Most clients find me through word of mouth. That’s how they know that I prefer taking outdoor photo sessions for older babies, toddlers, kids and grownups. Some potential clients may not be aware of my preference to follow parents and children at play. Why do I prefer the great outdoors? Why is an outdoor photo session for kids a better option than an indoor shoot?
The first reason is a practical one. Kids love to play. They climb trees. They chase butterflies. They quack at ducks. But they don’t like to sit still. Outside, that’s great. In fact, I love it when us grownups can simply let kids be kids. Let them run. Let them play. I’ll follow them wherever they go. Great candid shots come out of those genuine, playful moments. Back inside a studio, the ability to sit still is key. Kids hate it. Parents grow frustrated. Resulting family photos often look put on and, sadly, a bit forced. Between “Sit still!” and “Say cheese!” is the chance to make a run for it, straight to a nearby park to play. Out there is where picture-perfect exists for me.
Any photographer can color, direct and control the amount of lighting for indoor shots, but studio lights don’t compare to ditching frontlighting to follow the glow of the afternoon sun as it dances through the trees and across windblown hair. When it comes to lighting outdoor photo sessions, changes in natural lighting or approaching storms can be challenging. With those challenges exist opportunities to capture uniquely illuminated profiles, dazzling action moments and colorful group photos. All you need is a photographer who can turn challenges into opportunities.
One more reason outdoor photo sessions for kids are better is the abundant opportunities to create authentic memories together. Sure, we can create a wonderful scene inside a studio. The cutest chair. A colourful bouquet of flowers. That enormous teddybear. It looks downright magical, but the magic may not be long-lived if the memory we capture isn’t real. One client recalls a time when she took her one-year-old to an indoor studio. Her daughter played with a bear that the photographer had. Years later, her daughter asks, “Whatever happened to that bear?” She has to tell her that it belongs to the photographer. It lives in a box of props. Hundreds of other kids probably hug the same bear in their photos. Outside, though, that fistful of buttercups and proud grin reflects the moment when your child gathered flowers for you.
I know that your first outdoor photo sessions for kids can be intimidating. Try to let go of all the seemingly perfect indoor studio photos you’ve seen strewn across mantels. Instead, let’s take your kids to the park, let them loose and let the natural light inspire us to create real memories.
Outdoor family photo sessions need little control. From letting kids be kids to working with changing light, parents and photographers must step back and let a playful scene develop naturally. That’s hard, I know. If we trust this relaxed, hands-off process, we’ll get great shots.