I am so excited to create some magic with you!

Human essence, framed in a picture

I am here to make sure that planning your session, whether that be maternity, newborn or family, is as easy and enjoyable as possible.
If you have any questions along the way, you can reach me at anytime at hello@ellihansonphotography.com

What we will cover in this client guide:

As mentioned, this client guide is to put you at ease in the lead up to your session.

We cover

  • What to expect before, during and after your session
  • What to wear
  • Choosing a location to suit your family
  • Top tips to enjoy your family session
  • Love notes

Let's dive in!

Hey, I'm Elli

I am a mum, a school teacher, baby lover, story teller and creative. I am passionate about capturing the honest, candid and full-hearted connections that YOU, as a mum, have with your nearest and dearest.

These moments don't last forever so capturing the smiles, expressions and laughter. My intention is to provide you with a memorable photography experience with images to last a lifetime.


Before your session

In the lead up to your session we exchange a handful of emails and there are a few items to complete.

You will be sent a questionnaire and a session agreement via your client portal. Your questionnaire answers are super helpful for me to learn a little more about your family and what you are hoping to achieve from the session.

The session agreement is to ensure we are all on the same page and also contains a model release. If you would rather opt out of this that is absolutely no problem!

Before your session, apart from exchanging emails, we also have the opportunity for a pre session phone call where we confirm location, timing and outfits. I can also answer any questions that have been on your mind that may not be answered here. All of the above generally happens in the 3-4 weeks prior to your session so if you are booking well in advance you may not hear from me until then. I always send a text the day before or the day of your session just to make sure all is well on your end.

What to wear

If your nerves start to fizz when you think about what to wear, don't worry. This is SO normal. I am here to provide you with loads of tips and tricks to make this process as smooth as possible. So before you hit the online shops at all hours, let's talk about what works and what doesn't.

The number one thing to remember is that being comfortable is key. You should look and feel like yourself. So don't feel as though you need to make a new purchase. Go with something tried and tested.

Texture is great in photo sessions too! Think chunky knits, cords and waffle fabric in winter and tulle or broidery anglaise in summer. Which brings me to my next point of matching your outfit to the season and to some extent the location. Especially with kids. Warm kids are happy kids. Unless you have a spirited 2 or 3 year old who refuses a jumper like mine does! I feel you and sometimes it ain't worth the battle. And in that case we will keep them warm with games. However, in winter and the cooler months please feel free to throw some jumpers in a bag for me to carry and for you guys to pop on when the air becomes cool as the sun dips low.

Lastly, colours. Aim for neutrals, earthy tones as these colours compliment the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go and look damn fine as printed, framed photographs. And to clarify, by neutrals I don't mean all beige, I mean sage green instead of emerald green and rust orange instead of bright orange. For families it is best to keep your colour scheme limited in colours. Choose one person to wear a feature colour and/or pattern and everyone else's outfits to revolve around that. In a nutshell, complement each other, don't match each other!

For maternity sessions you are welcome to show as much or as little skin as you like. We chat about this in the lead up to your session to ensure that you are at ease!

For newborn sessions I have a variety of blankets and props on hand that you are welcome to use however I find that most families choose their own items to include in the photos purely on sentimental value.

Some other things to consider:

  • If we are shooting at the beach or in your home then please feel free to come with bare feet as I feel that this look best compliments these two environments.
  • Natural makeup or makeup that you usually wear is the way to go. Don't feel as though you need to go out of your way to book professional hair and makeup.


Location isn't everything but it certainly can add to your family story. I have loads of beautiful locations I am happy to recommend on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane. Here are some ideas that might help to point you in the right direction.

Head to the beach

Living in such a beautiful part of the South East QLD corner it is no surprise that for me, shooting at the beach is an all time favourite. The colours, textures and endless options for impromptu activities is pure gold. I find that the waves, wind and dunes and just generally being immersed in nature help to put everyone at ease and feel relaxed. You can also achieve a wide variety in your gallery by using the water, sand and dunes for your family portraits. And if you don't mind getting a little wet in the shallows at the end, you will most definitely win the parents of the year award! Having said that if you are not a beach family then cross this one off your list asap.

GO exploring

If you have high energy, adventure loving kids then this is the perfect option for you. Exploring somewhere, new or old with your favourite people will make for an incredible shoot. One where you look back on the photos in years to come and you can't wipe the smile off your face. It could be the rockpools at your favourite beach, a short hike to a waterfall or anything in between. Just remember that adventures are hungry work so pack some extra snacks and water!

Stay at Home

They say home is where the heart is and it couldn't be more true for documenting your family in their everyday surroundings. And so, it goes without saying that the comfort of your own home is not to be overlooked. Often the kids can feel most at ease here with the added bonus of having snacks, water, books and favourite things on hand to truly capture your family in it's authentic glory. Not only that but there are plenty of activities that can be captured in and around the home like watering the garden, coffees and books on the deck or playing with the dog. Whilst these activites might seem very low key and part of everyday life, I can assure you that in years to come they will be some of your most treasured photographs and memories.

