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Ideas for Outdoor Family Photos

by Elizabeth Smith

An outdoor setting for a family photo can add an element of texture and natural beauty; if your family is more comfortable with outdoor activities than posing inside, it can also make for a more meaningful shot. As you plan an outdoor shot, consider how you can choose spots that will give your photos a background story.

Beach Shots

A beach provides a natural background for an outdoor family portrait because of the large expanses of sand, sea and sky. For a fun picture, have the family walk together through the surf or stand in the water; allow clothing to get wet to add an unexpected element of fun. You can also sit on the sand, play with a flying disc, or pose on a piece of driftwood. Take the photo at sunset to add dramatic colors, or shoot during a storm for a dramatic background.

Walking Together

If your family enjoys hiking or being together outside, a portrait where you are all walking together can be meaningful as well as beautiful. Choose a location that has strong natural light and natural lines: a forest path, a road through a field, or even a deserted highway. Arrange your family so they are walking in a line perpendicular to the road; you can hold hands or put your arms around each others' waists or shoulders to visually illustrate the family relationship. This type of photo is equally effective when taken from the front or the back.

Sitting Poses

Sitting poses can be a way to get your family off of their feet, particularly if anyone feels awkward standing. Choose a location that will create a dramatic photo setting: a long, low tree branch, for example, or sitting in a row on a fence. You can also consider locations like benches in a park, bleachers, or on a picnic blanket. Arrange the family members in a row or using levels to create visual interest in the pose.

Meaningful Setting

To take a photo that tells a story, choose a meaningful outdoor setting. If you have a family farm or an ancestral house, shoot the photo with the buildings in the background. Consider places that you do activities as a family, like horse farms, rock climbing sites, or local baseball fields. Ask the photographer to capture the most easily recognizable elements of the outdoor setting so that the photo will memorialize the location as well as your family.

About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.

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