What to expect

On a “Smiley Day” (Family shoot)  you can expect a pleasant fun experience, some posing, some exploring, playing, running, jumping and a break when you all need a drink or snack. (If you’re not that keen on having your photo taken, I hope you’ll enjoy it farm more than you expected.)

You’ll have the chance to sit down together with me beforehand and suggest any pose ideas you have seen that you’d love  to try,  you’ll be able to share what you’d like to create with the images captured so I can do my best to make that happen for you and you can expect advice on what to wear.

You can also expect your data to be handled sensitively and stored securely in line with General Data Protection Regulations.  Here is the link to out Privacy Policy.


Would you like 15 Good reasons to have a photo shoot? (You don’t really need a reason!) Life is a gift to be celebrated, full of quirky moments and stages to photograph, remember and treasure.

When you break it down, a family only has:

  • a pregnant mummy for 9 months
  • a newborn for a month,
  •  a baby for 11 months,
  • a toddler for 2 years,
  • a pre-schooler for 1-2 years,
  • an Infant in Primary School for 3 years,
  • a Junior in Primary school for 3 years,
  • a Secondary school student for 5 years
  • possibly a uni student for as long or short as…always your baby!
  • Add in significant birthday celebrations,

While that first year feels the longest (because you’re all awake for most of it?!) Time really does fly. There’s not time like the present to make a plan to have your family photographed beautifully for you.

Here are some other reasons to have a photo shoot…

Perhap you have:

  • A new home or extension? Why not  fill the walls with “family art?”
  • An anniversary or significant birthday coming up? Smiley Day’s make great gifts!
  • Grandparents asking for updated photos of the whole family and grandchildren?
  • Lots of photos of the children on your phone but not many with both mum and dad in them?
  • last had a photoshoot years ago and the walls need updating? There’s no time like the present…

I’d love to have a “Smiley Day”with you. Fill in your details here and let me know which stage your munchkins are at and I’ll e-mail you back as soon as I can. (It may be once my kiddies are tucked up in bed.)


“What time of year is best?”

Whenever suits you! You could choose your favourite season for its colours colours, when your favourite flowers are in bloom, or fun seasonal family activities you enjoy most.

From Winter walks in coats, boots or wellies to playful fun in Spring daffodils or bluebell woods; from strawberry-picking in  Summer to collecting conkers in Autumn.  Whatever takes your fancy!

Booking early is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out.

In my opinion, having your favourite spectacular seasonal highlight in the background of your photos is the best feeling!

I like to meet up  face-to-face for a 45min chat at least 2 weeks before the photoshoot where we’ll be getting to know each other. I’d love to hear what you’re planning to use the images for.  There may be something I need to bear these in mind when I’m planning your shoot.

We’ll be deciding on the location, time and date of your shoot as well as signing a contract so we’re clear on expectations from one another.  I’ll be showing you some wall display options and sharing the prices of these so you have that information up front and you have time to think about how you may like to display images you choose from your shoot.

It’s a chance for you to share ideas or mention something specific you or your children have in mind or are hoping to try in the shoot (for instance your children might really like to be photographed climbing/in a tree – then I’ll be on the lookout for a tree to climb.)

We’ll also go over your social media sharing (or non-sharing) preferences and I’ll share some examples of colour combinations others have used for their shoots.

These are your photos and I try to accommodate requests.

If you are unable to meet face-to-face, we can arrange a Skype meeting instead.



When choosing the location where you will have the shoot, I can make suggestions or you can choose your own.

It’s great having your shoot in a setting with a pretty backdrop, but that’s not necessary. A rustic, deserted setting, plain or interesting walls or a bustling city provide great settings too. Do you love a particular season or seasonal flowers you’d love to have photos among? Also have a look at What time of year is best?

Doing something that’s become a family tradition would be a great memory to capture e.g. an afternoon walk or picking out fresh veggies at a farmers’ market you regularly visit as a family?

By narrowing down features you’d like to have your photos taken in like farmland, fields of long grass, gardens, ponds, little bridges, avenues of trees, a playground,  or a pond can help narrow down your preferences, I can suggest local spots that may have these.

If you would like to have a shoot in London, I would be happy to hear your ideas and capture this for you.

