There's general guidance for how to look the best for a photoshoot, but every season lends itself to a different potential colour pallet. Gloucester family photographer, Christopher J, lays it all out in this blog post to help you make the most of your Autumn family photoshoot.

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Smiling pre-school boy with blue checked shirt outdoors during Autumn
Mother and daughter sat on a blanket in a golden lit public garden in Glouceser
Family of 5, dressed for Autumn, huddles together on the grass for a family photoshoot

How to look and feel great for any photoshoot!

Comfort. This is gonna sound obvious: wear what you're comfortable wearing! This applies doubly for your kids (I know you already know that!). But don't worry too much about the kids being fussy with what they're wearing. You might have a hard time getting them out of the door, but I promise you, once we're all out together in the great outdoors their worries will quickly fall away when they're kicking about piles of crispy leaves all around!

Layers. Generally, layers are good, and this especially applies during colder seasons like in Autumn. Having the option to layer-up or down for different scenes or poses will make for a more varied photoshoot with more options in your online gallery. Consider that the kids might 'warm up' during the session so make sure that you're happy for whatever they've got on underneath their outer layers to show up in your photos!

Another general tip is to avoid clothing and outfits with prints and logos. I can remove logos in editing, but this will mean an extra post-processing fee will be required. Prints and logos can really date a photo but they also detract from you, the main subject of your photographs.

Hair & Beauty. You might want to consider an appointment at your salon either the morning of or the day before your photoshoot. I do happen to have a talented hairdresser of a wife and can recommend her salon in Churchdown if you like! And don't let yourself feel like this would be overly indulgent... whilst our aim is to capture 'life right now', you're still allowed to look and feel your best!

Wellbeing. It's completely natural to feel a little anxious before a photoshoot. Particularly if you've not met your photographer in person before. Ahead of a photoshoot I like to encourage a video call (e.g., over Zoom or Facebook), as it's a great opportunity to meet and get to know each other and also to discuss what you'd like to capture as part of the photo session.

Couple holding each other, wearing muted tones, smiling in a golden lit public garden

Specific styling tips for an Autumn Photoshoot

Complementary colours. Autumn photoshoots are anchored around the backdrop - orange and yellows with hints of warm golds, reds and browns. The scene will be full of warm and earthy colours. Clothes in complementary colours that sit on the opposing side of the colour wheel - like earthy forest greens, or natural blues - will complement the background well and create contrast between you and your background. So blue jeans, for example, are great - but I often take the artistic license to mute strong blues in post-editing.

Analogous colours. (The technical way of describing colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel and often means belonging to the same colour family). For example, a nice deep burgundy, which sits in the red colour family, will match some of the tones in an outdoor autumnal scene. And it'll work nicely.

Smiling girl in burgundy dress with hand on hip, smiling in a backlit public garden

Check out this neat little colour wheel over at Canva for guidance and inspiration. You can use the tool on the right-hand side (on desktop) to see, for any given chosen colour, what its complementary and analogous colours are, respectively.

Coordinating across the family is a good idea, but be careful not to look too 'matchy matchy'. All-whites or all-blacks won't typically look the best and blacks will tend to be a bit too heavy in an Autumn scene.

Here's a few more things that look great in Autumn shoots: hats & scarves, brown boots and knitwear! Thick knitted jumpers are the bees' knees, don't you agree?

Stripes and checks. Sure... but be careful not to clash with one another. Too many opposing patterns (e.g., horizontal stripes and vertical stripes) can often create a busy and distracting image.

Bonus tip. Lay it all out! It always pays to be prepared. Try arranging all the family's outfits out together in one room and give it a sense-check. Does it feel ok? Is anything missing or does anything clash?

Family of 6 standing in descending height order, peering around a large tree trunk and smiling

The best time for an Autumn Photoshoot.

I will start taking autumnal style photography sessions from as early as mid-September, but the peak is mid-to-late October and into early November, where the colours are at their best and fallen leaves are plentiful.

In terms of time-of-day, my preference has always been to photograph within a couple of hours from sunset or the couple hours after sunrise. The light is at its absolute best and most flattering compared with the stronger mid-day sun. That said, with enough cloud cover, shooting during the day is completely fine too.

The photos used in this blog post were taken at Hillfield Gardens in Gloucester, which is a location that features on my 'best places for family photos in Gloucester' article which you can read here.

Hopefully this has been helpful and you're feeling more confident about how to get the most out of your autumn family photoshoot. If you've got any more questions - I'm easy to reach!