family stories



I don’t believe in scripts or poses. I’m not going to force you and your brood into awkward, unnatural huddles and demand you say cheese whilst peering self-consciously into my camera – after all, who wants photos of fake you?

I want you to look back on your family photos in years to come and remember not just the hairstyles, the fashions and how very little your little people were – but how it felt to be a team muddling along together, how it felt to be loved and to love each other – cuddles, grumps and all.

It’s my job to create honest family images that get to the very heart of who you are. Images that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling every time you look at them. Images that make you want to call your family and friends and say, ‘remember when…?’ and tell them how much you love them.

If, like me, you believe that the best photos aren’t about how you look, they’re about how they make you feel, you’re in the right place.

I offer a range of family photoshoot packages in and around Hertfordshire, from short stories to full story sessions. I believe that the best way to achieve a truly documentary gallery is for me to be with you for a minimum of two hours, so that everyone forgets I’m there, but the choice is yours.

** Easter Mini-shoots** These short-and-sweet turn-up-and-let-me-shoot sessions are back for one day only.  More details here


FAMILY STORIES – photoshoot packages


A handful of your favourite memories

  • Your photoshoot (allow about 90mins) – personalised to you and your family.
  • A gallery of professionally edited images bursting with memories (you can expect 60+ images).
  • Choose your favourite 12 images to download, print, save and share.
  • Option to upgrade your package when you receive your gallery – additonal digital images are available at £10 each, or the full gallery for £195.
  • Images delivered in high resolution digital format via an online, password protected gallery.
  • Your online gallery includes the option to order premium grade prints and canvas prints direct from the pro lab that I use and trust.

Price covers photo shoots of up to 5 family members (including pets). Please let me know if you’d like to chat about bigger group shoots.


** discount for term-time midweek shoots (£165)**


Daddy holding son

All your memories with no extra charges

  • Your photoshoot (allow 90mins – 2 hours).
  • An all inclusive gallery of images bursting with memories.
  • no limit on the number of images you keep (you can expect at least 60+), it’s a hassle free way of making sure you get all the images you love, without the need to try and pick out your favourites.
  • Images are professionally edited and delivered in high resolution digital format via an online, password protected gallery with full licence to download, print and share.
  • £20 print credit for images printed via your gallery.
  • Your online gallery includes the option to order premium grade prints and canvas prints direct from the pro lab that I use and trust.

Price covers photo shoots of up to 5 family members (including pets). Please let me know if you’d like to chat about bigger group shoots.


** discount for term-time midweek shoots (£275)**


The print and album package

Everything from the short stories package, PLUS

  • Custom designed 8×8″, 10 spread (20 page) lay-flat album to tell Your Story.
  • £25 print credit to be used against print products from your image gallery – can be used against 6×4, 7×5, 8×12 or 20×30 prints or 40mm canvas prints in a range of sizes.
  • Option to upgrade your album further to a 10×10″ album, and/or additional spreads – this can be discussed once you’ve seen your gallery.


** £555 for term-time midweek shoots **


The Life and Times of your family

For a truly documentary photoshoot, book either a half or full Day In The Life session. I’ll hang out with you for the day, you’ll forget I’m there and I’ll let my creativity flow as I capture you and your family doing your thing, naturally and with zero posing.

You’ll receive everything from the Your Story package, plus a £30 print credit for online gallery orders.

£450 (half day)

£599 (full day)

** discount for term-time midweek shoots **


albums + prints

I’ve taken care to source my albums from a specialist print lab – beautiful books selected for their impressive print quality, longevity and premium appearance. These hard-backed, heavyweight books feature lay-flat board pages for a timeless way to tell your family story through the generations.

Albums are included within the Your Storybook package, or upgrade any package to add an album from £250 (8×8″ 10 spread (20 page) option).



Where do the shoots take place? Will you take group photos? What should we wear? Answers to these and more… 


Wherever you’re happy to relax, have fun and be yourselves.

Your kitchen, a playroom, a bedroom (pillow fights can be fun and always result in lots of giggles!), or if you prefer to get out into the great outdoors, a garden, the local park, or fields and woods where there’s plenty of room to run around, piggy back race, cartwheel, climb trees, jump in puddles, picnic or go for a relaxed stroll – whatever comes naturally.

Photoshoots typically take place in and around Hitchin, Hertfordshire. There’s no additional cost for travel expenses within a 50 mile round trip of SG4 9. I’m often booked for shoots in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire as well as my home county of Hertfordshire.  


You’ll receive a range of shots, from fly-on-the-wall moments to a few natural ‘team’ shots.

