children will be too preoccupied with their reward to focus on the session.
6. Ensure Everyone is Well Rested and Well Fed
Select a time when little ones are likely to be in a good mood. It’s sometimes fun to let the kids stay up past their bedtime for a beautiful sunset session, but only if you know they are going to be happy to do so. A sleepy toddler is a force to be reckoned with, even for an experienced family photographer. Morning sessions are great for younger children.
Have you every heard of the word hangry? Hunger anger is a really thing, I remember my little sister used to be terrifying when she was hungry. If you are planning on going for dinner after the session then bring some snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy and avoid hangry children.
7. Cheese is for Crackers
Around the 2-3 years mark, children begin to develop a “camera smile”. This “smile” is usually nothing like the beautiful smile they get when they are genuinely happy. To avoid the fake smile, don’t ask children to smile. Instead, talk to them about their favourite things, or fun things that have done recently. Ask them to tell the photographer about a trip they recently took so that they engage with the camera.
8. Bring Some Essentials (But not Valuables)
During the shoot, leave extra clothes in the car but bring a few essentials with you. Wetwipes and tissues for cleaning snotty noses, a few mess free snacks and drinks to stave off hangry children and a well loved toy or book to help your child relax If your child has a dummy, ensure to bring a few along. You may not want it in your photos but it will be great if your little one wants to take a time out from photos. Put everything in a sturdy bag that your don’t mind setting down on the floor.
During your session you’ll probably be moving about a little so you will need to set the bag aside so it’s not in the shot. For that reason, try not to bring valuable items as you don’t want to be worrying about the bag. If possible, keep car keys and phones in an inside or back pocket so that they are safe. If they are in a front pocket they will change the shape of your clothing and it will show in the pictures.
9. Don’t Look at the Camera
Some of the best images are when everyone is looking at each other, not at the camera. Even if you do want an image with everyone smiling at the camera, it’s much easier to get these images if children are asked to look at the camera only once or twice during the session. The rest of the time, just ignore the camera and have fun with each other. The smiles you get will be more authentic if they are not forced. If you feel nervous in front of the camera your photographer will be able to give you things to do to help you forget the camera is there. When you do look at the camera, don’t ask the children to smile. Instead, ask them to full fully faces or tell the photographer a joke. They will naturally smile at the camera if they are thinking about something funny.
Investing in outdoor family photos is important, but it’s not worth stressing about. Focus on enjoying yourself and having fun with your family. Trust your photographer to do a great job for you, it’s what you’re paying them for. If you are happy during your portrait session it will show in your images. In years to come, when you look at your beautiful artwork, you will remember how happy you were.
Ready to book your bluebell portrait session? I have a limited number of sessions available for 2019. Find out the details here.