Fall is a great time of year to shoot family photos. Not only are the outside colors vibrant, but the weather is also perfect for taking great group photos. You won’t need to worry about anyone being too cold or overheating during the shoot and the lighting outdoors can be stunning this time of year.
There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the season and get a few great family photos. Let’s take a look.
14 of the Best Ideas for a Fall Photo Session
- Take a Real-Life Approach
There are plenty of elaborate ideas for family photos out there. Props, costumes, crazy locations… you name it. As creative as these photos might be, they tend to be overkill and the splashy approach takes away from the subject of the photos – your family. In most cases, a real-life approach to will result in the best photos and become memories you cherish for a lifetime.
- Photograph a Fall-themed Activity
It’s fine to include small reminders of your family’s daily life and even to capture them candidly in their natural environment. For example a great family photo session in the fall might include having photos taken at an apple orchard or corn maze. Have your photographer follow your family around capturing a blend of candid and posed photos.
- Bring a Photographer Along for the Day
It’s a good idea for a photographer to hang around for a while and be patient. This lets them get to know your family so they’re better able to spot naturally special moments. Working with large groups can be tough and requires a lot of patience. The best photos tend to come deep within the shoot after the photographer has been shooting for a while. It might seem counterintuitive to shoot when subjects are tired, but this is when many people let down their guard and stop posing for the photographer. You’ll get natural and captivating photos even when everyone isn’t at his or her best.
- Know How to Bring Out the Best in Your Children
Some parents tend to get hung up on posing their children perfectly and getting just the right smile. Unfortunately, this drains personality and feeling from your photos.
Choose a setting that puts your child at ease and allows them to relax and be themselves. Bright studio lighting and being surrounded by equipment can be overwhelming, especially for younger children.
Remember your photographer can take different technical tactics to bring out the best in your children’s photos. For instance, shooting from above will emphasize your child’s eyes. Alternatively you can shoot from below to make your kid seem larger than life. It’s usually a good idea to decide beforehand what sort of look/feel you want and relay that to your photographer so he or she can make the technical adjustments to get you the type of photos you want.
- Tell a Fall Story with the Photos
Fall family photos are literally capturing a season in your family’s life. They are a brief glimpse into your lives at an exact moment in time. With that in mind focus on the story you want to tell. This means blending how your family looks, how they feel, and what’s going on around them.
Some photographers find that taking a photo essay approach to seasonal family photos gets the best result. By using narrative elements that tie the images together your photos will be able to tell a greater story and show the bigger picture of your family’s life.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Stage the Photo
Despite the desire to have a natural feel, sometimes staging photos is the best tactic. Even if you don’t want to pose your family in a specific position in a photo, it’s still great to have a plan in mind. For instance, if you’re shooting in a house, know where the best light is during any given time of the day. It’s also smart to stage a wardrobe for a family photo session and, if you’re using props, have them ready in advance.
All of these things are important for both the photographer and the subjects to consider before the shoot. Remember if you don’t know what is the best type of light or what props or outfits work best ask your photographer for ideas before the shoot. They have done this countless times before so take advantage of their experience.
- Choose Great Fall Props
If you intend to use props in your fall family photos, make sure you have them arranged in advance. Some of the best fall photo props include:
- Vegetables, especially pumpkins and gourds
- Colorful leaves
- Hay bales
- Corn stalks
It’s okay to use generic props but if your family enjoys a particular fall activity or you have plans for a fun family outing this fall, try to incorporate things related to that experience.
- Choose a Great Location
One of the best things you can do for a memorable fall photo session for your family is to choose a great location. It’s okay to shoot at home and many families prefer to do that because their home plays such an important role in their lives. But it can also be fun to shoot at a specific location, such as a park, an event, or an interesting nearby location.
Some of the best fall-themed locations include:
- Apple orchard
- Pumpkin patch
- Cornfield or maze
- Grove of trees that have turned fall colors
- Near the water
The location of the photo shoot is one of the best ways to tell a story. Not only can it make a statement about the way your family spent a particular fall day but it can also incorporate where you are living at the time and what phase of life you’re in. Give a lot of thought to the location of your fall photos.
- Wear Fall-themed Clothing
Choosing clothes for a family photo session is challenging enough but when you’re doing it for fall, it can really be tough because of the variety of weather situations you can encounter during the photoshoot.
It’s also important to remember that matchy-matchy photos tend to be cliché, even for families that are lighthearted and fun-loving. Instead of having everyone match in a photo, aim for coordinating. This means the outfits your family wears during the photo make sense together. Try to avoid half of you aren’t in swimwear while the other half are in ski gear 😉
Since it’s a fall photo, you want the vibe to be autumnal. Some of the best and most seasonal clothing options for this time of year include:
It’s also smart to choose coordinating colors that have a fall vibe. Go for warmer tones paired with neutrals. The best colors for fall include orange, army green, beige, navy, rust, and mustard. Plaid and herringbone patterns are also great.
Tips to Make a Fall Family Photo Session Run Smoothly
- Organize in Advance
The more organized you are before the session, the better. Planning saves both money and time when it comes to taking fall photos. Have all of your supplies with you and, if needed, bring a change of clothes for everyone. If you’re photographing children, make sure to bring snacks and drinks along too. It’s also a good idea to have some toys to distract them when they’re not the subject of the photo.
- Get Inspired
It might help to create a mood board from magazine photos or Pinterest. Search for inspiration and pin or save photos that you like. Even if they aren’t actual family photos, you can create a sense of what you want in your photo. For instance, if you love the idea of a family photo session in a pumpkin patch, save photos of inspirational locations, outfits that pair well with orange and beige surroundings, and accessories you might have with you for a day out in nature.
- Choose the Right Time for Your Photo Session
There are certain times of day that make for better pictures. Photographers like to call this the “The Golden Hour” and it happens right before the sun is going to set.
Of course, this time isn’t going to work for every family and every photo session and there’s no guarantee the sun will be out on a given day to create golden hour conditions. That said you and your photographer should work together to choose the best possible time based on the location and goals of the session.
- Be Flexible
There are a lot of variables that go into capturing the perfect family fall photo. Unfortunately, many of them are out of your control. If you need everything to go exactly as planned, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Go in with a flexible mindset to save yourself heartache and avoid appearing tense in your pictures.
- Focus on What’s Important
Remember, some of the best family photos you’ll look back on and treasure years from now are those that were unexpected. Do your best to create a plan for your fall family photo session but be flexible and go with the flow. Planning is good but don’t get trapped in the minutia. You don’t want to miss the perfect moment trying to create the moment you thought would be perfect.
Final Thoughts on Fall Family Photos
Although a family photo session may seem stressful don’t lose site of the reason you want the photos in the first place – to celebrate your family life. Planning ahead is important but remember to enjoy the moment as well. If your family is happy it will radiate through your photos. After all the point is to create memories you will cherish for a lifetime.