Fresh Ideas for Fall Family Photos


I’m embarrassed to admit this and it’s terribly unsouthern, but my family has never done a professional photo shoot. When it was time to print out family photos for back to school, the only recent one available featured my kindergartener showing us his backside.

I’ve been dreaming about a beachside family shoot for years. I just never got around to booking. Until now. We have a shoot booked for mid October with local photographer and fellow Gulf Coast mom, Melanie York Reilly, with The York Photo Company. Here are some tips and fresh fall ideas I’ve gathered to get ready for the big day.

What to expect when setting up a photo shoot:

Setting up a photography session involves picking a date/time, a package, and style of images to suit your personal preferences. You’ll also want to take into account factors like sunrise and sunset as well as temperatures for outdoor shoots when setting a time.

Differences between packages and sessions:

A family or individual session runs about an hour to an hour and a half and includes multiple locations. Priced at $250 this type of session includes 25+ printed images, a keepsake USB of all images and a full print release from the York Photo Co.

A 30 minute “mini session” runs about $125 with Melanie and includes 5-10 digital images, a print release of selected images and choice or 25 Holiday cards or a $25 print credit.

When to book and hold a shoot if you want to use photos on holiday greetings:

The sooner the better! Booking your session now for October ensures editing and order turnaround in time for the holidays.

Where to do it:

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has plenty of locations that are perfect for a family photo shoot. Classic locations include the beach and landscaped locations featuring gorgeous live oaks can be found at Grasslawn and the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach. Looking for an edgier feel? Places like Fishbone Alley in downtown Gulfport and Government Street in Ocean Springs are perfect to add color and a historic vibe. You can’t go wrong with a classic family shoot at home!

What to Wear:
Anything goes as far as outfits, but it’s recommended to wear weather appropriate clothing in coordinating colors and patterns. Subtle colors can move the focus off clothing style and onto your family for a timeless look. Comfy denim is always popular for a coordinated fall shoot. Don’t be afraid to discuss what you plan to wear with your photographer. They can help you determine the right location and wardrobe to achieve the final outcome you’re hoping for.

Fresh ideas for a fall photo shoot:

  • Head to the farm. Playing in the leaves and posing with pumpkins is always fun. Kids can’t resist jumping in a leaf pile, and barns and hay bales make great props to pose with. Williams Family Farms in Wiggins is a great location to try. Don’t forget your boots!
  • Find a great fence. You can sit, lean against or let kids climb the fence for photos with a rustic feel. One of my favorite photos is of my youngest peering through a fence.
  • Get in costume! Take advantage of those adorable Halloween costumes and watch your kids come out of their shells as they get into character.
  • Play with shadows. The sun doesn’t get as high in the sky in the fall and less daylight makes shadows more prevalent, even during the day. Experimenting with shadows is fun for kids and makes the most of fall lighting.
  • Go climb a tree! The treehouses at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport are perfect for edgy, rustic, AND fun family photos.

Tips to photo happy kids:
Last but not least, don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t want to cooperate. Most photographers are very patient and some even bring “surprises” in their camera bag to reward good behavior at the end of the session. Bringing a gift for the kids to open during the shoot (or packing one in a photo appropriate prop like a vintage suitcase or basket) might ensure some big grins to catch on camera. When in doubt act silly and sing songs!

I have no idea how our first shoot will go, but I’m looking forward to capturing everyone (including MOM) in one photo. Hope these ideas and tips help y’all make some great family memories this fall!