"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
- John Muir
Are you a parent who would really love to have a family photo session? Or a couple who are engaged or just want to celebrate your love?
If you are and have jumped on and googled ‘family photos’ or ‘engagement photos’ or similar, you may have come to realise that having a photo session is not as simple as you may have first thought and that there are a many different ways that photo sessions can be done.
Usually though, the first question that most people ask themselves is…”Do we have photos indoors or outdoors?”
Now this article isn’t about which one is better, because neither of them are. It’s a personal choice. What I do want share with you though are reasons why you might think about going outdoors for your photos session, whether you are a family or a couple .
Firstly, and most importantly…
1. It’s Fun!
I remember a family who had their photos outdoors and afterwards they said that it didn’t feel like they were going out just to take boring photos and everyone would be bored. They said they had so much fun, because the whole approach that I instilled and they took on board from the beginning, was to look at it as if everyone was going on a family picnic in a beautiful place they had never been.
So the whole family: mum, dad and the kids were excited leading up to the photo session because it was like going on a magical mystery tour. And when they arrived they rocked up with a beautifully prepared picnic lunch, explored, ate a little, relaxed, had some nice photos in-between, and basically had a ball!
Best of all...mum was amazed that she didn’t have to discipline any of the kids or convince them to behave or have fun. A win for mum means a win for everybody. Because we all know that if mum is happy, dad and the kids are usually pretty happy too! Happy family means happy and natural photos.
Oh…and it’s a big win for the photographer too. :)
2. It Helps You Relax
There is a lot to be said for fresh air and sunshine.
What I’ve found is that by placing people outside in the fresh air and allowing them to connect with nature and breathe in all that beauty, relieves a great deal of stress and helps them relax and enjoy the moments, each other and their surroundings. It’s a photo session that doubles as therapy...nice!
3. It Adds Interest and Variety
Let’s face it – sitting inside a room and looking at a static wall, and smiling when you’re asked to smile with a flash constantly in your face, isn’t always the most appealing thing. It can often be a source of anxiety and boredom, especially for active and imaginative children.
The great thing about being outdoors for on-location photos, is that if the right location is chosen, a photo session can be interesting for every person. What makes it interesting is the variety on offer. Especially in such a country of natural beauty as ours…forests, beaches, open plains or grassy fields, mountains, the outback and deserts.
So many different and interesting options make for interesting and different photos. And because of the varied landscapes there are always things of interest to look at and explore. Differing activities can be planned which results in people connecting and interacting in ways that they would never have imagined. All the senses are engaged.
4. Landscapes Create Unique and Beautiful Photos
If you are in a beautiful location, don’t you want to be able to remember that location? And when you look at those photos and see where you are, does that not bring back memories of that experience: the sights…the smells…the things unique to that location - including what you did and most importantly, who you shared the experience with?
Outdoor photos sessions will mostly take place just before sunset or more rarely, just after sunrise. The reason being is that the light is not only softer and more flattering for portraits. But also because at these times, the colours in the sky are some of the most beautiful and breathtaking.
You never know what you’re going to get. Different elements every time which come together in so many different ways which add yet another level of uniqueness to your photos. It’s also the best time to capture that beautiful golden light and sun flares that create the most magical images that we all adore.
So remember to include not only photos of you, your family, and or your partner, but also include the surrounds that you are in. And try to include ‘Environmental Portraits’ too. I like to include them when I can. If you’re not sure what they are, it just means that you are in the photo, but you are not the main focus. You become ‘part of a location or particular environment’ (and it doesn’t always have to be outdoors either).
Because sometimes we also want to have memories of where we were, especially if it was a beautiful place that has or had special significance for us or it resonated with us.
5. It Creates Deeper Connections
For many of us, being in a certain place or location, especially outdoors isn’t always something we think about deeply. We just know we like it there for some reason. I think that we are drawn to places that resonate with us for many different reasons.
Some people love beaches. Some people love trees and rain forests. Some people love rural areas of grassy, open plains. Some people love cities.
When we are in places that we love, they create deeper and more meaningful connections. And when we are in these places with the people that we love and who share the same affinity for those places, it makes us feel good, and we are happy.
That’s the best reason to go outdoors when you’re planning your next family or couple session. When you are happy and with the people you love, you are at our most beautiful. It shows in your faces. And that’s what I want you to see. It’s a most precious and humbling gift that I can give you.