Last weekend we took a family visit to Lauriston Castle, one of our favourite places to spend time together outdoors when the weather is on our side! It was a gorgeous crisp Spring day, the snowdrops were out, the sun was shining and it was so nice to wander and explore what has become a family favourite. We are so lucky to have this location on our doorstep and it’s also one of my favourite places to shoot child and family portraits!

One of the many reasons I love to shoot here is because compared to so many other locations within Edinburgh such as the botanics, Lauriston is typically much quieter and attracts less tourists. Why does this matter? Well in truth most adults don’t relish the thought of having their photo taken and some go so far as to actively avoid it! So for me a quiet location where we can find a secluded corner with beautiful light will allow everyone to relax, interact naturally and enjoy themselves forgetting about the camera and without being watched. A busy weekend at the botanics however, and you will be hard pushed to find such a space!

Also for younger children there is so much to look at within the grounds, and the variety makes for stunning backdrops and a great amount of variety in your images without a great deal of effort. For older children, there is less chance of bumping into classmates and feeling self conscious at the thought of strangers “watching” as they have their photo taken. In fact when I shoot outdoors I use my Canon 70-200mm lens so that I can remain at a distance that allows you to forget I am even there!

Sadly last weekend I didn’t have my camera with me so you will have to excuse the quality (or lack of!) of these images which were captured on my ancient iPhone while wearing gloves, not the best combination! But hopefully they will give you an insight into the beautiful location and some inspiration for your own family photoshoot.

Finally here are some of my top tips for planning your outdoor family photoshoot.

Choose the right time of day! Nobody wants unflattering photographs so I recommend outdoor sessions take place when the light is beautiful and soft which tends to be early to mid morning or in the hour or two before sunset. Lunchtime is most definitely to be avoided as the sun is at it’s highest and therefore most harsh! You also want to factor in the age of your child, if they are likely to be tired and cranky at the end of the day a morning session would be better when they are fresh for the day and excited to explore!

Choose a location that is right for you as a family. If you have a family dog and are regularly up the Pentlands then why choose Blackford Hill?! Choosing a location that has meaning and memories for you will make your portraits all the more special. But remember that some popular spots such as the meadows, Princes Street Gardens and Arthur’s Seat may be very busy at times so difficult to relax and find a quiet spot.

Weather schmeather! We live is Scotland so lets face it we aren’t blessed with the beautiful light and weather of say California. So let’s be realistic. There is a chance, any month of the year, that the weather won’t be amazing. But the focus of your photos won’t be the weather, it will be your child and your family. As long as it’s not too wet or windy we can still have fun and capture beautiful images to treasure that will truly reflect your life as a family in Edinburgh.

Don’t dress to impress, but do consider your outfits. I have several pinterest board with suggestions of how to style your family in a relaxed manner for beautifully co-ordinating outfits. This doesn’t have to mean going out and buying new clothes but just taking a little time to choose items that don’t clash or dominate. I always recommend avoiding character clothing (this will quickly date your images) and strong logos which are distracting. Instead think about complimentary colours, accessories such as scarves, jewellery and hats to add pops of colour and of course clothing you feel comfortable in. You wouldn’t normally walk up Corstorphine Hill in a ballgown but that doesn’t mean you can’t sass up a pair of jeans and simple top with some awesome accessories and a great pair of boots!

Forget about the camera, relax and enjoy each other! I will of course provide guidance of the best locations to make the best of the available light but for the most part you will be able to interact naturally as a family with very little posing involved. Children will be encouraged to run, jump, dance, look for fairies, spot squirrels and anything else to ensure they have fun and produce genuine smiles and giggles, no rictus grins or forced smiles!


If you have been thinking about having family photos taken but not quite gotten around to it, feel free to email me to discuss what you are looking for. I am always happy to invite families to the studio for a coffee and chat in advance so we can talk about clothing, location and your ideas for the finished images. Now we are into Spring we are waving goodbye to the worst of the weather and saying hello to the beautiful new flowers, blossom and more sunshine so now is the perfect time to book! When you choose me as your family photographer I will work with you to plan the perfect day for your family portraits at a location you love.

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