6 Tips for your Family Photos

6 Tips for your Family Photos

So you're thinking of having family photos taken and you have a growing list of concerns; how am I going to dress my kids?  Will my husband be grumpy?  What happens if my kids are complete ratbags?

Well here, let me help answer some of these troubling questions.

Samantha & Terry: Traveston Wedding

"Terry, there's nothing weird about another guy photographing you in your duds"

As a second shooter it's my job to document the boys getting ready and in particular the groom.  I arrived at the Traveston property early in the afternoon to photograph Terry and his mates as they got ready.  The guest house was tiny and dark but had great window light.  Once everyone was ready we headed outside to say 'cheers' and jump on the bikes.  I took the shot below while riding in the tray of a ute on the drive down to the ceremony. 

In between shooting the Groom and waiting for the ceremony to start I photograph all the smaller details that are ready such as the signage, bridal table and reception hall, personal effects and candid portraits of guests. 

Always on the ready for the Dad and Daughter moments.

During the ceremony I work hard to get opposing angles to the main photographer and make sure I am out of their shots.  If they are shooting wide, I'm usually shooting long and vice versa.  Once the formals begin, its my time to capture the guests and if required shadow the main photographer during the formals and always keeping an eye out for distracting elements in the shot or just assisting.   

Groomsman jumping out of ATV

For a second shooter I have a fairly good and reliable Nikon kit, shooting with both D800 and D610 full frame bodies.  I will generally stick to a 24-70 F2.8 and a 70-200 F2.8 lens for the ceremony but will rotate through 18-35, 35 F1.8, 50 F1.8, 85 F1.8 lenses for the preparations and candid images.  For receptions and darker ceremonies I will use a Nikon SB-910 and SB-600 speed lights both on the camera and remotely triggered.  Sometimes I will also have a pair of Fuji X-T1's with me and shoot with 18 F2, 35 F1.4 and 60 F2.4 Macro.   

Backing up images is a huge concern of mine, both Nikon cameras will be set up to shoot back up to second card and I will swap out new cards in three stages over the day, preparations, ceremony, and reception, so that there is less chance of losing a full day of shooting.  After the shoot I will upload to my PC and then make a back up to two external drives, one that gets swapped over monthly with an off site copy and a second to a portable drive that goes every where with me.  The memory cards are not wiped until I have backed up to at least 3 different locations and delivered to images.     


Sara & Phill: Buderim Wedding

My day started at Sara and Phill's apartment, not a bad spot overlooking the water from the top floor.  Sara and her family were getting ready here before heading to the ceremony at Wirreanda Park in Buderim.  It was a very casual affair where I was able to get some candid images of everyone preparing and just hanging out with each other. 

 
Stuart did a fantastic job with our wedding. We love the shots we got back, and noticed the attention to detail and fine editing.
He recorded all the special moments of the ceremony without us even realizing it was being done. We’d recommend him for any event.
— Sara & Phill
 

Phill and his mate Mick were already at Wirreanda Park in Buderim setting up and greeting the guests as they arrived.  The park is lined with fig trees with a huge green canopy above letting through gorgeous dappled light.  Bruce, Sara's dad, had been rushing to finish of his old Holden the night before - just in time to drive Sara and Ella to the ceremony.

One of my favourite moments to capture, Dad handing over his daughter

To finish the night off the reception was held at the Bird Cage function room at Parklands Tavern, I love using off camera flash around the room to give some energy to the dancefloor.

It was a big day for all.

When Sara and Phill arrived home from their honeymoon I had their proof images printed ready for them to select their favourite images for print.  Part of this wedding package included 4x6" prints, 8x10" prints, 11x14" prints and a few 16x20" prints, all of which were further retouched and enhanced to best suit the paper stock. 


