10 Ways to Capture Fun Fall Family Photos

With the show that Mother Nature puts on, it’s no wonder that everyone wants fall family photos! The vibrant colours, diffused light, and cooler temperatures mean one thing to photographers worldwide: busy season is here!

Here are some ideas that your clients will love for their fall family photos!

1. It’s all about the leaves

Nothing shouts fall like the turning of the leaves. In many parts of the world, this brings a vibrant palette of reds, yellows and oranges that make for a perfect autumn setting.

Don’t be afraid to pose your families right in the leaves – it’s nature’s fall quilt! And after the more formal poses are done, capture the joy of kids tossing leaves in the air for the quintessential fall activity.

baby and dog sitting in fall leaves
Elise Gow Photography

2. Dreamy foliage

Speaking of leaves … trees covered in fall-coloured leaves make the perfect backdrop for fall family photos. Use a wide open aperture, and a zoom lens, to achieve a creamy backdrop that is almost like a watercolour painting.

It’s also fairly easy to enhance (or even change the hues!) of treed backdops in editing.

fall family photos
Milk & Honey Photography
mom and son against fall trees in background
Milk & Honey Photography

3. Embrace the browns

Not everyone is lucky enough to live where fall displays in a symphony of colour. For some photographers, fall colours simply mean … brown.

That doesn’t mean your images cannot reflect fall. When everything in your area turns a shade of brown, the two things that will save you from blah photos are golden hour light, and a carefully curated client wardrobe.

The light you experience an hour before sunset will transform those long brown grasses into golden masses of airy, dreamy foliage that will glow around your client families. Choose your time of day carefully.

family of four basked in golden light
Kirsten Melligan Photography

And when traditional fall colours are not to be found in your locations, incorporate those colours through your client’s wardrobe. Suggest deep autumn colours that will stand out against the neutral natural background … think mustards, burgundy, denim, chocolate browns, and rust orange.

large family photo session in brown grasses
Stormy Solis Photography

4. Try a subtle approach

As splendid as fall may be, also experiment with more subtle touches of the season. In stead of just shooting right in the middle of autumn leaves and trees, try adding just a glimpse of fall – like shooting through a single branch of leaves. A single coloured leaf in the hands of a child will instantly put the fall flavour into your photos, but in a more timeless way that will be pleasing year round.

pregnant women with fall foliage
Milk & Honey Photography

5. Apples and pumpkins

Apples and pumpkins are synonymous with fall activities. Take a family to an apple orchard or pumpkin farm for a fun outing that will yield beautiful lifestyle images of candid interaction between family members.

family in apple orchard
Rochelle Hepworth Photography

6. Golden Hour is golden

The harsh light of summer makes way for softer, diffused light in the fall, with the arc of the sun much flatter as it travels across the sky. Utilize golden hour to its fullest by choosing your session time carefully, and watch the warm, golden sun paint your clients with a glow that is soft and flattering.

Bonus: the sun goes down much earlier in the fall, so these earlier sessions are easily accessible for families with young children.

family walking in golden hour tall grasses
Danielle Navratil Photography
mom and daughter standing in fall foliage
Lindsay Sallee Photography

7. Replace the sky

Let’s face it … the weather on many fall days are going to be just grey and dull, with no golden hour to speak of. This is a great opportunity to up your game by perfecting your sky swapping editing technique. The overcast skies will create beautiful even light on your families, which is then enhanced by skies filled with some drama.

family photo with sunset skies
Jen Sebring Photography

8. Play!

Cooler fall temperatures mean that letting your families play doesn’t necessarily result in sweaty brows and wet armpits. There is no better time to let your families interact and connect naturally through play than in the fall.

Encourage the kids to be tossed into the air, or chased around trees, or maybe a family leaf-throwing fight!

kids running under blanket at photo session
North Elm Photography
Family Retreat
The Milky Way’s Online Family Retreat has many topics dedicated to the art of creating connection in families – be sure to check it out!

9. Get creative

Many photographers fill their fall seasons exclusively with mini-sessions. With so many photographers offering the same type of session, you can make yours stand out by adding a distinctive fall theme. A few simple, natural props (like hay bales, bushels of apples, pumpkins, etc) will add a unique edge to your fall family photos.

Alternatively, invest in some wardrobe pieces for the kids that will add that touch of whimsy and exclusivity often reserved for holiday mini-sessions.

kids laughing on hay bale
Milk & Honey Photography
boys walking amongst fall trees in vintage outfits
Milk & Honey Photography

10. Hit the streets

Fall family photos do not have to happen in rolling fields with tall grasses! Urban family photography is a great alternative – you will still find some changing colours in city foliage along with yummy golden afternoon light.

Dress your families a little edgier (as opposed to more romantic when in nature), and capture the energy of fall in the city.

urban family photo session in late afternoon sun
Penguin Pictures

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