It was a cold, but beautiful foggy winter day at Taku Lake in Anchorage, Alaska...the scenery couldn't have been more perfect for an extended family photo shoot! Although we only had about 20 minutes, we made the most of our time and captured some lasting memories for this fun family!!
How To Prepare For Your Outdoor Family Photoshoot
Outdoor shoots create more natural looking photos, and they can be a refreshing change from a studio shoot. There’s always a bit of excitement and adventure when families travel to their favorite weekend or vacation spot, and it creates something much more special than a studio shoot.
Before the day of the shoot, the photographer will usually ask questions about time of day, shoot location, style and other preferences you and your family may have. Be sure to discuss any ideas or visions you have for your shoot with your photographer well in advance.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your outdoor family photoshoot:
What is the purpose of the photoshoot? Yearly family photos? A birthday, graduation or anniversary? Or are you just looking for a special portrait to hang on your wall? Whatever the occasion, make sure you inform the photographer of the purpose of the shoot, so he or she can prepare appropriately. Think about any props you may want to use, like balloons, flowers, chairs, signs, etc. You can also get ideas by searching online for “outdoor family photo shoot ideas”, and then make sure you share these ideas with your photographer in advance.
Photographers may give you time slots to choose from, or they may ask you what time of day you’d prefer. The hour after sunrise and before sunset is called the “Golden Hour”, and it’s considered ideal for shooting because the sunlight is softer. This can make your photos more attractive, so think about whether or not you’d like to shoot around these times. Make sure the time slot works for all of your family members. This can be a bit trickier if you’ve got a large group, including grandparents, aunts and uncles. It’s important to plan on arriving early to the location, especially if you’ve never been there before. Make sure you allow enough time for hair and makeup, either before or after your arrival. Lastly, give your photographer enough time to set-up and do test shots to adjust his or her camera settings to the outdoor lighting.
Depending on the purpose of the shoot, you may need to hire a hair and makeup artist or get some of your friends to do it. For family photoshoots in broad daylight, natural makeup is ideal, while photoshoots done in low light may need heavier makeup coverage. Think about what everyone will wear, and give yourself enough time to purchase any items you may not have. Make sure you take everyone’s style tastes into account so everyone feels comfortable and happy during the shoot. And sometimes allowing little ones to wear their favorite piece of clothing, like a tutu or cowboy boots they’ve worn everyday for the last six months, can make for a sweet photo and a great memory years from now.
This is sometimes the trickiest part in every family photoshoot---smiling for the camera, giving big hugs, and making sure everyone looks happy and natural during the photoshoot. Your photographer will have lots of pose suggestions for you, but if you want a particular pose or look, be sure to let your photographer know in advance. It’s a good idea to let the children go first in the photoshoot because of their short attention span. After the children, let the grandparents and pregnant women go next. It’s also a good idea to bring a bag with children’s toys, snacks, medications and any other items needed by each member of the family.
Some shots need time to compose and even more time to edit, so a lot of patience is needed for your family to get the perfect outdoor family portraits. Although the photoshoot may only take an hour or so, editing the raw photos can be a long and grueling process. Give your photographer a couple of weeks to get the finished product to you.
Katie Conlon is a young freelance writer who recently graduated from a university filmmaking program. She manages the blog and social media program for video equipment maker ProAm USA. When not on her laptop, Katie can be found snapping images of friends and family, or hiking outdoors with her beloved dog Turner.
Last call for my Fine Art Holiday Photos this Sunday, December 3rd! I still have a few openings, contact me if interested! Only $20 to reserve a spot for the entire family It will only take about 15 minutes and you will get beautiful, timeless images of your kiddos!!
This little guy was less than two weeks old and although I just had a baby 5 months ago, he totally gave me baby fever!! He is one lucky lil guy, with some adoring parents and big sister- who wasn't quite sure about sharing him yet, but could be easily bribed with some chocolate chips! :) His dog siblings tried to steal the show the entire shoot as well! :) Bring me ALLLL the newborn lifestyle shoots, I am in love with documenting them!
I had so much fun with this family! The main thing that they wanted me to capture was the Alaskan spirit that surrounds us so that when they move, they will have some memories of this gorgeous state that we live in! We met at McHugh Creek and even though it was mid October, the fall beauty was everywhere! The bond between the four of them was so sweet!
This was one of the last shoots I had before the snow fell, and I couldn't have been happier with the colors that were still lingering around the mountains up at Flattop. I loved photographing this family, they are a hockey family-both the boys play and the dad a former Pro, not to mention Slade, the older brother is a budding videographer, so we had lots to chat about! :) It was so lovely to see how much these boys still adored their mama, even being older...it was way too sweet, not to mention the way their dad looked at her. I mean, well look at her, it's not hard!! Congrats to Slade, who will be graduating this year from Service High!
I have known Ashlee for a long time... we used to work together way back in the day, so I was very excited when she asked me to capture one of the most important days of her life! To say she was the coolest bride is an understatement, the exact type of bride that I love to capture-fun easy going and down for anything! There were so many people around her loving her, supporting her and making her feel like the most beautiful bride in the world, which I how it should be.
Congrats Ashley and Shane!
Getting ready for the big day!
The groom and his men
Heading down for the first look
Getting ready to walk down the isle
bridal party & reception fun
old friends and family
the beautiful bride
cutting of the cake
It's hard to tell, but it was raining hard before this shoot. Luckily, this family was adventurous and literally right after we decided to tough out the weather and go for it, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was the most beautiful night, no wind, no rain, gorgeous light and a lovely family!
I have been photographing the Davis Family for around 6 years now I think? It's been crazy to see these kids grow up right before my eyes, and I've absolutely loved being able to capture them all these years! This year they added a new addition to the family-their beloved little pug Pup! I have pugs as well, so I was cracking up at him the entire shoot...they are hilarious little dogs. We were lucky enough to have a break in the rainy weather at the Eagle River Nature Center and got some gorgeous views of the mountains!