Outdoor Family Portrait – 5 Tips For The Perfect Photos

beautiful family photography New Jersey

Planning for your outdoor family portrait photography session?

There are many reasons why you would want to take a family portrait. Perhaps it’s the holiday season, family event, or just a beautiful time of the year. Whatever the reasons may be, there are a few simple tips that would take your outdoor family portrait from ordinary to simply amazing.

For many it feels that a family photoshoot is a daunting task, with so many factors that can go wrong and so much planning ahead. Family portrait photography sessions can actually be quite enjoyable. Hopefully these simple tips would make your family photo session a bit less stressful experience:


1. Select The Time of Day for Your Outdoor Family Portrait

The best time to schedule your outdoor family portrait session is during the golden hours. This would occur either shortly after the sunrise (starting the session 1 hour after sunrise), or right before sunset (starting the shoot 2 hours before sunset). As a result, the lighting is the softest, since the sun is low, giving a nice magical effect to the images.

Family Portrait of couple walking on the beach in HK


2. Choose Your Location

Choose any place that has a beautiful natural backdrop can do the trick. Some ideas are: on a beach, in a garden with beautiful trees or flowers, railway tracks, at the side of a mountain or hill, try to avoid flat areas that have no interesting colors or natural backdrop visible in the frame of the photo.

Family Portraiture Photoshoot of two sisters walking on the railway tracks


Click here to see the most popular places for taking photos in New Jersey

3. Consider The Lighting

Lighting is often the most important parameter you should consider before taking the photo. The golden hour is definitely a good idea for getting that soft natural light. However, it’s not enough. You need to find the correct angle to take the shot. During the golden hour you would want to locate the sun in your back. However, over exposure is often an issue, in which case you would need to adjust your ISO and aperture on the camera to mitigate that exposure and use a fill flash to lighten the subjects. In other situations you would want the light to be on the subject themselves. Shooting in the shade or in an overcast sky with lots of clouds could be a great option. Clouds add a dramatic effect to the image and soften the light as well, preventing squinting of the subjects or hard directional shadows from the sun.

Photograph of a little girl outdoors with brown natural backdrop


4. Plan your Outdoor Family Portrait Outfits In Advance

I can write a whole post just about this point. But to keep this short and to the point, start with mom. Mom usually has a nice dress and clothing she has already in mind for the occasion. Women’s cloths tend to have more patterns and colors compared to men’s. Therefore, start with mom and work with that to find a matching color palette and possible patterns. The colors should take in mind the location of the shoot. Try to keep it simple in terms of colors and patterns so that the clothings do not take away too much attention from the people wearing them. Earthy tones usually work well. If you are stuck, the easiest solution is blue jeans and a white t-shirts. That’s always a winner!

Family portrait with a dog matching outfits of blue jeans and white t-shirts


5. Be In Motion

Many family portraits tend to be overly traditional and frigid. I tend to prefer action photos where the subjects are in motion. In action photography images feel much more alive and immersive. Capturing a good motion photo at times requires some planing or creative thinking. It could be a couple dancing, kids jumping or running, or plainly wind blowing through the hair to transform an ordinary family portrait into an immersive experience.

Little Girl action photoshoot


Click here to see more family portrait ideas.

Like? Share it with your friends

Leave a Reply