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I’ll share tales of my work, wedding and elopement planning guides, along with personal, sentimental stories.

If you’d like a glimpse into the life of a natural wedding photographer in Melbourne, let this be your window! I’m truly honoured to work with each and every one of my clients. I look forward to adding many more delightful stories to this collection as my journey continues.

Find the right family photographer and style for your photo session

Family Photographer in Melbourne, Victoria

Are you a Melbourne family wanting to book the perfect Family Photographer for your family photoshoot but not sure where to start? This is the perfect guide to get you started.

Family photography session in Port Melbourne with toddler and parents

By the end of this article, you will be able to confidently book your family photographer for a shoot and have a game plan for how to plan your shoot. And hopefully, it’s with me!

I’ve but together some guiding principles to help you with planning your shoot and working with your family photographer.

1.Have a visual in mind for your family photographer

What does your perfect shoot look like? Is it a perfectly styled boho-vibe shoot in nature? Maybe a cosy little café session? A beautiful at-home session that shows your daily vibe? Or perhaps you are bringing together your extended family to capture memories and your whole family together.  After Melbourne’s lock-downs last year, this has been very popular. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate your family connection.

Having a firm idea in mind of what you want when approaching your family photographer really helps the creative process. Yes, we can absolutely recommend the perfect family photoshoot details for you. And believe me we love to, but deep down, we want you to be happy with your images and have them printed on your walls to look at every day. Having a shoot that feels perfect for you and your family is the aim.

For inspiration, please check out some of my other Family Photographs from families around Melbourne, here.

in Yarra Valley suburb Macclesfield with one year old and horses

2. Choose a location that reflects your family

Perhaps you want something at your home, or maybe you’re set on one of Melbourne’s most beautiful natural locations. Choosing a location that reflects your family is important in the visuals of the shoot. But most importantly, in how comfortable your family is during the shoot. As an experienced family photographer, here are some of my favourite Melbourne photography locations for family shoots

Adorable brothers at a family photographer session wearing orange and navy shirts

> RJ Hamer Arboretum, Olinda | 50 minutes from Melbourne CBD

It’s a well-kept secret from the general public is a beloved spot among the professional photography world. Long grass, tall trees, expansive views all the way across to Mount Donna Buang. It’s a personal favourite of mine.

I normally recommend this location for families with children four and up. The space is beautiful for creating images running and walking through the long grass, as well as quiet moments under the trees. To top this off the fallen trees there are striking in the background of black and white photos.

There is plenty of parking available. However, I also encourage my families to explore the rest of the park and nearby cafés after the session.

The official tourism site link is here.

> Malvern Urban Forest Reserve | 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD

Every family session I have shot here, looks like we have driven over an hour out of the city. But here it is, beautiful bushland on Melbourne’s front door. The park has plenty of parking available and is accessible by public transport. It’s a family photographer dream and the perfect family photography location for all ages. There are sections with flatter open sections and some with rocks on the edge of the pond that are great for the older kids (and parents alike)!

The official City of Stonnington link is here.

> Thomas Street South Reserve, Hampton | 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD

Now, this is the perfect family photography location for families with restless children and toddlers. The enormous wooden climbing frame (care of the team at Mitre 10) offers sooooo much space for running, climbing and playing. However, the trick is you may never be able to get them out of the playground at the end, but it’s such a great park and family photography shoot.

There is plenty of street parking and easy access for prams. It can be tricky as a family photographer to ensure the children’s faces are towards the camera as much at this park, but there’s lots of ways to position them.

The official council park link is here.

 and five month pregnancy

> Your local café (right near your doorstep)

Gosh, I love having family photography sessions at your local café. For instance, some things to consider when choosing the café are:

  • Plan the shoot for a weekday at a time that the café isn’t too busy. This is particularly important during covid restrictions as I also count in the headcount for the premises and it can take a little extra time, which stops the business from making additional sales
  • Choose a café with character and charm that reflects your vibe. If you like a bit of a retro vibe, then choose a café that mimics that vibe. If French Provincial is more your thing, let’s visit a great French café like Che Dre in South Melbourne for your family photography shoot location.
  • Selecting a café with ample light or interesting light is really important – I can absolutely help with this. We are looking for a café that has reasonable sized windows and multi-directional light
  • Always ask the owner first, so that you know they are comfortable. If they are they will often make sure you get ‘the good table’ and that the chef has been versed up to make sure the food presentation is perfect for your photos. Unlike all those times where your poached egg has rolled off the top of the avo but you devour it anyway. Mmmmmm now I’m getting hungry thinking about this.
Melbourne father and daughter in Macclesfield yarra valley with Family Photographer

> Port Melbourne Beach, Port Melbourne | 5 mins from Melbourne CBD

Look, there are a lot of beaches around, but I say Port Melbourne beach because it is my local beach and I know and love it dearly.

