1950s styled family shoot

– So here we are in the midst of the third Covid lockdown in early 2021. I’m unable to do family shoots at the moment due to the pandemic, so thought I would catch up with writing some blog posts (something I don’t get around to often enough!) and I really wanted to write a blog about this very special family shoot from last autumn.

Melinda and her family are originally from California but work has brought them over to live in the UK. I actually met Melinda through a local mums in business networking group. She runs a very successful aromatherapy business and has authored two books on essential oils, a subject she is very passionate about.

This is the third year that I’ve done a shoot for this family and each year the theme has been different, so when Melinda contacted me about booking in another session, I was excited to hear what she had in mind. 1950s no less! Well why not? And so the preparations began.

Location and styling

The first thing was to set about finding a location which is perhaps the most challenging aspect to get right as the setting is so key to the final images. We also had the Covid pandemic to contend with of course, so had to factor that into any decision about where to do the shoot.

One option was to see if we could get permission to use an old vintage railway station but then we would have needed decent weather and as it was the end of October, this couldn’t be guaranteed. Melinda had also suggested the A21 American Diner in Kent so we contacted them and luckily they allowed us to hire out the whole restaurant for a couple of hours after closing.

Melinda then set about finding a hair stylist who could do 1950s hair and ordering suitable clothes for everyone. She also sourced props like old-fashioned Coke bottles, popcorn tubs and vintage suitcases.  So much effort was put into all the little details and they all looked absolutely stunning on the day!

Day of the shoot

On the day itself it absolutely poured with rain so we were very relieved that we were doing the shoot indoors! We had to wait for the last customers to leave the diner and the staff to clean down and tidy up before we could start.

By the time we got going it was twilight and not long until it was practically dark outside. The restaurant was also quite dimly lit, so flash was needed throughout the session. I used on-camera flash for ease as we were moving around a lot (and bounced it off the ceiling to soften the light).

The shoot itself was a lot of fun athough we had to work quickly as we only had the diner for a couple of hours. I must thank my lovely friend Karen Cain who came along on the day and was such a huge help with adjusting the lighting in the diner when needed, setting up props and mopping up after the odd coke bottle got spilt!

After the shoot

We were actually really lucky to have been able to go ahead with the shoot as on the following day (Halloween!) the Prime Minister announced a second lockdown which came into effect just a few days later. So the shoot was in the bag and considering the many challenges, I was really pleased with the end result.

Melinda had wanted this shoot to be special, as a couple of the girls will be off to university later this year. It was such a great project to work on and I’m sure they will all enjoy looking back on the photos as the children grow up and go their separate ways.

Thanks Melinda for this lovely testimonial that she wrote afterwards…

“I love working with Claire. My demands are far from standard and she is always up for the challenge.

I don’t have a lot of photos of myself growing up. I think there are maybe 3 photos from my first 2 years of life? And not that many more until I was maybe 5 or 6. Those were not good times for my family, so I understand why there aren’t a lot of photos capturing it. But I still long for it…

 My annual photo shoot is literally one of my most precious things. The kids know they can return to sass the following day, but on family photo day it’s all about me. And they graciously accept this and give it to me. I treasure it… Thank you Claire for giving me precious memories”

It really does mean the world to me to be able to capture these important memories and milestones and this was such a fabulous shoot to work on, certainly one I won’t forget.


You can see a few more images in this slideshow.

Thank you for reading and if you’re interested in a family session then please do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you! You’ll find all my contact details here.