Why it's important to get mum in the photo - Surrey Family Photoshoot


So often mum is behind the camera or the iPhone.  She's the recorder of family events and moments.  But as a mum, how often are you in front of the camera?  I'm hardly in any photos with my children- at the time I didn't notice as I was too busy taking the photo.  But now eldest is nearly ready to leave for university, I realise that there's not as much of me to remember as I would like.  I have been grouping together photographs for each of my children for a photobook that they will take with them when they spread their wings and fly, and it has been both wonderful and a little bit of a wake up call.

And when I am doing surrey family photoshoots, more often than not I hear from mums that it's such a treat to be in the photos and not corralling the rest of the family.  But I also hear things like "I don't like to have my photo taken"- that they think they'll wait and lose a few pounds, need a hair cut, they're not wearing the right clothes..... the excuses go on and on.  But I want to say that it is so important for you to be in the photograph with your family, whether you think it's not important or you'd rather be behind the lens than in front, because you will never have that moment again, and you are building those moments so you must be in them.

So I make a special effort with my family photoshoots to capture the special moments with mum.  And I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you for inspiration, along with some simple tips on how to enjoy the moment and get some lovely photographs that are natural and full of expression.

Here are 5 tips to help you relax and enjoy yourself in front of the camera and get photographs that you and your child will treasure forever.

Mother and baby photoshoot Surrey

Tip 1:  You don't have to be looking at the camera to get meaningful images.  If you feel awkward smiling for the camera do something you enjoy: focus on your child.  You are giving them the greatest gift of your time and your joy and love will come through in the photograph.  Notice too, how the image is focussed on the child and mum is softer- that can enhance the emotion and connection in the image, giving a more natural feel to the photograph.

relaxed natural family photoshoot surreyTip 2: Black and white can simplify the image to concentrate on what's important- the connection.

mum and child cuddle in photographs emotional and natural surrey photoshootTip 3: Cuddles, cuddles, cuddles.  Its one of the greatest feelings in the world to hold your child, and that can make a simple but deeply meaningful photograph. When I take a photograph like this, I think of the beautiful feelings that the child will feel when they look at this when they're grown up.happy family photoshoot surreyTip 4: A simple look. Instead of smiling at the camera, look at your child, tell them something they'd love to hear and enjoy their reaction.

teenage photoshoot surrey happy lifestyle photographyTip 4: Share a moment together.  As your children get older they can be less cuddly- but your changing relationship means you can share moments as equals.  Get someone to do something off camera that you'll both laugh at.

older child family photoshoot SurreyTip 5: Get in the photo whatever age your children are.  Sometimes as our families grow up, life gets busy and we take fewer photos.  But these can be the most precious- teenagers about to go to uni, family get togethers with grand parents- capture those moments forever.

So next time you're getting out the iPhone or camera, please don't stand behind it, hand it to someone else and ask them to take the picture- you'll be glad you did.

Or if you'd like to book me for a Surrey Family Photoshoot then get in touch, or check out my family photography page here


Family photography Reigate, Surrey- relaxed and sunny

As a family photographer photographing all across Surrey, I know how beautiful this county is- did you know it has the greatest density of trees in the UK?  Here at the farm in Chipstead, summer means green fields, lush leaves and woodland, and pathways through the trees.  So I was really happy when this lovely family came for their photoshoot on a perfect summer evening.

It was lightly overcast at first, but then the sun pushed through for a final golden moment, so we made the most of it.

What is so nice about families with older children who come for family photo session is that they can be very relaxed shoots.  There's often lots of laughter and a bit of joking around, and these lovelies certainly made the most of their time.  It's a perfect opportunity to have some real family time together with no pressure except enjoying yourselves.  And their happy and relaxed nature really comes through in this session- and you can see the fun they had.

I am also making sure that mum and dad get some photo time just for themselves, as so often all the focus is on the children.  So I build in just a few minutes of 'together time', especially when a lot of parents tell me that they haven't had any professional photographs of the two of them since their wedding.  And the results are delightfully relaxed and fun photographs as you can see from this session.

Enjoy a few of my favourites from their family photography shoot here in Chipstead, Surrey. Family photographer SurreyFamily photography Reigate photos Photographer ReigateChildrens photographer surreyChildrens photography surreyFamily photographer SurreyFamily Photography SurreyPhotographer Reigate

Top 5 tips on what to wear for your Family Photography Session

One of the most asked questions about a family photography session is "what should we wear?"  There's a lot of advice out there, some of which is totally conflicting, so I've pulled together 7 years of experience to give you my top 5 tips for choosing what your family could wear for your photography session.

