Five Simple Ways to Create Variety in Outdoor Fall Family Sessions

Five Simple Ways To Create Gorgeous Fall Family Sessions Full of Variety, Vibrancy and Love

Adorable Outdoor Fall Family Photography in Houston TX

Greetings, friends! Good afternoon to you! Thanks for clicking over to my blog to see some awesome simple tips on how to create variety in your family sessions, particularly outdoors in a natural light setting. As a Houston photographer, I can tell you that sometimes it's easy to feel "stuck" during a session. This is probably the first time you've met the family and you are a stranger to their children. However, I have been working a newborn and family portrait artist since 2013 and have accumulated much knowledge through trial and error. These are helpful tips I've found to work for me and my own business model. I hope you enjoy reading!

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Selecting a great location that's inspired by fall

So: in Houston, we have two seasons: hot and hotter. We also sometimes get hot and muggy, too! The best time to take outdoor family photos in Houston is always the fall. This is when we have a slight reprieve in the warm weather and it may be around 85 or 90 degrees, which is essentially a cool front for us! When working with your clients outdoors, select a location that is timeless, classic, and not distracting to the viewer. This session will become a treasured family heirloom; pick a spot that will look forever stunning upon the walls. Avoid places that have random signs or buildings that do not work with the aesthetic. For this particular session, I chose Telge Park, located in Northwest Houston, during golden hour, which is right before sunset. Here's a helpful map just for you:


Make Sure Your Camera Settings are spot on

In order to create vibrant family sessions full of variety, you have to have the correct camera settings. You are the boss of your camera. Your camera is simply a tool that acts as your paintbrush. Your location is your canvas, and the light is your inspiration. I always use camera settings that are appropriate to my subjects, such as moving children. For sharp, crisp, and lovely family images, I like to use my Mark iii camera body as well as a Canon EF 135 F/2.0L lens. I typically will keep my settings at about ISO 800, shutter speed 1/640, and f/stop (aperture) at around 2.2 - 2.8. Sometimes I'll also shoot wide open if all of the subjects are on the same focal length. The wide aperture gives you a creamy, gorgeous background that's compressed and also makes sure that your subject "pops" from the background, too. Your camera settings need to reflect the movement, light, and final look of the images you're looking to produce.

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Make a list of all combinations 

During a family session, there is so much more than just family photos. As a mother, I can tell you that it is wonderful to have many options to consider when hanging the photos. For instance, my final gallery comes with 35 retouched digital files for my outdoor family photography sessions in Houston, TX. I may take around 200 clicks, but during this time we cover many poses and options. Some of the family photo combinations you might consider are:

  • 3-4 family set ups showcasing everyone
  • Dad with the children
  • Mom with the children
  • Children together
  • Individual photos of the children
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Keep the session moving without pauses

By having a consistent shot list in mind, you will achieve two things: first and foremost, you'll have a ton of variety and each image will stand alone without looking repetitive. You'll also be able to keep the session moving very quickly. For example, I often do a full family session in about 25-30 minutes. There are no awkward pauses or fumbling; over the years, I have learned how to keep things fun, fresh and focused. If something is not working, don't let the client know you're displeased. Instead, move on and make a mental note you may need to return to that combination. Also a great tip is to find out if there are any images Mom does NOT want. To explain, she may not need an image of her with each child, but would instead prefer a photo of all the children with her. I can tell you, a Mama wants to be surrounded by her sweet babies. I would not hang an image of one child without including the other. That's just me. :-) 

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Keep Everyone Involved and Up to Speed

Communication is key! In life, so many mishaps can be avoided by simply communicating with your family clients. During the session, relay to them what is going to happen. Before the session occurs, they should truly know what to expect, but as you're working, don't be afraid to say, "Hey, Mom and Dad: after this we're going to move on to kids as a group." That way, everyone knows. I might also say, "Mom, would you mind sitting next to me and helping to sing a song the children love?" By keeping your clients involved, effectively communicating, and making sure everyone knows what's next you will be able to have a great deal of variety simply by keeping things running smoothly. 

For example, after the family photos for this session, Mom also reserved time to do an outdoor cake smash inspired by all things pumpkins and fall for her own little one. See his one year photos and how he is such a sweetheart! By keeping his parents involved, they knew when the pumpkin pie smash would take place and how to prepare for this so baby would be happy. 

Thanks so much for stopping by to read 5 simple ways to create variety in your outdoor fall family photography sessions! You may also be interested in reading about the following:

Sarah Borchgrevink Photography is a Houston Newborn Photographer specializing in gorgeous posed newborn sessions. Her studio is located in Northwest Houston. In addition to breathtaking baby portraiture, Sarah also offers stylish natural light family photography as well as dynamic outdoor maternity sessions for expecting mothers and couples. Sarah joyfully serves the entire Harris and Montgomery county areas including North Houston, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, Jersey Village, The Woodlands, Magnolia, Conroe, Willis, Montgomery, Humble, Kingwood, Porter, New Caney, Waller, Memorial & West Houston, Katy, Fulshear, Sugar Land, Pearland, Hempstead, Richmond, West University, Rice Village and Porter TX. Connect to chat with Sarah today! Please consider booking your session at your earliest convenience in order to secure your appointments on the calendar.