How to choose the best location for your family photography session - Melbourne Family Photographer

One of the top questions clients ask me when booking their family photography session is “where should we have our session!?" and so it's made me think about the things I look for in a great location and I thought I would share my thoughts about it, here.

The four main points that I think about when trying to decide on a location are - 

SIGNFICANCE
DISTRACTIONS
PRIVACY
VARIETY

 

I'll chat a bit more about each of these points below, so please read on. 

Sometimes it's worthwhile venturing a little further out of the city for your family photography session - this session took place on the Mornington Peninsula

Sometimes it's worthwhile venturing a little further out of the city for your family photography session - this session took place on the Mornington Peninsula

SIGNIFICANCE

Think about places you go with your family and things you do together that are important and meaningful to you.   Do you guys love to go for adventures in the forest together on weekends?  Do you spend every evening in summer at the beach ? Do you visit your local café  so regularly that they no longer even ask you for your order?  Having your family photography session in a spot that is special to you and already holds its own memories in your heart are going to make your images just that much more treasured in the years to come!   

family lifestyle photography

DISTRACTIONS -

While it’s wonderful to choose a spot that has significance to you, it is also important to think about how practical the space is going to be for the purposes of a photo session. For example, if you want to do your session at your local park, but the only time you guys ever visit that particular park is for your toddler to play at the playground there, how do you think they will cope when we arrive and tell them they can’t play on the playground and that we’re going to go and do some photos instead!? If they’re anything like my kids, that probably won’t go down so well #tantrumcentral !!!  For that reason, I do try to avoid parks that have playgrounds, because once your toddler sees that, they’re never going to forget about it and you probably didn’t book a professional photographer to get 100x photos of your toddler going down the slide !  

mornington peninsula family photography

PRIVACY

Chances are, unless you’re a professional model, you’re probably not SUPER comfortable in front of the camera !! One thing that I think really helps during your photo session is picking a location that isn’t always packed full with people so you don’t feel like you are being watched by a group of 50 curious onlookers.  Crowded areas with lots of people can make it that much more difficult to relax! For example, inner city parks and beaches on a sunny afternoon = top destination for 99% of Melbournians ***!!  In summer, I try to schedule beach sessions for the morning when they tend to be quieter or I suggest that we venture a little further to some of the quieter beaches further out that have just a little more space.  I also suggest we avoid the really popular/well known parks and opt for quieter spots that are just as (if not more) photogenic !

(***completely made up statistic...from time to time I like to exaggerate to make my point)

Melbourne Family Photographer_0185.jpg

VARIETY -

OK, so you were thinking that the park across the road from your house has some nice greenery on the very far right hand side of said park….BUT it is bordered by roads / houses and/or car parking that is slightly less photogenic…. Because you see, the thing about my photo sessions is there is no WAY I am going to get you all to stand in once place for the entire time !  We are going to be moving around, your kids will be running around / playing and so if the location isn’t versatile enough, you’ll end up with a big bright blue station wagon in the background that is going to be distracting and take away from your images !!  As you can see from this session, the locations we shot at had SO.MUCH.VARIETY – it didn’t matter where we turned or what direction we were facing, it was all just so beautiful and that to me, is the ultimate test of a location !!

melbourne natural and fun family photography

A few final thoughts

- My outdoor sessions are always scheduled to coincide with sunrise or sunset, the time of day we photographers refer to as "golden hour". This is when the light is beautiful, flattering and well, just generally pretty damn magical !! The times of sunset and sunrise obviously change quite a lot during the year and it's not always the most convenient time when you have young children - but I can promise you, that for just this one day, it is 100000% worth the small disruption to their routine! 

- Pack lightly for outdoor sessions - please leave your pram in the car and handbags/sunglasses etc. at home ! We're going to be moving around a lot during your session and the last thing we want to have to worry about is moving bags/prams out of the shot. 

- Given we live in Melbourne, there is always the possibility that mother nature will have other plans for our desire to be outside on the day your shoot is scheduled - if the weather is looking dicey, I generally suggest we hold off making the decision to reschedule until the day of the session as the forecast can be so changeble. But we definitely won't be shooting in the rain ! 

- We live in an absolutely BEAUTIFUL part of the world, with endless natural beauty to discover! Of course we can find gorgeous spots close to home, but if you're up for an adventure, let me know and I'm always SOO excited to travel a little further out and explore new places!! 
 

So, there you have it, my top tips for choosing your outdoor location for your next family photography session.   Would you add any others to the list ? 
 

I would LOVE to know what your dream photo location in or around Melbourne would be.  Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know.  If you would like to book in your own family photography session, please get in touch and let's make some magic together ! 

Also, I couldn't help myself but do a big ol' overshare of this gorgeous recent family session on the Mornington Peninsula, only a short drive from Melbourne.

