How to choose the best location for your family photography session - Melbourne Family Photographer

One of the top questions clients ask me when booking their family photography session is “where should we have our session!?" and so it's made me think about the things I look for in a great location and I thought I would share my thoughts about it, here.

The four main points that I think about when trying to decide on a location are - 

SIGNFICANCE
DISTRACTIONS
PRIVACY
VARIETY

 

I'll chat a bit more about each of these points below, so please read on. 

Sometimes it's worthwhile venturing a little further out of the city for your family photography session - this session took place on the Mornington Peninsula

Sometimes it's worthwhile venturing a little further out of the city for your family photography session - this session took place on the Mornington Peninsula

SIGNIFICANCE

Think about places you go with your family and things you do together that are important and meaningful to you.   Do you guys love to go for adventures in the forest together on weekends?  Do you spend every evening in summer at the beach ? Do you visit your local café  so regularly that they no longer even ask you for your order?  Having your family photography session in a spot that is special to you and already holds its own memories in your heart are going to make your images just that much more treasured in the years to come!   

family lifestyle photography

DISTRACTIONS -

While it’s wonderful to choose a spot that has significance to you, it is also important to think about how practical the space is going to be for the purposes of a photo session. For example, if you want to do your session at your local park, but the only time you guys ever visit that particular park is for your toddler to play at the playground there, how do you think they will cope when we arrive and tell them they can’t play on the playground and that we’re going to go and do some photos instead!? If they’re anything like my kids, that probably won’t go down so well #tantrumcentral !!!  For that reason, I do try to avoid parks that have playgrounds, because once your toddler sees that, they’re never going to forget about it and you probably didn’t book a professional photographer to get 100x photos of your toddler going down the slide !  

mornington peninsula family photography

PRIVACY

Chances are, unless you’re a professional model, you’re probably not SUPER comfortable in front of the camera !! One thing that I think really helps during your photo session is picking a location that isn’t always packed full with people so you don’t feel like you are being watched by a group of 50 curious onlookers.  Crowded areas with lots of people can make it that much more difficult to relax! For example, inner city parks and beaches on a sunny afternoon = top destination for 99% of Melbournians ***!!  In summer, I try to schedule beach sessions for the morning when they tend to be quieter or I suggest that we venture a little further to some of the quieter beaches further out that have just a little more space.  I also suggest we avoid the really popular/well known parks and opt for quieter spots that are just as (if not more) photogenic !

(***completely made up statistic...from time to time I like to exaggerate to make my point)

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VARIETY -

OK, so you were thinking that the park across the road from your house has some nice greenery on the very far right hand side of said park….BUT it is bordered by roads / houses and/or car parking that is slightly less photogenic…. Because you see, the thing about my photo sessions is there is no WAY I am going to get you all to stand in once place for the entire time !  We are going to be moving around, your kids will be running around / playing and so if the location isn’t versatile enough, you’ll end up with a big bright blue station wagon in the background that is going to be distracting and take away from your images !!  As you can see from this session, the locations we shot at had SO.MUCH.VARIETY – it didn’t matter where we turned or what direction we were facing, it was all just so beautiful and that to me, is the ultimate test of a location !!

melbourne natural and fun family photography

A few final thoughts

- My outdoor sessions are always scheduled to coincide with sunrise or sunset, the time of day we photographers refer to as "golden hour". This is when the light is beautiful, flattering and well, just generally pretty damn magical !! The times of sunset and sunrise obviously change quite a lot during the year and it's not always the most convenient time when you have young children - but I can promise you, that for just this one day, it is 100000% worth the small disruption to their routine! 

- Pack lightly for outdoor sessions - please leave your pram in the car and handbags/sunglasses etc. at home ! We're going to be moving around a lot during your session and the last thing we want to have to worry about is moving bags/prams out of the shot. 

- Given we live in Melbourne, there is always the possibility that mother nature will have other plans for our desire to be outside on the day your shoot is scheduled - if the weather is looking dicey, I generally suggest we hold off making the decision to reschedule until the day of the session as the forecast can be so changeble. But we definitely won't be shooting in the rain ! 

- We live in an absolutely BEAUTIFUL part of the world, with endless natural beauty to discover! Of course we can find gorgeous spots close to home, but if you're up for an adventure, let me know and I'm always SOO excited to travel a little further out and explore new places!! 
 

So, there you have it, my top tips for choosing your outdoor location for your next family photography session.   Would you add any others to the list ? 
 

I would LOVE to know what your dream photo location in or around Melbourne would be.  Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know.  If you would like to book in your own family photography session, please get in touch and let's make some magic together ! 

Also, I couldn't help myself but do a big ol' overshare of this gorgeous recent family session on the Mornington Peninsula, only a short drive from Melbourne.

