As a family photographer in London I am spoilt with a huge number of potential photography locations. I live in such an amazing city with so many beautiful open spaces that the options are almost endless. That being said, not every location is created equal and there are a few things we must take into consideration before selecting the perfect family photo shoot location.
A common mistake I find people and other photographers make is to simply head to the most beautiful location they can think of. Now, there is certainly something to be said for working in such areas but there is a lot more to take into consideration. As a photographer, I have a lot to think about and one of my first considerations is always light.
The importance of light in photography cannot be understated. It is not simply an abundance of light which we require, often far from it, but rather a location which offers us lots of options. For instance, I prefer to do my family photo shoots either early or late in the day, as close to sunrise or sunset as possible. The ideal would be just after sunrise, but few want to get up that early! As the sun rises in the sky the light it casts is harsher and less flattering. So what’s the solution? We choose a location which has both beautiful unshaded and shaded areas. The open shade will allow us to hide from the harsh sun and capture some stunning shots.
After light, the next big consideration for a family photo shoot is mood. There is no use having the perfect light if the children are tired, uncomfortable and unenthused. This is huge! I’m sure you’ve got experience of this. On a day out with the family, you spy a lovely opportunity for a photo, whip out your phone but the children are not in the mood. You may take a lovely photograph but without good expression it’s ruined.
I like to ensure that the locations we choose have ample opportunity for down time. We need to keep the children on our side and engaged. A fantastic way to do this is to put the camera away and do something else. My personal favourite is feeding the ducks, but there are lots of other options; playgrounds, hide and seek through forests, watching boats pass on the Thames etc. If we can keep the children engaged then it’s much easier to draw out genuine emotion, which is what I always aim for.
There are so many elements that go into creating a treasured family photograph. Location plays a major role and a great way to begin thinking about it is in terms of what will best suit you and your family. If it’s natural to find you wandering through your local park at the weekends then perhaps that will be the best place. Whereas, if you’re more likely to spend a day out in central London maybe we can work in some locations that you love to visit. The perfect family photo shoot location complements you and your family, it feels natural.
My final family photo shoot location tip is one which you will often hear me talking about. Think about what you want to do with the photos. Are they going to be displayed on your walls, put into a beautiful album, made into a canvas? There are so many possibilities that by thinking about this early on we can tailor every aspect of the session to meet your goals.
How does location play a role in that? One such way is through the colour palette of that area. The photographs from a family photo shoot in a park will differ drastically to one which is taken in the city for example. Will that colour palette work with the décor of your home? With the clothes you were hoping to wear?
Hopefully I have given you some useful things to consider. It may seem a little overwhelming but a good photographer will guide you through all of this. I spend a little longer than most with my clients precisely for this reason. I want to get to know you and your family so that we can work together and create something truly special.
If you have any questions or you’d like to get in touch and book a session please visit my Contact Page, here.