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One of the most common responses I hear when telling people what I do for a living is “Oh we really need new family photos, I’ve been meaning to organise it for ages”

Having professional photos taken is something on everyones to do list at some point in their lives whether it’s celebrating an engagement or wedding, capturing a growing baby bump or new arrival or just getting a photo with ‘everyone in it’. Although we would all love to have new photos of our families on a regular basis, professional photography is an expense (or investment as we prefer to see it) and not something you generally dive into on a whim.

So exactly when should you have a session done to get the most bang for your buck? Well here is a handy guide (pretty pictures included!) to help you navigate the modern options of professional family photos…

Pregnancy

Pregnancy photos are not a new concept however the trend and style behind these sessions has evolved over the years. Where once pregnancy photos were taken in a studio with a fixation on the woman’s bare belly, many lifestyle photographers now shoot these sessions in a more natural, family orientated way. Pregnancy sessions are a chance to capture the exciting transitional time in your life as you prepare to welcome your new baby. Exactly when to schedule your session will vary between photographers but a safe bet is generally 34-37 weeks.

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Newborn

The world of professional newborn photography has exploded in recent years and is now a specialist genre of family photography.┬áMost photographers will request that your newborn session is done up until baby is two weeks old and it’s likely they will either come to your home or have you visit their studio. Capturing your baby in the first fews weeks is very important if you hope to achieve many of the posed/styled shots that are popular these days. The best way to book your baby in for their newborn session is to contact your chosen photographer during your pregnancy so they can cover everything you’ll need to know before baby arrives.

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Infant

After the ‘newborn stage’ passes our next favourite age to photograph your baby is 6-8 months old. Once your baby can sit up and roll they provide lots of great options for both studio and outdoor sessions as we can capture them on the move with lots of gummy smiles! A few props can be used during these sessions if you choose to, it’s also a great time to get an updated photo with Mum and Dad.

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One Year Old

Your child’s 1st birthday is a big milestone in both their lives and yours. Many parents like to remember the occasion with some professional photos and these often incorporate a cake smash. By this stage your little darling will be crawling, rolling, sitting, laughing and possibly even walking so there are plenty of fun ways your photographer can engage with them and capture their personality.

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When Your Family is Complete

Once your family has finished growing it’s a great time for an updated photo (one where Mum or Dad aren’t the ones stuck behind the lens). I personally LOVE doing these types of sessions on location as it gives everyone plenty of room to move and get comfortable in front of the camera. Many photographers are happy to incorporate much loved pets in family sessions so if you have a furry friend that is simply ‘part of the family’ be sure to ask about taking them along too!

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Just because…

For parents that just love updated images of their children, here are a few extra times you might like to remember:

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day & Christmas
Many photographers offer what we call ‘mini sessions’ in the lead up to these special days. A mini session is a quick shoot for a flat fee and you would generally receive some digital images, prints or both. They are a great way to update your photo album each year for less than the cost of a full session.

Birthday Parties & Baptisms
A professional photographer at these special occasions is becoming more and more common. For parents that want to remember the day without the pressure of working the camera, hiring a pro is a no brainer. If it’s important but not quite in the budget, consider asking a photography student or portfolio building photographer to come along instead.

Graduation
Your child’s graduation from high school or University is a momentous occasion in every parent’s life, why not celebrate by marking the event with some new photos? (that moody teenage pout is probably gone too, another reason to celebrate!)

- Clare

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