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  • Writer's pictureFiona Bielby


Imperfectly, perfect family photos for you, let me tell you how.

Lots of families I talk to tell me they don't have a single photo of them all together, every family has a "photographer" within it and there's always one person who features a lot less in the family photos than everyone else. I understand this 100% because that's me in my family, I'm always the one standing with the camera or phone in my hand snapping away on family days out or at different family events.

Imperfectly perfect family photo of the family giggling together

That's why it's so important to either ask people to take photos of you too or to arrange a family photo session with a professional photographer.

Arranging to have your photos taken by a professional might seem daunting but it could be the best thing you ever do. Even so, do you worry that the kids will mess around and not pose for photos or that you'll find it stressful and end up falling out?

Maybe you're worrying you might not like how you look in the photos.

Are you wondering how you should act in front of the camera?

Or panicking you'll feel awkward working with the photographer?

If you can resonate with any of the above, I get it too, because if I'm perfectly honest, they're my worries.

Family photo at Filey beach, running in the waves

We see photos of other families all over social media, having the most wonderful of times, doing adventurous stuff all whilst looking insane and although we love them, we just can't see ourselves in the images. We're not adventurous enough, good enough or aesthetic enough.

A family photo in the family's back garden, they're playing with water pistles

Can I tell you how wrong you are!?

You are adventurous enough.

You are good enough

And you are aesthetic enough!

Granny giving her grandson and hug in a family photo

It's easy to get beautiful family photos that show off the characters and connections between you and your family. When you're part of a family who love each other, there are no bounds of the beauty between you.


A confession from a photographer, who used to hate having her photo taken.

Do you have a self-conceived image of yourself in your head or a version of perfection that you insist you don't fit?

The truth is, we all do!

The more I talk to people and have them share their worries and fears, the more I realise it's just human nature.

Sometimes I feel so fed up when I see my reflection staring back at me, who else feels like this? The habit of looking for all the bad bits is so deeply ingrained in many of us. It's too easy to be hard on ourselves, yet when you make a conscious effort to look for the positives you will see them. I'm always surprised when someone takes a photo that I'm unaware is happening, obviously, it needs to be caught at the right moment but when it is I'm always shocked by how different I look. I don't look like that person who stares back at me every day.

Do I sound like a crazy woman yet?

Family photo of the little girl touching the blossom

You could be surprised to know, that even the most "perfect of people" have told me they have hang-ups with how they look. Until the point of starting my photography business, I had no idea that these people could feel like this.

During a family photo session the Mum and Dad got a quick photo

We see beauty in everyone else around us, and we all have a different idea of what that is too; however, when it boils down to it, many of us love how someone "looks" because of how they act, their mannerisms and their characters, often it's not down to how people look.

Without realising it, we're lost in characters rather than appearances.

It's these things that attract us to others and the craziest thing is, we've never seen ourselves in this way. Isn't that madness? That's why I'm telling you, if you haven't seen yourself for who you really are yet, you should!

Fun family photo of everyone laughing and having a great time.

We judge ourselves entirely on our reflections

We're our harshest critics

Even when we don't see what everyone else sees

Daughter squidges her mum in to a cuddle during their family photo session

I grew up with such low self-confidence. I compared myself to all my friends and always would put myself as the least attractive one in our group.

When a beautiful friend of mine told me I was "just lovely" in my early 20s, I didn't believe her at all.

One summer this friend took a photo of me holding my Lewis whilst we were standing in the park at Filey, I knew she was going to do this but I wasn't I wasn't aware of when. When she told me she was going to do this, it made me insanely uncomfortable, until I saw the result. Thank you Sarah Guest!

You might think I'm 100% mad or just a crazy photographer, but it was that very moment that defined how I work with families now, even though I wasn't a photographer at the time.

One of my favourite family photos

I love this photo so very much.

Let me share with you, 3 tips so you tell you can end up loving photos of yourself too.


How to love family photos with you in them, 3 of my best tips...

1 Be in the moment!

2 Don’t worry if people aren’t looking at the camera

3 Play with the kids, do whatever you do to get them laughing and engaged normally.

Mid-kick as the young lad plays football during a family photo session.

Let me explain these 3 top tips for fun, relaxed family photos.

1. Be in the moment!

We’re all guilty of thinking ahead. In a world where life is so busy, it’s become normal to think about what you need to do next or to be constantly thinking about the outcome.

Throwing their daughters in the air for a family photo

Honestly, STOP IT!

Don’t worry about the outcome of your photos

That’s my job.

family photo after their little boy turned 6 months

Enjoy the experience,

and each other’s company,

I’ll worry about everything else, your job is to have a good time.

In the moment during a family photo shoot.

Teenaged girls giggling during a family photo shoot.

2. Don’t worry if people aren’t looking at the camera.

Remember not to get hung up on people looking at the camera.

A chaotic family photo whilst trying to get everyone inloved.

That will make you feel stressed and it'll stress everyone else out too.

Plus, it’s going to be a boring and rigid experience if everyone feels like they need to constantly look down the lens of my camera.

Smiling fixated in one direction is never going to give you natural-looking smiles, the best way to achieve these is to enjoy each other’s company and I’ll ask you to look in my direction when I’m ready.

As a photographer, there's no greater pressure than feeling like people are waiting for you to take the perfect photo when you're fiddling with settings on the back of the camera.

The only guarantee in this situation is everyone's smiles are awkward by the time I'm ready.

Playing with their family pet at a family photo session

family photo in the forest.

So chat

Tell them stories from when they were younger

Say you love them, if that's to cringe, tell them one thing you admire about them at that very moment...

family photo in the moment

Photos like this bring out the characters in the family and I love that, it might not be the one you choose to put on your wall but it certainly brings variety to your gallery.

Druing a big family photo session

The loving way Sandy looks at her grandchildren brings a warmness to my heart here.

family chaos family photo

This photo was set up by their five grandchildren, they all wanted to climb the tree and get their grandparents underneath, when the kids get on board they start to be creative and I love it when they start to arrange to the photos, it brings out personalities.


3. Play with the kids!

Do whatever you do to get them laughing and engaged normally.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a family photo session where the kids have behaved perfectly without any prompting, more often than not, children turn up telling me they don’t want their photos taken whilst pulling a grumpy face at the camera.

Usually, I'd just tell them that's fine because we're here to go for an adventure!

Grandad with his grandchildren during a family photo session

Playing their saughjter statue game in the miuddle of their family photo session.

It doesn’t matter, my job is to persuade them that having their photos taken is fun, IT IS FUN, I want them to enjoy the session, so they will look forward to future photos being taken.

Raising his son to the air, during family photos

On the beach for family photos

Granddaughters arrival is perfect time for family photos

family photos at the arboretum

Little lad giggling during family photos

If they have ideas we'll embrace them together, even if they don't work out. They love being involved and having their input recognised and that gets them onside,

So always go with it and don't apologise for their creativity.


Have I convinced you you're good enough yet? I hope so, hop on over to take a look at my family session.

If you're still not convinced, then subscribe to my mailing list where you will be the first to find out about all my latest deals, mini session and other informative blogs on family sessions, locations, what to wear etc.

These are just some of the topics I'll be covering over the next few months, but if you have any ideas for blogs and news letter content let me know in the comments sesction below and I'll do my best.


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