  • Keep it simple: pick 2 colours, that everyone might have in their wardrobe- blue and beige for example, browns and pinks might be another,  Red is bold and goes well with blues or beiges.  This works really well if there's a big family or many generations.  The more people in the shot, the more harmonious the effect by wearing similar colours.  Unifying colours really pulls a group together.Photographer Banstead, Phographer Coulsdon

In the above photo, the different shades of blue tone together perfectly, to look harmonious without being matchy, matchy.  The effect is relaxed and natural.  It's softened further with a little beige and white which acts as a highlight to break up the blue.  The result looks effortless and subtle.

Photographer Riegate, Photographer SurreyBlue and white features here too- this time a combination of pattern and solid takes it towards relaxed.

Photographer Reigate, Photographer SurreyHere different shades of pink create a lovely coordinating effect, with the white t shirt and checks of the shirt keeping the overall look modern.  The bright pink works really well to balance the lovely yellows in the field

Photographer Reigate, Photographer Surrey The children here are wearing totally different clothes but the colours of the flower pattern and the checks are the same, and it looks great.

Photographer Ewell, Photographer SurreyIn  this winter photograph, the blues are vibrant, and in this case the second colour is really the green of the grass which balances it well.

  • Avoid logos, branding and tiny patterns or prints: logos and brands date and take a photograph away from timeless and classic to 'of a time'.  It's quite hard to coordinate with a Teenage Ninja t-shirt!  Small branding like tiny logos on polo shirts are fine, but a Nike Swoosh across the front of a shirt makes the shoot about fashion and less about you.

Now there is an exception to this and that is that younger children can be very attached to certain items of clothing (I remember my youngest would not go out unless she was wearing her Belle princess dress-lasted for a month).  It is not worth having an uncooperative little one if they can't wear their favourite Disney top, so my advice would be to let them wear it and bring the other clothes to the session and we'll make sure they get lovely Disney shots first before they change, so  they feel listened to.  Make the second outfit a favourite and easy to change into.

Of course there is a very valid point that family photography is all about capturing your family as it is at a certain point in time, and if your children are wearing Marvel as a second skin, then that is this stage of life- it won't last forever and when it's gone you'll wish it hadn't.  I'm sure some of you would love those moments captured forever- so enjoy the Disney/Marvel months.


  • Use accessories to add a variety and a pop:  scarves, cardigans, chunky jewelry and jackets are a really easy way of adding an extra colour without being distracting and are easy to add to change a look very quickly.  They can also be used to bring a brighter colour into the mix without being overpowering.  Not everyone needs to be adding pop, a little sprinkle goes a long way.

I love the way this family have chosen their colours, with the beiges and blues and the clever use of a different pinks scattered throughout.  Looking good!


  • Consider a clothes change:  Can't decide which outfit to wear? Want casual and more formal? Why not bring a change of clothes? It'll give you more options for variety- in fact it's really two sessions in one!  Not every location is suitable for this, but if you're having your family photography session here on our Surrey farm, there's a chance to change outfits during a break.

Here are a couple of great examples of an outfit change.  Photographer Surrey, Photographer TadworthThese lovely twins had fun denim dresses on for casual playing in the woods and fields, then a complete change to pale pink and beige for some family portraits.

And here we have relaxed jeans and tops for a laid-back feel, and then a quick change into dresses for a more formal portrait.


  • Wear comfortable footwear: Wherever you have your session you will be on the go for at least and hour, so it's important to choose footwear you can last in and that is suitable for the ground conditions. Uncomfortable shoes, or worrying about spoiling them will make the session less relaxed and more like a chore- and that will affect expression and body language.  So if in doubt bring alternatives and choose once you've arrived.

Now I know I said 5 tips, but it's really 6, and this is the most important

  • Whatever you wear, be comfortable and be yourselves: If you feel comfy in jeans and shorts, wear jeans and shorts.  If you prefer more dressy look- go for it.  This is your photography for your family and it should be you in the photographs- not someone else's idea of what the right thing is.  It's wonderful to have the session and you'll really enjoy the photographs now- but in 5, 15, 25 years from now, the photos from your family session will be even more valuable.  In 25 years, you won't be looking at the clothes.  You'll be looking at the most precious people in your life and the warmth, love and relationships that you see in those photographs will be the most precious thing.Photographer Reigate, Photographer Surrey













A relaxed and natural mother and baby photography session Epsom Surrey

Babies are only babies for a fleeting moment.  I know because my eldest will be 16 this year and it seems like only yesterday that I could hold her in my arms, blow raspberries on her tummy and not be embarrassing (although she hides it so well- I am so lucky).  I wish I could have each of those moments again.  So when Rebecca introduced me to Teo, I was smitten- big blue eyes, just like his mummy; lots of bubble blowing and a wonderful interest in everything going on around him.  He's at that lovely age when the best game in the world is to take his socks off.  He was so relaxed and easy, even having a little nap whilst we were enjoying a cup of tea.

