Tips for Successful Fall Family Photos

It’s no coincidence that fall is the most popular time of year for family portraits. People love the look of sweaters, boots, colorful foliage, and rustic outdoor settings. Here are a few tips to note for how to make the most of your autumn portraits.

1. Enjoy the Flattering Tones.

We all love the look of the bright yellows, oranges, and reds of fall, and we also look good in it! The earthy colors naturally compliment our skin and hair tones in ways that the bright greens of summer never can.  Parents often request a park with “bright green grass” for their children’s summer portraits, and this to me is probably the worst location ever. Who wants a reflected green tint on their children? I spend so much time trying to reduce the greenish/yellow color cast that grass reflects, it’s not even funny. Green grass is the most unflattering background to work with, so I’m always thankful when fall rolls around and it’s time for portraits in the softly muted brown grass, leaves, and dirt paths.

Autumn Senior Pictures in New Hampshire

Fall Portrait in New Hampshire

Which brings me to my next point….

2. Choose your Outfit Wisely.

Mother Nature has done all the work; don’t compete!  People often feel the need to “stand out”, “contrast”, or make clothing choices based on something like “hot pink is her favorite color.” One word that comes to mind for fall colors is: blend. If you have several people in a portrait, it’s never a requirement that everyone needs to matchy-match but it does look nice if there are lots of textures, similar tones (i.e all darks or all lights), and layers. It’s my personal preference that everyone wears earth-tones (often, the more muted, the better), but that’s based on my style of photography and others may differ. I don’t particularly like plain white or black for fall photos.

A case in point: a couple of years ago I had my family photos done and I had chosen sweaters with oranges and greens for myself, and my two kids. My husband wore a white shirt with very small green stripes, which did not show up in the photo and he just looked like he was wearing a white shirt, while the other three of us were wearing warm sweatery-colors. Guess who looks strange in the photo?

Boy in Autumn Leaves Portrait

3. Schedule Early.

If you are wanting a fall family session in New Hampshire for mid-October, you really need to start talking to your photographer and getting on the books 6-8 weeks beforehand, which puts you in August for booking. And yes, I know nobody is thinking about their mid-October family foliage session before Labor Day, but you’ll end up disappointed if you start looking for a photographer at the end of September and find that everybody is booked up for those couple of precious weeks in October when the leaves are just right. Not only are people wanting to catch the foliage but they’re also scheduling family sessions for Christmas cards, so it’s a very busy time of year and I can’t stress it enough that you need to plan ahead and not wait until September to start thinking about it.

Autumn Family Photos in Wagon Hill Farm

4. Order Your Artwork

Now that you’ve planned a couple of months in advance, purchased beautiful outfits in muted textural tones, selected the perfect rustic location, and had a wonderful experience with your photographer, the time to make decisions about what to do with your images is here. Many families choose to purchase their images on disc, which is the longest-lasting greatest value in flexibility for your dollar, but here’s the thing: you can’t nail your disk to the wall. You need to get your images printed and displayed in your home to show off all that beautiful work that you put into it. Sure, you’ve posted your photos all over Facebook and received oohs and ahhs from all your family and friends, but what now? Think big, think drama, get your images printed on canvas at least 16×24 and I promise you will never regret it a day in your life.  Talk to your photographer about options for canvas, and you will smile every single day that you see your piece of custom wall art. I guarantee it. 🙂