A Guide to Your Outdoor Photography Session with Jena Lee Photographs
Man, I love photographing outside. There is so much space to move people around, it is so fun to combine landscapes and moments, and the ever-changing light offers endless creative opportunities … Yes, I realize these are probably not the same reason that you love outdoor photos, so let’s get to that.
Most people love outdoor photos because it speaks to who they are as a person. Sometimes my clients request a mountain location because they hike together as a family, some parents love bringing their kids to the beach and want their photos to be near the water. Your photos can literaly be anything you want and I love when families choose locations that represent them and add to their story.
If you have been thinking about an outdoor photography session — perfect for both Family Sessions and as part of Your Baby’s First Year Bundles by the way — I have put together a little guide so you can be as prepared as possible:
The ever important question, what do I wear? Golden BC and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are nestled between three different mountain ranges, which means the weather changes a lot and very quickly. It is not uncommon for it to rain, thunder, hail, and then be sunny again all within the hour, especially up at Kicking Horse. I always recommend wearing layers because it will help you stay comfortable if the weather changes and because it will also look great in your photos.
For example, if you are wearing a dress, you could add a hat and a shawl. This adds variety to your photos and gives you freedom to adjust to the weather. Another example, you can get these really great pants that zip off into capris and then also zip off into shorts … I AM KIDDING. Keep those for hiking, do not wear those to your portrait session.
Depending on our location, I recommend wearing something that is comfortable and practical. I get people to move around a lot during their portrait sessions to create those wonderful natural and candid moments… so high heels might not be your best option. I love Vans, Birkenstocks, and Blundstones. If those aren’t your style, anything that lets you walk around, slow run while holding hands, and that you can keep on your feet for longer than an hour will be fine.
*While we are here, barefoot = also fine.
3. Your Kids …
If you can get them dressed and at your portrait session on time, your job is done. I am an expert at taking great photos of kids. I let them lead the photo session (to an extent) and play lots of fun games with them to create photographs that really capture who they are. We will do lots of treasure hunts, skipping, dancing, wiggling, and hugging. They are guaranteed to be entertained and to enjoy taking photos. Most of them don’t even realize the jedi mind tricks I play on them because they are having so much fun. I expect kids to listen, have fun, and be kind, but I never expect them to sit still or be perfect. Even if there are tears, snuggling up to Mom or Dad makes beautiful portraits.
*That being said, if a full meltdown happens we can definitely reschedule your portraits and try again later.
4. What should I bring?
Bug Spray: For outdoor photo sessions here in Golden/Kicking Horse, bug spray is a must. I try my best to have some in my bag, but it’s not a bad idea to spray before you come and during the session as well. The Spring and Fall are usually tolerable for bugs here, but if you have spent any time here in the Summer, you know how savage they can get.
Sunscreen: If we are photographing at the river or will be outside in the Sun, make sure to slather the kids and yourselves before your session. Nobody enjoys a sunburn.
A blanket: This is optional. Blankets make a great prop for wrapping around everybody and for creating a comfortable place to sit down together. An old family quilt or a favourite beach blanket is perfect. Please keep in mind how your blanket will fit in with what you are wearing and feel free to send me pictures if you aren’t sure.
Your kids favourite toy: Sometimes kids want to bring their favourite toy and I think that’s great. If this is a time in their lives when a small object brings them comfort then I absolutely think it will be a great prop in your photos. Anything that adds to your family’s story in a meaningful way is always welcomed.
5. Time Of Day
Photographers are always stressing about the time of day, with good reason though. The quality of light can affect the whole look and feel of your portraits and it’s important to us that you get what you are looking for. I am going to ask you whether your family are morning or night people and then try to pick a time as close to sunrise or sunset as possible. I realize with kids that staying up a bit later or getting up earlier might affect their mood a little bit, but if we can plan ahead and try to sneak them an extra nap, it has been worth it every single time. You know your kids best, so if you really don’t think the morning/evening will work, I can do my best to find you a great spot in the afternoon. But if you think you can swing it, I promise that morning and evening light is 100% worth it.
Let’s start planning your portraits!
If you are ready for your own portraits, please get in touch here, I can’t wait to hear from you 🌻
Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge in Vancouver British-Columbia and then returned to her hometown Golden B.C. to launch her photography business (2017). Jena helps you create heartfelt portraits that tell your story and takes pride in helping her clients print and display their images so that they can bring you joy every day.