Tips for Fall Family Photos - Buffalo, NY Family Photographer

It’s September 16th and we are officially halfway through the month (how did that happen?)
I can already see tints of red beginning to take over the leaves on some of my trees, the air is getting that brisk touch to it in the evening, and before you know it fall will officially be taking over.

Fall Photo Sessions in Buffalo, NY

This is one of the busiest and highly requested times of years for family photo sessions because of the incredible display of color Mother Nature provides us for these few short weeks.
So, here are my top 5 tips for planning your session.

  1. Timing

    Now, every year might be slightly different depending on the summer we’ve had or the current weather conditions, but generally if you’re looking for the best time for vibrant leaves I recommend to my families to schedule their sessions sometime between the 1st-3rd week of October. There are a variety of factors to also think about. Do you want to have a lot of leaves on the ground for the kids to throw and jump? Then wait farther into the month. If you want to hope for warmer temperatures and a ground that isn’t getting soggy, muddy, and covered in damp leaves….then go earlier in the month. Also, different types of trees may drop their leaves earlier than others. I once had a session almost mid-November (I’ll share below of the girl in the navy dress) and I had to actually wander thru the trees to find one that still had a good amount of leaves on it. And while many around were pretty much all but bare, this beauty was still looking amazing.

    So… are a few fall photos with when they were taken to give you an idea of the range of colors and looks you can get through this month time frame.


This family session below was taken at the end of September. As you can see, there are tints of yellow and orange starting to appear in the trees. It’s not the solid green summer look but not full-on fall yet.

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These adorable little ladies had their session mid-October. Those beautiful autumn colors have definitely taken over and the backdrop is perfect for those wanting a colorful fall session.

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And this session was held mid-November. I had to wander through the woods to find this magnificent tree that was still holding onto her leaves. You can probably even see in the background the trees that are basically bare. But, the perk of waiting far into the season is that the fallen leaves create the most amazing blanket of color on the ground.

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2. What To Wear

This is easily my most asked question!
Well, if you’re one of my families then you are in luck because I have a great stylist on my team that will provide you with outfit options for your whole family.
Or, if you’re reading this from the other side of the country, or maybe just love coordinating your own family outfits, then here are some tips!
During the summer I spent so many evenings at the beach and seeing pastel and light & fresh colors.
When fall arrives though, my favorite color palettes are either earthy tones (think beige, tan, cream) to compliment the changing colors of the landscape.
Or I’m a huge fan of seeing rich jewel tones that only enhance the colorful scene (think emerald green, deep dark reds, or mustard yellow).

I also suggest using what I call “the boy band method”…..looking like you belong together without being super matchy matchy. This can be accomplished by picking a neutral color (let’s say navy) and an accent color to “pop” (let’s take yellow)…..feel free to add patterns into the mix to help bring everything together such as plaids or florals.

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Another fashion tip I love for fall is the use of textures.
Lace, fur, corduroy, tweed, knit sweaters…..all of these fabric textures add to that warm and cozy feeling and add visual appeal.

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3. Watch your feet

This might seem like a silly tip, but it’s so true.
Fall means more rainy days and rainy days mixed with leaves on the ground equals a potentially sloppy and muddy mess.
So, depending on the location I may suggest families bring a pair of shoes to walk to the spot and then changing into their “nice shoes” for the photos.
Or, a lot times we are standing in tall grass or flowers where your feet won’t really be seen anyways.
And speaking of wet ground….this could be a potentially dangerous time of year for muddy clothes.
So, watch your little ones that they don’t run and slip and if you plan on holding your kid in photos do it first before their feet get muddy and therefore rub off on your clothes while you’re holding them.

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4. Be flexible and okay with rescheduling

Now, this tip might not work for other photographers, so if you have a session with someone else, please don’t demand to reschedule and tell them you read in a blog that rescheduling is must!
This is a busy time of year and many photographers don’t have the ability to reschedule sessions.
I myself choose to limit what I take on per month because I want to have wiggle room with rescheduling since we all know how unpredictable and fussy WNY weather can be.
I always tell my families that I want them to love their photos and if that means rescheduling to a better weather day, then so be it.
Windy days blowing hair around, sudden 40 degree days that make teeth chatter, and even unexpected snow fall and affect that beautiful fall session you’ve been dreaming of.
I’m constantly watching the weather reports and keeping my families updated if it looks like they might have an unfavorable weather day.
The other thing to keep in mind is that weekends book very quickly for me this time of year and may not be an option. The sun is also setting much sooner and therefore getting home from work and school and ready for photos by 5:00 because the sun sets at 6:00 can be tricky. So, as I said, being flexible and understanding that we cannot control the weather is very important.

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5. Have Fun!!

Most importantly, have fun people! Fall is a great time of year for using your environment to give you something to do during your session.
Throw leaves in the air or hide and play peek-a-boo in them.
Find an apple orchard to climb trees and eat apples.
Or find a perfect rustic wagon in the middle of a field to climb on
(Ok, that last one might be a little tricky and I’m just super fortunate to have that here at my place for my families)

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Fall is truly an incredible time of year for those planning a family photo session.

Thanks for taking the time to read today’s blog post and if you have any questions, comments, or tips of your own feel free to add them below!
And enjoy a few more beautiful images from some of my previous photo sessions.