As the first Spring blooms emerge from the ground and the days get longer, families are looking for ways to blow away those cobwebs after months of gloom! So here are some seasonal family photo ideas, including the best dates to take advantage of the seasonal colour in some of my favourite locations throughout Surrey and West Sussex.
Spring is a popular choice for family photoshoots, and Wakehurst Place is one of my favourite locations to use. The maintained gardens and footpaths provide a mud-free opportunity for children to run and be free.
With plenty to see and do, the daffodils, blossoming trees and shrubs offer a variety of backdrops for photo opportunities.
The best dates to catch the blooms depends on the variety and weather… For instance, the end of March is best if you’d like to catch the daffodils and magnolia trees. But the rhododendrons flower a little later.
Bluebells flower only once a year in Spring, usually from mid-April to late May according to the Woodland Trust – but in my experience they look their best for photos from mid to end-April.
It does depends on the weather – they tend to bloom early if we have mild weather at the end of winter…
It’s important to note that Bluebells are protected in the UK… It’s against the law to dig them up, and can be easily damaged by visitors trampling them.
They can take years to recover after footfall damage. If a bluebell’s leaves are crushed, they die back from lack of food as the leaves cannot photosynthesise… And it is less likely to reappear the following year.
So please do take care when visiting, and stick to the woodland pathways.
You can catch these beauties in full bloom across the forest floor between Middle to end-April.
The bright yellow flowering fields you may have driven past during Spring in the UK are crops… Rapeseed (otherwise known as canola) is harvested to produce oil often used in cooking, or as an ingredient in soap and margarine.
It can be tricky to pinpoint a location with access every year, as farmers tend to rotate their crops. This maintains nutrient levels in their fields, which helps to reduce soil erosion and increase soil fertility.
So every year I’m scouting for new fields! Usually I find some with a public footpath running straight through it, but if not I get in touch with the farmer for permission to stick to the tractor paths, so as not to embarrass clients with the risk of trespassing!
You’ll find them at their most vibrant between middle of April to the first week of May, before the flowers go to seed.
A couple of years ago I stumbled across riverbanks that had been completely transformed with clusters of tiny white flowers. And if you love the smell of garlic you are in for a treat!
I believe you are allowed to pick wild garlic, and this tasty recipe includes how to pick it at its best.
Even Nandos uses wild garlic as an ingredient in the mayonnaise for one of their burgers 🙂
They make a stunning backdrop with lots of fun paths to meander through, so adding this location to my seasonal family photo ideas was a no-brainer!
The riverbanks I use are located in a part of Horsham’s 20km Riverside Walk, which passes through beautiful countryside and the town centre.
You’ll find this display at its peak during Spring, from the middle of April to the first week of May.
The UK is not short on stunning beaches to use as photo locations.
The beach I use for family photoshoots appears on The Beach Guide’s list of Top 10 West Sussex Beaches.
Goring Beach offers many options to keep families engaged – beach huts, large grassy areas, a tree tunnel, and fishing boats.
It is a pebble beach, with a large expanse of sand showing at low tide (the best time to go in my opinion), and an ice cream or bite to eat at the Sea Lane Cafe afterwards is the perfect end to a great day out.
The most important things to keep in mind when planning a beach shoot are the time, and the tide…
Low tide is best in order to have some of the sand exposed, and the early evenings when the sun is lower in the sky provide more flattering light.
These fragrant purple rows have been on my list of seasonal family photo ideas since I started photographing in 2009!
They provide the perfect summer backdrop for family photos, and will take your breath away as you enter Mayfield Lavender Farm!
There is a small window of opportunity to use the lavender as a location, since it looks its best in July and August before it is harvested.
With tractor rides for the children, and a cafe offering a huge selection of sweet treats and savouries, it truly is a great day out for families.
Mayfield Lavender’s farm opens from the end of June, and you will need a Photography Pass (purchased by me directly from Mayfield Lavender) to have photographs taken there – you can choose from a daytime pass for £50, or an evening pass for £100.
A word of warning: It gets SUPER busy on weekends!
In my opinion, the best time to have photos taken is in the evening after they have closed to visitors – so not only do you have the place to yourselves (and less editing time removing crowds from the background!), but the light is also gorgeous and way more flattering.
As the sun sets on Summer, something magical happens… Colour comes alive, and Autumn becomes a playground for your family to reconnect.
Cosying up on cooler evenings with fluffy socks is good for the soul after a day spent amongst the changing colour at Wakehurst Place gardens.
With a vast selection of trees offering up a mixture of Autumn hues, this is by far my favourite place to photograph families in this season.
If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, Buchan Country Park has been recognized as one of the best green spaces in the UK, winning the Green Flag Award every year since 2010.
It offers a gorgeous lake, ferns turning shades of orange, and plenty of fallen leaves for children to throw into the air.
Last year I introduced the grapevines of a local wine farm as a new location – near Autumn harvest time, the vines turn stunning hues of reds and oranges!
And with rows upon rows of vines for the kids to burn off some energy, there is a lot of fun to be had with plenty of interesting angles to work with.
(Just as long as we keep our hands to ourselves if the grapes are still visible!)
I find the best time to catch the colours is between the 10th and 25th of October (weather-dependent).
So which is your favourite?
Every year I offer an exclusive number of Seasonal Mini Sessions on a first-come, first-served basis.
With each date limited to only a few time-slots, these are the perfect introduction for those new to the concept of hiring a professional photographer.
They offer a budget-friendly package with less time on location than a private family shoot, with the option to upgrade if you love more images once you have viewed your gallery.
Dates are announced first to my VIP list, a full 48 hours before they are released to the general public.
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