One of the perks I provide my clients upon booking is access to my pre-approved location list. As a natural light photographer having the “right” light is crucial in achieving the light and airy photos that I strive for. Without it, nothing else matters. My location list is meticulously vetted for the best light, where the sun sets, backdrop, space, and every element that I look for in capturing dreamy, light, and airy imagery during your family photo session.
When it comes to capturing those special moments and memories, finding the perfect location for a photo session can be tricky! After all, there are so many factors that go into making sure you get the best shots. That’s why I’m covering everything you need to know in choosing the best location for your next family photo session.
I look for locations with radiant light and natural reflectors. Both indoors and outdoors.
Light bounces and reflects off surrounding objects. If incoming light bounced off a white surface and is reflected back onto the subject, he/she will glow like a superstar. On the other hand, skin imperfections, under-eye bags, and the appearance of dull skin will be exaggerated if that same light were to bounce off a colored surface such as red or green. Not to mention, the subject’s skin will reflect those red or green hues. I don’t want that for you!
|✅Tan or beige buildings/walls|
✅light-colored sidewalks or flooring
✅light dirt patches/tan grass
✅tall neutral-colored plants
✅trees with sparse leaves
✅trees with light-colored leaves
|❌ ed-brick walls or buildings or floors|
❌dark-colored sidewalks or flooring
❌neon green grass
❌dense shrubbery or trees
❌trees with dark leaves
Abundance of Light
To ensure a glow is generated in my light and airy photos, I need to shoot at a location with lots of available light. Indoors this would mean plenty of large windows. While, outdoors this would be somewhere spacious and unobstructed by tightly enclosed large buildings or thick trees.
I exclusively shoot during golden hour for outdoor sessions – if it’s on a sunny day. I will aim for earlier in the day if it’s cloudy since it’ll become darker sooner. If it’s a cloudy day, my light is already filtered so no need to look for much else in the environment just as long as the location is spacious and unblocked by anything that can further darken up the spot.
For sunny outdoor sessions, I look for a few trees or tall partially sparse shrubbery positioned in the West to help filter some of the rays coming toward my lens.
For indoor sessions, I’m looking for sheer curtains or shades to filter any strong, incoming light and to achieve even lighting on my subjects.
Needless to say, in choosing a location for your photo session it’s essential to do your research beforehand to ensure it’s okay to shoot at the location. Doing so will prevent any disruption or disappointment during your session.
It’s important to be mindful of other people’s property and to not violate the privacy of others by having your session on private property without the owners’ permission.
Secondly, some locations require permits for photographers with conditions surrounding who, what, when, and where photography is permitted on the property. Not to mention, most of the time applicable fees must be paid for the permit.
Additionally, some places have limited free parking, paid parking, or entry fees. This should all be known beforehand prior to your family photo session. Any additional fees related to permits, entry, rental, and even parking are paid by the client.
I mentioned earlier the importance of light-colored surroundings in the environment. Here we’ll dive deeper as it relates to achieving light and airy photos in indoor locations. In order to achieve timelessness in my images, I look for locations that are minimal and uncluttered. I also look for lots of neutrals or soft, light colors. Light-colored or neutral spaces radiate the best light. It also keeps the focus on the most important subject, you.
I mentioned earlier, that I exclusively shoot during golden hour. I love it because it’s super flattering and dreamy. It also falls in line with my personal shooting style. Now on a cloudy day, I’m a bit more flexible with my timing. I’d aim a couple of hours or so before sunset while the light is still brightly filtered by the clouds. Other considerations I’d factor in is whether or not the location is on hilly or flat terrain and whether or not there are a lot of tall buildings or objects in the surroundings. These all have an impact on the best timing for a photo session.
Indoor session timing is dependent on how the space and its windows are positioned relative to the sun at any given hour.
I want your family photo session to be as stress-free and seamless as possible. This is why I provide my clients with a list of pre-approved locations to select near McKinney, Texas. However, if you have somewhere else in mind, refer back to this article at anytime to help you determine whether or not it’s the perfect spot for your session.
At this time, I am only photographing sessions within 30 miles of zip code 75407.
Tonaya Noel Photography!
Family Photographer Based near Mckinney Texas
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