location, location, location! / by Ashley Brown

Once a session is booked, it is typically the first thing that is discussed... and with good reason. Where a session takes place completely dictates the feel of the resulting images. Images created in a rustic location will have a different feel than those created in a manicured park, or in a downtown setting. There are several elements to consider when choosing a location for your portrait session. Wardrobe preferences, the decor of your home, the age of your children, and also, the season. We find fall to be the most sought after time of year, and most clients want to incorporate at least some of the beautiful elements of this time of year into their images. However, there are some important things to consider when choosing a location for your autumn session:

  • What are you going to do with these images? If you are booking a short&sweet session with the sole purpose of getting some great shots for your holiday cards, then very seasonal images (foliage or holiday clothing) would be up your alley. However, if you plan on using these images for any other purposes... prints for hanging in your home, an album, etc... we recommend keeping the location a bit more neutral. Highly seasonal images look out of place and dated quickly. For a signature session, in which the intention is to capture classic and heirloom images, a more neutral location is key. That's not to say that the stunning color of fall can't be incorporated, but using architecture or the home would help achieve great variety.
  • Not every location or fun spot is conducive to a portrait session. We love orchard and pumpkin patches as much as the next person, and these make wonderful family activities during the fall. However, if you've ever set foot in such a place on a fall weekend, you know "mob scene" is an accurate description. A full sun pumpkin patch, with cars in the background and swarms of people to dodge is far from ideal. Children are easily distracted and overstimulated, and adults find it hard to feel natural when many pairs of eyes are on them, so a quieter location is a much better bet. Unless you are looking for a lifestyle, activity-type session (more info to come on that subject!) portrait sessions should be held at a location with lots of ideal options for lighting and backdrops. There are many other location ideas that can capture the same type of rustic feel without the madness. During the fall, you can find foliage just about anywhere! And that's not to say places like orchards are always off the table! Some busier locations work out just fine on early mornings and weekdays.
  • Private property. Some locations are private or semi-private property, and may not allow photography for commercial purposes on site. Or, they may allow it with certain stipulations or at certain times. We strongly believe in respecting this and seeking permission before using such venues.
  • Nothing beats unique. Regardless of the season, like we always say (maybe a bit like a broken record!) unique and meaningful locations make for the absolute best images. Whether it be your home, where mom and dad got married or went to college, or something of that nature, these types of locations will bring your images to a whole new level. Think outside the box, or ask us for our ideas!

Here's some examples of on-location sessions.

This type of image can be taken almost anywhere during the fall!

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This is a great orchard shot... taken first thing in the AM, before the orchard even opened. Soft lighting and no crowds to work around!


A perfect idea for fall... a wardrobe full of layers and textures, and interesting architectural backgrounds. Neutral, yet seasonal, and oh so classic!


Downtown locations often provide the perfect blend of greenery/foliage and and architecture.


Rustic, farm-esque locations with barns and fences are perfect for autumn!


P.S. Like this post? We'll be posting new installments to our "client education" blog feature in the coming weeks... so check back for our tips on types of session, clothing, and much more good stuff!