Photoshoot anything. Thoughts, stories and tips from Team Perfocal.

So you've just arranged to have a family photoshoot, so you can have some portraits of the whole family together and immortalise this time in all of your lives.

The thought of a family photo shoot can seem daunting, and it can be hard to think of ways to look natural in front of the camera. Nobody wants photos awkwardly standing and smiling, anybody can get those kinds of photos. When you book a professional photographer, you're after natural, candid photos that could be out of a catalogue. We want to help you get them!

We've compiled our tips of the best ways to appear relaxed and natural in front of the camera during a family photoshoot, so you and your family can create some memories that everyone enjoys looking back on for a lifetime.

1. Go for a family walk in the park

It could be awkward to stand around in your family home. You're too familiar with the space, and there may not even be enough room for a group of people to move around and sit naturally. We recommend going out to the park or a nearby green space to move around and play with your family members. This is an especially useful tip if your family shoot will include young children who may want to run and play whilst having their photo taken. Staging a family walk in the woods or the park is a great way to appear natural.

The park will feel a more relaxed space to be photographed than your own home. Go  on a walk in the park, let your photographer do the rest, and enjoy!

2. Play a family game

Many people will feel awkward in the presence of a camera, and may need a distraction to help them unwind. A game to play with the family is a perfect distraction for everyone during a family shoot, including the kids!

You may bring out a football, a badminton set, or any family-favourite activity to keep everyone occupied and happy in front of the camera.

This isn't limited to ball games, you could play a card game or do a puzzle. It gives the family something to focus on, and will almost guarantee some laughs and smiles. This tip will certainly create some fun memories to look back on!

3. Incorporate a family pet

Every family loves their pet. They're members of the family, too! If you're feeling hard-pressed for casual shoot ideas, bring out your furry friend to bring out some smiles and to stop everyone from staring awkwardly at the camera.

Sitting and playing with any pet (except goldfish, maybe) is the perfect way of adding something extra to your family photo shoot, to prevent awkward posing and smiles. You and your family's future selves will certainly appreciate having great photos with the family pet.

4. Make food together

If you choose to have your family shoot at home, a great activity to do (especially with younger children) is cooking. Get in the kitchen and rustle something up! You can even bake a cake together. This will make for some adorable parent-child activity photos. The food items will act as perfect props - especially if you fancy a food fight!

Cooking is something that parents and children have done together in day-to-day life, and it's a great bonding activity that will produce some sweet photographs.

5. Find a prop

In a similar vein of distraction, look for something physical you can focus on as a family so that nobody feels ill-at-ease in front of the photographer. Laptops, cameras and phones can be good props that will divert the family's attention. Everyone can look and laugh at 'something' on the display.

This is not limited to electronics, you can use a book or a toy. Get creative!

Family shoots can be slightly awkward affairs, as not everyone (usually dad) feels comfortable in front of a camera and a professional photographer. That's OK!

There's no need to feel uncomfortable - make sure to be yourselves. Make use of these tips to help add some natural ease to your family dynamic. Just in front of a camera this time!

You don't need to stand and smile awkwardly, just follow one of these steps like interacting with your family pet or a prop to make everyone feel relaxed and to get some beautiful photos for the albums!