What to expect from an Outdoor Family Photoshoot with Suffolk Portrait Photographer, Alison McKenny

May 17, 2021 | Family photography, Family shoot

For those of you who haven’t experienced a portrait photoshoot at our farm in Suffolk, I thought it might be helpful to write a post to explain the process from start to finish which will hopefully give you a better idea of what you can expect if you book a shoot with me.   I am actually based in a small village called Stoke By Clare, which is on the Cambridge and Essex borders so we are within 45 minutes of larger towns like Cambridge, Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Colchester and Braintree, so very accessible from lots of locations. Female Photographer with long hair and a denim dress holds a camera in a field in Suffolk and smiles

Before you book

Sometimes clients will book a portrait photoshoot with me by just looking at my website and following the ‘book now’ button, choosing a date and time that is available and paying their session fee, and then other clients like to speak to me first to ask any questions they might have before making their booking.  I am happy to help and reassure anyone who is feeling a bit nervous or worried about things that are out of their control, like the weather, or what happens if somebody feels ill on the day.   I always take the flexible approach as much as I can and am happy to reschedule the shoot free of charge if the weather is bad or someone is ill, so that is not a problem. Another question that gets asked a lot is “what should we wear for our family photoshoot?”.  Deciding what will look best can seem a bit overwhelming, but I am more than happy to help with styling your session.  I can help you pick outfits and colours that will work well for your outdoor photoshoot, taking care to compliment the colours in nature at that particular time of year, but also outfits that reflect your family style.  If you would like to find out more, I have written a blog post on the subject which you can see by clicking here.

Family clothes in Yellow, blue, green and beige for a photoshoot in suffolk

Before you book, I would suggest you check out my full pricing to make sure that it fits with your budget.   You can see that by clicking here which is a link to my Family Shoot page and then scroll down.

So you have Booked your Photoshoot – what happens next?

Once you have booked your shoot, I will send you a confirmation email with my address and contact details so you know where we will be meeting to take your photos, and also my Terms of Business that will need to be signed and returned to me before your photoshoot. I like to have a pre-shoot consultation with my clients on the phone before their session.  The reason being is that I like to have a really good understanding of what my clients want from their images and if there is anything, in particular, they want to achieve.  Some clients don’t have any ideas, and just know that they want a few nice photos of them as a family and some individual portraits of the children so they are happy for me to do my thing and lead the way during the session.  Others have seen an image that inspired them to book the shoot, and they would really like to recreate something similar with their own family.


It really helps me when clients screenshot their favourite images from my website and galleries so I understand what sort of images are important to them and when planning their shoot, and I take those poses, setups, locations and colours into consideration.  Their choice of favourite images might also affect the time of the day we do the photoshoot so if a client has sent me screenshots of lots of images with the sun going down in the background, I know we won’t achieve that look at 10am in the morning, so we will need to have a chat about changing the time of the shoot. Although I usually do outdoor sessions on my family farm, as it’s a beautiful spot in the Suffolk countryside, if you have a specific location in mind that is special to you and your family, I am happy to travel to you, although a small charge for travel expenses will be incurred.

Weather worries

I will keep an eye on the weather forecast leading up to the day of your shoot and if it’s looking rainy or very windy (anything over 15mph winds is a nightmare for clients with long hair), then I’ll get in touch to see if we can look at other dates in case the forecast doesn’t improve.  I only offer shoots on Monday to Saturdays now but if I’m not busy on Sunday I’m happy to swap your shoot to the next day if the weather looks better then instead, so when booking a Saturday shoot, I’d always recommend keeping that Sunday free too if you can.  If that doesn’t work, we can always look at another weekend instead.   Or if we are restricted on dates, then we can look to move the shoot inside the studio instead.   I have a lovely home studio available with lots of background options to choose from.