I’d also love to hear what you’re planning to use the images for.  There may be something I need to bear these in mind when I’m planning your shoot.

The closer to sunrise and sunset the better.

In the UK our Winter mornings are sometimes a little foggy to start with.  If you like this, a morning shoot from 8.30am might suit your preference.  The mist/fog often burns away by 9.30am and that is another good time for a winter morning shoot.

If you enjoy winter sunshine and crisp blue sky, you never know, you may be lucky enough to catch some by choosing between 2pm and 4pm for a winter afternoon shoot  and 4.30 towards early March/ the end of winter.

In Spring (which officially starts on the 20th March) the latest sunrise is around  6.45am getting earlier each day. Perhaps you may like to schedule a morning shoot from 7am-9am giving you the rest of the day free. 8am-10am  is fine too.

Afternoon shoots are better later in the afternoon in Spring. With the sun setting from 7.30pm upwards after Daylight Saving time starts on the last Sunday in March, 4pm-7pm

(Once the sun is overhead, it can creates little shadows from one’s eye brows down  to one’s cheek bones (panda eyes) and this isn’t ideal, which is one of the reasons I prefer not to do shoots in direct sunlight between 10am and 3pm.

The ideal time is what photographers call the “golden hour.”    This is when the sun is shining and it’s not overcast, the sun is low and its sunlight creates a pleasant warm, golden glow of diffused light which softens shadows and flatters its subjects.  The duration of the golden hours changes with the seasons as the sunrise and sunset times change but as a rule of thumb, the first golden hour in the day starts just before sunrise and lasts for an hour whilst the second golden hour starts an hour before sunset and finishes just after.   (This might be an ideal time for families with older children, couples or engagement shoots.)

In Summer, the 16th June is the longest day and the shortest night of the year; sunrise is at 4.45am and sunset is at 21.20. This is the earliest sunrise and latest sunset.  Ideal times for shoots shift earlier and later respectively, however I am happy to work around families’ routines as far as possible.  At this time of year, a morning shoot is best any time between 5.30am-9.30am  and an afternoon shoot from 4.30pm-9.30pm

While an overcast day may not be as cheerful as sunshine and blue skies, the low clouds actually filter sunlight and reduce the intensity of shadows across faces which is actually quite helpful and means we can often shoot longer than on a bright sunshiney day.

“What should I wear for my photoshoot? How should I dress my family?

These are questions everybody asks. There are so many outfits and colours to choose from but you should always wear what’s comfortable. There are lots of different ways to effectively create a unified, cohesive look that is pleasing to the eye without dressing everyone in the same outfits.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Choose 4 colours to mix and match between your family members without necessarily matching everyone in identical outfits. Here is a Pinterest board of outfit combination ideas and colour palettes that work well together.

If one person has a patterned outfit it’s a good idea to dress the rest of the family in solid colours so it’s not too overwhelming. (A pattern that’s too bold and busy can attract attention away from your face and that’s where you want attention to be drawn to.)

Autumn photo shoots like the one below are great with darker colours and small pops of yellow to pick up the yellowing autumn leaves in surrounding trees.

The 4 colours this family mixed and matched among themselves, were navy blue, light grey, yellow and blue.

Boots and a scarfs are great accessory choices for ladies and while the little girl has a patterned dress on, it’s not overwhelming as everyone else is wearing solid colour clothing.

Smiley Day Photography Autumn family walk2. Dress in the same outfits in different colours.

Wintry settings are often dull and dark with leafless trees and brown long grass so dressing in bright primary colours will help your family stand out.

This family’s matching element was the same style coat in different colours.  (They joked about it perhaps seeming a bit cheesy but I think it was a great way to create a sense of unity.)  Wellies are practically a good choice when there’s been some rain and there’s a bit of mud about and they look great too. They all brought along woolly hats too which were a great accessory for an outfit change for a bit of variety.

Smiley Day Photography Smiley Day Photography Smiley Day Photography

3. A great colour choice for Spring photo shoots is pastel shades,  as these shades complement the beautiful light green new leaves and buds which full the backgrounds of country locations.

This family’s colour palette was pastel pink, light grey, denim blue and a pop of coral.

