Thursday, September 08, 2016

DIY Family Photos: Location, Timing and Weather

Now that you have some inspiration, have started paying attention to what you want your outcome to be and gotten some outfit choices figured out - it is time to think location. One of these areas may end up being the easiest part or even the deciding factor that sets the tone for the whole thing.

Things I took into consideration:
- I didn't want any houses or cars in the background, so essentially no background "noise"
- I didn't want to go far - we've done all sorts of backgrounds in the past and I was sort of thinking simple and easy
- It is extremely hot here right now, so keeping our location close to home meant a better experience where we could go in and change, cool off, etc...
- Home is where we live, so a photo from our backyard could be great in that it represents where we do life every single day. However, when I took test photos - see below - I wasn't a huge fan of the background look so we opted for our neighborhood lake instead. Still super close but both water and woods looks available.
- Is there something unique about the area you live in that you want to feature? Barn, corn field, mountains, water?

Next, consider your favorite time of day. I've had the best success taking photos in the evenings. One to two hours before sunset is great but an overcast day is great also. Cloud cover gives you the benefit of natural light without too much of it. 1-2 hours before sunset gives you the benefit of sparkles and great background lighting or sun filtering through trees or glimmering off of water.

Overcast at 7pm:

Sunny at 7pm - this is actually my favorite of the three scene samples:

Now look at the difference if you wait for that golden light right before sunset. This would be about 30 minutes before sunset. In my case, it was 7:30. This golden light doesn't last long and changes quickly so don't expect to get ALL your photos in this window but you might snag some of them in there. It took us one hour to complete all of our photos.

Golden light at 7:30 - this light is warmer and has more of a glow to it:

Once you've decided on your location - start to watch the timing of the sunset a day or two before. For example, if you want to take photos on Saturday then on Thursday or Friday evening make it a priority to watch out your window and see when that golden light starts to hit. Jot the time down and plan to start your photos before that so you still have your great window of time to come and get in the groove before your peak time.

Check your weather forecast! The weekend I wanted to do our photos, Saturday had a prediction of rain where Sunday looked much better so we planned on Sunday instead.

You could go so far as to drive by your location the night or two before and see how it looks in different lighting. I like to practice taking some photos in the area with no people before getting our family set up. Just like we checked clothes on camera, this is your opportunity to practice background on camera.

Avoid too much direct sunlight and definitely avoid looking directly into the sun or you will get a bunch of squinting! Consider things like glasses that transition in sunlight, reflections off of glasses and more that might affect your lighting needs.

Ok, are you ready?! Time to get your clothing options pressed and ready, fix everyone up and take those pictures!

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