The Day of your Family Photoshoot

On the day of your shoot, I will have everything ready for you on arrival, so I’ll have crates and blankets to sit on, props like my trike and cart or outfits that you may want to use during the session (which I can tell you more about when we are discussing styling in our pre-shoot consultation).   I will have 2 to 4 locations in mind (2 for mini sessions and up to 4 for full sessions) so we will go to each one for about 30 minutes at a time which helps to keep things interesting and give you lots of variety in your gallery. You can see below a mix of images from some family shoots last summer.  I like to take lots of family shots, sibling photos, individual portraits of the kids, and of each of them with each Parent too so there are lots to choose from.


I take my time with small children so that they feel relaxed around me and I’ve no shame so will be singing lots of silly songs and dancing to get natural smiles throughout the session.  I love kids and have tonnes of patience so please don’t worry if your children take a little while to settle with new people.   I allow 1.5 hours for the shoot for a reason.  Equally, I do find with small children that sometimes they will have had enough after an hour.   So if it gets to that point, I will usually call it a day as I don’t want to cause the children to be upset as it might put them off having photos taken in the future, and if they aren’t happy, we won’t get happy photos anyway, so it’s best to follow their lead and end the shoot early. Collage of Family Photographs from a family photoshoot in suffolk Collage of Family Photographs from a photoshoot in suffolk

At the end of your shoot

If we are doing the shoot on my farm, I will invite you into the studio to see the beautiful products I have to offer so that you can see them in person and get a feel for the quality of each item.  This will help when it comes time for deciding what to buy after your shoot and how you would like to display your images.   I am very much a Print Photographer now as, after years of doing Digital-only packages, I’d see clients time and again that never got around to printing the photos from their last session so the USB was still sitting in the drawer.


Now all my packages include matted/mounted prints to match the digitals you buy so you have something to display and enjoy straight away, but you can also print from the digital copies or share them with family and friends from your own password protected web gallery. The matted prints that come with your collections 10×8″ on the outside of the white mount with an 8×6″ aperture for your print, so are ideal for 8×10″ frames, or you can display them as they are on a mini easel like below. My top Package also include credit to put towards Wall Art, or a Luxury Folio Box (to store and display your mounted prints) for your home.

Our luxury Folio Boxes are our most popular product and are a beautiful display piece in themselves, handmade in stunning white wood, black wood or walnut wood as you can see below.  The image in the window at the front of the box can be swapped out in seconds which makes this product very versatile and perfect for clients who would like to change the look of the product from time to time.  They are available in 10×8″ or 11×14″ and are fully lined with a luxuriously soft, almost suede-like material. This gives it a very high-quality look and also adds a level of protection to your matted/mounted prints. Each box has a soft closing lid and a crystal USB to store your Digital images on.

Here is what one client had to say when she received her box recently –

“I’ve just received and opened up your parcel containing the prints and box. Wow! They are even better in print – what wonderful pictures! The white wood luxury folio box looks stunning as well. It sits very well on the sideboard between our other photo boxes. I’ve added a matted print to the easel too and it looks great. Thank you so much for taking such amazing pictures of our family! I’m so pleased with them.”

– Emily and Andrew

In the images below, the Walnut and Black Box are 11×14″ and the White Wood box is 10×8″. And finally, we have a large selection of top quality Wall Art available including Framed Prints, Canvases and Acrylics for you to choose from.  There are frame options to suit every taste and home, and if you have something specific in mind that you have seen elsewhere, feel free to let me know and I will see if I can source that for you.

After your photoshoot

Approximately 2 weeks after your shoot, we will have your viewing and ordering session where you will see your images for the first time.  I will be on hand to go through the photos with you, help you choose your favourites for your choice of print collection and offer advice on the Products mentioned above. We can do the viewing via Zoom and I am happy to do this in the evening if that suits you better with work and childcare.   Once you have made your order and transferred payment you should receive your order within a few days to 5 weeks (depending on your order). So I hope that helps and gives you a better idea of what to expect from a photoshoot with me.


If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch as I am always happy to help.

Thanks – Alison xx


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