They cross mixed and matched colours among themselves effectively:

the girls had matching cardigans, the dad’s pastel pink shirt matched the girls’ pink cardigans, the mum and son had matching denim jackets, the mum’s grey top under the denim jacket was also light grey and matched the son’s grey shirt and the one daughter’s grey dress.  The son’s hat was a great accessory to have along as it landed up also being used to collect dandelion flowers. The jackets and cardigans were great clothing items for layering and could be removed for subtle outfit changes as the morning warmed up. Even the scarf was removed and laid in the grass to lie on.

Smiley Day Photography   Smiley Day Photography

4. For a Summer family shoot, cool colours are a good choice – light and dark blues with denim and a patterned shirt on the dad.  The boys’ matching shoes, socks, braces and shorts brought cohesion to the group, while their unique shirt styles and colours is just what was needed to suggest the individuality of each individual.  Notice how the patterned shirt on the father isn’t distracting as  it is coupled with solid colour tops on the rest of the family. All the boys and their dad had matching hats which were great accessories to remove or wear backwards for subtle outfit changes.

Family photoshoot Surrey

In Summary the most important thing is that you’re happy in yourself! These are going to be your photos to hang on a wall in your home and these are tips to help you.

There are a few outfit and colour choices to avoid

  1. Rather avoid wearing something with writing on as one’s eyes are automatically immediately drawn to read what’s written, instead of being drawn to your eyes.
  2. It’s best not to dress everyone in jeans and white T-shirts as this is an outdated trend.
  3. Too many bold colours or busy patterns will most likely be a bit busy and distracting.
  4. Outfits that are too tight or wear shoes that aren’t suitable to the terrain (e.g. high heels for a hike in muddy terrain.) can feel a bit uncomfortable or give you blisters and you won’t have a genuine smile if you’re in pain.
  5. Don’t forget to enjoy yourselves!


“How long will the shoot be?”

Larger groups need to allow a little more time than smaller groups, to capture individual portraits as well as posed and unposed group shots.

For 2 people (Couples, pregnancy bump shoots and engagement shoots) it will be 1 hour.

Shoots of families of 3 and 4 will be to 1-1.5 hours.

Family of 5 or 6 can allow for  1.5-2hours

Shoots of groups of 7 and over will be around 2 hours.


“What should we bring?”

Perhaps water or something to drink and a little snack. We’ll take a little break for you to have them.  If you wanted to, you could bring along a picnic blanket.

If your location has the threat of mud after rain, it’s a good idea to bring wellies and a spare change of clothes for the children and yourselves (just in case there’s a big slip in a muddy puddle)

Families with young children, you are welcome to bring your stroller/buggy and a favourite toy of your child’s especially if it makes him/her laugh.


I usually bring along plasters and antihistamine cream in case of an unexpected sting or scrape, wipes to clean up after  snacks and a plastic bag for any wet or muddy clothes to go into.

Yes you can bring your dog along to be in the shoot!  Let me know that’s what you’d like when you’re making your enquiry.  (We’ll just need to make sure the location you choose is dog friendy.)

Within 2 weeks of your “Smiley Day” or “Tiny Smiley Day.”

Yes, I would love to share a sneak peek photo from your shoot with you, if you are happy with that.

I’ll be posting my favourite photo of you all on “Smiley Day Photography”‘s Facebook page and tagging you in a “First glimpse.”  This way you and your friends can see it on Facebook, you can share the post and change your profile picture to it if you like. (I hope to get around to doing this a day or 2 after the shoot.)

When you’ve received your gallery or chosen images I’ll create a Facebook post of 5-6 pics of your shoot for you to share with friends on your page and for “Smiley Day Photography Facebook page likers” to appreciate.

If you’d rather not have your images shared on social media that’s perfectly fine. I like to share my photographic work on my Facebook  and Instagram pages but your privacy and preferences come first. We’ll go through your privacy/social media image sharing preferences  in our meet-up chat and I’ll ask you to sign a model release where you can strike through any/all platforms you’re not happy having images shared on.  (This is so that I have on record of who has and hasn’t  given consent.)

So, you’re interested in making a booking. “How do I make a booking you ask? Please fill in the contact form at the bottom of the home page.

We’ll then put a date in the diary to meet up. I’m looking forward to meeting you!