By Kathryn Trudeau

Maybe you’ve spent the greater part of winter staying cozy inside as blizzard after blizzard covered your hometown.  Or maybe you’ve had a mild winter and never even saw a single snowflake.  In either case, spring is finally on its way.  Hooray! As the tulips start to pop up, you’re probably getting anxious to head outside and enjoy the fresh air.  The bright blossoms on trees and the daffodils may just be the perfect backdrop for an outdoor photo shoot with baby!

A DIY outdoor photo session during spring can be a piece of cake, if you follow these tips:

All about the Lighting

You may have seen professional lighting setups that resemble the set of a movie, but if you plan ahead, you don’t need to invest in any studio lighting.  After all, we’ve got that big glowing ball of fire in the sky; use that to your advantage! When using natural light (aka the sun) as your light source, you’ve got to plan your photoshoot with the sun.  Noon is never a good time because the angle of the sun produces harsh lighting on the faces of your subjects.

Many photographers have the best luck with the “golden hour”, which is actually the 30 minutes or so before the sun sets.  During the golden hour, the sky is a gorgeous color but more importantly, your baby is highlighted by a warm, glowing light – a light that almost seems magical.

If the evening sunset is too late for your babe, consider a morning time slot. Both morning and evening light offer softer light with longer shadows, which results in those glow-y pictures we all love.

Uh oh! Did the sun disappear behind the clouds? That may actually be a good thing! Overcast and cloudy days are perfect photo days because the clouds act like giant light diffusers, making the light disperse evenly and softly.  Good thing spring has lots of cloudy days, right?

Snoozin’ on the Set

 Do you have a little baby and adore those sleepy-baby-in-baskets photos? The key is for your baby to arrive sleepy and a little hungry to the photo location.  Once you’re set up outside, you’ll want to feed your baby, who will probably fall asleep soon after her bottle or nursing session.  Get your baby in place, and let her settle in with a pacifier if need be.  This will be the key those gorgeous sleepy baby photos.

If, on the other hand, you have toddlers, you’ll want them to arrive to the session fully rested.  A sleepy tot is a cranky tot!

Dressed to Impress

Whether you’ve got a tiny bebe or an energetic toddler, the outfit you choose for your photo session can add to the overall feel and tone of your photos.  You’ll want to consider the weather and the locale of your photoshoot.

  • Weather: Depending on where you live, spring weather can vacillate from chilly winds to warm-but-cloudy days. Because spring weather can be a little unpredictable, dressing in layers keeps kids warm without sacrificing the look of your outfits.  Hot tip: Add leggings, tights, or long johns under pants / dresses to keep kids warm without adding bulk on the outside.
  • Get dressed at the last minute: Dress your kids in comfy clothes (or even jammies if you’re headed out for an early morning sunrise picture!) and dress them in their photoshoot outfits once you arrive. This will prevent wrinkled clothes or the dreaded diaper-blowout-on-the-fancy-outfit during the car ride.
  • Don’t forget your accessories: Spring is the perfect time of year to accessorize! Cue the rosy floral headbands, the sky blue bow ties paired with those cute baby suspenders, the gorgeous muslin blankets for baby to sit on, and the list goes on! If you’re taking your monthly update photos, don’t forget to pack your Tummy Timelines

Food for Thought

Feed a little baby right before you want to take pictures (and before you dress them up!)  A baby with a full tummy is a happy baby!  Just be sure to burp him before you change his clothes.

Be prepared: a very small baby might need to take a few breaks to nurse or have a bottle, and that’s A-okay! Just make sure to pack a nursing cover or enough bottles of formula! And of course, don’t forget the snacks for the older kids! A juice box and a package of sliced apples and crackers can go a long way in keeping a toddler happy.

Know Thy Gear

Before you get your kids packed up and headed out to the flowery meadows, make sure you’ve got all your gear in order. This may seem like a no-brainer tip, but believe me, once you start prepping those snacks and outfits, it’s easy to forget the simplest of things … like extra batteries (if you’ve got a DSLR) or a fully charged phone (if you’re using your smartphone). 

Been-there, done-that tip: Create a checklist of all the gear you will need the night before.  When the morning gets busy, you won’t have to think about what you need, you’ll just have to follow your checklist. No forgotten bottles or batteries!

Be in the Moment

Perhaps the best tip for taking outdoor photos during spring is to let your child lead (if he’s old enough, that is!)  It’s been a long winter cooped up inside, so chances are you’ll get plenty of good shots of your child exploring nature after a long hiatus.

Change your perspective if need be to capture the beauty of the moment.  For instance, if your baby is lying on a blanket in the middle of a field of wildflowers, try to shoot the image from directly above.

Where Will You Go?

Are you excited for an outdoor spring photo session with your babies? Head to the local park, a state park, or even your own garden.

Happy Snapping!

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Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at  www.katietrudeau.com