5 Reasons Autumn is the Best Time For a Family Photoshoot

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

This quote sums up Autumn so accurately:


"Autumn holds more gold in it's pocket

than any other season"


It's suddenly November and we are at the peak of autumn right now. We drove up from Dumfries a few days ago. I was in complete awe of the rich and eclectic colours along the way. For me, the tree that displays the best showcase of colour every year without fail, is the simply sublime Beech. A beauty of a native tree, majestic and strong with it's elephant leg like trunks contrasting with rippling small, textured leaves that seem to vary in shade more so than any other tree species. It's rich, vibrant hues contrast with the intense blue of the sky to inject any family outdoor portrait with an abundance of colour perfect for autumn photoshoots!

Family photographers look forward to this season all year. It truly is the best to capture wonderful memories. And here's why.


1. The autumn light

Autumn is a true gift to any photographer. The air is cooler, there is that unmistakable bonfire smell and you can hear the crackle of leaves underfoot.

The light from the sun is more golden at this time of year because it's coming to us at a different angle. The sun isn't getting as high up into the sky so it's intensity is not nearly that of mid summer. It's like you're dimming the lights to a warm and cosy glow. One of my number one rules is never photograph someone looking into the sun. The light is simply too harsh on our faces in summer to get the desired result however in Autumn the light is more forgiving.

Early morning and late afternoon are the golden hours for photographs to get the best results. It would have to be very early or very late in the summer months to get the same sort of light which is why we can achieve this far easier at this time of year. We only need to wait until 3 or 4 oclock! This means that little ones bedtime routines are not interrupted. I simply love a hair halo. The golden light captures hair beautifully, a wonderful opportunity for a memorable moment.

But what if the sun doesn't shine?

Unfortunately I can't guarantee sun but if it's cloudy that's also good. (yes really) The clouds act as a natural diffuser giving your skin a lovely soft tone against the autumnal colours. It's quite likely to be a little misty too which can give a more moody effect. The colours on the trees still look incredible against a greyer landscape. You don't need to worry if you don't get the perfect autumn day.


2. Children adore Autumn

Children LOVE discovering more in nature during autumn through touch and smell. The textures of leaves and berries make these items great for collecting during the photo shoot. I encourage children to see what they can find along the way and this means that I get genuine looks of curiousity and exciting interactions. Ideal! If kids are distracted from you photographing them and have something to focus on then the end results are way more natural.

It's a magical time. Christmas is just around the corner and there is a brewing excitement amongst children. They also love the sounds of leaves as they run through them. Leaf throwing is a great opportunity for fantastic photos of your children with delighted looks on their faces. Get the whole family involved! You can start it off - If they see you having fun then they will want to be part of that. They can get completely absorbed and engaged by their surroundings, forgetting that I am even there.

Frankly, the more leaves in their hair the better time they will have had. Don't fret about muddy boots and getting clothes dirty, it's all part of it.


3. We are surrounded by beautiful locations for autumn photos in edinburgh & lothians

We are lucky in this part of Scotland in that we don't have to wonder far to find a gem of an autumn location. If you follow my blog you will know that I rave about Penicuik House. It's a short drive from Edinburgh and a stone's throw if you already live in Midlothian. Cammo Estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh is also worth a visit at this time of year. Both locations have long avenues lined with mature trees either side. Roslin Glen and the Country Park is spectacular and it has the bonus of the old gunpowder mill ruins as additional interest for enthusiastic adventurers! Vogrie Country Park, Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Pond bring back childhood memories for me as a wee girl feeding the ducks, all wrapped up in my winter woolies. (Autumn seemed so much colder back in the 80's!)

These locations are ideal for young nature enthusiasts to spot wildllife such as grey squirrels rushing up trees and who knows you may even be very lucky and see a roe deer. I myself remember spotting one at Dalkeith Country Park at this time of year. Always a treat! A photoshoot is also an opportunity to try somewhere new which will make it more of an adventure for the whole family.


4. Warm clothes look great in family photos

What to wear on your session?

It's time to dig out the warmer clothes again (although in Scotland I know many of us never really put them away...) Choosing what to wear for an Autumnal session needn't be tricky.

Firstly, pick a colour scheme of 3 complementary colours and work that through everyone's outfits. Combine patterns with plains in those colours for a great consistent look. Go as bright as you like although I would avoid neons, pictures and slogans.

You can choose any colour scheme but rich and earthy tones will complement your surroundings for that seasonal feel. For example, plum, mustard and blue go lovely togthere or orange, teal and brown. You can't go wrong with warm neautrals mixed in with one more dominant colour. Don't make it too bright though otherwise it will clash with the leaves and distract from your surroundings ...

This may be obvious but dress for the weather on the day. A few days before, select outfits for a sunny or milder day and ones where it may be colder and overcast then you can choose the appropriate one on the day. Also consider where you are. Woods are often muddy so ensure that everyone has the necessary footwear.


Dress them formal or informal, depending on what sort of feeling you want from your pictures. For a fun family day out where the kids can run free and be themselves then casual will work best. Simply put - be you. If you want more posed shots then you may want to dress them more formal but that can also be fun!

For the girls you can't beat some tights, a cord dress and some cute boots. A beret and a warm knit shawl would be an ideal choice for something more formal. A chunky knit jumper teamed with a farmers cap and jeans can be very endearing for the boys and is more formal. If you're really struggling, don't get into a tizz. You can't go wrong with colourful hats, gloves and some wellies!


Many mums worry that they won't look their best when wearing a bulky jacket but that's not true. The ideal coat will be in your wardrobe and it isn't going to make you look like michelin man. A warm shawl or cape is also an option, or a smart raincoat that has a warm lining. A more formal coat can be dressed down and is also very flattering.

You may not even need a coat. A chunky knitted jumper may be enough. Play about with textures. Knits go well with a lighter scarf and some denim jeans. A warm jacket will complement the look and feel of a thinner shirt or top underneath. You can also accessorize with one statement piece of jewellery.

Team a long winter coat with a simple scarf and some knee high boots for a classic look.

You also need to consider practicality. If you love a heel, then stick to one that's chunkier as it won't sink into any mud or damp ground as easy.

Above all, you need to be comfortable and feel good. Don't consider a dress when you're more of a jeans and t-shirt sort of person. Be you.


Keep it simple with trousers whether jeans or otherwise, a warm jumper with shirt underneath and a scarf with or without a complimentary jacket. (depending on how cold it is) Boots are probably better than the trainers at the back door and remember to get the iron out if you want to wear a shirt! These little things do get noticed in photos.

Layer it up! Make sure the clothes under your jacket are considered as you may well want to take it off half way through if the weather is milder or you feel you don't want it on any more.

I would avoid black if at all possible as it can tend to look too dominant (not to mention dull). If you want to, use it sparingly.

For more ideas head to my Pinterest board here or you can download 'What to Wear For Your Photoshoot Without Buying Anything New' on the website. (it will appear as a pop up)

5. Photos of family make ideal Christmas Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching and what grandparent/uncle/auntie wouldn't love some beautiful, heart bursting pictures of their grandchildren/nieces/nephews? Stick it in a frame for them to cherish.

Plus, autumnal pictures are better to display all year round in your home rather than Christmas themed ones, like so many families opt for!

An alternative...

Vouchers also make unique presents - you can buy these direct from here.


I hope this information has all been useful and perhaps you are already planning an outfit or location for your shoot!

Want to Chat?

I have availability. Get in touch for an informal chat and I will be more than happy to discuss your ideas and get something in the diary. You don't have much time though before the leaves will be gone!

Till next time,

Kirsty :-)


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