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beautiful in home family photography melbourne

5 tips to help you prepare for your lifestyle newborn photography session

melbourne newborn photographer

1. What to wear 

This is hands down the most commonly asked question I get asked.  I really and truly believe that the main thing here is that you need to feel like yourself and you need to feel comfortable … and no, I’m not suggesting we do a session in your PJ’s (although, that actually could be kind of cool ...) but I definitely don’t want you getting dressed up to the nines in clothes that make you feel stiff and uncomfortable – keep in mind that for the majority of your session you’re going to be in your home, up on your bed/couch, cuddling your newborn baby and perhaps playing with your older children.  

I have created a Pinterest board which has lots of outfit inspiration, here –

Jess Worrall Photography - Pinterest Board

Also, a few other important things to keep in mind are -

•  MUMS, the single most important thing is that YOU feel ah-mazing and comfortable – so take this opportunity to buy yourself something that you feel a million dollars in. Tell your partner I OK’d it 😉  Once you have found something amazing for yourself, you can pick the other outfits to compliment yours (keyword here is “compliment” not “matching”! It’s not necessary for you all to dress in jeans and the same coloured white/black tops ... in fact, please don’t do that!)

•  Neutrals are timeless (but pops of colour are beautiful too and can really inject your own unique personality into your images)

•  Long flowy skirts/dresses or simple basics matched with textures (scarfs/kimonos/cardigans) photograph really well

•  I beg of you, please avoid wearing shirts with graphics, logos or lettering, or mixing too many different patterns. These all detract from what the real focus of the image should be (you) and often, date really quickly

• My all time favourite newborn outfit? A plain white singlet or short sleeved onesie. So simple and it allows for alllll the focus to be on your gorgeous newborn and their cute little teeny tiny arms, legs, feet, cheeks ... you get the drift here, right?  Plus, you can add colour and texture and extra prettiness with gorgeous muslins and blankets.

Melbourne newborn lifestyle photographer

2.  Preparing your home

We will not be shooting in every room in your home, so do not feel like you have to spend days tidying and cleaning your entire house. Generally we will stick to 2-3 rooms and this is largely determined by which rooms have the best natural light (these tend to be your main bedroom, living room and maybe a nursery/kids room). Although I do recommend a little bit of tidying and general decluttering, please don’t feel like you need to  present a show home fit for the covers of an interiors magazine – your home still needs to tell your story and show that you live there! 
 

I almost ALWAYS will shoot in your main bedroom, piling you all up on your bed together. With this in mind, make sure you have your favourite doona cover ready to go, or if you’ve been eyeing off the new Kip & Co range or latest Adairs catalogue, now’s the time to make that purchase!!  
 

The last thing to consider is the room temperature. Newborn babies tend to be a lot more settled when they are warm and they generally prefer it a lot warmer than us adults ... so on the morning of your session, if it’s winter, pump up the heating a few extra degrees for an hour or so beforehand or if it’s summer, turn off the air con! If we’re feeling uncomfortably warm, that generally means it’s the perfect temperature for bub which will hopefully result in a sleepier/more content baby (fingers crossed!).

Natural newborn photographer in Melbourne

3. When to schedule your session

One of the things I love about lifestyle newborn photography is that there is not a strict timeframe to schedule in your session. For posed newborn sessions, it’s really important that the baby is settled and sleepy, so they can be easily moved into different poses, which is why it’s recommended that sessions take place within the first 6-14 or so days. For lifestyle newborn photography sessions however, this is not necessary and it’s not as important that your little one sleeps the entire time. I shoot newborn photography sessions with babies anywhere from 1 week to 3 months old and each age/stage has its own advantages.
 

In saying all of that, I know that many parents are super keen to have their baby photographed in those first few weeks of life when they are at their tiniest, and so if that is the case for you, it’s really important that you book your newborn photography session in during your pregnancy and also that you contact me as soon as you can once bubs is born so we can schedule the date of your session.
 

I generally find that if you and your partner are still on maternity/paternity leave, midweek usually works best for a newborn session as you are often inundated with visitors on weekends and it’s all a bit hectic. Currently I offer newborn photography sessions in your home in and around Melbourne, Tues - Thurs at either 10am or 2pm.

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4.  During your session

The chances are high that your bub is going to experience periods of unsettledness during your newborn photography session. As the mother of two babies who could barely be put down for 30 seconds during their first few months of life, believe me when I tell you that I GET IT! Newborns are wildly unpredictable and very rarely listen to reason (we all know that whoever invented the term "sleeping like a baby" was a cruel and misleading individual). But please let me reassure you that this is totally to be expected and not going to ruin your session!!