Grace & Justin: 10 year Vows

Grace and Justin renewed their vows in a small ceremony in the St Francis Xavier Church in the small town of Dayboro surrounded by close family and friends.  The church was tiny but light filled which allowed me to move around and capture moments without intruding with strobes, I shot with both 35mm and 85mm lenses on my Nikons which worked perfectly for wedding.  


Khalia & Mark: Red Beach

Khalia and Mark have known each other for the past five years but only met each other in person two years ago, and after spending an afternoon at the Beach with this laid back couple I get the feeling that these two will be the best of friends for years to come.

Mark had recently proposed to Khalia when visiting Cairns, being a bit of a joker Mark had asked Khalia if the box on the back seat of the rental car was hers or if it had been left there by the previous person, it must have been quite a shock as Khalia opened it up.

We headed to Red Beach at the southern tip of Bribie Island for the afternoon, the diversity of places to take photos is great with beach scenes through to the stringy paper barks and drfitwoods - it really is one of my favourite spots to photograph.      

I think it took a little while for Mark to warm up to me and the camera but pretty soon both Mark and Khalia were into the banter and had really loosened up.    


Bronwyn & Peter: Kurwongbah

Meet Bronwyn and Peter, a young couple who met online and hit it off. 

I wanted to try something different for this engagement session with Bronwyn and Peter so after the shoot I sat down with each of them and recorded the stories of how they met, their first impressions, and how Peter proposed.  The video above is the first of these personalised slideshows that I have created and I hope to do more in the future.


 

    

Katrina: Urban Maternity Shoot in Caboolture

 
Just a few photos from our maternity shoot with the ever talented and patient Stuart C Photography. The hardest part of the whole process is deciding on which photos to put on our walls - Brenton and I just love them! FYI - Gids had the absolute BEST time playing in the leaves and collecting sticks in the bush!
— Katrina
 

Katrina came to me asking for an urban style maternity shoot, her last maternity shoot was at the Power House but this time wanted something different and a bit closer to home.  I spent quite a few nights pondering locations and then headed out on a weekend mission to find the right locations around Caboolture. 

We met up in the centre of town where I had found three very different spots in the one area.  Katrina's parents came along to the photoshoot which was excellent as they could chase after the little guy when he wasn't particularly interested in being in front of the camera.  

After the shoot and the first selection of images were edited, we all met up again at a local cafe for the reveal, it is so nice to see the reactions in person.


Yuka & Ryan: Ilkley Wedding

Ryan and Yuka wedding at Annabelle Chapel Sunshine Coast by Caboolture Wedding Photographer Stuart Cox of Stuart C Photography

Congratulations Ryan and Yuka! 

Ryan and Yuka held their wedding at Annabelle Chapel on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.  A quiet wedding in amongst beautiful gardens with close friends and family. 

My first solo wedding was a little bit different, the trend with young couples from the east is to have a pre-wedding shoot and use these photos to display at the reception for their friends and family to admire.  A few weeks prior the wedding I met with Ryan and Yuka at the chapel to shoot the formal photos, while this is not typical it relieves the pressure and stress of the wedding day and gives the couple more time to hang with their friends and family.  A selection of photos were printed on lustre paper and mounted to display at the reception. 

The wedding day was a relaxed affair where I shot the preparations at home, ceremony and formal group photos before heading to the reception for some candids and cake!  

Stuart turns every session into an adventure. We booked Stuart for 3 days and gave him a huge wish-list of shots that we wanted to play with from idyllic countrysides to casual candid moments to grainy film noir settings. It wasn’t just a photo shoot, it was a good laugh and great day of playing around. Stuart provides a full service which goes far and beyond a simple photography booking.

We spent days sending storyboards, props lists and location ideas back and forth. Stu somehow finds a way to turn each of his photos into a fun, compelling story. My advise is to give him a couple ideas that are important to you, and then just let him run wild with it. You won’t be disappointed and you know you’re getting a personal, dedicated service when your photographer is excitedly replying to your text messages at 2am in the morning..!