One of the fantastic things about this beach is that one side of the yacht club is a dog beach so you can bring your favourite four-legged family members along for your shoot. While the other side has beautiful patches of long beach reeds and foliage which looks stunning in your photos.

Port Melbourne Beach has lots of paid street parking, and also a few free bays on side streets. For Port Melbourne Beach, I recommend first thing in the morning for those wanting to shoot on the Dog beachside. And morning or evening for those preferring the reedy section or to the east of lagoon pier.

An extra special tip, from this experienced family photographer:

If you want something in Port Melbourne with rocks and cityscape, I know a secret spot to take families to. I won’t pop the details here, because I’d rather save this spot for you rather than give away the details to other photographers reading this.  

The official tourism location link is here.

Melbourne family photographer working at port Melbourne beach with a toddler in the sand

3.What will you wear? Let’s plan your outfits

Now, this is the part where I leave everything entirely up to you. I’ve had a lot of recommendations from other photographers suggesting that I should build out a client wardrobe filled with floaty boho gowns, but the reality is not all my clients really want this. A lot just want to dress like themselves and celebrate their real lives.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a family photographer – I LOVE a boho gown. Really love it! And I’ll share some of my favourites with you shortly, but it’s up to you if you want to go down that direction and I want you to know that even if you show up in your favourite older dress, you will look beautiful.

Melbourne mum with four year old son during Melbourne family photography session at Brimbank Park

Here are some tips when choosing your outfits:

Match your colours to each other but also the environment

In the forest, dusty pinks, muted tones, gorgeous creams work wonders. Try to avoid too many green or brown tones as it can blend very easily in a dense forest like the Warburton Redwood Forest. For a bolder pallet, rust is a great open to pop out from the background.

In pinker toned locations, like the Pink Cliffs in Heathcote or some of Ricketts Marine Reserve, in Beaumaris, cream or denim is stunning. And if you’re looking for something striking, turn to a bold navy or black palette.

Extended family photography session in Moondee ponds Melbourne western suburbs with mother and daughter in green dress

Avoid clothing with words or complex patterns

It can be really distracting in the images. Additionally, as you move and the clothing folds, I have an uncanny ability for the words on your clothes to spell out new words based on the fold lines. And it’s rarely flattering and it’s a family photographer worst nightmare.

Family photographer in Moonee Ponds Melbourne western suburb daughter kisses mother tropic vibe

Wear something comfortable

Maybe, like me, you can get a little self-conscious of your appearance or weight. Floaty dresses, or dresses that sinch in at the waist then float over the body are fantastic. Aside from looking beautiful and you being able to wear it again at a picnic, you can run and play with your kids during the session in it and look beautifully comfortable.

In case you are looking to purchase one of those beautiful boho gowns, I was referring to earlier, please check out the following Australian clothing labels:

Toddler hand playing with ferns during family photography session in moonee ponds western Melbourne teaching moment with mum

4. Finally, leave your worries at the door.

I’ve photographed enough families to know that, every family has at least one nervous nelly in the group. Maybe you aren’t comfortable with your body, or maybe you just feel awkward having your photographs taken, but just know that whatever you are feeling is normal.

The first few minutes of any shoot can feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable. What do you do with your hands? And why aren’t asking you to stare down the camera and say cheese, like all the family portraits of our childhood? Okay, I might get one or two of you all looking down the camera, but ultimately I want to see the real you, all playing together. Interacting, laughing, playing, eskimo kisses, blowing raspberries, whispering jokes to each other, whispering the things you cherish about each other most to them. All of it.

Above all, once you realise it’s just like a normal family trip to the park, in cute outfits, with snacks scheduled at the end, you’ll relax, I promise.

Some other tips include:

Arriving early – the number of arguments started in the car on the way there over parking and arriving late are huge. Arrive early, grab a coffee and try to relax together.

Pack extra clothes – someone always ends up with a little stain on their clothes. If I’m honest, its normally marks all over mum’s clothes from little runny noses or the kids clothes from that yogurt they insisted they needed 2 minutes into the shoot.

Finally, make a morning of it – plan activities around the location so it isn’t just a photoshoot. Make it real life.

Melbourne mum with daughter in Malvern Armadale area during family photography session

Ready to book in your family photographer for a photoshoot?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to reach out and chat about scheduling in your family photography shoot, complete the contact form here and I’ll be in touch.

Much love,

Marisa xx

Melbourne Family and Wedding Photographer green skirt outdoors


I’m Marisa from Cadence and Grace Photography and I’m not your average Melbourne Family Photographer. To me, the human connection is the greatest celebration of what it means to belong – and at the centre of this is family.

Above all, when I document your family photography session, I’m documenting you. The real you. I see you. And I see what you mean to your family. The big moments and all the little moments in between.

I only take a limited number of family photography sessions each year. To check my availability for your family photography session, drop me a message on my contact page or email me at . Marisa xx

Melbourne Family Photographer

Photos of how deeply you love and are loved

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