A few things I would suggest to help try to minimise your bub being really unsettled during your session are -

1) Be prepared to do some extra feeds/top ups during the session. Even if it’s not generally at a time when you would plan to feed bub, if he/she is unsettled, sometimes just a little top up is enough to make them nice and content (it certainly works for me 😉)

2) If you are putting your baby down for a nap before I arrive, consider dressing them and wrapping them in what you would like them photographed in. That way, if they are still sleeping when I arrive, we don’t need to disrupt them and risk upsetting them by getting them undressed straight away.

3) As mentioned above, try and keep the rooms we are shooting in really warm: uncomfortable for adults = perfect for newborns!!

natural newborn photographer in melbourne

5. Older siblings

Awww, my favourites! No, honestly!! I love working with toddlers, they add such a fun and unpredictable element to sessions that I have learnt to wholeheartedly embrace! My number one rule for working with older toddler siblings is not to force them into anything, particularly early on in the session. For some toddlers, they really just don’t want a bar of their newborn baby brother or sister, and so getting them just to sit NEAR the baby, is a win! For others, it’s about protecting the newborn baby from the toddlers overwhelming love and adoration they feel, which often results in body slamming cuddles!  It’s a fine line to walk and although that can be stressful at times as the parent, my number one piece of advice for you during your session is to just roll with whatever the toddler is doing on the day. If your toddler is not interested in photos, initially I’ll focus on other photos first and then come back to the shots with the toddler in them. Only as a last resort and after I’ve exhausted all of my other tricks would we resort to bribery. It's important not to bring out the big guns too early (ie. if they have a comfort toy/dummy or favourite food that you think will get them onside, let's save that for when we REALLY need it and preferably leave it as long as possible before even mentioning it!).

Another benefit of lifestyle photography is that you don’t need to worry about trying to get them to sit still and look at my camera. Instead, you can just focus on cuddling/playing with them and doing whatever YOU guys do together that makes them happy.  Again, I have a 4 year old and 2 year old at home, so I know they can be extremely temperamental and that they generally have ridiculously short attention spans!!  Bless their young hearts ;)

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Having a bit of an idea about what to expect in the lead up to your newborn photography session can help things go a little bit more smoothly - if you have any other questions about what to expect, or if you live in or around Melbourne and would like to book your own newborn lifestyle photography session, please get in touch here  

For now though, feel free to peruse through some more photos from this gorgeous session!

Seddon newborn photographer
camberwell newborn photographer
carlton newborn photographer
Hawthorn newborn photographer
elsternwick newborn photographer
yarraville newborn photographer

Jess Worrall is a lifestyle newborn and family photographer based in Melbourne. Jess specialises in natural, relaxed and unposed newborn and family photography. Jess sometimes likes to speak in the 3rd person, but generally just for blogging purposes, so please don't be too put off by that (I tend to not do it in real life).

Arabella - Melbourne Newborn Photographer

natural lifestyle newborn photography session

This sweet family welcomed their newborn baby girl into the world recently, and we spent a morning together capturing alllll the love in their beautiful Melbourne home.  One of the things I love so much about in home sessions, is that it's such a safe and comfortable environment for older siblings and it really allows for their ADORABLE personalities to shine.... allow me to make my point with the images below!!! 

Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with words this week, total overshare of photos instead !! #GIVETHEPEOPLEWHATTHEYWANTJESS

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melbourne newborn lifestyle photographer
yarraville newborn photographer 
seddon lifestyle newborn and family photographer
bayside newborn photographer

 

Jess Worrall is a lifestyle newborn and family photographer based in Melbourne. Jess specialises in natural, relaxed and unposed photography. Jess sometimes likes to speak in the 3rd person, but generally just for blogging purposes, so please don't be too put off by that (I tend to not do it in real life).  From a business sense, it would be remiss of me not to add a little bit here about if you were wanting to book your own newborn or family session, that you should absolutely get in contact with me and we chat about any questions you may have !! Allow me to insert a handy little link to my contact form, to make your life that little bit easier!! 

melbourne lifestyle newborn photographer

Five reasons why you should never, ever invest in professional newborn photography! 

Speaking from experience after having my own babies (and choosing not to invest in photography for ourselves) and hearing some common complaints and concerns about professional photography from clients, I decided to highlight some of the main reasons I think you should avoid hiring your own newborn photographer !

spoiler alert.... I may have ulterior motives with this post....
 

1. You feel like CRAP

This was hands down, what put me off the most. I wasn’t organised enough during pregnancy to line up a newborn session while I was still feeling human, and by the time my first daughter was born, I felt like actual death. Zombie-like from the sleep deprivation, in serious pain from breastfeeding issues and just post birth soreness.  When I looked in the mirror, my first thought was definitely NOT “oh, how wonderful you look this morning Jess!  Let's get a professional photographer come and take photos of us for an hour or two!”....  It was quite literally the last thing I wanted to do and so I didn’t do it… I told myself I would wait until I had caught up on some sleep, lost a bit of baby weight and felt sane again….. and then, 2.5 years later, time literally vanished, my babies were walking / talking and only then did I finally got around to organising our first ever professional photos. Seriously…one of my biggest regrets that I don’t have more photos of myself cuddling my babies when they were REALLY babies. 
 

