What do I love about Fall? Everything from pumpkin spice to fire lit nights. It’s my favorite time of year! The season carries with it a fresh perspective of family and togetherness, making it the perfect time to capture that priceless family photo. That’s why I’ve teamed up with friend and blogging buddy, Courtney Johnson, from Adventures with My Little Ray to share some practical tips on how to get great Fall family photos, without needing a professional photographer or fancy camera.
Courtney is Mommy to Emma and really knows her way around the camera. Living near the mountains of Colorado, the Fall season proves more vibrant and scenic than Southern California, which is why the focus of Courtney’s post, Outdoor Fall Photo Tips, is on outdoor shooting. She offers valuable insight and perspective in her post that will prepare you for your family’s outdoor shoot.
The focus of my post will be on staging an indoor Fall photo shoot. I’ll be sharing my stress free experience with our family’s recent home shoot and I’ve included plenty of ideas for props, apparel, lighting, and editing.
How to Stage a Stress Free Indoor Fall Family Photo Shoot
Let’s be real for a minute, the family photo is no easy feat. In the past, I’d go shopping weeks in advance to purchase color coordinated outfits for each member of my family. I’d research the perfect location and reserve a professional photographer. I’d make sure each of us had a fresh haircut and that my nails were freshly manicured. The day of the shoot would be sheer madness. There was the pressure of keeping my toddler happy and clean, while having to look my best… I could go on and on.
To keep the story short, I chose the stress free route this year by staging a simple, indoor Fall photo shoot in the living room of our home. Rather than purchasing brand new outfits for everyone, I bought one colorful shirt for my son, Dutch. That would allow my husband, Wes, and I plenty of options for color matching with clothes we already owned. I trimmed Dutch’s hair myself a few days in advance, and my hubby and I went without a fresh cut or manicure. Simple. Easy. Stress Free.
Fall Photo Apparel Ideas:
- long sleeves,
- or denim jeans.
To achieve a bright photo, I opened all the blinds in the house to let as much natural light in and we shot mid-morning to avoid the harsh afternoon light. I draped the couch in white blankets (bed sheets will work too), and scattered fake leaves all over. I purchased two inexpensive, orange pillow covers and stuffed them with decorative pillows that I already had on hand. Then, I snagged any Fall themed children’s books I could find and placed them nearby.
Fall Photo Prop Ideas:
- hay bales,
- a wagon,
- or Fall themed photo booth props.
See this photo featured in Shutterfly’s post 100 Fun Family Photo Ideas.
I started by shooting Wes and Dutch reading together, hoping to get some casual, candid shots. Dutch enjoyed playing Peek a Boo with the leaves, resulting in my favorite shot of the shoot. To achieve a bright, white photo like this, make sure to shoot in the direction that has the least shadows. A cool trick I learned goes like this: Hold your hand up in the air. When the palm of your hand has no shadows, that is the direction you want to shoot.
Another trick for bright shots is to learn how to edit your photos, turning up the lights and turning down the darks. I edit all my photos in a program called Lightroom (an Adobe software), but you can do basic editing like this from your iPhone or even with a free online service such as PicMonkey.
Wes and I traded off the camera, capturing photos of each other with Dutch, but the real question was, “How am I going to get all three of us in one shot together?” The following images were my first attempt at shooting via Wi-Fi adapter with the help of a tri-pod. It took some trial and error, positioning the camera and framing the shot, but eventually I caught a few worth keeping.
If you don’t have a higher end camera, most phones have a self-timer function. Here is a brief article from iOS Guides titled, How to use the Camera Timer on iPhone. When in doubt, selfie!
Whether you shoot outdoors or indoors, you can capture the essence of Fall in unconventional ways. You can get creative and do it yourself. You can have a stress free family photo shoot and plenty of fun, just by keeping it simple. Most importantly, you can let go of the idea of a perfect family photo, because there is no such thing as a perfect family.
Fall Photo Location Ideas:
- pumpkin patch,
- local farm,
- open field,
- over a bridge,
- near trees,
- or indoors.
Take a peek at Courtney’s post if you haven’t already, it might just inspire you to explore the outdoors this season for your family photos…. and if you choose to set up an indoor shoot, I hope this post offers plenty of ideas to get you going. Either way, make sure to have fun with your family photos this Fall!
Wishing you a warm and happy Autumn!