8 Great Tips to Help You Choose an Outdoor Location for Photo Sessions

8 Great Tips to Help You Choose an Outdoor Location for Photo Sessions

by: Samara and Chris
|
21st Sep, 2017

No matter what the occasion, whether it’s for your big wedding day or your becoming a brand new parent, being outside for a photo session makes for some great photos! Naturally you want to make sure everyone and everything looks its best…especially the location.

We truly believe and tell our clients all the time that the most important part of the location choice is that you are happy with it and comfortable. At the end of the day, it’s about the two of you rather than where you are. That being said, here are some things to consider about possible locations and the pros and cons of each.

Tip 1: Try to Schedule for the Magic Hour

 

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We snuck out at the golden hour in between dinner and dancing to steal this romantic shot. Photo taken at Chateaux Des Charmes.

“What’s that?” you ask? The ‘magic hour’, or the ‘golden hour’ as it’s often referred to, is the term we use for the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. The magic hour varies depending on the time of year and season, but it is a well-loved time of day for us photographers for a reason! The natural glow of the sunlight is dimmed since the sun is low, allowing for a soft light compared to the harsh sunbeams in the day.

That being said, if you prefer nighttime shots or midday ones, that’s all good too! We’re used to taking photos at any time of the day or night. We’re not so inflexible that we insist on scheduling only during the magic hour. If you think the magic hour is perfect though, we’ll be sure to show up with a hot drink or two and some flashlights to make sure we can all see where we’re walking! After all, the time before and after the magic hour can get pretty cold and dark!

 

Tip 2: Beaches

 

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Tracey & Halim engagement photo session. It was a little chilly, but totally worth sticking it out until the end of the day for the perfect light. Photo taken at Scarborough Bluffs Toronto.

In an ideal world, the perfect beach setting would be early morning or early evening at the golden hour with a slight breeze and privacy all along the coast. Who wouldn’t want one of the most picturesque romantic settings all to yourself?

Although being the photographers we are, and loving a creative challenge, high winds, big rowdy crowds, and high sun can definitely be an advantage if you’re going for a specific style and mood.

 

Tip 3: Parks

 

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A family session at a local Toronto neighbourhood park. Photo taken at Woburn Park in Toronto, which is also this family’s “go-to” park where the boys love to play.

Parks are sometimes one of the most overlooked settings. Most people tend to think greenery, flowers, and nature are overdone. The proximity, versatility, and abundance of them are great for those who want to stay local but also want to escape from the city crowd. We also love the challenge of making each park stand out.

Whether it’s the small kid’s park around the corner or a conservation area just outside of your neighbourhood, we love finding creative nooks and shapes and frames within the familiar.

 

Tip 4: Fields/Meadows

 

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Chard and Alyshia playing amongst the apple blossoms. Photo taken at Orchard Home Farm.

Along the same lines of parks, fields and meadows offer an abundance of natural settings and privacy – but are more theme specific. Flower fields such as sunflowers, daisies, dandelions, wheat, and lavender allow for some incredible, magical, whimsical photos.

 

Tip 5: The City

 

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Posing by some pretty awesome Toronto street art. Check out the street artist’s Instagram: @skamoney

Tall buildings lit up at night or old and empty streets filled with lights, billboards, and pub entrances can make for some striking urban photo sessions. If you love the art style of well-done graffiti, where the art on the walls complements your personality, these would be conventional to use in your outdoor photo session. We’ve seen some spectacular street art in Toronto that is both colourful and gorgeously captures the best side of the people in the photos!

 

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A beam of light amongst the Toronto City Scape.

 

Tip 5: At Home

 

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Kelly and Mike wanted to keep things easy. They asked if we could come to them and document some family fun in their home, with the arrival of their daughter’s new little sister.

Maybe your home has a backyard that is spacious enough with a gorgeous garden or your house faces the ocean. Or maybe it’s tiny, but all you. Whatever the case, backyards make for some of the best outdoor photo session locations; it’s your home and tends to cultivate an incredible environment where you can truly just be you. How awesome to have not only fun creative photos of you and your loved ones, but also being able to capture them where you lived at the time to be forever documented!

If you can’t go anywhere or leave home for whatever reason, or if you’re more comfortable in a familiar setting, this would also be an ideal location.

 

Tip 6: Farms

 

Ah, the countryside. Where roads tell a story and abandoned barns are a-plenty.

 

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Michelle and Josh playing in the farm fields and their farm themed wedding. Photo taken at Dyments Farm.

Canada is resplendent with options for outdoor photo sessions on farmland! If rustic, countryside scenery is what you’re looking for, or if a farm is part of your nostalgic upbringing, try to bring hay bales, sunflowers, or even animals or the barn itself into the picture for some creative photo ops.

Tip 7: Historic Landmarks

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Morley and Kate thanking their guests with the historic Estates of Sunnybrook in the background. Photo taken at the Toronto Estates of Sunnybrook.

This is a great photo op for brides or families who adore history! If a vintage wedding is the grand plan, there are plenty of great spots for photo ops at any time of the day. The shaded parts will allow for some relief in lighting from the midday sun and capture a great tint in the process!

 

Tip 8: Ask us

 

No, seriously, ask us if you’re still stumped on ideas. We’ve been to so many places! From Toronto to Vancouver, to Florida, Mexico, and Colombia, we’ve had our fair share of photo ops and can give you some wonderful recommendations if you want. Having a list of ideas you think would be great before asking us for recommendations can really help too!

Whatever location you decide on, we can guarantee you’ll have a lot of fun in your outdoor photo session and build some great memories along the way!