After deciding you'd like to book a session (yay!!! i can't tell you how much it puts a smile on my face when people choose me to take their photos) one of the first things we decide is where you would love it to take place.
Location is up there with being the most important thing about the session. So here are a few things to have a think about:
1. Where do you feel comfortable?
Is there a place that means something and reflects you as a family?
2. COLOUR The location provides the backdrop so all your images will gain a 'feel'
Does the colour compliment the decor in your home for when you print and frame your images?
3. What age are your children?
If we're shooting in the woodland/ open fields the children can be more free, making for more candid shots and letting them run around; whereas to shoot in the Bluebells the children will need to take care when keeping to the paths, be able to follow direction and be popped in to positions to not damage the flowers.
With those things in mind, here are a couple of my favourite local (Oxfordshire and Berkshire) locations:
Just North of Newbury is a huge heathland; think wild ponies, woodland, ferns and heather - just dreamy! This location is ideal for families at any time of the year. In the Summer theres vibrant purple heather, Autumn sees the ferns turn an incredible orange and even in winter the early sunset at golden hour can be fab. Children can be totally free and dogs are welcome too so its a really popular spot.
2. Wild Woodland
Last year i drove for what felt like days on end, hunting for the perfect Bluebell location. Lots of people know of the National Trust woods and the public spaces with pockets of Bluebells but what people doesn't know is that Photographers have to pay a fee to shoot at NT locations if the images are to be purchased by customers, not to mention having to spend twice the time in post production removing people from the background!
After lots of driving up and down lanes and contacting landowners i found a gorgeous spot of totally unspoilt woodland full of Bluebells with a side order of wild garlic.
Its as wild as they come; i've even been joined up there by a herd of deer! The location does mean that closed toe shoes are a must, the woodland floor is dense and prickly and with the Bluebells being a protected flowers we need to ensure we stick to paths so children will need to be able to follow direction/ be carried in to certain spots.
3. Community Woodland
If you live in South Oxfordshire you will possibly have heard of Ardington Woodland. Handily for me our garden backs on to it so i know where the sun sets and when and where the wild flowers bloom.
This is the most popular choice for shoots as it provides the ideal backdrop whatever the season and to be honest is my absolute favourite.
Up there with location is the importance of good light - i choose to shoot at the beginning and end of the day to soak up golden hour. The very best, most flattering and magical light.
In Summer this can be around 7pm. Being a mum i totally understand this is late for little ones, but treat it as a special occassion;the photos are an investment for you and your family. Rearrange a quick nap, bring PJS to whip on afterwards and you won't be disappointed.
Here are just a few of my favourite images, i could go on and pick hundreds as it varies so much.
Quite literally anywhere! Find a field and as long as theres a footpath we are good to go! Long grasses, crops, even weeds they all give texture and create a fun space for your images. These are great for older children (just incase we are near a road) or maternity sessions as we need to be careful that little feet don't tread on any crops.
There literally is no place like it is there. Nothing comes more personal than the place you spend most of your time, the place you bring your babies home too and the location for all of my newborn sessions.
Its a place that will completely tell your story, where you feel comfortable and the children are at ease. Don't panic if you don't have a show home thats featured in glossy magazines or the beds not made like a hotel. Its lived in and thats how it should be! If you love interiors and want images of you reading/ snuggling on the sofa/ baby laid in their cot then this could be the session for you.
All my works produced using natural light so big windows and a light colour scheme are ideal!
So, those are my favourite spots. There are lots more i could have listed like the Ford at Shilton, or the poppy fields. As long as the lights good then any location can look pretty!
Where would your favourite spot be? and is it on my list? I'd love to see if you want to pop a comment below.
I'm Vicky, an outdoor photographer, of people and pets. Mainly children and families but i love to see your dogs and horses too.