For those of you who want something a little more unique and personal for your family portrait, choosing a location is essential. Anyone could get their portrait done in a studio with a white background - versions of this shoot are two a penny. If you really want something that is going to wow your family and friends, look great for many years to come, and give you something to feel proud of, then picking a location is very important.
The best way to get started on thinking about your location is to think about what you want from the portrait. Will you hang it on your wall, or is it just for social media? Will you be sending out copies to your relatives, or hanging it as a large statement piece on a feature wall? If you already know where you are going to put it, take this into consideration. For example, if you have your wall covered in bright pink wallpaper, perhaps shooting against a red background would look a bit odd.
If you do not have an idea of where to put the finished piece, or if you will simply place it on a plain, neutral wall, then you have a little more scope for what you can get away with. This may also unfortunately make it harder for you to decide! Generally speaking, there are three options when it comes to family portrait locations: a studio environment, your own family home or land, or a location outdoors. You may have the option of hiring a venue, but this will add extra cost to your portrait and is only something that you should consider if you have a special reason for choosing that venue.
One thing that you can think about is whether there is something that could represent you as a family. For example, if you love going to the beach on weekends and spending all day there, a beach might be a great location. Or if you are always spending time at the local park eating picnics or taking the kids on bike rides, this could be a good place to start. Remember to think about the weather carefully: if it is the middle of winter, you will most likely need to wear coats and warm clothing for an outdoor photoshoot, which may mean that the results are not what you had in mind. If you are only able to arrange your photoshoot for an evening, you will also need to think about what time the sun goes down.
If you want to shoot at your own home, make sure to choose an area that will be suited. Ideally you should have a clear space against a wall, without any furniture or anything on the wall which could get in the way of the picture. You may want to sit down, in which case it is fine to choose the area around your sofa or move in some chairs, but otherwise the space should be as empty as possible. The same applies for shooting in a garden or other outdoor space - you do not want to have your lawnmower in the background of the shot!
Above all, always consult with your photographer before you plan your shoot. They are likely to know the best locations around town, how to catch them at the right time of day for the light, and how to set everything up perfectly. They may also have limitations due to the specific equipment that they use, or their own unique studio set up which will help you get something unique. So long as you think about and discuss the idea of your location beforehand, everything is sure to go off without a hitch.
If you would like to discuss the idea of a family portrait, please do get in touch for bespoke rates.