Family photography session in the dunes at West Wittering

Imagine your perfect photoshoot and one of the first things which you’re likely to visualise is the location. You might have a really clear idea of where you’d like to be or maybe you’re looking for inspiration.

Either way, taking time to consider your options will be help create a truly customised, relaxed and fun photoshoot with gorgeous images you will love.

I promise it’s not difficult and it shouldn’t be overwhelming, which is why I’ve put together some aspects to consider when choosing the perfect location.

What’s your vibe?
My number one piece of advice is to think about your family vibe – what you like to do and where you like to spend time together. With coast, countryside, historical and urban landscapes on our doorstep we really are spoilt for choice. Considering the feeling each backdrop evokes can really help when choosing your photoshoot location:

Love an ethereal feel? Head to large, spacious areas – wide, open fields, a stretch of sandy beach with soft dunes or a high hilltop with soft blue skies.

Contrast that with an urban setting with buildings, reflective windows and metal accents to create more of a fashion, lifestyle feel.

Immerse yourself with a shoot in the woods, by a stream or in a wildflower meadow for a more grounded and organic vibe. Or create a comfortable, homely feel in your own home and garden. With the bonus of everything being on hand if needed.

Making it personal
Pictures we hold dearest to us are often those which bring heart warming memories flooding back. The people in them, the moments, the connections – all set against a sentimental backdrop with unique meaning to you.

Returning to a familiar setting is a lovely thing to do. Not only can it be more relaxing as you know how to get there, how long it will take and what to do when you get there but you can share stories about previous visits which is guaranteed to elicit genuine laughter and smiles.

Who is in the picture?
To ensure your session is relaxed and comfortable throughout it’s worth considering the personalities and likes/dislikes of your family members when choosing a location.

If you’re a family with younger children a location with plenty of space allowing them to be wild and free is perfect. An opportunity to play and let off steam.

Teens might love the idea of an urban session but these locations can be busy. Help your teens relax by choosing the quietest time at your location. They can still have the location they love with fewer on-lookers and you can enjoy your session. It’s a win-win.

It may seem obvious but choose a location by keeping mobility challenges in mind. It doesn’t rule out a location necessarily but may need some forethought to ensure easy access and comfort of everyone throughout your session.

Light really is everything
Are you drawn to softer muted lighting, lighter or darker images with shadows? Throughout the day the lighting at any given location will change and move. In the morning a beach will be fresh and bright (if the sun is shining of course!) but become softer with pastel tones by sunset. Open areas with no shade result in high contrast images in the midday sun whilst areas with surrounding buildings and objects could be in shade with limited light at certain times of the day. Knowing what look you’re wanting to achieve and whether you have flexibility around timings of your session may help you hone your final choice of location.

What’s the purpose of your photoshoot?
There are so many beautiful and fun locations to choose from it seems a shame to end the fun after your photoshoot. Especially if you’re celebrating an anniversary or significant event. If you have time to extend the session by topping or tailing it by bringing along a picnic, refuelling with a lovely meal at a local restaurant or perhaps visiting another activity nearby it makes for a wonderful family day out and I’m happy to help with that too. Create an experience you’ll remember for years to come.

Don’t over think it
My final piece of advise is not to overthink it.
Location shoots lend themselves to my relaxed photography style and I am on hand to recommend plenty of stunning settings for your next family photoshoot.

It’s easy to book – just hop over to my contact page and get in touch using any of the contact methods detailed there. I’d love to hear from you and look forward to customising a unique photoshoot with a wonderful backdrop meaningful to your family and which you will LOVE.

Moira is a Southsea photographer who works throughout Hampshire and the UK. She specialises in children and families. For more details visit her website or facebook page.