So you’ve booked your documentary family photoshoot and you’re wondering what sorts of activities to plan for it. To help you out, I’ve put together this round up of 14 unique family photo ideas to inspire you.
The documentary approach
While during the Spring many photographers advertise photography sessions in the daffodils or family shots in bluebells, my approach has always been more documentary in nature.
Sure, I absolutely love and enjoy the beautiful colour display the Spring in the UK provides us with, but let’s be honest here: how many of you go and sit in a bluebell forest on a regular basis?
Those photographs, while really beautiful, what meaning will have have for 10 years down the line? What will you remember? The fun that you had that day doing something you love doing as a family on a regular basis, or the tantrums and the bribes it took to get your 2 year old to sit and smile nicely for the camera?
How to choose what to do
So what I always do instead is encourage my families to think about things they love doing together. What does “quality family time” means for you?
Is that playing a sport at a nearby field? Is it gardening (with your toddler helping you water the flowers and digging for worms)? Is it building a den in the woods? Launching a kite? Wandering around your neighbourhood and stopping for a coffee?
Whatever it is, it will look great in your family photographs.
Do you know why?
Because when you’re doing something you love while spending the time with the people you love, and not thinking about the fact that it’s a photoshoot day, you will feel great – and that will show on your face!
So, try these unique and fun ideas for your next family photoshoot.
Fly a Kite
Windy day? Find a hill or head to the beach and work together to launch a kite. Nothing can beat the delight on your children’s faces when the kite flies! A great location in London for kite-flying is Hampstead Heath, or if you live on – or visiting – the coast West Wittering or Camber have perfect flat expanses of sand that are perfect for running together and launching kites.
The kids would love digging, making holes for the seeds, watering, and generally getting pretty mucky. Whether working around the garden, in the greenhouse, or on a farm, working with the earth will look great in photos – and good for you, too!
Brave the spring winds and go explore a beach location. Hunt for fossils, stomp in the ocean (wellies on or off) and play ball games! Make sure you pack warm clothes (this top below is from Amamaya Clothing and is made from soft merino wool, making it super warm – no need for bulky coats, especially as the kids are running around) and some towels and a change of clothes – just in case your kids decide to go wild swimming, despite the freezing temperatures! [find Ireland photos of all the kids]
Head to a Playground
Go for for a walk in a local park and splash in the puddles, climb trees, chase squirrels and hunt for early flowers. Stop for a coffee and feed the ducks. Forget the camera is even there and just enjoy family time.
Kids love being a helper, getting all wet and mucky washing a dirty vehicle! If it’s a sunny day, get the buckets and sponges out, and do a vehicle spring clean!
Documentary family photography in Molesey, Surrey
Ride a Bicycle
If you enjoy cycling, go for a family bicycle ride in the countryside or along the river. Stop and have a picnic and feed the ducks. Or teach your kid how to ride and have this important milestone captured on camera!
Family photoshoot in St Margarets, SW London
Play Tourists for a Day
Whether you’re a born and bread Londoner or an expat only here for a couple of years, take a day out to go explore the tourists sites. Walk along South Bank, take a boat to Greenwich, or check out the quirky streets of East London.
Vacation family photoshoot with older kids in London, South Bank
Build a Den
Children of all ages enjoy building a den, and teens and tweens can actually take active part in the process – while forgetting the camera is even there! There are all sorts of lovely moments to be captured while den-building, so consider exploring your local woods as part of your spring photoshoot.
Family photoshoot at Esher Common
Go to a Zoo or a Playfarm
Warmer days are perfect for exploring the local play farms and zoos. Kids love getting to watch and feed the animals, and it makes for great photos too!
Family photos at Bocketts Farm, Surrey
Go Horse Riding
If this is an activity you or the kids enjoy, then there’s no reason why we can’t incorporate a horse riding lesson or a visit to the stables into your family photoshoot!
Day in the Life family photoshoot in Fulham
Ball games of all kinds are a perfect activity for your 2 hour photoshoot, or a Day in the Life photoshoot. Pick a favourite sport or two and give it your all!
Family photoshoot in Esher
Go Down a Memory Lane
Is there a place special for your family? Your first flat together as a family, a place you lived in when you just moved into the city, a place where you first met or where you went on a first date, or somewhere you used to love to go for a picnic when you were pregnant? We can include it as part of our photoshoot!
Day in the Life photoshoot in Islington N1
Just Chill Out
If you are family that prefers chilling out at home, then do just that! Make a picnic in the garden if it’s a warm day, or fire up a barbecue, and enjoy family time.
Hello and welcome! I'm Antonina, an award-winning documentary family photographer, specialising in the authentic and meaningful photography for families in London and Surrey. I'm also available for commissions further afield - please get in touch for more details.