Outdoor locations for family photoshoots add something extra to your portraits that can never be replicated with an indoors studio shoot.
Do you ever think about how good you feel after a long walk, a day at the beach or a picnic in the park? I believe a lot of those positive feelings come from spending time in nature (and with your loved ones of course!)
The natural world soothes the soul and reminds us of what's important in life.
That is why I love shooting family portraits outdoors. When you put these pictures up on your wall at home, not only are you affirming to your kids just how much you love them, you're also bringing a little piece of nature indoors with you.
We're so lucky in New Zealand. The colours and the settings of our landscapes are stunning. Especially here in Otago we're spoiled for choice.
Of course, here in Dunedin, the final location we use is often dictated by the weather and prevailing winds on the day! Luckily with all our hills and beaches we can usually find somewhere sheltered.
The day I met up with Jen and Paul's family was one of those perfect winter days that feels like summer. It was warm, the sun was shining and there wasn't a breath of breeze.
It was a perfect day to try out a new location I'd been eyeing for some time - a hilltop overlooking the harbour with a field of long yellow grass.
We headed up there towards the end of the day and as the sun sank lower in the sky the light added a beautiful golden glow to the final portraits.
It was a great location with lots of space to run around and rocks to clamber over and jump off for three active boys. We had a lot of fun getting them running through the grass and interacting with each other before focusing on some closer portraits.
As I worked with each child alone and with mum and dad it gave the others time to relax - having your photo taken can be hard work!
"I didn't expect it to be so much fun. We all really enjoyed the experience," Jen told me when we all got together again for their viewing and ordering session.
The whole family snuggled together on the couch and watched their slideshow at least three times!
I always love this moment when families see their pictures for the first time. I've spent so much time with all these pictures in Photoshop already, adding that extra sparkle, perfecting the colours and with kids there's usually a few scrapes and scabs to retouch!
After the slideshow comes the difficult, but fun, part of narrowing down your favourites and deciding which pictures will be going up on the wall.
Jen and Paul chose a storytelling framed Fine Art print and an individual framed Fine Art print of the three boys together. For the nine pictures in the storytelling frame they picked out the portraits they had an emotional reaction too.
Rather than choosing the traditional-style family pictures where everybody's face could be seen they chose pictures that captured feelings of love, fun and connection.
The final finished frames look stunning and I know they are going to enjoy looking at these pictures up on their wall for many years to come.
The best part is, by having framed art up on the wall, families get to enjoy their pictures every single day, not just those days that gradually become fewer and further apart when they remember to open up their laptop and look through them!