2. It’s bloody expensive


Beautiful professional photography is not cheap, it’s true…the costs of doing business for photographers can be quite high -  but honestly, I can’t think of a more valuable, more treasured investment than family/newborn photos. You know the old question of “what would be the first thing you grab if your house is on fire?” – Well, what would it be for you ? The reality is, most of our earthly possessions are insurable, back-up-able  and replaceable… time though?  Time is something you just don’t get back… your memories of what it felt like when they wrapped their tiny fingers around your thumb or when you nursed them to sleep, they will fade and those images you invested in … they will be your most cherished possessions.
 

3. You feel ridiculously awkward in front of the camera
 

Join the club! Seriously, this has got to be one of the most common concerns clients have when booking a photo session !! And it’s also my absolute FAVOURITE thing about lifestyle photography. You guys don’t need to worry about posing for the camera AT ALL. I will do everything in my power to help you feel relaxed and try to get you completely focused on your beautiful baby, so ideally you’re not even thinking about me there taking photos.  Ok, ok look, I’m probably going to ask you to get closer to one another than you’re used to and every now and then I might reposition you slightly to get your best angle or get you into the best light…but for the most part, I will just be trying to get you to relax into being your normal, natural selves and focus on each other – not me and my camera !
 

4. You’ve got a pretty sweet camera yourself and will just take your own *kick ass* photos inspired by your dreamy pinterest board...


Ahem…another one I may or may not be guilty of. The amount of people that say to me “ohh, you’re a photographer !? You must have SO MANY amazing photos of your kids”….  Well actually, no I don’t ! I mean, now they’re older and I have slightly more energy and my brain has begun to function again, I have taken lots of beautiful images of them… but as babies  ? There was always something else I needed/wanted to be doing… sleeping / showering / eating / expressing milk / not going within a 50 metre radius of them while they were sleeping for fear of waking them and spending the rest of my life resettling them to sleep…..  yknow, the usual! Of course I have a gazillion photos of them on my iphone, but the camera collected dust and as I mentioned earlier, my biggest regret is that I’m not actually IN the photos with them as babies!!  
 

5.  OK OK OK Jess!! You’ve made your point, sheesh, we get it! BUT, my baby is already two weeks old, she barely sleeps and can’t be put down for 2 seconds without losing her mind… so, I’ve left it too late then haven’t I?


No you absolutely have not!! The beauty of lifestyle newborn photography is that it’s extremely relaxed and we can just go with the flow.  The session is not dependent on your baby sleeping through because we don’t need to try and position / pose them and so really, anytime up to 3 months is fine for a newborn session with me!   If bubs is in that joyous “I scream every time I’m put down” phase we will get lots of cuddly photos with bub lying on your chest / snugging into you, if he/she loves having a bath – let’s bath them ! If they are mesmerised by your voice and you sing them to sleep or play music for them, let’s do that!  None of these things are dependent on the age of your baby, them being extra sleepy or settled on their own, so please don’t let that put you off! We can also have as many breaks as you need for nappy changes/feeds/settling– so there is really no pressure!



So, see what I did there !? I turned the table on you guys !! I bet you didn't see it coming!?  If you're still on the fence, and want to remain convinced that newborn photography is a terrible investment, then DEFINITELY DO NOT scroll through this recent lifestyle newborn session in Yarraville  (because you may also remember Bree & Harv's from  their maternity session and if you end up looking through both of their sessions I fear you will be overcome with a need to book in your own maternity/newborn shoots!!). 

yarraville newborn photographer
williamstown newborn lifestyle photographer
armadale newborn photographer
hawthorn newborn lifestyle photographer
fitzroy newborn photographer
natural newborn photography in melbourne

Sunset maternity session - Melbourne Maternity Photographer

My best friends are having their first baby.   We decided to make their maternity session extra special and head down the coast. Although, to be fair, we could have done their session in a office cubicle and they still would have made it freaking stunning !  

Did you know that I offer a discounted rate when you book in a maternity session and your newborn session at the same time!? You can check out all of my pricing and packages here

Sessions book out a month or two in advance, so it’s really important to get in early to avoid disappointment - get in touch!

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Thanks for this 'behind the scenes' snap Harv's - it cracks me up because it has PERFECTLY captured my relationship with Bree... always looking at each other like we're slightly crazy (because, let's face it.... we are).