Choosing a location for your photo session doesn't have to be stressful, I promise! I'm always down for an adventure out to some grand landscape for photos when it matches the client, but loads of families just want something EASY. So I like to start off with a few stress-reducing suggestions to help those people decide what kind of location works for them.
If you're anything like me, you might be inclined to take on more than you should by "making the most of the opportunity." Most people think it's just about choosing what kind of majestic nature you'll go to, but ultimately, I think the location you choose should be the back-up singers to your lead vocalist - which is your family! In most cases, the location should compliment, but not necessarily be the star of the show. The most important part of the session is going to be how we celebrate the connections between you and your family. So while you're thinking about all the other advice and options you've been given, give these ideas a think too, and don't stress too much. Remember, photos are a treat, and you're supposed to enjoy this process!
- Start with thinking about locations that already mean a lot to you! My absolute favorite location is one that already has significance to you. Is there a park you go to all the time? A trail you walk together with your dog every week? A campsite you go to twice a year? Maybe there's a neighborhood spot you and your kids love to go get treats and walk around. Or maybe you and your partner like to visit a specific lake every summer. I personally believe the photos will strike more heart chords and spark more memories if the location you go to is already special to you. Not to mention you already feel comfortable at places like this and everyone will feel just a little more at ease. This is my number one tip because choosing to be personal never fails to make people happy.
- Decide how far you're willing to drive. In Utah we are fortunate enough to have lots of canyons within a couple hours' drive. But TBH sometimes even that is too much when you have things to do or naptimes to work around. Decide beforehand if an hour is too long, and do yourself the favor of eliminating locations that are outside your drive-zone right off the bat. This is something you can let your photographer know early on to make it easy to narrow things down.
- Consider the accessibility of the site. Is grandma coming with you? Does your kid need a path for a wheelchair? Are you bringing your dog (some places only allow dogs at certain times)? Can everyone in your family handle an uneven path or a 10 minute uphill walk to a site? These are all things to keep in mind while you're thinking about options or getting ideas from your photographer or friends. It's nice to not get your hopes set on taking photos at the top of a mountain if it will suck for your family to get there.
- Consider doing the photo at home. I know the majority of people will automatically rule this out without actually considering it, but I really hope you'll give it a think! This is one of my FAVORITE suggestions because it always turns out to feel so special. There's something about gathering your family in a place that already feels comfortable and already has your vibes that makes everyone act more like themselves. Doing photos at home gives you the chance to really capture how your family is when they're at ease, and what it feels like to be together. That sounds awesome to me and I already wish you choose this!
Hopefully these 4 tips give you some new and helpful ideas to consider to help you narrow down your search and take a load off your mind. Maybe you've already had a location or two pop into your head that stands out. Just keep in mind the star of the show will be you and your family. The photos you put on your walls are going to be full of smiling faces and hugs between people you love, which is what you are going to want to see the most anyway. So relax, and let the location decision be as stress-free as possible!