Toronto Newborn, Baby and Maternity Photography
Toronto Newborn, Baby and Maternity Photography

Tips & Tricks for a Successful Outdoor Family Photography Session

Family posing on bridge

When the last of the snow finally melts, and the rain gives way to beautiful flowers and lush green grass, it’s time to get outside! Who doesn’t love a warm spring and hot summer? Before you know it, the weather takes a chilly tone and the leaves start to change colours. The photo-ops don’t stop here. The fall colours offer a stunning backdrop! Here are some tips for capturing some great outdoor family photography with your own family or friends.

Family standing on side of bridge

Tip No. 1: Find Interesting Structures

Whenever possible, try and incorporate any interesting structures into your session photos. This may be a bridge, similar to the image above, or a set of stairs pictured here. Sometimes it can be an old tree, a giant rock, a graffiti wall, or just a lonely bench just begging to be sat on. Either way, let the scenery speak to you. Exploring the area is a great way to engage the kids and make them feel like they are the ones finding these magical spaces.

Family sitting on stairs

Tip No. 2: Open Fields & Sunsets

Open fields are a great way to make the family the centre of attention. The beautiful bokeh background neutralizes anything distracting from what’s happening inside the photo. It doesn’t have to be perfect, not everyone needs to be smiling. Families are dynamic and everyone has their own unique personality. Maybe today your toddler decided not to smile, and that’s ok! You can look back on this photo a year from now and laugh with them; ‘Hey, do you remember how grumpy you were this day!?’ The important part is to roll with the punches. No matter how much you ask, it won’t change anything and it helps to tell a story of that day.

Family in field with trees

In this photo, I used the setting sun like a spotlight. Having them face away from the sun didn’t work as the background would have been a dark hill. This way we have the colourful trees. This park was in a valley which presented its own set of challenges trying to match the setting sun to a pretty area to shoot. With the sun setting, it doesn’t cast any dark shadows under the eyes and nose. This is super important. The best times to be outdoors for photography is either at sunrise or sunset with full sun. If you are outside on a cloudy day, you can shoot at any time as the clouds act as softboxes lessening any shadowing, naturally.

Tip No. 3: Treats, treats, and more treats!

I have yet to meet a toddler or a baby that says no to treats. I promised myself that when I became a parent I wouldn’t bribe my child. Then reality set in, and have been using it as a negotiating tool ever since. Having a treat or a prize for ‘good behaviour’ is probably the best thing you can do! It gives them something to look forward to and whips them back into shape when their mischievous side tries to derail the session. Everything is fair game for a photo opportunity, a little cake on the face didn’t hurt anyone.

Mom helping baby eat cupcake

Hopefully, these tips make your next outdoor family photography session stand out just a little bit more. Please follow me on Instagram to add some pretty photos to your feed and offer inspiration for your next photo shoot.

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