An At Home vs An Outdoor Family Photo Shoot. Which One is Best For My Family?

at home vs outdoor family photo shoot

When you’re researching family photographers, you’ll find that you have a choice between having a photo shoot in a studio, or having a lifestyle family photo shoot which would usually take place outdoors or at your home.

If you opt for a lifestyle family photo shoot, you may have the choice between a shoot at home, or one outdoors. Like me, some photographers also offer the option to divide time between two locations so you could opt to spend half of the shoot at home, and half outdoors.

So, which of these options is best for your family?

To decide which is right for your family, I suggest you consider the following:

  • Your children’s age
  • The time of year
  • Where you enjoy spending time together as a family
  • Whether you are happy for your home to be photographed
  • Whether there is a deadline that you need the photographs to be ready by

In this article I’ll explain how all of these factors can affect your decision, so that you can decide on the best location for your family’s photo shoot.

How Old Will Your Children Be When You Have The Photoshoot?

If you have a baby in the family then it can usually be a more relaxing experience to spend part of the photo shoot at home. At home it’s usually easier to manage feeds, nappy changes and naps than it is when you’re out and about.

If your baby is less than 3 months old, I recommend spending the whole shoot at home. At this time, babies typically spend shorter periods of time awake, need feeding more frequently, and therefore will probably be most comfortable at home.

Between 3-6 months old, I suggest spending all or part of the shoot at home. Whilst your baby is typically more alert and able than when they were a newborn, they will likely need a feed, nappy change or nap during the shoot and spending part of the time at home can make this easier.

Once your baby has reached 6 months old, their age becomes less important a consideration when you’re choosing the location for your shoot.

On the other hand if you have a toddler or pre-schooler, staying at home for the shoot can prove difficult for them. Being able to see all of their toys and games but not being able to play with them on their terms can be frustrating for them! When families with children of this age choose to have a photo shoot at home, I usually recommend that parents put favourite toys and games out of sight – unless they would like them to appear in the photographs.

older newborn vs 3 months baby photosWhat Time Of Year Are You Planning The Photo Shoot For?

In the UK we’re lucky to have four very beautiful and distinct seasons, and for most of the year it’s quite comfortable to be outdoors for a couple of hours whilst we have the photo shoot.

If you’re planning your shoot during the colder months of the year (typically December to February inclusive), being outdoors for a couple of hours may not be comfortable for everyone in the family, particularly babies and toddlers, and for this reason you may like to consider spending all or part of the shoot at home.

at home vs outdoor family photo shoot
Where Do You Enjoy Spending Time As A Family?

This is always one of the first questions that I ask families when we are discussing the best location for their photo shoot.

Photographs that capture your family all together, in a place that is special to you can be incredibly meaningful, and perhaps a little more valuable than if they were taken somewhere that you didn’t know.

For many families, the answer is simple – we’d love to have photographs that capture us all at home. Their home is a special place.

For others it’s a park, woodland or somewhere else they love to visit as a family.

Of course, not all families will have a favourite place that they go to regularly. But if you do, you may find that this helps to influence your decision.

Richmond Family Photographer

Are You Happy For Your Home To Be Photographed?

When you have a photo shoot at home, the backdrop to the photographs is, of course, your home.

Typically, when you have a lifestyle photo shoot at home a photographer will want to have a couple of different locations to photograph you all in – to bring some variety to the photographs.

If you’re mid-renovation, or waiting to start renovation you may not want to have your home on display in your photographs. Equally, you may feel that it’s the perfect backdrop.

The answer here will be different for each family.

3 month old baby photography at home
Is There A Deadline That You Need To Have The Photographs For?

Sometimes, families decide to have a photo shoot because they would like to give the photographs as a gift – perhaps for a loved one’s special birthday or for Christmas. In these situations there’s an obvious deadline when they must have the photographs ready by.

Depending on how far away this deadline is, may influence your choice of location. If the deadline is very near, and you’re planning an outdoor photo shoot, what would happen if it rained on the day of the shoot?

Many photographers will offer to reschedule if it rains on the day of the shoot, but if you reschedule you may not have the photographs ready on time. In these cases – where you have a very short period of time between the shoot and needing the photographs – having a photo shoot at home may be a better option, as you know the weather won’t affect it.

must take baby photos at 3 months


In summary, where you choose to have your photo shoot is a very personal choice, and the decision will be unique to each family.

When you’re deciding where to have your shoot, I suggest considering the following:

  • Your children’s age
  • The time of year
  • Where you enjoy spending time together as a family
  • Whether you are happy for your home to be photographed
  • Whether there is a deadline that you need the photographs to be ready by


Over To You

Which location do you think would be best for your family – outdoors or at home? I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments below.


Related Articles

Studio or Location Family Photography – What’s The Difference and Which One Is Right For Me?

What’s The Best Age For Baby Photos?

 How to Prepare Your Children for an Outdoor Family Photo Shoot

What’s The Best Time Of Year For An Outdoor Family Photo Shoot in Surrey and London?

I’ve Booked An Outdoor Photo Shoot. What Happens If It Rains?


Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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