Spring is here and it’s the perfect season for taking outdoor photos. Choosing a location for your family photo shoot can be challenging and the possibilities can seem overwhelming. What local places are good for taking family pictures? What kind of scenery do you want, and what time of day is best? If you’re struggling to decide, check out these three handy tips on choosing a location for your family photo shoot.
Brainstorm a List of Local Places
Remember that you don’t need to travel far to find an outdoor location for your family photo shoot. Chances are, there is a place in your hometown or city that will work just fine. While many people want to choose the most dramatic location they can think of, this is definitely not necessary. In fact, some photographers recommend considering your own backyard as your backdrop.
There are many advantages to using your own backyard if you have one. Your own yard is a comfortable, familiar place, and it is easy to be spontaneous when everyone is at ease. The photographer Keri Vaci writes on the Huffington Post blog that grand backdrops are not the most important part of a photo shoot. Rather, it is being able to document the family’s interaction and connection honestly.
A backyard setting is often perfect for seeing the family in action and capturing them in an authentic way. Another plus is the convenience factor. You don’t need to travel anywhere or pack up the car, and the house is right there for snack or bathroom breaks.
If you don’t have a backyard, or if it isn’t quite right for the job, think about spots in your neighborhood or town that might work. And don’t feel you need to be surrounded by nature, either. If you are in a city, there are many possibilities for an urban setting as well.
Think About Lighting
When choosing a location for your family photo shoot, also consider the time of day and what the lighting will be like. For a sunrise or sunset shoot, find a location with a broad vista and some object of interest. For example, if you will be shooting at a beach, find a spot where there are background objects like sand dunes, grasses, or large rocks. Or if you are in a field, locate trees, plants, or boulders to include in the photos.
If you want the shoot to take place at midday, there are a few things to watch out for. You don’t want anyone to squint in bright light, or to be blocked by shadows. It is best to find an area where your family can stand in the shade but where there is an attractive backdrop. Some places to consider are city parks, sidewalks, or quiet tree-lined streets.
For outdoor shoots, the weather is another consideration. What if the day of the shoot arrives and it’s raining outside? You can certainly reschedule but remember that even gray, overcast days can make for a dramatic picture. On cloudy days the light is distributed more evenly and people won’t be squinting. If it’s raining, consider taking the pictures under a covered outdoor area like a gazebo or porch.
Discuss Locations With Your Photographer in Advance
Once you have an idea of possible settings, narrow down your list to your top three locations. This will make things easier when you make arrangements with your photographer. While photographers usually have a go-to list of possible locations, they often appreciate it when the client comes to them with a few locations in mind. This makes it easier on your photographer and makes the planning go a bit faster.
Tell your photographer that you have three possible locations for the shoot. Your photographer will then be able to give some input on which location is best.
Once you both agree on the location, you can then set a date and time for your family photo shoot. At this point, you will be done with the hardest part of the preparation. Now you can focus on the fun parts like what to wear and what poses to strike.
Choosing a location for your family photo shoot is easier said than done. There are many factors to consider, such as the time of day, the scenery, and the weather. But you can avoid a lot of stress if you stay local and have a backup plan in case of bad weather. And at the end of the day, keep in mind that dramatic scenery is not necessary for amazing family photos.