Our country is beautiful. From rugged landscapes, jaw-dropping scenery to rolling hills, we have it all. Here in Derbyshire, we have the Peaks and the Dales. You can barely step out of your front door without tripping over some kind of beauty spot or rare mineral. But let’s get real. It rains for about 130 days a year.
The peaks and moors barely get a rest all year round from the strong winds that shape them, so while we can admire the view we usually do so while our hair is in our faces. What does this all mean for the outdoor family photographer? And more importantly, those seeking outdoor family sessions in this part of the UK?
Choose Your Location With Care
We always start off in your home, spending around 45 minutes there going about your lives as normal. Here I’ll get some super chilled, unique family shots of you and your kids just being natural. It really helps the kids warm up to me and relax around the camera, as they’re comfortable in their own space anyway. The outdoor part of the session will be somewhere reasonably nearby. So if you’re in Matlock we might walk along Cromford Canal. For slightly older children who don’t try to throw themselves off rocks, we could go to Lumsdale Falls and bring wellies. Around Belper I like to use the Nature Reserve because it’s easy to park at the Coppice, and having loads of mature trees around makes for beautiful top-shade (and I’m a geek about such things). In Ripley I’d use the green space at Crossley Park, or the Greenway near Marehay. The truth is that there are small woods and parkland all over the place, and most of the time they provide a sufficient space that makes awesome photos. You’d be amazed what you can do in the smallest patch of wild flowers.
Rain shmain. A light drizzle won’t have us running for cover, screaming like the Wicked Witch of the West. If it’s teeming down we’ll reschedule. If it’s not we’ll wear our coats and wellies, and jump in puddles, and run around. Actually bright sunlight makes it really hard to get good photos, because it’s too directional and quite often very flat. Cloud coverage is good. It diffuses the light and lets it wrap all around, rather than creating harsh shadows.
In the photo below, it had actually been raining all morning, and had settled to a fine drizzle. The boy didn’t care. The dog was just interested in cuddles. Happy days!
I try to be child-led as much as possible.
I’ll do everything I can, I’ll use all my best tricks and everything I know about reluctant kids to get your children to want to be part of this. If they don’t want to have their photo taken I don’t just pack my kit up, call it a day and run off with your booking fee, cackling. Nor do I shout and boss them around for an hour before running off into the sunset with your booking fee, cackling. This is one of the major reasons I go outside, actually, because then kids have the opportunity to run around, play and, well, just be kids. And isn’t that how you want to remember them at this age? I’m not going to tell little Nora to stop climbing that tree because, well…
She looks super awesome up there!
Be prepared: wipe their noses and bring snacks.
I can’t imagine this point needs much more input from me. Cold kids = runny noses. An hour or more running around outside = snacks after the session.
With a bit of preparation and planning there is no reason to let the unpredictable local weather stop you from taking your family photography session outdoors. I predict you’ll have way more fun than schlepping the kids to a studio and then trying to get them to act natural anyway, and love the results even more. If you’d like to know more about my family sessions and what to expect, then have a gander at my Family Photography page. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to see what I can do for your family session.