Why I Prefer Photographing Families Outdoor
Hi everyone! I guess you could say this is a preface to my very first blog post which I’m quite excited about. Clients have come to me in the past and have also spoken with me about their concerns with family and maternity photos. We all want to document those important milestones through photographs, and I hope that these posts will provide a level of resource for my clients, both current and potential to make sure you’re as prepared as you can for our shoot and most importantly, to make sure that I’m the right fit for you (or not! Which is absolutely fine). So let’s dive in on our very first of (hopefully) many.
This is probably going to make some of you crinkle your nose, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking your family photos inside a studio, I prefer to go the opposite route. Outside. While you may love taking photos in a studio and prefer to do so, that’s great! It means that you know what you want and I’m not the right photographer for you. But see that’s a win-win for both of us.
BETTER FOR CANDID SHOTS
Part of why my family sessions have been successful is because I’m bringing the everyday element to them and by doing so, I get more natural interactions and natural poses between parents and their children. Don’t get me wrong, not 100% of my photos are candid shoots (you can see this if you look through my portfolio). We’ll always have those looking at the camera and smiling shots taken but let’s face it, how often and for how long can you truly say that you can have your toddler look directly at the camera and do exactly what you tell them to do for a certain amount of time? Right. But know this, it’s usually those candid shots that we get dynamic actions take place and emotions come through. Children love to play around and are curious by nature. We all know that most toddlers have very short attention span. Why is this? Because they’re stimulated by everything around them, which basically translates to them being distracted easily. How many of you have kids who are mesmerized by water one moment then move on to something else? Exactly! When I present them with the opportunity to interact with their surroundings, it helps ease them into the session and it’s hard for them to get bored. Boredom is what we don’t want to happen. I want them to enjoy that 20 minute, 1 hour or 1.5 hour session we get to spend together. Another reason why I love shooting outdoors is that I can use it as a buffer when first meeting kids. Some children are social by nature while others may not be. Those children need time. To be honest, some of my first meetings with children didn’t start off smoothly. A few were hesitant and shy. Some (quite frankly) looked at me with that “stranger danger” face (but by the end of the shoot we were besties!). And I get it, they don’t know who I am or have interacted with me long enough to be comfortable around me. I do my best to put myself in their shoes. I mean, it can be intimidating when they see a person they don’t know hold a camera up to their face, which could be something they may not be familiar with. In comes the surrounding and outcomes play. Kids need time to take in their surrounding and get familiar with it.
NATURE AND KIDS
Shooting outdoors is a great experience for kids and when they engage with their surroundings and their parents, it eases them into the photography process. Like I said, some kids are camera shy and pointing my camera directly towards them from the get-go is not usually the best way to go about breaking the ice. When kids enjoy their surroundings, they enjoy themselves. When they enjoy themselves, their individual personalities shine. If ever a time comes where kids are starting to feel antsy, moody, irritable, it’s easy to shift gears, take a small break and have them play some more. All the while I’m capturing these fleeting moments. Not only is shooting outdoors a great way to engage kids with nature but it’s also a wonderful way to ease parents into the shoot.
STRESS RELIEVER FOR PARENTS
Taking family photos can be stressful for all members of the family and who knows! The drive to the location may have even been stressful! It could be that there was heavy traffic on the road, the kids were fighting in the back that led to someone crying…even worse, led to all kids crying; there could have been a quick unplanned stop for feeding, changing diapers, whatever it is…life…doesn’t…stop. It certainly doesn’t stop when families head out to have their photos taken. Parents can enjoy the outdoors too. It could be just what you need: that breathe of fresh air, a walk along tall grasses with the toddlers, throwing rocks along a creek or having a playful time at the beach. My intent is to make sure that whatever stress parents (and their kids) arrive with, nature will help alleviate that.
If you’ve been scouring for photographers you’ve most likely heard “natural light photographer” or “I’m a natural light photographer” and there’s truth to that. Taking photos in natural light has so many benefits like flattering skin tones. It also creates those gorgeous airy and light photographs that you love. Natural light is simple. Period. It’s not complicated with artificial bulbs/lighting, umbrellas and other equipment that many studios work with. Let’s say we’re shooting at the beach during that last couple of hours before sunset: here’s another benefit: the ultraviolet rays that the sun produces actually increases our endorphins. Endorphins are those “happy hormones” that runners experience when they go for a run. So, imagine? You’re taking photos at the beach or at a park, you’d never know it but that happiness you’re experiencing while being you and enjoying your time with your family? That transcends into your photos. When you look back at your photos on the wall, you can see that happiness.
TELLS YOUR STORY
We all love those stories that hook us, especially when people tell us stories that are captivating and filled with emotion. It’s the same with photographs.
Beautiful photographs are icing on the cake but the images we create together must have something more. When your family or maternity photos tell your story, you remember that day. Maybe not every single detail about it, but you remember pieces of it because it told your story. Shooting outdoors provides a level of storytelling, depth, color, texture and light that studios just cannot achieve.