If you are thinking of having some family lifestyle (outdoor) photos taken then you might be wondering about where is the best place to go for this. If you live in Buckinghamshire and are looking for photoshoot locations then you are well and truly spoiled for choice as there is so much stunning countryside around us. But sometimes you really don’t have to go that far afield to find somewhere that will work well as a location for your family photo session. There are a few things that I look for in a location for a family session …..
Most importantly, it needs to be somewhere accessible for your family group. There’s no point in a fabulous location if it takes an hour to get to and everyone will be grumpy when you get there. Likewise, if your family includes babies, we need to consider proximity to the car park or whether it is buggy friendly. So, often a location that you frequently visit that is really local is a good idea as it means that the family will already have positive associations with it and favourite spots that they like, and maybe even mean something special to them.
One of the main things I like to find in a location is variety. It’s great to have a wide open space where younger kids can let off steam and run free, but I also love to find somewhere with interest. Gates, walls, places to sit or lean over and on can really help. Woodland that opens onto a field or bridges over streams are all great. These shots were all taken in the public area in front of Bradenham Manor near High Wycombe – a lovely mixture of open area, railings, walls etc to give the kids somewhere interesting to explore. Another location with lots of variety is Cliveden which has bluebell woods, formal gardens, a maze, children’s playground and oriental garden. It is National Trust, so you do need membership and it can get quite busy so it’s important to pick your times.
Different times of year offer different seasonal opportunities for photographs. In late April and early May the bluebell woods can be a lovely place to shoot, although you do need to be aware of the restrictions on picking wild flowers. These two little girls were having a wonderful time playing hide and seek in the bluebell woods meaning I could capture some lovely natural photos in such a beautiful setting. There are lovely bluebell woods at Ashridge and also around Little Chalfont and Rickmansworth. At the end of Hervines Road in Amersham there are usually some stunning bluebells which are cordoned off to stop people walking over them – meaning that they remain really unspoiled.
Poppies are harder to find as the fields tend to be moved around from year to year. By the time I found this field below they were somewhat past their peak, but still looking lovely.
Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to co ordinate everyone’s availability, the weather and the bluebells or poppies at exactly the right time, but it really doesn’t matter. Locations that you might not immediately consider can provide great photographic backdrops for family photo sessions. These photos were taken at Holtspur nature reserve which is quite hidden away (just off Holtspur Lane in Beaconsfield). It is a conservation area of grass and woodland, home to many flowers, butterflies and sometimes sheep and horses. In this case, it was on the family’s doorstep, and somewhere they often frequented so the two boys were more than happy to run and explore what was literally their familiar playground.
And sometimes it’s winter, there are no bluebells or spring flowers out, not even many leaves on the trees, but that doesn’t necessarily need to matter. Winter photos can look great, particularly if people have their woolly hats on and are wrapped up super warm. This one below, with possibly the best behaved dog I have ever photographed (!) were taken in mid December on a chilly but bright day in Gerrards Cross where we took the dog for a walk, wellies and all around the common and into the woods.
On your doorstep – or mine?!
Finally, it’s worth remembering that your own garden (or mine) can often provide a great solution for a family photo session. Whilst this might not offer the same diversity of imagery as some external locations, it can work particularly well for people who are short on time or not keen to travel. Often I have taken photos at family parties or events when everyone is already gathered together and it is an opportunity to have some photos taken without displacing everyone to an external venue.
If you like the look of some of these places, then do head over to my website and check out some of my other location shoot images which might just give you some ideas about the sort of shoot that you would like. Hope to hear from you soon!