5 Reasons Summer is the Best Time to Get Your Family Portraits

When was your last family portrait? If you are like most people, you did it when the kids were little, but now years have passed and important stages have been missed. You don't have to let that happen again this summer! Here are 5 reasons that prove this summer is the BEST time for your family portraits!

Jared M Burns Snohomish Summer Photography with kids.jpg

1. Best Weather!

This is when the Northwest is at its very best with the lush green of the land and vibrant blue skies and water.  You don't have to worry about the winds and rain that can ruin hair and clothes any other time of year.

Snohomish Family Photographer, Jared M. Burns - Couples

2. Best Creative Potential!

When the weather is so good, you have options for more diverse locations. You get to take advantage of the amazing outdoor lighting. You can build sessions around summer themes or activities your family identifies with. From the mountains to the water, all the parks and natural areas have been manicured and are waiting for you. 

Snohomish Family Photographer, Jared M. Burns - Northwest Family

3. Best Flexibility!

You already know it's hard to get the family together the rest of the year, but summer is a time when everyone's schedules open up and life slows down just a little. It's easier to take time off work during the week. The days are longer meaning families can still do portraits after work in the beautiful golden light of evening.

Snohomish Family Photographer, Jared M. Burns - Family with older kids

4. Best Moments!

Yes, the best moments happen in summer. Everyone is more relaxed, the days come a little easier. The family is together more and creating quality memories that last a lifetime. Portraits can persevere and commemorate this unique stage in your family.

Snohomish Family Photographer, Jared M. Burns - Destination Family Portrait.jpg

5. Best time is before it's too late!

One thing I have learned in photography is that summer is the easiest season to let slip past you. People start with dreams like "This will be the year we finally get the family portrait done!" but, year after year the summer BBQ's, kids sports, travel, yard projects, and big work events steal every last bit of your time...and the family is yet another year older with nothing to show.

The best time is now. Once summer slips away everyone else will be calling us frantically, saying, "Oh my goodness, where did the season go? Is there any way you can STILL fit me in!?" 

© 2018 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Portrait Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #1

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #1 - Using Only Your Smartphone Camera

Smartphones are indeed cool and convenient, but they have a ways to come yet.  Your family summer vacations are outside the normal routine and take you on many new adventures...meaning countless complex lighting situations phone cameras cannot deal with.  Have you ever tried to use your phone to make a photo in lava tube, attempted to capture the beautiful sunset at the beach resort, or got a blurry group shot around luau table after dark? Then you know what I 'm talking about and how your smartphone just couldn't keep up.  

Taken on an iPhone in a little morning shade. Not very good.

Taken on an iPhone in a little morning shade. Not very good.

Let's take a closer look. Really bad.

Let's take a closer look. Really bad.

iPhone trying to deal with low light in a tent.

iPhone trying to deal with low light in a tent.

SOLUTION:  At the risk of stating the obvious, use your real camera instead

Like you, I have been lulled into the iDevice age.  It takes considerable effort to remember the old digital-camera-thingy. Nearly all digital cameras are still better than nearly all smartphone cameras today, even the ones that boast 40 megapixels.  We can certainly argue that phone technology is getting better...but so are high definition displays. How will your phone images look on that 4K screen you have been eyeing?  Regardless which tech wins the race, I want to give my family memories the best possible chance which will never come from a built in camera smaller than a button.  In twenty years it will be irrelevant which device we made images on...no one remembers nor cares. In that day, the quality of the memory will be determined by whether or not the image even is worth viewing.

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 10 year old camera

Taken on a 10 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #2

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

Bored girl.jpg

MISTAKE #2 - You didn't put much effort into it

We were excited to use the camera when we first got it, but remembering to always bring it soon feels like a burden.  For us, it usually goes down a little like this...

[Car is packed, kids are belted, and we just settled into our seats.]

  • [Wife]: "Did you get the camera?"

  • [Me]: "Nooo, I thought you were going to get it."

  • [Wife]: "But you're the one who takes all the pictures."

  • [Me]: "If you want me to take all the pictures, then can you go find the camera?"

  • [Wife]: "I don't want to go back and look for it."

  • [Me]: "If I have to go get it now, we are going to be late. Let's just go."

  • [Wife]: "I have my iPhone with me anyway."

Sometimes we are just camera lazy people. We don't feel motivated to be creative or intentional with the photos and opt for the path of least resistance. It results in thoughtless snapshots or absolutely no shots.

 

SOLUTION: Have a theme, make it fun

Bringing the camera is a discipline...You just have to do it. However, planing a summer photo theme is an easy way to help make it fun again. It encourages family participation toward a common photo goal. It boosts your own creative energy along the way.  Best of all, the vacation photos are much more fun to share with people when there are themes to tie everything together.

Here are some theme ideas you may steal...

