Pack these three items for your next session

Many families that I photograph don't bring anything except themselves to the photo session which I absolutely LOVE - don't get me wrong. BUT in my experience having these three items on hand can make all the difference throughout a session.

First and foremost I am going to quash the most common reason why families don't bring anything and that is that they didn't want to carry a bag around. I get it - but that is what I am here for! I am happy to sling a bag over my shoulder and take it with us on our adventure.

The list

  1. Water bottle - It is often thirsty work running around and playing games throughout the photo session. Most of the photos you see on my socials are of kids being active and doing what kids do best! The photos you see of the family snuggling together are often the last part of the session when everyone needs a break. If I had to put the two in a ratio I would say it is 70% being active and 30% calm and cuddly.
  2. Snacks - pack dry, non messy snacks that can be whipped out at any stage of your session. As above, being active is hungry work too. Crackers or muesli bars are an easy go to. I will often keep photographing during the snack breaks but don't be shy to say 'we need a snack break!' For snacks I recommend foods that your kids would have on a regular day. If they know there is a special treat in the back like a lollipop or lollies they are more likely to act up in an effort to get the treat sooner which is why I don't recommend this approach. If you want to offer something special to your kiddo's for doing a great job with the photo session I suggest it being a surprise to them and having it at the ready in the car or better yet - make it something you have to get from a shop on the way home!
  3. Towel - Now this one is really only pertinent to a sunset session by the beach or water where the kids are likely to get wet. In fact, I highly recommend getting the toes... ankles... knees wet at the end of a session. The reason why I save it up to the end of the session is that once the kids get wet it generally lasts 15 or so minutes before they become uncomfortable in their clothes. A towel or two can make all the difference to wrap them up in a warm cuddle on the way back to the car. I always bring my underwater housing to these sessions so that the kids can have a great splash about and I don't have to worry about getting my camera wet. It is one of the best part of family photo sessions to truly get those authentic smiles and giggles. Because who doesn't love splashing their parents and siblings? I find that a towel (or two if you have a big group) is generally sufficient. Some families choose to pack a spare set of clothes if they are heading out afterwards. Most kids seem happy to go home wrapped in a towel.

Pop all these items in a bag or backpack and consider it my responsibility for the duration of the session until you say the word and we stop for a break. The other hidden benefit of bringing a bag with you is that you can put your phone and keys inside. The dad's (who we adore so much) often like to keep these items secure in their short pockets but often the bumps and edges show up in the photos. It also nice to have 60 minutes of disconnect from your devices and truly hone in on the needs of your loved ones during this time. Each year we book out own family photos and the kids just think it is the BEST ever that we are so present with them for the session and they become the stars of the show. Every idea is investigated, every game is played, every hug is long.

FIVE items that I always have in my camera bag

I have my own little go to pack of goodies that I have on hand for use during any of my photo sessions.

  • Mozzie spray - generally at the beach they don't bother us but sometimes if there is not wind about they like to come out in force
  • Hair ties - at the ready if you hair starts getting to you by the end of the session
  • Panadol - for adults - nothing worse that trying to enjoy a photo session if you have a head ache or another ailment that is taking your focus away from being present with your family
  • Bandaids - nothing worse than a little love in your family having a tumble. Sometimes all you need is a bandaid paired with a cuddle to turn that frown upside down.
  • Tissues - to mop up tears, clean glasses - I am sure you guys know how versatile these are.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

This quote really hits the nail on the head. More often than not, families don't stop during the session for a snack break. But of course, if you don't pack these essentials then you can basically guarantee that the kids will need all the things. Murphy's law right! And if you don't use these items throughout the session they are bound to come in handy on the car ride home.

The session featured in this blog was from Boxing Day 2023. The summer weather here on the Sunshine Coast generally consists of hot days and afternoon storms which provide some much needed reprieve from the heat. The day of this session was no different and we were in constant contact through out the afternoon deciding whether to go ahead or not. We arrived at Peregian Beach at 5pm and we were right underneath a huge storm front. To the north was beautiful blue sky and sunshine and to the south were dark, rolling clouds. Their family photo gallery is a constant contrast between the two skies and really sums up the QLD weather.

This family were visiting from Victoria so they were prepared for all four seasons. The session involved kisses on mums belly where their baby sister is happily growing, shoulder rides, running races and of course splashing in the water. All of the good stuff!