Mother and Daughter Shoot in Chilbolton Common

One of the first questions a new client asks me when we’re discussing a family shoot, is where is the best location for children’s photography in Winchester. Before I can answer, I always ask for a few more details about the children who are attending – ages, interests, personality type etc and then from that information I can suggest a location that will suit the family.

This shoot was with two older children, Dottie and Daisy, which was a bit of a novelty as I’ve been inundated with toddlers lately! The difficulty that older children sometimes present is an awareness and awkwardness in front of the camera. For this reason I suggested to Mum Lucy that Chilbolton Common (in Chilbolton) might work as there would be a river to splash in and lots of different mini-locations within the one location to mix things up a bit.

As it worked out, this shoot was absolutely brilliant for those very reasons. The girls were fantastic fun, Mum was on board for everything (and sensibly packed a spare change of clothes as I’d pre-warned her that the river might be a great place to shoot) and we were able to capture the most beautiful images despite the bright conditions. All Mum had requested was some updated images of the girls as she hadn’t had a professional shoot since the girls were young and even then it was a studio-based shoot, so an outdoor shoot was all new and exciting. Lucy, Dottie and Daisy have an incredibly close relationship so ideally I wanted to capture that amazing bond for them to treasure and celebrate for years to come. Outdoor family photos are timeless for this very reason.

I thought it would make sense to display a selection of the images in the different locations so you get a feel for how varied the shoot was!

In the Open Space :

A lot of people assume that a family photo shoot + bright sun and blue skies = the perfect conditions, when sadly it creates nightmare conditions to work with. The bright sun can create really bright highlights and dark shadows, so the subjects don’t look as good as they could if they were placed under some shade. So long as the sun is still reaching them (which it does when you’re outside), then it will never be too dark.

The first location we chose within Chilbolton Common was the long grass and open space. I thought we might be safe from the harsh conditions seeing as we started at 10am, but even this proved to be challenging, although the girls were fabulous and were happy to repeat things for me if I wanted to reset my settings so we could achieve the best image.

Under a Tree:

We didn’t last long in the bright sunshine so we took solitude under a large tree. this provided the much-needed shade, although we had to be careful of the dappled light in places. We had a great time here and played a lot with bubbles and glitter and the images were beautiful.

In the River:

By the time we’d wandered over to the river, both Dottie and Daisy were hot and flagging, so we decided it was the perfect time for an opportunity to cool down and have an outfit change. I never ever push my clients beyond their capabilities as I’ve learned the hard way that if the children are tired / hungry / had enough, no good will ever come from pushing them further. Sometimes all it takes is a change of scene and time to play / get distracted and the children are able to recharge their batteries. This is exactly why I allow up to 3 hours for a full family shoot, because inevitable the all-essential snacks / drinks / play and down time will be needed.

Anyway we definitely found this in the river and we had a great time, although I think Dottie and Daisy more so! The Hampshire and Wildlife Trust even thought one of the images was good enough to promote one of their events!

Alongside the River in the Shade:

After a change of clothes and a well-deserved snack, we decided that there was no way any of us wanted to do too much in the sun, so we walked along the river for a bit until we found some lovely shady spots. All three were happy to do a few more poses for me (luckily I had brought a blanket to sit or lie on as it was quite wet and cold where we were) and I personally think that this is where they really came into their own. The intimacy of the photos and the love that they showed just blew me away. Both Dottie and Daisy were well up for a few casual poses as well as having some lovely moments with Mum.

So there you have it – one very successful and fun family photo shoot, proving that children’s photography in Winchester does not need to be boring, posed or awkward. If anything, it should be vibrant, fun and different. I hope that is what I provided for Lucy, Dottie and Daisy today!

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