How to Turn Location Scouting into a Family Adventure

just for fun photography tips Jun 24, 2024

We are back with part two of our series Taking Back Summer Fun: Photographer Edition! If you missed last week, we shared about How to Create a Fun Photography Summer Camp For Your Kids, and now we are here to show you how you can have a little more fun with your family this summer!

As a photographer, location scouting is an essential part of the job, and, if you're like us, you likely have spent lots of time dragging your family around from location to location forcing them to be your test models, but what if you could combine this necessary task and actually turn it into quality family time? With a bit of creativity, you can turn location scouting into a fun and memorable family adventure. Here's how we do it:

Step 1: Plan out your places to visit

When scouting locations, we are intentional about choosing places that are close to where we live. While we have a lot of business reasons for this, a bonus for this in regards to location scouting with your kids is that if something starts to go haywire on your adventure you can call it and plan to head back out a different day - without feeling like you've invested too much effort! Here are some ideas of places to check out:

  1. Parks and Nature Reserves: These places often have a variety of landscapes, from wooded areas to open fields, making them perfect for diverse photo opportunities. Plus, kids can run around and explore.
  2. Streams and Lakes: Bodies of water provide stunning backdrops and plenty of fun for kids. Look for spots with interesting rock formations, piers, or dunes.
  3. Urban Areas: City parks, historic districts, and colorful street art can offer unique photo settings if that is inline with your brand. Urban exploration can be a thrilling adventure for kids, especially if you include a stop for ice cream or a playground break.
  4. Botanical Gardens and Arboretums: These locations are not only beautiful but also educational. Kids can learn about different plants while you scout for perfect photo spots.

*Bonus Tip: While a quick google search can bring up the parks and arboretums in your area, to find hidden gems, I like to put my map in satellite view, search for the heavily dense green areas and go check it out!

Step 2: Make it Fun

Remember, the idea here is to make this FUN for your family! At the end of the day, you might get home and realize you didn't find a new location…but if you have fun while doing you'll have that success to celebrate! To keep the kiddos engaged and make the time enjoyable, consider adding in these fun activities:

  1. Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items for your kids to find. This could include specific plants, animals, landmarks, or even certain colors or shapes. It’s a great way to keep them engaged and interested in their environment!
  2. Let Them Play: Allow time for unstructured play. Let your kids explore, climb trees, or skip stones. Capture candid moments of them having fun, which will be cherished family memories.
  3. Finish Strong: End the time by putting your camera down and just exploring with them! You don't have to play the whole time for it to be a part of the memory. A few intentional moments can make a big impact! If you're really wanting to make it special, consider adding in a little treat of some kind. A stop for ice cream on the way home is sure to leave a happy memory! 

Bonus Tips

  • If your kids aren’t picky about clothes and don’t make a fuss wearing “pretty” clothes for photos, you might as well location scout in them while you test the light in areas you are exploring! However, if you have kiddos that dread the idea of dressing in nicer clothes - we recommend not worrying about what they are wearing. Let them dress in normal, regular day outfits, and they will be much more excited about the idea of exploring together. 
  • Remember, the goal of combining location scouting with family time is to enjoy the experience, not to achieve perfection. Kids might not stand in the right spot, and things might not go as planned, but that’s okay. Just like with clients, challenge yourself to find the right angle and make the best of the situation. Most importantly, commit to having fun with your kids. Whether you capture the perfect shot or not, the time spent together will be valuable and memorable.

So pack your camera, grab your family, and set off on a day of exploration and creativity!

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