Fostering authenticity during my family photo sessions is always my main goal. It can be super tough though! I mean, how often do families dress nicely and go hang out in a meadow? Never. Ha.
Imho, the easiest way to foster authenticity when photographing a family outside of their home is to choose a location with a lot to offer. Farms with animals, for example, are great for sessions with toddlers. The last time I photographed this particular family outdoors, we did exactly that. This time, we agreed on a location in Belmont, MA because it offers open fields, woods, and a stream. I know this family well and felt confident that they would be willing to frolic in the stream with their kids, run through the fields, and pick dandelions in the meadow.
After I sent mom her finished gallery, she commented on how genuine it felt. Specifically, she referenced the mother/son photos taken on my blanket in the field. How on earth could that feel natural, you ask?? Well, she snuggles her little guy every morning in bed right after he wakes up. Sooo although it may have been a smidge weird to snuggle in tick-infested grass, it wasn’t really out of the ordinary for them. You can see just how cuddly this crew is here at baby sister’s newborn session :).
Even if you’re shooting at a location without a lot of variety, you can still encourage the family to do things they normally like to do. Do the kids love bubbles? Great. Bring some along or ask the parents to. Are piggyback rides on dad a favorite? Awesome. Capture that! I promise, there are many ways of fostering authenticity just about anywhere!