Thanks Stu, we really appreciated your creativity, humour and especially all the extra hours you put into our shoot!
— Yuka & Ryan

The Safe House: Baron, Crosby and Franky Two-Shoes

The Safe House; Baron and his muscle Franky Two-Shoes meet with Crosby in the safe house, trust levels are low and after a few scuffles the trio plan their hit.

Possibly the most fun shoot of the year, helping Ryan (Baron) bring his concept to life through photos.  We set up in a shed using constant LED lighting and a smoke machine for a raw underground industrial look.  

Stuart turns every session into an adventure. We booked Stuart for 3 days and gave him a huge wish-list of shots that we wanted to play with from idyllic countrysides to casual candid moments to grainy film noir settings. It wasn’t just a photo shoot, it was a good laugh and great day of playing around. Stuart provides a full service which goes far and beyond a simple photography booking.

We spent days sending storyboards, props lists and location ideas back and forth. Stu somehow finds a way to turn each of his photos into a fun, compelling story. My advise is to give him a couple ideas that are important to you, and then just let him run wild with it. You won’t be disappointed and you know you’re getting a personal, dedicated service when your photographer is excitedly replying to your text messages at 2am in the morning..!

Thanks Stu, we really appreciated your creativity, humour and especially all the extra hours you put into our shoot!
— Yuka & Ryan

Morgan & Jordan: Shorncliffe Pier

In all the years I have been visiting Shorncliffe Pier I have never walked to the end of it, worth the walk as it's such a nice spot to take in the bay.  Morgan and Jordan met me down at the pier for a casual engagement shoot late in the afternoon, the weather was great with wonderfully warm skies.

These are a couple of my favourite images from the session which went for around an hour.  The above image really appeals to me, we took advantage of the sheltered area to avoid the wind which gives a sense of intimacy and privacy.

Congratulations Morgan and Jordan on your recent engagement and I hope you enjoy the fine art prints for years to come.

Morgan & Lara: Brisbane Power House

Female couple in black jackets against brick wall with green glass behind during evening

I met Morgan and Lara at the Brisbane Power House at Newstead on a Saturday afternoon, the aim for the shoot was urban and colour.  There was a bit of a jostle for positions among the numerous wedding parties but we managed to get around to all the great backdrops the Power House has to offer.

We created many great photos during the shoot and these are a small selection of my favourites.  Towards the end of the shoot Morgan and Lara had a wardrobe change and upon seeing Lara is her leather jacket I knew she needed to be the dominant character in this image pushing Morgan up against the brick wall.  

Morgan and Lara have been together for three years after meeting at a conference and recently became engaged.  Unfortunately Australia has a while to go before we are given the basic rights to marry the ones we love.

Brian & Tash: Family Photos at Home

Outdoor family photo at dusk in home garden setting

Sometimes the best place to take family photos is at home; yes in the familiar surrounds of your own backyard.  Home is generally a relaxing environment, perfect for children to just be themselves in their own space and perhaps oblivious to the person behind the camera.  I spent the afternoon and evening with Brian, Tash and the twins in their very green back yard.

First up we spent some time in the vege patch while the kids were warming up to me, instead of jumping straight into posed photos we let the kids show me around the garden.  The two photos of Father and Son picking peanuts and Mother and Daughter picking flowers are some of my favourites from the afternoon as they show both the bond between them and to the environment.  After we had explored the vege patches I set up a nice family shot between the flower beds and captured a mixture of natural and posed photos.  The background may be a little unconventional but I like that the plain grey of the shed walls make the colours pop and all focus is on Brian, Tash and the kids.     

I like to include props and activities in my family photos, here we used a vintage push bike and sidecar which the kids love to ride around in, I jumped on it to with the twins for a bit of a laugh.  The bike has been in the family circle for many years and was gifted from a close family friend, i'm sure there are some photos of Brian sitting in the sidecar when he was a child.   