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melbourne lifestyle newborn photographer

Five reasons why you should never, ever invest in professional newborn photography! 

Speaking from experience after having my own babies (and choosing not to invest in photography for ourselves) and hearing some common complaints and concerns about professional photography from clients, I decided to highlight some of the main reasons I think you should avoid hiring your own newborn photographer !

spoiler alert.... I may have ulterior motives with this post....
 

1. You feel like CRAP

This was hands down, what put me off the most. I wasn’t organised enough during pregnancy to line up a newborn session while I was still feeling human, and by the time my first daughter was born, I felt like actual death. Zombie-like from the sleep deprivation, in serious pain from breastfeeding issues and just post birth soreness.  When I looked in the mirror, my first thought was definitely NOT “oh, how wonderful you look this morning Jess!  Let's get a professional photographer come and take photos of us for an hour or two!”....  It was quite literally the last thing I wanted to do and so I didn’t do it… I told myself I would wait until I had caught up on some sleep, lost a bit of baby weight and felt sane again….. and then, 2.5 years later, time literally vanished, my babies were walking / talking and only then did I finally got around to organising our first ever professional photos. Seriously…one of my biggest regrets that I don’t have more photos of myself cuddling my babies when they were REALLY babies. 
 

2. It’s bloody expensive


Beautiful professional photography is not cheap, it’s true…the costs of doing business for photographers can be quite high -  but honestly, I can’t think of a more valuable, more treasured investment than family/newborn photos. You know the old question of “what would be the first thing you grab if your house is on fire?” – Well, what would it be for you ? The reality is, most of our earthly possessions are insurable, back-up-able  and replaceable… time though?  Time is something you just don’t get back… your memories of what it felt like when they wrapped their tiny fingers around your thumb or when you nursed them to sleep, they will fade and those images you invested in … they will be your most cherished possessions.
 

3. You feel ridiculously awkward in front of the camera
 

Join the club! Seriously, this has got to be one of the most common concerns clients have when booking a photo session !! And it’s also my absolute FAVOURITE thing about lifestyle photography. You guys don’t need to worry about posing for the camera AT ALL. I will do everything in my power to help you feel relaxed and try to get you completely focused on your beautiful baby, so ideally you’re not even thinking about me there taking photos.  Ok, ok look, I’m probably going to ask you to get closer to one another than you’re used to and every now and then I might reposition you slightly to get your best angle or get you into the best light…but for the most part, I will just be trying to get you to relax into being your normal, natural selves and focus on each other – not me and my camera !
 

4. You’ve got a pretty sweet camera yourself and will just take your own *kick ass* photos inspired by your dreamy pinterest board...


Ahem…another one I may or may not be guilty of. The amount of people that say to me “ohh, you’re a photographer !? You must have SO MANY amazing photos of your kids”….  Well actually, no I don’t ! I mean, now they’re older and I have slightly more energy and my brain has begun to function again, I have taken lots of beautiful images of them… but as babies  ? There was always something else I needed/wanted to be doing… sleeping / showering / eating / expressing milk / not going within a 50 metre radius of them while they were sleeping for fear of waking them and spending the rest of my life resettling them to sleep…..  yknow, the usual! Of course I have a gazillion photos of them on my iphone, but the camera collected dust and as I mentioned earlier, my biggest regret is that I’m not actually IN the photos with them as babies!!  
 

5.  OK OK OK Jess!! You’ve made your point, sheesh, we get it! BUT, my baby is already two weeks old, she barely sleeps and can’t be put down for 2 seconds without losing her mind… so, I’ve left it too late then haven’t I?


No you absolutely have not!! The beauty of lifestyle newborn photography is that it’s extremely relaxed and we can just go with the flow.  The session is not dependent on your baby sleeping through because we don’t need to try and position / pose them and so really, anytime up to 3 months is fine for a newborn session with me!   If bubs is in that joyous “I scream every time I’m put down” phase we will get lots of cuddly photos with bub lying on your chest / snugging into you, if he/she loves having a bath – let’s bath them ! If they are mesmerised by your voice and you sing them to sleep or play music for them, let’s do that!  None of these things are dependent on the age of your baby, them being extra sleepy or settled on their own, so please don’t let that put you off! We can also have as many breaks as you need for nappy changes/feeds/settling– so there is really no pressure!



So, see what I did there !? I turned the table on you guys !! I bet you didn't see it coming!?  If you're still on the fence, and want to remain convinced that newborn photography is a terrible investment, then DEFINITELY DO NOT scroll through this recent lifestyle newborn session in Yarraville  (because you may also remember Bree & Harv's from  their maternity session and if you end up looking through both of their sessions I fear you will be overcome with a need to book in your own maternity/newborn shoots!!). 

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