One of my most common questions..."Where should we shoot?"

I love it when clients book their shoot knowing the exact location they want their photos done. Sometimes it's their own or a family member's private property. Sometimes it's a place that means something to them...the first place they met or the site of some past family tradition. However, a lot of times, clients assume (and hope) that I just choose a location. Sometimes this is the case if I'm running some type of special where I am at one location all day and clients come to me. But, for the most part, I let my clients choose location, and I go to them. So, when getting ready to book your shoot, you need to consider a few things.

When clients don't know where they want to shoot, I start the location choosing process with one question: "What kind of look/feel are you going for with these photos?" This is just a good way to figure out a direction to go in when choosing a location. Do you like concrete, streets, buildings...something more edgy? Or are you wanting to go with a softer, more green look of trees, grass, nature?

Knowing the answer to this question helps drastically narrow down the possibilities of shoot locations. And, there are actually a few locations that offer both "nature" and "urban"-ish feels, if you just can't decide between the two.

A few things to consider when choosing a location:

-Wardrobe: What you are wearing makes a difference. You want what you are wearing to blend well with your surroundings. So, if you plan on dressing your family in a very urban chic style, it probably wouldn't make sense to shoot in a field of wild flowers.

-The ages of your kids: Sometimes urban settings mean you will be on or near city streets. Of course, safety is always my priority, but with little kiddos, sometimes more quiet remote locations are sometimes better. College campuses. city parks, or state parks are also great places to shoot with littles, because they are more contained and controlled, so safety isn't as much of an issue.

-Pets: Do you plan to bring Fido to your shoot? If so, consider a location that is best for him. Often times, pets are already nervous and jumpy during family photos, so make sure you choose a location that won't add to your pet's anxiety.

-Distance from your home/Drive time:'s no secret that getting photos made isn't everyone's favorite thing...and sometimes, certain family members can get a little cranky (I'm looking at you, Dads). If this might be someone in your fam, you may want to avoid long drives to your photo location. Long drives (especially for kids) typically aren't fun. Younger kiddos often fall asleep during drives. Plus - it gives any less-than-enthusiastic parties more time to sulk. So, by the time you arrive to the session, everyone is tired and maybe a little reluctant to participate. So, be sure to consider locations within 10-15 minutes of home if your family is prone to whining about family picture day. Although, I find that most anyone can be bought with ice cream. ;)

-Home Decor: I know...this one sounds like it's totally coming out of left field. BUT...hear me out. You are having family photos made to document your kids at a certain age. You may be having them taken for Christmas cards. Whatever reason you choose to get photos taken, my hope (and the hope of every photographer everywhere) is that you will print them and hang them on your walls! So...if your plan is to get a large canvas printed or make a gallery wall out of your images, you want those images to blend well with your home interior. So choose your photo background with that in mind.

Of course, when booking your session, these are all things we can talk about to decide what location is best for your family! I just wanted to share these ideas to help you prepare a little before you contact me about a session. If you aren't sure of a location, I am always happy to suggest a few options. And I'm always open to listening to your ideas and questions, so we can collaborate and come up with the best plan for your photo session!