  1. Take photos in a visual sequence to tell the vacation story

  2. Make at least one campfire portrait each year

  3. Hide a silly prop in shots as an Easter egg for other people to discover when they view photos later

  4. Include some fun repeating element as many photos as you can

  5. Whoever takes the funniest photo wins a prize

  6. Look for objects in your travels that are weird/quirky to build a photo collection

  7. Make a quick group shot at every landmark

  8. Spot and photograph strange signs along the way

  9. Snap a quick photo of the heritage markers then read about it in the car as you drive

  10. Make funny forced perspective pictures at all the tourist sites

  11. Document it every time someone gets to do something new or unusual

  12. *My Favorite* Shoot with the intention to make a family vacation album each year

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #4

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #4 - Not Getting Close Enough to the Moment 

If your summer photos seem like a random collection of snapshots, it might just be because you are only making snapshots. Snapshots are effortless and usually taken from afar. They include too much in the frame with no clear subject. One is left struggling to understand why the photo was taken in the first place.

Fort Casey.jpg

SOLUTION:  Move in Even Closer

Zoom in tight with your lens or even physically use your legs to move yourself closer to the family action.  You will eliminate distractions outside of the image frame and put focus on what is most important to you.   One of the strangest things I have learned about photography is the more you focus on small details or single moments, the more complete the visual story. 

If you want to dig deeper, here is a fun book I found that can help improve personal photos no matter what kind of camera you use...

Better Photo Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro ($12.75)

Snohomish Family Photographer - Family at a farm.jpg
Snohomish Family Photographer - Boy on a horse
Girl with a riding helmet.jpg
Snohomish Photographer - Parrot.jpg
Boy following ducks.jpg
Tired boy.jpg

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #5

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #5 - Never appearing in your own family photos

In photography we say, "If it is not in the frame, it doesn't exist." Since you are the one reading this, much like me, you are are likely the one in the family with the passion for taking photos and making sure you appear in photos is easy to over look.

Family on a log.jpg

SOLUTION: Be intentional about getting in shots yourself!

You are a critical part of your family's stories. When these memories are passed down, you simply must be in them. No selfies or selfie sticks. This requires the assistance of another family member, friend, or dare I say, handing your camera to a passing stranger.

When no one else is available, use a tripod. They certainly don't have to be cumbersome. Here are a few affordable and cool tripods you will want to carry when you travel: Joby GorillaPod ($46), Pedco UltraPod ($12), or AmazonBasics 52-Inch Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod ($80).

Tel Dan, Israel thanks to my tripod.

Tel Dan, Israel thanks to my tripod.

Skagit Valley, WA thanks to my wife!

Skagit Valley, WA thanks to my wife!

Zion National Park, UT thanks to my brother!

Zion National Park, UT thanks to my brother!

Camping near Mountain Look Highway, Granite Falls, WA thanks to my tripod.

Camping near Mountain Look Highway, Granite Falls, WA thanks to my tripod.

North Creek Park, Mill Creek, WA thanks to my wife!

North Creek Park, Mill Creek, WA thanks to my wife!

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #7

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #7 - Leaving the camera in the hotel

Has this ever happened to you? We leave the hotel for a little outing saying, “No need to bring the camera for this one.” It really just means, "I just don't want to carry it around."  Inevitably something special happens and we catch ourselves exclaiming, “Ohh, I wish I brought the camera!”  It's because life always happens in the between moments.  The unplanned events often become some of the greatest stories to share, even the defining moments of your vacation.  No camera means no photo memories.

Camera with travel bag.jpg

SOLUTION:  Bring the camera anyway

Yes, bring the camera wherever you go, even when you don’t want to.  Don’t leave it in the hotel or the car.  Have it with you. Have it out.  Have it ready.  Think about all the unbelievable, amazing, and hilarious Youtube family videos that have only been made by people who remembered to bring the camera.  These unexpected moments are big part of your story and not to be missed!

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos - #9

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #9 - Taking photos in direct sunlight

So often we vacation where it is sunny and beautiful. Sunlight creates bright highlights and deep shadows and our cameras don’t have ability to make sense of such dynamic range. Worst of all, people make squinchy-scrunchy faces. It’s not pretty.

In the sun.jpg

SOLUTION:  Find shade

Areas of shade are the best photo opportunities on a bright sunny day.  Look under trees and beside buildings or structures.  If none can be found, you can always make shade...just have your subjects turn their back to the sun. Their front side will no longer be exposed to the direct sun giving their faces less intense and better balanced light of their own shade.

Shade of a building

Shade of a building

Shade from bushes and trees

Shade from bushes and trees

Shade created when the subject's back is to the sun

Shade created when the subject's back is to the sun

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos - #10

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #10: Having everyone stand there and smile all the time

Forced, fake smiles are awkward...you and I both know it.  Yes, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but when we look at the image later, we wish it had been more natural.

Bad vacation photo.jpg

SOLUTION:  Think photojournalistic

Vacation is about life together so think like a photojournalist and document the real moments as they happen.  There are still times and a places for posed photos, but have fun with them.  Let people be themselves.  Catch a moment. Tell a joke and snap the photo when they laugh.  I have heard rumor of “certain noises” that can crack even the most stoic and uncooperative of children.

Keegan sits atop a sand dune - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

Keegan sits atop a sand dune - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

Ella hiking with her puppy at the Three Patriarchs, Zion National Park, UT

Ella hiking with her puppy at the Three Patriarchs, Zion National Park, UT

More sand than they know what to do with - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

More sand than they know what to do with - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Portrait Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com