When I was growing up, I was always interested in photography and knew I would some day be a professional photographer. What I didn’t ever think about, however was taking photos of my best friends from High School’s children! It’s such an honor to be able to travel back to South Dakota so frequently to photograph and capture memories for people that I love!
Now, what you are probably more interested in than my mushy childhood memories, is the tips from this awesome session! While I don’t consider my photographic specialty to be “family photography” I do think I have a knack for what makes a session turn out great and what can really be a downer in a family portrait session. Here are a few of my tips.
Outdoor Family Photo Ideas
1. Get a Barn.
I’m joking, but it does add a nice touch, doesn’t it? When I was growing up in rural South Dakota, I thought the landscape was boring. I saw it day in and day out and I couldn’t wait to leave it. My perspectives have completely changed. I love going home to see the vast spaces of land that aren’t populated with housing developments and I especially love all the “junk” that lingers on the prairie like these old barns and homesteads.
If you don’t have an old barn handy, find some other props. What I have found is that kids need something to do in their photos (heck, most adults do too!). We had a stool, some blankets, toys etc. Don’t expect them to just sit there and it will turn out awesome.
2. Don’t make your kids wear lame outfits
What I especially like about this session was what the kids are wearing. They are cute! They match, but they aren’t exact. It’s a nice combination of modern but the clothing also goes with the background and it doesn’t clash with anything. Notice there aren’t any crazy prints and nothing is overly trendy. Avoiding those two things, especially with kids clothing, really keeps these images timeless!
3. Let them play.
I personally think that family photo sessions are supposed to be fun and happy. Don’t stress out if the kids run around and play. Let them enjoy themselves. As you can see, it shows in the photos and they are often the most cherished one.
4. Let them be themselves.
I can’t tell you how many photo shoots I’ve done and someone in the family says,
“joey, stop that.”
“stop picking your nose”
“don’t smile like that”
“NOT THAT SMILE”
“How about a nice smile?”
“quit pushing your sister”
As hard as it is to do this, just lay off. I seem to notice that the best photographs of kids are the ones, like I said above, where they are just enjoying themselves. It’s a much more fun situation when no one is stressing or even looking for the perfect photograph. Perfect doesn’t exist and it shouldn’t, that’s what is so awesome about life! The flaws are sometimes the most memorable or funny photographs we have, aren’t they? So, keep them, enjoy them and cherish those memories. You’ll also be more likely to remember the photos shoot as being fun, not stressful and you’ll probably book a session the following year!