Plan an activity

Everyone loves a job right? When the kids have a job they are happy.Take the photo below for an example. The kids had the best time filling the tub, and splashing the parents whilst they were at it! Then, there was the playing in the bath itself, which if I am honest didn't last all that long. And finally the clean up. Like most of the other options here, an activity can really be anything. Ice creams at the local gelato shop, beach cricket or swim in the ocean The options are endless! .

On the day of your session

First and foremost my sessions are very relaxed. Now, I know that is easy to say and claim BUT by the time our session rolls around we would have exchanged a handful (or more) emails, chatted on the phone and maybe even a few texts. So when we meet at your location it is just like catching up with a friend. I know for sure that this helps to put my families at ease.

If we are shooting at your home, I always ask for a house tour so that we can use the best pockets of light to maximise your family story.

But what about my kids?

Trust me... I've heard every excuse under the sun as most of them have circulated around in my head for quite some time too. As a mum of 3 I get it. So, before you say my kids are wild, they won't keep their clothes on or just plain and simple - it's just too hard... I'm going to stop you right there.

Sometimes I truly feel as though I am just tagging along on your family adventure but also directing your adventure at the same time! If you have little kids then I come to the session armed with the knowledge of their names, ages and favourite things (thanks to our previous conversations together). This helps me to get your kids on side sooner rather than later so you can breathe a parental sigh of relief. I am all about following the lead of the kids and keeping them happy and if that means letting them take some photos of you guys with my camera then it is a big heck yeah from me. I've got plenty of other tricks up my sleeves too. It's no surprise then, that once the kids are happy and parents relaxed, candid, fun and heartfelt moments naturally unfold. I have my camera at the ready, and provide gentle prompts when necessary.

Let go of expectations and let the moments flow

Easier said than done, I know! I have an energetic 3 year old who simply cannot sit still, however it only takes 1/200th of a second to capture a really great shot. My best piece of advice is to treat the photography experience as a fun adventure with your family, as I mentioned before. Discuss the session with your family as much as possible and for yourself, in the lead up to the session, try and shift your mindset so that rather than focusing on bedtime, routine, behaviour or anything else, enjoy the quality time together and be present with one another. I can also guarantee you that the photos where your partner is carry your littles one upside down towards the water pretending to wet his hair will be your favourite photo.

Allllll the things and snacks

Don't be afraid to bring props and snacks to your session. I am all about incorporating what you love to do as a family into the session. More playing, less posing - that is basically my motto. If that means kicking the footy together, riding scooters or anything else - I am up for it... just let me know before hand! A snack break half way through can also do a world of good. I don't know about you but bribery features often in my parenting repertoire so sometimes the promise of something special after the session like a bike ride, park play, lollipop or whatever your kids kryptonite is, can make the process run smoothly.

Comfort is key

For your kiddo's please make sure they are comfy and it isn't their first time wearing the outfit. Comfy kids are happy kids. Just as warm kids are happy kids. For sunset sessions it can often get a little cool in the last 15 minutes when the sun has already dipped quite low so ensuring you have some warm jumpers on hand can help. You are welcome to bring more than one outfit to change things up during the session and I have a what to wear guide if you need more info on this. If you are worried about how you are going to carry all of these things - don't be! Chuck it all in a backpack and I will lug that from spot to spot. It's part of the job description.

Elli, thank you so much! They're so good. We can't believe how many amazing shots you managed to get of our boy all the while he was being so wild! Amazing.
— Astrid
Thank you so much Elli. These photos are so beautiful and I definitely shed a few tears. It means so much to us to have these photos to keep.
— Becky
Thank you so much, Elli! We are so happy with the photos. They are beautiful! You did such an amazing job and made us feel really relaxed and comfortable. Tim was skeptical at first and now he's photo obsessed.
— Laura

After your session

Now the fun really begins! Your images are delivered within 2 weeks from the date of your session. You will be able to view a slide show of your images as well as a complete private gallery with each image in both colour and black and white.

I offer an online Zoom meeting where we can pick and choose your images together or I can send email links with the gallery open for 1 week to make your choices. The first time you see your images is always the best so let's make a big deal of it!


In terms of choosing a digital and print package to suit your needs, no decisions need to be made until you have viewed your images 2 weeks after your photoshoot. You will receive a gallery or 60+ images to make your choices from. The best part about this whole process is that you only buy the images you absolutely love and cannot live without.

The delivered gallery has a complete step by step walk through guide about how to pick and choose. Of course I am always available to answer any questions that you arise during the process. I also have an online print store where you can use and redeem the print store voucher that is includes with all of my packages.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Back up your photos and then back then up again. You can never have too many copies, right? I will keep a copy for you in your online gallery for 12 months and I recommend saving your images in 2 locations.

  • Printing is paramount! Included in all of my packages are prints as I know that many of us never get to the printing part of having out photos taken. I use a professional print lap in Brisbane to ensure the highest quality. You have free reign to print your images (in terms of copyright) from your gallery however I do recommend avoiding the likes of Kmart and Big W. I recommend Streets Imaging and RGB Digital for online printing.

More ideas on the blog...