I’m giddy sitting here thinking about writing some fall portrait tips to use with your family simply because I LOOOOVE fall. It’s the reason I would hate to ever leave the midwest. I can already smell the cool air and the leaves, feel my snuggly sweatshirt, taste freshly baked apple pie from apples we picked at the farm, and am brainstorming Halloween costume ideas with the kiddos.
It’s the season that makes me feel like a kid all over again.
Even if you never pull out your ‘real’ camera to snap pics of your family, this is the time to do it. Even with your phone cameras, use these pointers, and your pictures will surely stand out. Read on for my 4 Fall Family Photography Tips!
4 Fall Family Photography Tips…for PERFECT portraits for your family
1. Find the Perfect Setting
Put the family in the car and head out to the local forest preserve. You’ll be amazed at the beauty around you, even in Chicago. Even if you don’t have a forest preserve near you, find a park that backs up to a grove of trees. The denser the better. Too often at the local parks, the trees are scattered and there are distracting elements in the background. Avoid these spots. If you love certain colors of leaves, while you’re driving around the weeks prior, keep your eyes peeled for an area that is starting to turn yellow or red or with leaves starting to fall. It’s really just about observation
2. Plan for the Perfect time of day (it’s all about the light)
The light you will find at the different parts of the day is so different and so important to your portraits. After you’ve found your perfect location, plan the time of day when the light is going to be lower in the sky and filtering THROUGH the trees. This will be close to sunrise or sunset depending on which direction your trees are facing. This is important if you want the leaves to be your backdrop with your backs to the trees. With the light coming through, the leaves will glow beautifully and your portraits will be backlit. Ahhhh, lovely…. With backlit portraits however, you will need something to bounce light back onto the faces, such as a piece of whiteboard, a light colored blanket, or even better, the big open sky. THE KEY is to not be facing trees or to be too far underneath trees. Then when the sun is setting, put your subjects into the golden light.
3. Choose the Perfect clothing
OK, so fall is all about color, so don’t mess up your portraits with clothing that doesn’t pop and isn’t coordinated in some way. Say NO to white, black, and pastels and bring on the bolder jewel tones and warm, darker, neutral tones, layers, and texture (think corduroy, light scarves, jean jacket, etc). I always tell families to select three complimentary colors and then intermix them into the outfits. The most important rule that I emphasize is for everyone to have a similar tone across the tops, so all dark or all light. If everyone is in darker reds and one person is in cream, then they will stand out from the rest. Everyone in harmony, with out being matchy-matchy.
Check out my PINTEREST BOARD for color palette and clothing ideas for fall.
4. Get the Perfect shots
Easier said than done, right? The kids are crazy and not listening, Dad would rather be home watching football, and Mom is stressed about the getting the perfect pic for the Christmas card…you know what I’m talking about. So roll with it and make it fun. I’ll be the first to admit that photographing my own children can be a nightmare. But if you’re the one holding a camera, if you’re having fun, then everyone else will relax a bit. If a family needs some loosening up, I might start with getting everyone to build a big pile of leaves and then jump in! Then let’s start throwing leaves. Throw them at Dad! Finally, have the kids lay in the leaves with faces up to the sky. That’s the winning shot for the holiday card. Use the leaves as your backdrop, on the ground, shooting at a downward angle and the trees behind your subjects in the sky. Now how about handing the camera off to the other adult so you can get in the pictures as well! Now for the whole group? If you don’t have a tripod, bring a chair or stool along to prop the camera and set the timer. Then jump in the leaves along with the rest of your family….HAVE FUN!!