Mother and baby photography session are so lovely. Because we take our time and work around the baby's feeds and naps, both mother and baby are relaxed and happy throughout.

We wondered round the home, finding great light and capturing many special mummy and baby photographs.  So now Rebecca can hold onto these wonderful baby moments forever.

Enjoy a few favourites from their relaxed and natural mother and baby photography session.....

relaxed and natural baby photography Epsom Surrey relaxe natural lifestyle baby photography Surrey Relaxed natural lifestyle mother and baby photography Epsom Surreynatural and rlaxed baby photography session Epsom Surrey

A day in the life- family photography in Walton on the Hill


This family photography session really brings the sunshine into the middle of winter.  It was a very grey and rainy day, but you would never know that from the relaxed warm images.  This is a really special shoot because we decided to go more editorial and capture Sally, George and their girls relaxing at home.  Really relaxed and natural, doing activities that they would normally do together- literally capturing a slice of their life forever.

One of the really special things about this type of shoot is that it captures the everyday details- special looks, smiles, moments and hugs, that families do all the time, but rarely get to see.

It was such fun too- I got to spend time with this lovely family at their home in Walton on the Hill and enjoy the delicious cake they made during their photoshoot. Who needs sunshine outside when you have it in your heart?

I'm really happy to share some of the magical photographs from this family session:

Family Photographer Waltton on the Hill KT20 Surrey  Relaxed family photoshoot Surrey Tadworth KT20Family Photoshoot Tadwoth Surrey by surrey Family Photographer Amanda Darling relaxed and natural family photography Tadworth Surrey Relaxed family photpshoot KT20 Surrey by surrey family photographer Amanda Darling                                     It was raining quite hard when we took these but you'd never know from these sunny smilesBlack and white family photography session Walyon ont he Hill, Surrey At home family photography session KT20 Surrey Family reading together during family photoshoot Walton on the Hill Surrey Relaxed and natural family photography by Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling

Monday Musings from a Surrey family Photographer

Family Photoshoot in Walton on the Hill, Surrey, KT20 by Amanda DarlingHappy Monday Friends,

Don't some days just flow pefectly? I leapt out of bed this morning, the kids made it easy by being ready for school EARLY, the sunrise was spectacular and I even remembered to take my vitamins!  The school bus was on time, I was in and out of the supermarket with no queues and slid onto my office chair at 9:30 on the dot.  Bam! (as my 12 year old would say).

The reason for my happy endorphins?  My 2017 family photography shooting season started last Saturday- and I am so happy to be behind the camera again and shooting sessions for the lovely families of Surrey, Sussex and Kent.   I have an absolute beauty of a family photoshoot to share with you later this week- something a little bit different and a lot special, so watch this space.

So what is new this week?

  • The evenings are definitely getting brighter- isn't it lovely picking the children up from school before dark?
  • It's exam week (again!)- is it just me or haven't we just had an exam week?
  • I have just had all my kit cleaned and serviced- thank you Nikon- and it was like Christmas getting the box of camera bodies and lenses back.  I definitely felt strange without them.
  • We have spring cleaned so much here at the farm over the last month
  • Newsflash: you can walk across my daughter's bedroom without treading on something
  • Outside on the farm, the ewes are all eating enough for two, and we eagerly await Easter and the arrival of the lambs
  • We had the last blackberry and apple that I froze from last autumn's harvest- what a perfect taste of late summer to lift us in the middle of winter

Let's keep up this happy week.  Have a great one everyone....

Early autumn family photography session in Kingswood Surrey

Last month this lovely family came to the farm for a very relaxed photography shoot.  It was perfect to do it here as they are incredibly outdoorsy and love walks and runs in  the country.  In fact they told me that they sometimes go running along the footpaths that follow the edges of our fields! So it was fun for them to see around the farm from inside rather than looking at it from the outside.

It threatened to rain all morning, but in the end the weather was perfect.  It turned into a warm early autumn afternoon with lovely soft light.   And I had great fun getting to know them all.  They're very laid back and these photographs capture each of them perfectly - mischievous, fun, kind, close and everything they say comes with a sparkle in the eye!  We laughed our way through the session, and the time flew we were having so much fun.

