Family portraits. Some people love them; some people hate them (I mean, who really likes dressing up in matching outfits?). Well, I’m a family photographer, and I love them, and if you are looking for the best time to do one, you can’t beat an Autumn family photoshoot. 

Whether you are looking to capture some pictures of your family as your kids start to grow up or want pictures to look back at your babies as they start to have kids, family photoshoots can be so much fun!

To help take some of the stress (and maybe dread) out of your session, here are some of my top tips for the perfect Autumn family photoshoot. 

Tips for an Autumn Family Photoshoot

Pick an Outdoor Location 

A couple with their arms around each other standing face to face in a grassy field.

My top tip for an Autumn family photoshoot is to pick an outdoor location. Fall is such a beautiful time, and you can get some amazing colors as the trees start to change colors in the background. 

There are a few things you can consider when you are picking out where you want to have your session. First, think about how busy the area will be. Normally, things are going to be a bit less crowded in the fall than they are in the summer, but you still want to try and plan your photoshoot around the busiest time of the day. 

For instance, if you are planning to go to a park in your town, you may want to go over in the morning to avoid the crowds that may come in the afternoon! 

Fall is a great time to go to the mountains and get amazing views and the changing colors, but you also want to think about what a session in the mountains looks like. If you have small children, will you have to do any hiking? Are you able to just drive up to a lookout or field, etc.? A photoshoot can be really exciting but also very tiring, so you want to make sure you’re prepared for everything! If there is any hiking involved, be sure to wear good shoes (you can always change them when you get to the shooting location). 

Two of my top, easy-to-access spots for photoshoots are Bald Rock and Sassafras Mountain. Bald Rock has no hiking at all and amazing views. Sassafras Mountain has a short walk that is a perfect spot if you have older kids! 

Finally, make sure your photoshoot location actually has the colors you are looking for. This also has a lot to do with the timing of your session, but you want to make sure that you do some research and know the best time and place to catch those pops of fall colors! 

Timing Considerations 

Two parents smiling and laughing as one holds their small child upside down.

I touched on it a bit before, but here are a few of my biggest tips for timing: 

Finally, book early! July and August are not too early to get on a photographer’s calendar if you want a customized session. Around this area, most photographers start releasing mini sessions in late August/early September and dates book up fast. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that in the South it’s peak wedding season and family photo season, there really isn’t such a thing as too early to start booking!

Coordinate Your Outfits Instead of Matching 

A woman holding a child facing down while another woman walks next to them smiling.

Picking outfits can be a lot of fun if you do it right! Instead of fighting with everyone to wear the same exact flannel shirt, find outfits that go well together but aren’t exactly matching. My best advice is to pick a color palette that you like (and that will go well with the background of your location). 

The great thing about this is that everyone will be able to pick what color they want and what they want to actually wear. This will ensure everyone is happy with their outfit and is in something they are actually comfortable with (and trust me, if you’re not comfortable with what you’re wearing, it can come through in the photos). 

The Stewart family did such an amazing job with this. Not only did each of the couples match so well with each other, but the family as a whole looked beautiful as well. Picking a general color palette for them to all choose from not only allowed each of them to wear something they were comfortable in, but it also gave them a way to express their personalities and individuality through their clothes!

Another great plus is it will make it way easier to find outfits for everyone. There are not a lot of outfits (that actually look good) that you can find in all sizes and for all ages. Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to track down the same shirt for a toddler and a 30-year-old, you can just pick a different color for each of them to wear!

Dress for the Weather 

A couple with their arms around each other smiling in front of a small pond.

When you are picking out these outfits, you also want to make sure you are dressing for the weather. While it is uncommon that you will run into snow in the fall, depending on where you are, you may have some colder weather during your session (or pick a cute fall sweater and then sweat your butt off). 

If you are doing your session further north or are going somewhere like the top of a mountain, be sure to check the weather before heading out for your photoshoot. If it is looking like it’s going to be colder, pack some layers. 

This way, you can add them or take them off, but you’ll avoid looking like you’re shivering in your pictures! 

It is also a great idea to check for rain too. While you can still get some amazing photos if it is drizzling some, you want to make sure you have a backup if it is going to be raining when you have your session planned. 

If you are expecting a little bit of rain, pick up some umbrellas that you can use during your session just in case (just maybe not the one in your closet with that bright floral pattern that’s going to completely clash with your location). 

Have a Plan With Your Photographer 

A couple standing next to each other with their arms around each other smiling.

Make sure you plan out your session with your photographer before the day of your session. If you do have smaller kids, you may want to try and plan bigger family photos or individual pictures of the kids earlier in the session. 

Kids are definitely going to lose interest and energy faster, and the last thing we want is to have your kids crying in all of the photos. Plan out a rough schedule of the different types of pictures you want to be taken so you can catch everyone when they have the happiest faces on. 

I also love having pets around for these sessions. If you are planning on bringing your pet, just be sure to mention it to your photographer so they can plan out some pictures with your furry friend. 

Two of my top tips when it comes to bringing your dog are to take the poop bag off of their leash before the session (but still bring it) and bring a friend along to hold your dog’s leash when they aren’t in the photos!

If you are doing a session with your extended family, you can even plan out the different groups of people you want pictures of! The Stewart family is a great example of this! 

Not only did they get some amazing pictures of all of them, but we were also able to plan out individual photos of mom and dad, the kids and their partners, and the little kiddo with each group of them (because who wouldn’t want a picture with that adorable face!). 

Bring Snacks and Drinks 

A large family all standing in and line laughing and smiling at each other.

Snacks and drinks are always a good idea. Especially if you are coming with your extended family and you are going to have times when you are not in front of the camera, a couple of small snacks and drinks can help to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. 

Be careful with what you do back, though. Although your kids may love fruit punch, this is maybe not the best time to bring it. You probably don’t want red tongues and stained shirts in your family photos! 

If you’re looking to be safe, water, granola bars, crackers, and cookies are great options that are also less messy! Believe me, there is no shame in bribing your kids with high-value treats. If you’re bringing your pet along, don’t forget treats for them as well! 

If it is going to be a bit colder, you could also pack a thermos with some hot chocolate or hot coffee to help warm you or your kids up during the session. 

Pack Toys to Keep Your Kids and Pets Occupied

Two grandparents smiling as one holds their grandchild up on their shoulder.

Finally, pack a few toys to keep your kids occupied during the photoshoot. Odds are, they are not going to be in every single picture throughout the day, so a few toys can help to keep them entertained and keep their energy levels up. 

You can even have them pick out their favorite toy that they can take a picture with. That way, they can look back on it 10 years from now and remember this amazing time in their childhood! 

If you are bringing your dog, be sure to bring their favorite toys and one that always gets their attention. 

Final Thoughts on an Autumn Family Photoshoot

Hopefully, these tips help you have an absolutely amazing Autumn family photoshoot. These can be so much fun, and these sessions end up being some of the most special pictures that you can cherish for decades. 

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. These photos don’t need to be exactly perfect and put together. The beauty in family photos is the relationships and personalities that shine through. 

So let yourself relax, joke with each other, run around, be you. That’s who you want to shine through, and those are the memories you want to capture. An experienced photographer is going to be totally fine with kids being a little nuts or acting up a bit. So don’t stress out about your kid’s antics and just enjoy the day!

If you are still looking for the perfect photographer to capture your amazing family, click here to learn more about my family photography services or click here to sign up for a fall session. I absolutely love capturing these cherished moments for families and would be honored to do the same for you and yours!

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