Behind the Scenes on a Home Lifestyle Portrait Session with Emily, Isla and Kitty


An image popped up in my feed earlier reminding me of a brilliant day I spent this time last year, up in Knebworth with the lovely Emily and her daughters Isla and Kitty.

Emily won an At Home Lifestyle Portrait Session in the Mothers’ day competition I ran, and so I thought now would be the perfect time to tell you a little more about the fun we had creating some portraits of a morning in the life of the Packman girls.

Before our session, I had a video call with Emily to discover her ideas for our time together and to find out all about her girls. Planning the session is always so much fun, and gives me ideas of how to capture the girls in the way that their parents love the most, to create a series of images that tell their story. Isla was starting big school that summer, so I wanted to capture some of the independence that she was showing. Emily mentioned that the girls loved books, playing tea parties and dressing up. And in particular playing with their Mummy’s shoes.

Being February, we’re always at risk of being limited by the weather, and when the day arrived, it was absolutely pouring down. But that wasn’t a problem in the slightest. I like to use natural light as much as I can, using a reflector or external flash to add a little extra when needed, so we sought out the best places for light around the house and started to shoot our ideas.

For some portraits of the three of them together, I asked Emily if she’d like to read the girls her favourite book from when she was little. As you can see, Isla was less than impressed, and her reactions were just wonderful!

When working with children, I make the sessions as fun as possible for all of us, parents included, and as soon as I have the shot (or they start to be distracted) move on from a pose to do something different. It helps keep the sessions flowing, and keep the little ones interested in what we are doing.

When Emily had told me that the children adored playing with her shoes, she kindly agreed that they could play with her usually-out-of-bounds wedding shoes for a few of the shots I had in mind. We moved to the hallway, where there was lovely light from the window above a table, which created a soft reflection on the floor. Lying down gave just the right angle to see the reflections, and I captured Isla’s reactions as she tried to buckle up the shoes by herself. Although she tried hard, the fastenings were just too fiddly, and so as the series of images went on, they showed her frustration, then when Emily stepped in to help. It was such a lovely moment between the two of them, and Isla couldn’t resist showing us how she could walk in heels, which finished the set of images perfectly. The love and pride that is beaming from Emily as Isla walked past me was so beautiful to see.

The kitchen was the location for our final shots, and after an impromptu kitchen dance party (me included!) we captured my absolute favourite image from the session. It was a portrait of the girls and their reflection in the super-shiny black marble worktop. Making the image black and white took away any distractions from colours, and created a timeless portrait that was a little bit different. Emily and Myles now have this framed up in their hallway!

If you would love a session like this for your family, capturing the essence of your family life, please get in touch; sessions start from £185 and include a 10x8” matted print. Together we’ll come up with ideas for the best way to capture you and all of your family, in a place that you love, and it can include pets should you wish! They are part of the family after all. We always have lots of fun, and together we capture a few moments in time that you can look back on and enjoy for years to come.

With love, Rachel xx

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Rachel Thornhill ABIPP ASWPP LMPA  - Beautiful story-telling photography and stunning wall art for fun loving people, Rachel is an award-winning professional portrait Photographer based in Lower Kingswood / Tadworth, Surrey, UK.    Tel: +44 (0)1737 244745     

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