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Studio or outdoor photo shoot- which one works best for you?

From my experience, if you have previously looked through my website, you probably have a strong idea on whether you you would like your pictures to be taken in the studio or outside. But if you are still on the fence and can't quite decide which style suits you and family better, here is some information to help you take the leap and pick the right setting for your family photo shoot.

1. Studio Photographer near Tunbridge Wells

Photography studio near Tunbridge Wells

Sugar & Shutter Photography studio in Flimwell Park, near Tunbridge Wells

First, let me tell you a little bit about my very own studio, my happy place, located in Flimwell Park on the boarder between Kent and East Sussex. I have been fortunate to be a part of this lovely community here at Flimwell Park since April 2021 and since then welcomed many clients, mainly from Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas, but also from Brighton, London, Sevenoaks, Ashford and Crawley. Located just off the A21 it is within an easy access from all of the major towns in Kent and East Sussex. The studio is bright and airy, with a comfortable client sitting area and a designated space for in between shoots outfit and make up changes. It has an ample parking with tesla and electric car charging points. It is also set within an ancient woodland, so if you ever fancy popping out for a little walk after your photo shoot- you have it right there on your doorstep.

I have spent several years as an on location photographer taking pictures outdoors in the beautiful countryside in Kent in East Sussex, so having an insight into both studio and outdoor photography, here are my main thoughts.

Family studio photographer near Tunbridge Wells

Studio photography:

  1. Fantastic choice for more traditional family or children's portraits. Have you ever wanted one of those grand heirloom portraits hanging proudly on your wall? The studio provides just the perfect environment and space for going through different poses and set ups to capture a variety of family portraits. And no, I will not make you smile to the camera- unless this is what you are after.

  2. Reliability ( read weather ). I know we all have our smart weather apps and in most cases can do some sort of planning but hey. The famous British weather. It is never a given and I am yet to meet a family wanting to have their pictures taken in the rain. Studio is there, nice and warm, no matter what's happening behind the window.

  3. Light. The MOST important part of any photo shoot. It can be easily manipulated in the studio environment resulting in very flattering portraits.

  4. Convenience. This is especially valid if you are coming with children and do not feel like constantly running after them through the woods or fields. You can just grab a sit on a cosy sofa, have a cuppa or read a magazine while I take pictures of the rest of your family. You can also have a good look at the wall art available in the studio to make the best choice for your own walls.

2. Outdoor Family Photographer near Tunbridge Wells

Outdoor photo session of a family near Tunbridge Wells

I feel extremely fortunate to live where I live and to be surrounded by the most beautiful countryside here in Kent and East Sussex. I started my photography journey by being an on location photographer, and being an outdoorsy person myself I have no issues putting my wellies on and going off road to take some truly one of a kind, unique shots. I have my well used, trusted locations all within 10- 15 minutes drive from my photography studio, and again- all within an easy access via A21 from Tunbridge Wells and the area. In an outdoor photography with the landscape constantly changing there is always lots to chose from to make your pictures as unique as you and your family. Here is my list of the most important things to consider before booking your outdoor photo shoot.

Outdoor Photography:

  1. Great choice for more natural, storytelling type of photo shoot. If you are not after the "smile to the camera" type of photographs, this is definitely the type of the photo shoot you should consider.

  2. Have you got a 4 legged member of the family you would like to bring to the photo shoot? Perfect! They will be more comfortable outside and this way your family photographs will be truly complete.

  3. Weather. It can play tricks and change. I will not make you pose in the rain. Or white it's hailing. Or in the scorching sun. Your photo shoot is important to you, you invested your time and your money to finally have your family pictures taken. We will make it happen and I will make sure it is an enjoyable and memorable experience, for all the good reasons. We will reschedule to the next day that works for everyone but it can be a little disappointing when you have all your excitement of the shoot suddenly taken away from you! Your wonderful pictures are worth the wait.

  4. If your children are like mine, WILD, and you would rather not contain them within 4 walls- this is your type of shoot. It can feel easier and more natural for the kids to have their pictures taken within an open space and neutral environment. When they are not overwhelmed by the flash of the studio lights. Woods and fields usually mean an exciting adventure and provide a fantastic photography backdrop for the little people.

  5. Uniqueness. The light, the colours. As well as the seasons of the year- they constantly change and not one picture taken outdoor will ever be the same. The pictures we will capture will be as unique as you and your family. Bluebell, Spring and Autumn photo shoots have been firm favourites among my clients and all make for some stunning and exciting photography backdrops bursting in colours.

  6. Outdoor photo shoots usually take slightly longer than the studio shoots. It's all to do with the time needed to walk to the location, and then with moving around if there are multiple locations involved- which adds to the storytelling aspect of the session. Make sure you have enough time and snacks / drinks to keep everyone happy.

  7. There is usually no loo. Yep. In an emergency, a tree will have to do. This has never been an issue for my clients but it is something you have to be aware of especially if you come for your session with small children.

Mummy & Me studio photo shoot near Tunbridge Wells

Studio VS Outdoor Photo shoot - questions you should ask yourself

To summarise, there are quite a few factors to go through before you decide which type of shoot is the right one for you. These questions will hopefully help you pick the perfect photo shoot that you and your family will enjoy and remember.

  1. What kind of photography do you like?

You’ll find lots of different styles of photography and once you’ve found something you like you can search for photographers in your area who create the same style and quality of work.

2. What are your children's temperaments like?

Whichever option you choose it’s important to choose a photographer who is experienced in working with children – wherever you are they should be able to bring the best out in your children and capture their personalities.

3. What style of photography will complement the decor in your home best?

If you’re planning on investing in prints or wall art after your shoot it’s worth considering the style of your home, and what kind of photographs will complement it best.

For example, how would a photograph of your family in a park full of autumn leaves complement your decor compared with a dark and moody portrait in the studio?

This can be difficult to visualise at first but spending a little time considering the end result you want to achieve in your home up front will help you achieve it.

4. Does it matter if you have to reschedule?

If your shoot absolutely has to happen on the date it’s planned for – for example everyone in your family is going to be in the same country and it’s the only time this will happen this year – then a studio shoot will likely be a safer option.

I hope that you will find the above information helpful and if you need any further assistance in choosing the perfect type of photo shoot for you and your family please do not hesitate to contact me.

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