I’m not a fan of awkward, super-posed photos, I prefer to keep it simple and natural, BUT I’m always on the lookout for great light and lovely compositions, so you can expect me to point out good spots, maybe suggest where to sit or stand – and then I’ll stand back and let the action unfold. I spend the majority of the shoot focused on the documentary action, but I know it’s important to get shots of you all together, so expect a little gentle direction for this before we quickly get back to it.

But don’t just take my word for it. Have a look for yourself on my portfolio or blog

Any top tips for relaxed natural family moments?

I won’t direct you too much, as I don’t like to influence how you naturally are with each other. That said, as much interaction and eye contact as is natural will be best for your photos.

Please don’t hold back because you ‘don’t want to ruin the photo’. I guarantee that there’s more chance of a photo being ruined by someone trying (unsuccessfully) to make themselves invisible behind a curtain (my wide angle lens will find you!) than getting involved and being part of the moment.

Togetherness is what it’s all about, so, if holding hands, linking arms, piggy backs and cuddles come naturally, let them overflow. Remember to talk to each other and keep each other involved.

Whether you’re naturally tactile, or naturally reserved, be yourselves, but be together.


What do you feel good in? There’s no right or wrong when it comes to the best clothing to wear for your shoot – you have to feel comfortable and confident in whatever you choose to wear. Just dress for the weather (if you’re having an outdoor shoot) and dress as you.

Gone are the days of everyone wearing coordinated black. This shoot is all about you and how you really are as a family – not a fake version of you. But, since you ask, if it’s important to you, think about how and where you want to use the images (on the wall, on a bookshelf or in an album) and visualise your clothing ahead of the shoot.


That depends on the package you’ve booked. I believe that the best way to achieve a truly documentary gallery is for me to be with you for a minimum of two hours, so that everyone forgets I’m there – genuine warm smiles and belly laughs are sooo much better than self conscious grimaces.


It happens. Don’t worry. Meltdowns and shyness always seem to happen at the most inconvenient moments, but that’s life so we just roll with it.

I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, and besides, shots of grumpy kids can still be beautiful. They’re often my favourite of the gallery – a grumpy scowl can say a thousand words. It’s all about capturing you and your family – just as you are.

Likewise, if you have a newborn or very young baby, we’ll work around nap and feed times as much as possible. If they’re sleeping, I’ll capture that – and save the smiles and giggles until they wake.


No way!

There’s no need to embark on a full-scale tidy and clean mission before your shoot. This isn’t a shoot for Hello! or Ideal Home magazine – it’s a shoot for simple and honest memories for your own family album. It’s important that I’m able to capture your home as it typically is – toys out, books out, shoes by the door and so on. All of these little details help tell the story of your home and family life. Perfectly imperfect is how I think of it.


If you’d rather not have shots of your undies drying on the radiator, I’d recommend a quick whip round the house to tidy away the stuff you really don’t want in your gallery.


Hanger (n: extreme rage caused by hunger) is a thing! Fact.

Babies and children need food and I’m 99.9999% sure there’s a direct correlation between hunger and grouchiness. If it’s possible to make sure that everyone has had food just before the shoot that would be helpful, but please don’t worry about feeding your children as and when required during the session. If you’d like shots of you feeding your baby/ies I can incorporate that, or I can focus instead on siblings, or just take a breather. Whatever works for you.


Only if you let me. I am proud of the work that I do and the images I create and appreciate being able to share them when possible on my website and social media pages. Sharing my images in this way is essential to my business. After all, it’s how clients get to see my style of work and is probably how you found or researched me too.

I never use children’s names with images (other than if you’ve given me express permission, or if you’ve asked me to tag you on social media). You’ll receive a password protected online gallery to view your photos so you can see your moments before anyone else. Once you’ve had a look just let me know if there’s any you’d rather I didn’t share.

Have a look at my Instagram or Facebook to see how I typically use images and just let me know if you have any concerns,


Absolutely! Print and share away! Sharing the love with friends and family is what it’s all about after all.

As the photographer and creator of the images, the copyright stays with me (that’s just the way the law goes), but all my packages allow you to download, print and share with friends and family all of the images you’ve bought.



If you like what you’ve seen and you believe that photos aren’t about how you look, they’re about how they make you feel, I’d love to hear from you.

Send me a note here, email me or call me on 07769 652145 and tell me all about your family and the memories you’d like me to capture.

Jo x

Quintessential Photography is a GDPR compliant business. By submitting your details via this contact form, you are also giving your consent to Quintessential Photography to retain and use the data you provide in order to respond to your enquiry. I care about your privacy and never share details with anyone else without your consent. Your data may be held in my records for up to 7 years, dependent on whether you continue to make a booking.

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