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

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

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, so you and your family can create some memories everyone enjoys looking back on for a lifetime.

1. Go to the park

It could be awkward to stand around in your house. You're too familiar with the space, and there may not even be enough room 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. This is an especially useful tip if you have 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 game

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

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 pet

Everyone 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.

Playing and sitting with any pet (except goldfish, maybe) is the perfect way of adding something extra to your family photo shoot.

4. Make food

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.

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! 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!