The skill in family photography is to capture the unique and powerful bond between family members. Playful, natural photographs that encompass experiences and memories of a whole period, not just one moment in time.
I find that families seldom realise how important good family photos are until they’ve seen the results.
Capturing the evolution of the family year after years can be very worthwhile – including all family members such as newborn babies, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and of course the family dog.
As a family portrait photographer, I can help to choose a location in which family members can relax and enjoy themselves. Something that is so important when getting the whole clan in front of the camera. The days of sitting in a studio with fixed smiles are long gone!
Family photography location ideas
When making a decision for the kind of backdrop you would like for your family photographs, consider a few things:
- The age of the family members.
- Family interests – are the family nature observers or urban artistic?
- Family style – have you a countryside, traditional look or are you city slickers?
Each family should choose a location and backdrop that is close to the heart of the group.
You may have your own special place in mind, but here are a few that may help from me, Julie at Lollipop Photography.
Beach locations for family photos in Somerset
Do you and your family love to play together on the beach? Do you love the sound of the ocean?
The beach makes for a beautiful family portrait backdrop, on sunny or windy British days. Beaches are also good to take dogs, that all important family member.
Everyone can kick of their shoes if they feel like it. There is lots of space to run, play and laugh together whilst your professional photographer gets on with the shoot.
There are a few beach locations in Somerset that are perfect for family photography.
- Kilve beach
A beautiful rocky beach, full of rock pools that youngsters can explorer. Do come prepared with solid shoes and some wellingtons!
- Dunster beach
This is large, wide, open beach of sand and pebbles.
- Beach huts at Weston-super-Mare
Most of the beaches at Weston-super-Mare are sandy, and there is a little spot with some very cute beach huts, that make for a wonderful, colourful backdrop.
- Brean Down
A more dramatic backdrop as Brean Down is a land mass, rising up from the beach. On the south side are some stunning cliffs, which make an amazing backdrop. The whole family can fossil hunt.
- Clevedon Pier
A lovely and well known site on the Bristol coast, the Victorian built (but since restored) pier itself makes a lovely backdrop, as well as the ocean from this sandy beach.
Urban locations in Somerset for family photos
Architecture helps in the background of photos, and in the Somerset area there are plenty of urban areas with Victorian architecture.
- King Square, Bridgwater
Large Georgina houses enclosing an urban park area.
- Castle Street
Red and yellow bond brick listed buildings.
- Grand wooden doorways
Well of course I know where all the best ones are in Bridgwater! But have a wander around yourself, and you will soon see lots of grand wooden doors.
- Graffiti-ed walls at Cranleigh Gardens
These works of art make for a really interesting, and quite different backdrop for your family portraits.
Woodland areas in Somerset for family photos
Woodland always makes interesting backdrop, with beautiful lighting. In Somerset we are lucky enough to have a number of wooded areas.
My favourites include:
- Quantock hills
An ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ Quantock hills has heath, coastline and valley hills, so this can be a marvellous part of Somerset for family photos.
In Ramscombe is a fantastic, huge wooded area, through which the children can run, discover and play swords with sticks. There are picnic tables if picnic props take your fancy.
- Dead Woman’s Ditch
Known well to locals, this is part of a wooded walk. Lovely in Autumn with leaves on the ground.
- Fyne Court
A wild and wooded garden with plenty of wildlife and stunning views.
Families that have a close connection with a particular past time may want to use sports fields as backdrops, or sporting items as props.
Familiar surroundings can help people to relax into the photo shoot.
Sports locations ideas could be:
- Football ground
- Rugby ground
- Horse trekking in West Bagborough
- Walks on the Quantock Hills
- Tennis courts
- Middlemore water park
What to wear to a family photo shoot
I am often asked “What should the family wear to create a nicely styled image?”.
Styling is such an important aspect of the photo shoot, and often overlooked as everyone keenly pulls out their favourite outfit.
This can end up in family colour-clashing, so it’s best to discuss clothing ideas beforehand.
Take into consideration the background surroundings we’ll be using. If it is mid-way through winter, when the trees are dark and bare, brighter colours would work well to help the family stand out.
In autumn, avoid yellows and reds and think about khaki, navy and browns to compliment the vast colours of the fallen leaves.
Co-ordinating colours for a family photo
My top tip would be to coordinate with each other but not all completely match.
Choose different shades of the same colour palette or contrasting colours that compliment each other.
A variety of soft shades or pastels.
For something brighter choose colours that work well together such as pink and green, or orange and violet.
Don’t be afraid to choose clothing with patterns. Just make sure they are subtle and not too bold.
Textured clothing, ruffles and lace etc can add extra interest.
Accessorise your family photo shoot by bringing hats, umbrellas, sunglasses or even a bunch of balloons or flowers to add a quirky edge.
Hair, make-up and nails
If you wear make-up apply slightly more than usual to make sure the camera picks it up. Make-up often gets lost in the lens.
Think about painting nails. If nails are already painted, check that the polish isn’t chipped or worn.
Hair should be worn naturally to allow movement and keep things relaxed.
Children can look really good with hair accessories to match outfits. Little bows, flower clips or headbands in the summertime; thick fluffy or furry ear muffs and hats in the winter.
Family photography poses
I know it is difficult but try to relax! Calm, informal poses work best where family members show a sense of fun, and that all important bond.
I would prefer that you don’t pose as such. Be carefree and forget the camera. Have a good time in your chosen location with the rest of your family, and that will shine through in the finished photos.
How long does a family photo shoot take?
A family location photo shoot usually takes between 1 and 1.5 hours.
Your family and I will wander around our chosen photo shoot location in the Somerset area, using our surroundings to walk, run, sit and play.
Sometimes we move around the area to find some variety in our backdrops producing varied family photographs for your collection.
Family photo shoot ideas
Style your photo shoot to make it more personal to your group.
Bring along items that are special to family members – a teddy for the children, a special blanket, a football, rain jackets, bright coloured wellingtons or umbrellas.
Splashing in puddles together makes for a great family photo!
Family portrait photographer in Somerset
I am Julie Rose, a professional family portrait photographer in Bridgwater, Somerset. I studied photography for 4 years before starting Lollipop Photography UK in 2011, so I have endless experience in capturing the perfect family photograph.