Not every time a client contacts me do they know where they want their session done. Sometimes, in fact, they have no idea at all! All they know is they want nice photos of them and their children, and it's part of my job to help them figure out what suits their needs.
We all look on Pinterest and see beautiful family photos that showcase many different kinds of locations, and possibilities for venues.
You've always got the golden fields. Whether you choose to just use a field and maybe a blanket is one thing, but you can even dress up this location by adding in rental antique furniture. Yup! Dress up a field! It adds some charm and spunk to a natural landscape. If you're less of a field person, a venue like Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Fairfax is a gorgeous place to have your family photos done! Different gardens or arboretums present many different unique outdoor landscapes to use for your session. Bridges, patches of thick trees, gardens of beautiful flowers, water fountains... the list goes on, and when there are that many options for you and your photographer there's a lot of inspiration for your photographer to use and to understand what suits the personality of the couple or family.
Maybe the field isn't your thing, but you'd still love natural light in your photos. Many places in northern Virginia have old historic towns. Old town Alexandria is a popular and beautiful location for photos, allowing a lifestyle feel to them. Old town Manassas also has some cute and quirky places to allow for some unique family shots.
Okay, so maybe you guys aren't one with nature and you don't quite dig the old town feel. Or maybe the weather is just not cooperating (which happens with natural light photography!). Choose an indoor location from beautiful hotels (Gaylord National Harbor, Ritz-Carlton at Tysons, Morrison House) to country clubs (Bristow Manor). Depending on the indoor venue the session can be tailored more toward traditional portraits. Just remember that indoor venues may require a small fee and your photographer will likely need to give them a heads up or make a reservation, so give us plenty of time to ensure you have an appointment at the indoor location of your choice.
Heck, step out of the box and do it in a place your family likes to hang out! Do you guys love going to the zoo? The mall? A museum? Let me join you for a quick session in a place that is meaningful for you guys. Years down the road you'll look back at the pictures that hold true sentiment and they'll be treasures you couldn't put a price on. (Trust me on that one!)
I almost began this sentence saying, "Last but not least..." but this isn't last. Venues are more than just this list on this blog post. Part of why I love getting to know my clients is because once I know who they are, what their tastes are and what their goals are for their pictures, I can better suggest personal and unique venue ideas. Call me crazy, but I love shooting on new locations. If I could shoot at a new location for every single wedding and family session, I would! But all that to say, if none of those click well with you, why not a lifestyle documentary session in your home!? No your house doesn't have to be perfect (but if you want, go ahead and clean it or hire a maid for a day to make yourself feel better) because this is about capturing your family as you are in your home.
Don't ever think that your options for venues are limited, because they're not. Not everyone wants the same pictures, and there's no reason to feel forced to go in the same location as everyone else. Step out of the box and create something unique for your family photos!