Props and activities also lead to some great candid moments where the children forget about the camera and do what kids do best; Play.  dad is a tinkerer and spends a lot of time in the shed with these two so we set up a spot in the shed with tools and a small engine.  With the scene set we left the twins to their own devices and watched the play time unfold, sure enough just like dad they are on the tools and having a blast.


Cassie Riley Pt 1: Environmental Portraits Project

Cassie Riley is one very talented young lady with multiple international and national titles to her name.  Here is this short video she tells us about her favourite weapons, Kamas.

This is the first video in my current project about interesting hobbies, professions and past times.  The project idea has evolved from just photography to creating multimedia incorporating still photography, video and voice.  There has been a few weeks preparation leading up to this short clip which is part one of this shoot.  The second shoot we are focusing on tricking which is a mixture of martial arts kicks and flips with break dance and gymnastics thrown in.

My Children: Newstead House, Newstead

Kids running down stairs in traditional cottage garden. Outdoor family photos Caboolture Photographer Family Photography

One thing you can never have enough of is photos of your kids, they grow so quickly.  

This year my wife Kathy has asked me to keep up the photos of the kids and do at least one proper photo shoot a month of the two of them.  Every year we have made ourselves a photo book with images of them doing all kinds of activities and visiting places near and far.  

This month we headed to Newstead House, one to learn about local history and secondly they have fantastic manicured gardens everywhere.  Technically I'm not allowed to shoot there with out a permit for a paid gig, but as it's personal it didn't really matter so much.

I'll definitely be printing these images to be hung around the house.


Merchant Family: Shorncliffe Pier

Boys will be boys, lined up at the handrail near Shorncliff Pier

Boys will be boys - like herding cats but you can't beat candid and natural moments

You don't have to apologise for your children not following instructions or sitting still and posing perfectly for the camera - that just isn't going to happen.  Just embrace it, run with it, see what they do and be quick to capture.

I spent the morning with these boys, all cousins from three families and it was chaos but it was great; They couldn't sit still no matter how hard everyone tried.  But sometimes that makes for fun photos, candid memories of kids being kids - playing, exploring, completely oblivious to the camera.  

I have young children myself so I know what it's like; don't be embarrassed, don't apologise, don't worry - I've got this.   


Van Gosliga Family: Lake Eden, Northlakes

Adult family portrait at dusk under jacaranda tree

Over the past year or so I have built a good relationship with Rex.  Rex owns and runs a cafe local to my office, I drink a lot of coffee so I see him regularly.  One afternoon we arranged to meet down at Lake Eden, Northlakes for a family portrait session - these images were from session number 2 as we rescheduled due to being rained out on the first attempt.

After previous experimentation with flash, soft boxes and dusk lighting, we decided at the end of the session to keep shooting into the falling light.  While they aren't natural looking outdoor photos that I would normally take, I do like how everyone pops off the dark background and the rest of the light at the edges falls off.   


Nicolle & Nicholas: Dicky Beach, Caloundra

Couple standing in rockpool at dusk with reflection in water

Wow - Dicky Beach, Caloundra.  So many spots to strike a pose; rock pools, the waters edge, dunes, rocks, stairs... the mind boggles where to begin.

Nicolle and Nicholas were after some engagement portraits prior to their wedding so we all met up at Dicky Beach for a late afternoon session.  The image at the top of the page was experimental but it paid off, I used flash in a soft box on a stand just out of the frame to light the couple which allowed me to capture those awesome dark purple and blue hues of dusk. 


Jacinda & Wayne: Kurwongba

Looking back down the path

I spend a lot of time in the car for work and am always scouting new locations for photo shoots, one morning I came across this bush land scene out the back of Narangba with all sorts of features; bush tracks, dirt roads, old timber fencing, long grass - a really rural country setting.

Jacinda and Wayne liked the idea of the country setting so we headed out for an afternoon family portrait setting, sometimes it can take a while... or not at all for the little ones to warm to the photographer.