3 Tips for Choosing a Great Location for Family Photos | Charlotte Family Photographer

Choosing the best location for family photos can seem intimidating.  After all, you want to choose the best location that showcases you and your family in your portraits that you will be able to look back on years from now.  While your professional family photographer will be able to recommend great locations, have you ever wondered just what goes into consideration when selecting a location for family photos?

When making recommendations to my clients for family portraits, here are some things that I consider.

1.       Select a location that has good lighting.  Lighting is a major element that can make or break a photo.  Typically, if you’re having your photo session done in the middle of the day, you’ll want to choose a location that has lots of shaded areas.  By having your photos done in the shade, you can avoid the harsh sunlight (unless it’s an overcast day) that can cause hard shadows and less than flattering photos for you and your family.

Otherwise, you’ll want to choose a location that has adequate lighting in the early morning hours or late evening hours.  This is when the sun is closest to the horizon, and offers nice, soft lighting that is flattering for most families.

 This photo was taken about 30 minutes before the sun went down, which allowed the lighting to be nice and soft for this family photo.

This photo was taken about 30 minutes before the sun went down, which allowed the lighting to be nice and soft for this family photo.

The same location can look much differently in photos depending on the time of day and depending on the lighting conditions.

2.       Select a location that has interesting structures and elements.  These make for great backdrops.  This is one reason why areas with steps, stairs, and water (fountains or waterfalls) are very much sought after, as well as areas with beautiful trees, flowers, and greenery.  It is always a good thing when a location has multiple options for backdrops within a short walking distance of each other.

 The steps at this location made for an interesting structure to take photos.  The photo below was taken at the same location within walking distance of the steps.

The steps at this location made for an interesting structure to take photos.  The photo below was taken at the same location within walking distance of the steps.

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3.       Consider the environmental color of the location.  I know…you probably never thought about that, right?  But yes, the color of the surroundings has a major impact on your photos!  If you decide to have your family photos captured on a patch of grass in the park, the color green will likely be dominant in your photo.  If you choose a waterfall, the background will likely be a dark gray or brown, depending on the color of the grounds/rocks of the waterfall.

I like to consult with my families prior to the photo session to find out what they’re planning to wear to their family photo session, and the main colors in their home.  This helps me to make an appropriate recommendation for locations for their family photos.

 A family photo session at a local Charlotte park. The vibrant colors of their outfits helped them to stand out against the green, making a lovely, lively family photo.

A family photo session at a local Charlotte park. The vibrant colors of their outfits helped them to stand out against the green, making a lovely, lively family photo.

But keep in mind, the lighting, weather, season, and other elements of the location can all impact the colors in your family photos.

What are some other things that you like to consider when selecting a location for family photos?  Let me know in the comments below!


Sharetha Monique is a maternity, newborn, child, and family portrait photographer in Charlotte, NC. Follow me on Instagram: @sharethamoniquephotography or join my private community on Facebook.  To keep up new content, and stay informed of exclusives and special offerings, sign up for my newsletter.