Family photoshoot planning – choosing a theme and location

Posted by on February 10, 2017

It’s all about planning family photos

To be perfectly honest, planning family photos was never really a priority.  I mean, you turn up, get all your kids looking in the same direction simultaneously and you’re done.  Right?

Needless to say, our first family photoshoot as a mob of 7 still haunts me years later.

The photos turned out brilliantly – all credit to the photographer.

It was just the STRESS involved in the lead up and on the day that has scarred my control-freak brain.

It probably has something to do with  5 unpredictable personalities and a husband with a crazy wife screaming:

“Smile and look happy god dammit…. where are you going? Take that out of your mou –  DO NOT SWALLOW IT!!”

I swore I would never do another family shoot. EVER.

But here we are 3yrs later and I think I’ve recovered enough to try again.

Second time’s a charm

This time, we decided to go into it with a bit more planning and thought.

And who’s the lucky one who will be witnessing and capturing our family shenanigans?

Jennifer Horner Photography (Based in Brisbane).  I’m pretty sure she’s up to the McDonough family challenge.

No pressure but Jen – if you could just make sure I look like Miranda Kerr, k?

Unless you’re royalty, you probably don’t have a swag of people scouting locations, wardrobes, child wrangling and bribe gathering to help with planning family photos.

BUT there are plenty of people out there with tricks of the trade.

So I quizzed Jennifer along with some supreme styling gurus Madeliene Qiu and Sarah Merrett Styling for words of wisdom.

One of the comments that Jennifer made to me was:

Planning family photos - photographer tips

BRILLIANT attitude, because once you take away that shy/awkwardness then you’re left with the good stuff to capture.  But I have made it perfectly clear to the kids that they MUST WEAR PANTS.

Because sometimes when they’re comfortable around people, they nude up.  Awkies. Sorry in advance, Jen.

Themes and locations

I had originally envisioned rolling fields, long grass.  Me wearing a flowy dress, a flower crown and the kids frolicking in the wilderness.

My husband staring at his family lovingly.

Then I realised how ridiculous that image was, mainly because:

  1. I hate weird things on my head. HATE it. Hats are fine.
  2. Two of our kids are allergic to grass.
  3. My kids don’t frolic.
  4. My husband would be contemplating divorce.

So what did the style gurus say about locations and themes?? These little gems.

jen location madeleine theme sarah theme

I didn’t want “formal” photos – just photos of us hanging out somewhere cool.  I asked Jen about doing something a little different.

LANEWAY.  It had to be a laneway.  Of course, I asked Jen her thoughts on doing a laneway shoot before my heart fully committed.

Meanwhile, in my head, I had mood boarded the whole thing.  For the first time, I was planning family photos.  Not just rocking up and saying cheese.

Jen had the fabulous idea of having us devouring ice creams or donuts at the end.  

I knew I was working with her for a reason, she’s a genius. She had me at ice cream and donuts.

My mood board started looking something like this:

 Planning family photos - laneway street theme

Images from:,,,,,,,

And just so you know – I’m definitely not fancy when it comes to mood boards either.  I just screen shot all the images I like and use an app called Bazaart to pull it all together.

Just make sure you credit where credit is due.

Next up I needed to work out our outfits (which are another story all together).  After all, how hard can dressing 5 kids actually be?

For the record BLOODY HARD.  Nudity is the easiest choice.  Unfortunately it’s not always socially acceptable.

Blog to come…..