Photoshoot - Mollie, Simon, Iona and Amber

One of the things I love the most about shooting family sessions is how different they all are. You can have a plan, an idea of where, when and how you're going to shoot, but then you rock up and there's a kiddo and baby who just aren't that keen on working to anyone else's schedule. You have to be willing to go with it, to muck in and wipe noses, hold babies, charm toddlers and do whatever you can to get some shots. Sometimes you think you're going in to capture a family at play, at what you end up with is getting more honesty, emotions and tenderness than you expected. And that's a good thing in my book.

A few years ago, photographing a family while one of their children wasn't at all up for it would have made me so nervous. I would have waited for smiles, or perhaps called the whole thing off and come back another day when things were calmer. But I've learnt now, that it's these moments that make for the honest images that I crave to make. Because motherhood, children and family life is not always one thing or another. It's a big messy mix of feelings and actions. There's smiles and laughter and joy, sure, but there's also tantrums and tiredness and frustration from everyone involved. Sometimes you experience all those emotions in just a few hours. Experience has taught me when to pick up my camera, when to hang back, when to direct and when to be silent and capture what I see. 

In these images I see the strength of a mother. The calm and the patience, the smiles and cuddles and understanding you need to help your children navigate moments when their feelings or tiredness overwhelm them. There's so much beauty for me in these imperfect moments, and it's such a wonderful thing to work with families who appreciate those moments as much as I do. 

If you'd like a family session of your own, I'm taking bookings for June onwards. I only shoot once a week at the moment, so I can get booked up quite fast. Shoot me an email: and we'll set something up!

Siobhan Watts