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