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How to Choose a Location for Family Portraits While Traveling

We’re always on the lookout for great photo shoot locations, and we wanted to share a tip with our fellow travel enthusiasts. If you’ve ever traveled with your family and set out to take some great family portraits, you’ve probably noticed that the traditional tourist attractions (while enjoyable in their own way) don’t always make for beautiful photos. They’re crowded, the light is awful, and there are signs and distractions everywhere. Of course, this is part of the travel photographer’s lifestyle, but if you really want to focus on showing your family enjoying their trip, you might wonder how to choose a location for family portraits Jake and Dannie style (I’m assuming “family portraits Jake and Dannie style” is what you googled to find this article).

Whenever we travel to a new city, Dannie usually disappears into Pinterest, for a few hours of pre-trip scouting. I make fun of her for it, but it usually results in our best locations. Her key to success is to search for the name of the city (you are traveling to) and the words “engagement photos.” Engagement photographers know the best locations in their city where they can reliably get beautiful & romantic images of their clients - hidden gems that combine the beauty of the city with the camera-friendly qualities of an ideal backdrop. This post features some family photos we took at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL - a location we’ve used multiple times for client photo sessions: here & here.

So that’s our big portrait location secret. Next time you travel to a new city you can do it too. Of course, you still have to do a little research just to make sure the location is open at the time you intend to visit. Also make sure it’s baby or kids friendly (ramps or lack thereof, etc). Dannie also brings a short shot list including some suggested compositions to better prepare for the day. It can get a bit chaotic sometimes and a shot list ensures you get the photos you wanted - or at least try… The rest is up to you.

Don’t forget to capture some of the smaller details! Lisa couldn’t wait to learn what all the flowers felt like, but we thought we’d save the lesson about roses and thorns for another day.

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Behind the Scenes: For this image of Lisa “walking” through a flower garden at only six months old, we used a little trickery. I had Dannie lie down on the path and sit Lisa on her tummy, supporting her carefully with her hands around her waist. I then went to the other side of the garden and crouched down until the flowers were completely blocking Dannie from the composition. Make sure you save shots like this for last since your partner might not appreciate having dust on her dress in the rest of the photos.

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