Do you love the idea of full filled outdoor family photos? Something more modern than traditional studio photography, where your children can play and you can get great images that show your family’s personalities? Read my top tips for getting perfect outdoor family photos.
- Choose Your Clothing Carefully
Your choice of clothing has a huge affect on how your images will look, so take a little time to plan what everyone will wear before your session. Think about how you would like your images to look and make sure your clothing choices fit this. For example, if you want light and airy images it makes sense to wear pale, soft colours. Choose clothes that coordinate but are not exactly the same. Avoid bold patterns, clashing colours and logos as these will overpower the image. Why not treat yourself to a shopping spree for your photography session. If you feel good in your new clothes, it will show in the images. Read my article What to Wear for a family photoshoot for more help.
2. Choose the Right Photographer for You
Imagine your idea of a dream family photo shoot is playing together in the Welsh hills whilst the sun sets. You probably wouldn’t want to hire a photographer who has spent 30 years photographing families dressed up in their Sunday best in a studio, as they may not get your vision of images that truly capture emotion. If you have young children it may be best to hire someone who specialises in family photography so you feel confident that they have lots of tricks up their sleeves to capture beautiful images, no matter what mood your child is in that day.
3. Ensure Everyone is Well Rested and Well Fed
Select a time when little ones are likely to be in a good mood. It’s sometimes fun to let the kids stay up past their bedtime for a beautiful sunset session, but only if you know they are going to be happy to do so. A sleepy toddler is a force to be reckoned with, even for an experienced family photographer. Morning sessions are great for younger children.
Have you every heard of the word hangry? Hunger anger is a really thing, I remember my little sister used to be terrifying when she was hungry. If you are planning on going for dinner after the session then bring some snacks and drinks to keep everyone happy and avoid hangry children.
4. Get Dad Involved
Mums, I’m taking to you because it’s usually the mum who arranges the outdoor family photos. Don’t forget to include dad in the planning. Sometimes dad is just told to show up at the session. Sometimes dad doesn’t even know he’s going to be in the photos until the session! Try to involve him in the planning by showing him examples of the photographers work. Show him that the session will be fun and something to look forward to. Get him to think about what sort of things he likes doing with the children that would work well in photos, such as throwing them in the air. Show the children images of them with their dad and get them to tell him how much they love having photos with him.
5. Find a Location that’s Perfect for your Family
One of the most important parts of getting great outdoor family photos is choosing the right location. Ideally, choose somewhere that means something to you as a family, as this will make the images more special. For example, a park or beach that you visit often as a family. Choose somewhere where you will feel relaxed letting your children explore. Discuss your location options with your photographer, as they can think of things that you may not, such as how the light falls on the location. If you are struggling for ideas, they can suggest places for you depending on what sort of images you want.
6. Don’t Look at the Camera
Some of the best images are when everyone is looking at each other, not at the camera. Even if you do want an image with everyone smiling at the camera, it’s much easier to get these images if children are asked to look at the camera only once or twice during the session. The rest of the time, just ignore the camera and have fun with each other. The smiles you get will be more authentic if they are not forced. If you feel nervous in front of the camera your photographer will be able to give you things to do to help you forget the camera is there. When you do look at the camera, don’t ask the children to smile. Instead, ask them to full fully faces or tell the photographer a joke. They will naturally smile at the camera if they are thinking about something funny.
7. Be Prepared
You don’t want to arrive at your session feeling flustered. Make sure everything is washed and ironed the night before so you are not rushing in the morning. Have outfit options for everyone in case of toothpaste, jam or nappy related accidents. Mum, make sure you get some time to get yourself ready. I know you will be super busy getting the rest of the family ready but don’t forget about yourself. You will love the images more if you feel good about how you look. Let the kids hang about in their PJ’s for a little longer, turn a blind eye to the amount of YouTube they have watched and take some time for yourself. You deserve it!
Leave in plenty of time to get your location and if it’s somewhere you have never been before, ensure to check directions carefully and know where to park.
8. Bring Some Essentials (But not Valuables)
During the shoot, leave extra clothes in the car but bring a few essentials with you. Wetwipes and tissues for cleaning snotty noses, a few mess free snacks and drinks to stave off hangry children and a well loved toy or book to help your child relax If your child has a dummy, ensure to bring a few along. You may not want it in your photos but it will be great if your little one wants to take a time out from photos. Put everything in a sturdy bag that your don’t mind setting down on the floor.
During your session you’ll probably be moving about a lot so you will need to set the bag aside so it’s not in the shot. For that reason, try not to bring valuable items as you don’t want to be worrying about the bag. If possible, keep car keys and phones in an inside or back pocket so that they are safe. If they are in a front pocket they will change the shape of your clothing and it will show in the pictures.
9. Get the Kids Excited
When you talk about your outdoor family photos, make it seem exciting. Talk about how much fun it will be and the sort of things you’ll do, like have races with each other, find a fallen tree to climb on or play hide and seek. Talk about your photographer as someone who is there to have fun with them. They are probably used to a photographer as someone they have to listen to when they visit their school. Tell them that this photographer is different and they don’t have to look at the camera unless the want to. If they don’t feel under pressure to perform a certain way they will be more relaxed. If you have toddlers, check out my 10 Tips for Toddler Photography for more information.
Investing in outdoor family photos is important, but it’s not worth stressing about. Focus on enjoying yourself and having fun with your family. Trust your photographer to do a great job for you, it’s what you’re paying them for. If you are happy during your portrait session it will show in your images. In years to come, when you look at your beautiful artwork, you will remember how happy you were.
Ready to get your own beautiful outdoor family photos? Contact me now to plan your session.