New announcement. Learn more


How to create a fun family location photography session

Fmail having fun during a family photo shoot in Porirua with Mel Waite Photography

Oh, I do love my studio – but there’s nothing quite like shooting on location. 

Don’t get me wrong, studio photography has its place, and is incredibly essential in a city like Wellington where the weather is unpredictable. It’s also the perfect space for newborn photography, as I have complete control over the temperature and light, to keep things as cosy and calm as possible for the wee ones. But there is just something so special about finding a stunning location, or shooting in a place that is of real significance to you and your family. 

With spring well underway, the days getting longer, and summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to dish out my tips on how to create a fun family location photography session.

Especially with the little ones in the group! Even though I adore that magic hour before sunset to capture that golden light, that doesn’t always work for the kids. Hungry and tired is a dangerous combination and is no fun for anyone! 

When scheduling your family location photography session, make sure you choose a time of day that suits your child’s mood. Perhaps they’re early risers, and a morning session would be ideal, or maybe an early afternoon session is when they’re all smiles. If the shoot day rolls around and your child is unwell, don’t be afraid to contact your photographer and see if you can reschedule. We’d rather you let us know and book in a different time than risk spreading germs, or putting your child through a photo session when they’d much rather be tucked up in bed!

When choosing a spot, go for somewhere that has meaning to your family. Whether it’s a park you always go to, or the garden where you got married, choose somewhere with significance. Can’t think of anywhere? Ask your kids! See where their favourite spot is – it’ll give you more ideas, and they’ll be much happier during a shoot if they’re in a place they know and love. If all else fails, pick somewhere with a playground – can’t go wrong!

Outfit changes are a bit trickier during family location photography sessions, so choose an outfit that you love and are happy to have in all your photos. As with any family shoot, I suggest solid, neutral colours within the same colour palette for all your family members’ outfits. Make sure you all feel comfortable, and opt for comfy footwear (those amazing strappy stilettos might be ideal for my studio, but it’ll be a challenge walking along a beach!)

A family location photography session is the perfect time to let loose and have fun! Don’t focus on having perfectly posed photos, with every hair in place (which is near impossible anyway in Wellington’s wind). Run around with your kids, play games, and have real moments of connection and interaction. I’ll capture images that capture all of that love, meaning, and emotional connection – you’ll love them for years to come.

While studio sessions tend to take a wee bit longer with background changes, outfit changes and posing, I like to keep my family location photography as short and sweet as possible. That way, the kids don’t get bored, you don’t get worn out, and we can fit it into breaks in the weather. 


  • It’s always a great idea to keep some treats on hand (whether it’s food or something small like stickers) as a little bit of bribery can go a long way!

  • Make a day of it! Plan a fun family meal or adventure before or after the family location photography session to keep the fun vibe going. 

  • Always talk with your photographer beforehand, and tell them about your family and your children’s interests. That way, they’ll be able to plan a family location photography session that suits your kids, and it will give them talking points to help keep the children interested and engaged. 

 If you want to fond out more about my family portrait photography follow the link and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook to keep up with the lasted news.

And if you needed more convincing, check out a recent family session I did with the Woodfall family below!