When choosing a location for your Vermont Family Session, there are a number of things to consider that you as a client may not be thinking about, especially if you have your heart set on a particular location. As a Vermont family photographer, I have photographed in all sorts of locations, and know what works best for different kinds of families. In Vermont, nature reins. Although we have many quaint and picturesque towns and villages, such as Warren Village with its country store and covered bridge, many times they aren't a great place for your family session. The goal when choosing a location for your family session is finding a place where your whole family can relax and enjoy the session- because that is what leads to amazing images!
When getting our family photos taken in Vermont, we all want those spectacular Green Mountain views as the backdrop to our family portraits. But where is the best location for your family?
Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a location for your session:
1. The first thing to consider is that the location and time of day/season really go hand in hand. You can't decide on one without considering the other. If you are planning to start your session at 10am in the summer, an open field will probably not be a great location due to the harsh light of full sun. Now, find a spot with a lot of even shade, and 10am sounds much more appealing. Likewise, you have to pay attention to the light at the end of the day as well. Some valley and forest locations lose light very quickly, and will be much darker than a hilltop location at the same time. Seasons are a huge part of living and playing in Vermont, so if you are looking for the best foliage or wildflowers for your session, let your photographer know and they will be sure to lead you in the right direction.
2. Something else that must always be considered is safety and accessibility. Especially if you have young children, you don't want to be worried your entire session that they will fall off a cliff! You want your whole family to be able to relax and have fun at your session, so choose a location where your kids can run around. Those quaint towns and villages I was talking about earlier may seem like a great spot for photos, but you have to consider that there are cars (usually speeding) in the road, people milling about and getting in your photos, no privacy so you don't feel awkward, and its just not a safe place for kids if you want to be able to let go of their arm for a second. These places are better suited for couple's engagement or maternity, or a senior session. But you also don't want the location to be boring. Finding a location that has some small rock structures to climb on, wild flowers to smell, or shallow water to play in make great places to photograph where you kids can be themselves.
Is the location easily accessible for everyone being photographed? Does anyone have any physical limitations or disabilities that would prevent them from fully participating in the session at a given location? Is anyone in a wheelchair, recently injured, or elderly? If you are pregnant, do you have any restrictions you should be following for your comfort or health of you and your baby? Your photographer needs to know this! And please be honest here. Your photographer will have a plan in mind for your family to give you an amazing, fun experience, but only if they know these details about your family. There are many beautiful, flat grassy areas in the Mad River Valley that are super accessible to all. And if you are most comfortable at your home, that is the perfect place to photograph your family!
3. Consider the variety you will get at your location. Sometimes, choosing a simple location will work for your session, such as an Extended Family Session, where there are a lot of people to corral and photograph. But otherwise, you want a location that will give you a variety of backdrops all within a short distance to each other. Choosing a location that has some grass, maybe some flowers, and a spot to get down to the river guarantees you a dynamic gallery of images that don't all look exactly the same.
4. Does the location mean something to you? Locations that have a special meaning to a family brings special meaning to their photos. Many clients wish to photograph at a location such as their home, family property, or a place they used to visit when they were a child. Photos that mean something to you is what family photography is all about, so let your photographer know about your idea. Your photographer will probably want to come to your location before your session so they can make recommendations on what time of day to photograph and what spots to use.
In the colder months, your home is especially suited for your family session. When it's -5F outside, your family could be snuggled up at home, baking cookies and having hot cocoa, and have the good times your family has together captured!
5. Think about the look and feel you want to your photos. Is your family adventurous? You could take your family session to the next level by doing a mountain top session, or go to a secluded location you can only get to by boat. Of course, you also need an adventurous photographer for that (that's me!). Or do you love to chill by the river in the summer and wear a cool kimono over your bathing suit for your session? Or do you want to wear a long, flowy dress up on a hill top for a beautiful sunset session? Whatever look you are going for, your photographer will be able to help you choose a location to get the images you want.
A good photographer will take the time to get to know your family, and then make location recommendations based on the ages of the people in your family, the season, and what your family likes to do together. They should have a list of recommended locations to choose from, and if a location you want is not on their list, or you choose to photograph at home, they should take the time to scout the location prior to your session. They will then be able to recommend the best time to start your session based on lighting and weather. That way, there are less surprises on photography day and things are likely to go much more smoothly. If your photographer can't make it to your location before session day, don't stress! There are a number of tools, such as Google Earth, they can use to "scout" your location remotely.
When choosing a family photographer, the images in their website portfolio probably have some consistency in where they like to photograph. So if you choose a location that is very different from that or is at your home, you need to have the expectation that your images will probably be different from what you see in their portfolio.
Most of all, trust your photographer what they recommend a location! They have considered the lighting, safety, accessibility, how fun the location will be for your family, and if there are any downsides to a location you should consider. Your photographer wants your session to be fun, relaxed, and result in images you will cherish for a lifetime. They will listen to your concerns and you will work together as a team to choose the best location for your family.
So what are the best locations in the Mad River Valley for your family session? Well, I won't give them all away until you book your session with me- #insiderinfo! So if you want to get the process started and get more information, get in touch!
Check out my website for more info about sessions, pricing and more!
Lincoln Gap Photography is a Vermont Family Photographer located in the heart of Vermont's Green Mountains in the town of Warren and serves all of Central Vermont including Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Waterbury, Stowe, Montpelier, Berlin, Barre, Northfield, Richmond, Williston, and the Greater Burlington Area.