With busy careers and 4 very social children, they really enjoyed some fun time together with no pressure or deadlines.  And I am honoured to capture that time together for them.

I hope you enjoy some of the photographs from their session.

Surrey Family Photographer Family photography in Kingswood KT20

Family of 6 Photograph Kingswood Surrey
Some really relaxed and natural family photographs

Mother and daughter photography Surrey Relaxed Family Photography Surrey Happy Family laughing by Surrey Family Photographer Beautiful Family Photography by Surrey Family PhotographerRelaxed and happy Childrens Photography by Surrey Family Photographer Amanda Darling

Four girls laughing together by Surrey Family Photographer Amanda Darling

Large family photgraphy relaxed and authenticParenst and children relaxing on a family photography session by Surrey Photographer Amanda Darlingsisters piggyback photography in Kingswood Surrey

Family Photographer Surrey -A sunshine filled photo session in Chipstead

I am so excited to share this beautiful family photography shoot with Naimh and her family.  They came here to the farm earlier this summer.  It was early evening as you can see from the beautiful golden glow- the golden hour.  And we took full advantage of the colourful woods and fields around us here.  Naimh was just finishing year 6 when I photographed this family session and it was the perfect time to capture her before she starts that big transition to senior school. (Note to parents- the difference between your child on the first day of Year 7 and the last day of year 7 is extraordinary!).

There were some really lovely moments during this shoot- my favourite is when her mum started telling Naimh all the special things she loved about her.  Not a dry eye anywhere!

Naimh was totally chilled throughout and you can see from the smiles and laughter that they were all so relaxed and had a great time.

I hope with all my heart that in many years time, Naimh will look at these photos and relive those magical moments, enjoying those wonderful words and the incredible bond that she clearly she feels with her parents.


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Family photography with twin girls-Doubly delightful!

I am so excited to share this gorgeous family photography session with you today.  This is only the third time I have ever photographed twins, and I want to photograph more!

As a family photographer it is wonderful to be able to stand back and capture the connection between each member of the family. There is an added dimension with twins because they are separate and together at the same time.  These girls ran and played together so beautifully and were funny, feisty and thoughtful. We ended up with beautiful images that show so many sides of their personalities.

During the shoot, I made sure to get some lovely photographs of Emma and Mark together too- often parents realise that they haven't had 'proper' photographs of themselves together since their wedding!  This is a perfect chance to capture some relaxed and happy portraits together.

We photographed the session late in the afternoon and the weather and light was beautiful.  As we walked through the woods and fields, the rabbits scattered and scampered away much to the joy of the girls.  Then we came across a whole field full of beautiful buttercups, and the girls had fun gathering armfuls, seeing who could collect the most.

I hope you enjoy some of the photographs from this lovely family as much as I enjoyed photographing them.


Twin girls climing a gate by Surrey photographer amanda darling photograhy Amanda Darling Photography lifestyle woodland family session Amanda Darling Photography Surrey twins photographer Amanda Darling Photography Surrey photographer Family photography Mother and daughter by Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling Dad and twin daughterd lifesyle family photgrapher Amanda Darling

Twin girls waering blues by Surrey lifestyle photographer Amanda Darling Realxed Family photograpy with laughing twin girls by Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling Twin girls with buttercups by lifestyle family photographer Amanda Darling Family walking through a field of buttercups ny Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling Relaxed Parents walking through field of buttercups by Amanda Darling photography relaxed photograph of dad and twin daughter by Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling Classic relaxed family photography by Surrey family photographer Amanda Darling

A newborn baby photography session in Ewell- welcoming Edward

Three and a half years ago, I photographed Marcus at 5 weeks old.  And here I am nearly 3 years later absolutely thrilled to do the same for his brother Edward.  I went to their home in Ewell and Lola and Michael spent a happy 2 hours cuddling and  focussing on their beautiful children.  Marcus was completely unfazed and played happily with his toys.  The result was photographs of relaxed and happy family times enjoying this wonderful new chapter of their family.

When it comes to baby photography I make sure the session is completely relaxed and we go at the baby's pace, allowing time for feeds and naps.  I love to capture the images that I as a parent would treasure.  This means I look for images that show the deep and incredibly close and protective love that parents wrap their newborns in.  It's really important for parents to be able to look back on that special time and see the connection and moments with their children.  As newborns are often the most photographed by the family, I make sure that I focus on the parents with the child, as they are often the ones taking lots of pictures on their phones but are rarely in the shots themselves.  I imagine that when the babies themselves are grown and have their children and grandchildren they will treasure the chance to see how they are loved and feel that connection.

I hope you enjoy some of the images from this lovely family photography session.  Welcome Edward!