How do you want to remember your family?

I sat and thought about this a while ago. When my little one is grown what is it that I want to remember the most? What do I want her to see and remember when she looks through our family albums? I decided it was joy and connection.

I used to be so hung up on my little one looking at the camera that I was not only sucking the joy out of me taking the photo but her joy out of whatever activity she was doing. If 2020 has taught us anything it's that appreciating our connections between people and our environment is what is soul lifting. And so my obsession with lifestyle family photography began.

The main reason I love the lifestyle approach to family photography is that sessions are relaxed and more importantly, child led. Kids are so much easier when they feel like they are calling the shots and not being constrained. They love playing with their families which makes capturing their joy simple.

I use small prompts while photographing families, I understand that people can feel a bit self conscious in front of the camera so giving them something to do can ease them into feeling more comfortable. Those actions lead to joyful reactions that I snap up as fast as I can because it's those little entwined moments in between that matter the most. So, How do you want to remember your family? Posed with fake smiles or real connections?

There are so many ways to capture a child or families joy but here's 12 of my favourite's.

A Hayling Island family sits on the beach laughing and tickling each other while the sun sets behind them.

1.Tickle fight

I love getting families into position and then letting the kids know that after I count to 3 they are going to be tickled. The kids almost fizz with the anticipation. Look at those smiles and how everyone is engaged with each other. These kiddos were full of energy, loved to be tickled and we all had fun running around in the sand in the late Summer sun.

In a sunflower field on Hayling Island a dad lifts his one year old Son in the air while his mum laughs and looks on.

2.Throwing up in the air

I've not met a kid yet that doesn't love being thrown or held up in the air, it's always a winner for smiles all round! I love to use prompts that create movement so I can freeze the joy and laughter. This little Dude loved his Daddy throwing him up in the air and I Iove that Mum was able to get in on the fun. This was a super windy and overcast day which created dramatic skies and loads of movement in the flowers.

In a field in Havant a Mum and Dad swing their two year old towards the camera while the sun sets behind them.

3.Air Plane towards me

Toddlers usually need a little bit of entertainment in exchange for their photos. Mum and Dad here made a brilliant ride!. This is proof that little ones trust us implicitly and just love to play with us. This cheeky little one was more than happy to have Mum and Dad chase, sing with and throw him about!

On a beach on Hayling Island a family laughs and hugs each other while the sun sets behind them.

4.Bear Hugs

Do you remember when you were small and the thrill when your Mum chased you up the stairs? Well, this is exactly the same, I got the kiddos to stand up front and Mum and Dad to head as far back as they could go. Then I told the kids that Mum and Dad were going to run up behind them and give them big bear hugs but they weren't allowed to turn around. You should have seen them squirm with excitement!

Sitting in a field in Havant a Mum and Dad smile at each other while holding their newborn baby Son.

5.Look at each other

It's so simple but there is something so sweet about how couples look at each other. They initially smile from a bit of awkwardness, then this lovely little spark passes between them. The Sun had almost disappeared for this photo, their toddler had. had enough and was romping around with his Nan on the other side of the field and it was just a perfect calm moment between them.

A family sits in a field in Havant. The Mum is cuddled in close while the Dad hold their newborn baby Son.

6.Snuggle in close

Again, this is something so simple but so heartwarming. You hug and snuggle your loved ones every day why wouldn't you want a photo of that? We were close to finishing up, the Sun had been hiding throughout most of their session but decided to peek out just before it set creating that lovely glow. Little Ellis had decided it was time for a snooze and it seemed the best moment for a nice snuggle. This is so heartfelt and I love Mum's smile as she rests her head on Dad's shoulder.

A maternity couple sit on a fallen tree on Hayling  Island beach. They are laughing and cuddling.

7.Nose Kisses

This one works for grownups and older kids. Look at that lovely connection, you can almost hear the giggling! This was a perfect evening for their Maternity photos. We had a fabulous sunset. Simon helped Gemma up onto a fallen tree by the waters edge. They were cuddled in close and when I asked them to nose kiss this magic happened. I must admit it wasn't just the nose kiss that made them laugh but Simon's new beard which tickled Gemma's nose!

In a field on Hayling Island a one year old boy with curly blonde hair and blue eyes laughs at the camera.

8.Peek a Boo / Chase Me

Little ones can't get enough of Peekaboo! Look at this sweet kiddo's big smile, sparkling eyes and gorgeous curly hair. He was a bit of a tough cookie and was much happier when he was playing with Daddy so we made a game of him chasing Daddy and then as he got nearer to me I popped out from behind the camera to peekaboo!

On a beach on Hayling Island and Mum laughs as her 5 year old daughter kisses her all over her face.

9.Kiss all over

I LOVE this prompt! I asked Eva if she could kiss Mummy all over her face as fast as she could and she went at it with great gusto. What a lovely sweet moment and I think it captures so much more character and joy than a simple one kiss on the cheek. I love Mum's brilliant smile and Eva's little hand is on Mum's shoulder. No one is looking at the camera here but you can definitely feel the joy and love.

In a sunflower field on Hayling Island a Dad laughs while holding his one year old Son and his wifes hand.

10.Walk towards me / Silly walk

Have I mentioned that movement in family photos are my fave? Everyone holds hands and just walks towards me. It's probably the easiest prompt to follow which is why I usually start my sessions with it. Older kids love it when I throw in a silly walk and it creates lots of smiles.

In a field in Havant a two year old boy laughs and dances in the tall grass.

11.Sing a song

If you're happy and you know it.....Toddlers love music and dancing! This little cheeky chappies Mum and Dad love music so I knew that he would be up for having a boogie. Here he is having a wiggle to the scarecrow song! This location is one of my faves and kids, including my own, love running through the long grass,

In a field in Havant a couple sit in the tall grass, they share a kiss while holding their newborn baby Son.


Again, no one is looking at the camera here but you can feel the love in his photo. It's so nice to be able to capture a moment of real connection between Mum and Dad like this. I think parents can be a little apprehensive about getting newborn photos but the magic of lifestyle photography is that there is no intricate posing. It's mostly snuggling with Mum and Dad where baby feels the most safe and comfortable.

About the Author

Hi there! My name is Estella Ward, Owner of Entwined Photography. It's my mission to capture heartfelt joy and connection. I have always been drawn to photography that draws emotion and captures the spirit of the moment that you can almost hear the laughter in the photo.

I see such beauty in all the fleeting moments of time and I've carried that perspective with me into my adult life, especially since becoming a mother. Entwined Photography is a Family, Newborn and Maternity lifestyle photographer based in Havant, Hampshire and serves areas in and around Havant, Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Fareham, Rowlands Castle and Chichester.

In a Sunflower field on Hayling Island a Mum sits on a hay bale laughing with her 2 year old

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