Planning family photos is a big undertaking that comes with lots of decisions to be made. From choosing the perfect outfits to coordinating schedules and finding the best time for everyone, I totally get that it can be overwhelming! As your photographer, I try to do my best to mitigate some of that stress and make your family photo experience as worry-free as possible. Not only am I happy to work with you one-on-one to organize your session, but I have lots of blog posts filled with my best tips and tricks for families and couples. Today let’s chat all about the big question of location: should you take your family photos indoors or outdoors?
There are a few things to consider before deciding on a place to take your pictures. Both inside and outside locations have benefits and drawbacks, so it really will come down to your individual family needs. As always, I am happy to help guide you through the process, but here is a little breakdown of things to consider:
STYLE AND ATMOSPHERE
What is the overall style of photo that you are going for? Sometimes it’s easier to choose between indoor and outdoor photos by simply looking at inspiration photos that you like. A studio is likely to provide a more controlled environment because we use professional lighting and specific backdrops. This will leave your photos looking polished and sometimes even a little more formal than outdoor photos. If clients are looking for classic and timeless style photos, I will usually recommend a studio. On the flip side, if you are looking for a more casual, vibrant, or even adventurous vibe to your photos, an outdoor location may be the best fit. Outdoor sessions offer natural lighting in a variety of backgrounds. In my opinion, relaxed, candid shots are usually best taken in outdoor settings.
SEASON AND WEATHER
Will the time of year have an impact on your photos? When you’re deciding between indoor and outdoor photos, it’s super important to take the weather into account. For example, if the only time your family can all be together for photos is in January and it’s a frozen tundra outside, it might be a good idea to think about an indoor studio. However, clients who live in areas with distinct seasons can absolutely take advantage of the beauty and nature around them and incorporate seasonal elements into their photos (hello, a fall family session!). It’s always a good reminder to keep in mind that weather conditions can be unpredictable. If you want photos outdoors, be prepared to be flexible with the time and place!
ACCESSIBILITY AND COMFORT
Do any of your family members have additional needs that may make outdoor sessions difficult? While beautiful, some outdoor photo spots can be tricky to access and may require more mobility. This is especially true if you have young or elderly members in your group who may have a hard time moving around or tolerating weather extremes. Be sure to think about the comfort level of your family members when planning an outdoor session, as open-air locations can be influenced by things like rough terrain, temperature, and availability of amenities. As previously mentioned, studios are great alternatives because they can more easily accommodate everyone in your party.
Is there a location that holds meaning for you or your family? Places like this usually are outdoor locations like a favorite park, beach, or family property. I always love when my clients suggest a location that is meaningful to them because it immediately brings a sentimental aspect to the session. Taking your photos at a location that is important to you creates a unique backdrop that reflects your family’s personality in a way that few other things can. These are the kind of photos that easily become priceless family heirlooms. If you are able to make it work at a location like this, you absolutely should do it!
In my experience taking photos some sessions are just a better fit for an indoor location, and newborn sessions are included in that. If you have a little one under the age of 3 months, I’d recommend doing an in-home shoot. Firstly, leaving the house with a newborn is just tough. But also because usually at that age babies nurse more often and we tend to take lots of breaks. It’s often easier to have a session in your own home where you (and your baby) are more comfortable. We can also get some shots of your nursery if you have done anything special there during an in-home shoot as well!
Another thing to note: It’s totally normal if you don’t love the idea of photographing your home. Sometimes we just aren’t at that point, and that’s okay! Know that an in-home session isn’t the only option. We can always go to a studio equipped with a bed or couch in order to get that same “in-home” look. For these kinds of sessions, I would opt for outfits that are a little bit more casual. Dresses are still a good option for mom, but for dad maybe consider a casual button-down over a crisp white shirt.
I know there is so much that goes into making decisions about family photos, so I hope this information helps ease any worries you may have! Regardless of whether you choose an indoor or outdoor photo location for your family pictures, you will have great lighting. So if natural light is a concern in a studio, don’t worry about it! I use an off-camera flash so we can create perfect lighting, even indoors on a rainy day.
Lastly, a tip for all my photographer friends: I took Savanna Richardson’s flas course, and it has been a game-changer! I spent so much time dreading using the flash, and now I genuinely look forward to when I get to use it. I also highly recommend a mentor session with Savanna. Both the course and the mentor session were invaluable!
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As someone who wears a lot of hats (wife, momma, nurse, and photographer). I know that those once in a lifetime moments can truly fly by. My mission is to capture those beautiful moments so that you can come back to them years down the road and relive them! The best way to do that if to find out who YOU are and what type of moments YOU treasure the most.
Wanna meet me? I love my cute family, the pop of my Made by Mary necklace over my heather grey sweatshirt, and eating ice cream for every occasion - Tillamook Mudslide is my favorite!
And I can't wait to get to know you!
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