February 02, 2024 5 min read

Family photos are a great way to capture a certain point in your life, make memories, and preserve a little piece of family history that you can continue passing down for generations. If you’re planning a family photoshoot, an outdoor setting is the way to go. With plenty of space, flattering natural lighting, and an effortlessly beautiful landscape that can bring every picture to life, the great outdoors is the perfect backdrop for your cherished family photos.

There are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of the scenery and keep your photoshoot as stress-free as possible. Create some picture-perfect memories with this guide on how to capture a perfect Colorado outdoor family photoshoot.

Scout Ahead

It’s always good to be prepared. That’s why it’s important to check out the area you want to use for your photoshoot ahead of time. You can also take a few different scouting trips to compare different areas and see which one will work best for you. Take some time to explore the area and look for settings that capture your interest. The more familiar you are with a specific park or preserve, the easier it is to set everyone up for the perfect photo.

This is also a great time to start generating ideas for what you want and don’t want in the photos. Are you looking for trees, rocks, water, or other specific landmarks for your photos? Do you want a wide, clear area to capture a large group or something more intimate for cozy, up close shots? Walking around ahead of time helps you plan so you can easily capture the perfect photos on the day of your shoot.

Frame Your Shot With Foreground

Clever use of foreground elements is a great way to incorporate more natural details into your photo. Branches, leaves, flowers, blades of grass, and other elements work as beautiful framework. Experimenting with foreground and focus can make a wider shot more interesting and unique. In addition to highlighting the landscape, it plays with the composition of your photo and can make even wide group photos look cozier and more intimate.

Capture Activity

You don’t venture into the Colorado wilderness just to stand around smiling. While posed shots are great, it’s also fun to mix things up with some natural-looking action shots, and you don’t have to do anything too intense.

Use autofocus settings to capture clear shots of the family walking, playing with the dog, and so on. Encourage kids to explore a little and enjoy some beautifully candid photos as they poke around in the wildflowers, kick up fallen leaves, or climb around on rocks and trees. This is an easy and natural way to capture gorgeous family photos while also preserving a precious memory with your loved ones.

Connect With the Environment

If you want to capture the perfect Colorado outdoor family photoshoot, it’s important to take advantage of the incredible landscape around you. After all, the natural setting is more than just a backdrop; it’s a subject in and of itself.

Incorporate the landscape more meaningfully into your photos by finding ways to naturally connect everyone to the area they’re standing in. Posing on rocks or in trees, running your hands through the tall grass, holding a bundle of wildflowers—all of these are ways to ground every subject and bring your setting to life. By creating a stronger connection between the people and the setting of your photo, you create visual interest and make both the pictures and the photoshoot itself more memorable for everyone.

Be Wary of Altitude

If you’re venturing far up into the mountains, you need to be aware of how the elevation change will affect your photoshoot—especially if you or your kids aren’t used to higher elevations. Altitude sickness is more severe than a lot of people might realize, and it can ruin your day if you’re not careful.

If your family isn’t used to being up higher in the mountains, stick to locations that are in lower elevations and try to limit the amount of activity once you’re there. For example, you don’t want to choose a setting that has everyone feeling nauseous and lightheaded as soon as you get there. Err on the side of caution, particularly if you have little ones with you.

Pack for the Outing

Outdoor photoshoots can take a while, especially if you have a bigger group. Bringing along some essentials can make the experience smoother for everyone. Water is a must-have on any outing, but take extra care to bring some if you’re heading up into higher elevations. Snacks can help keep your little ones from getting hungry and cranky partway through the day. You also want to plan for the unpredictable mountain weather with jackets and sunscreen. Bring something to protect the camera, too, in case rain hits unexpectedly.

Incorporate Your Interests

Family photos should show off what kind of family you are—what you like, what you do for fun, and so on. Showing off your hobbies and interests creates a more candid photograph that truly represents who you are.

For example, if you love spending time by the water, you can choose a photoshoot location near a river or lake. You can also include props and accessories that revolve around things you love, such as dressing for a hike, bringing along a ball and glove, or setting the kids up in a sled.

Take It Easy

Photoshoots don’t have to be stressful. The more you can relax and enjoy yourself, the more natural the photos will look and feel, and the happier you’ll be with the results. Let yourself relax and enjoy spending the time with your family, and you’ll be able to capture authentic memories with your loved ones in the gorgeous Colorado mountains.

Dress for the Setting

One of the best parts of planning any kind of photoshoot is deciding what to wear. With outdoor photoshoots, you want everyone’s outfits to complement the setting and the season. Flannels and denim jackets are a perfect outdoorsy look for fall. Sweaters, beanies, and scarves create a cozy look for the Rocky Mountain setting. In spring and summer, light, flowy sundresses or a sturdy hiking outfit are perfect for soaking up the famous Colorado sunshine.

Try to use seasonal colors, like pastels in spring or warm tones in fall. Make sure your colors won’t blend into the background, though. Wearing reds or browns in front of fall foliage will take away some of the clarity of the photo and make it harder to stand out from the scenery.

Looking for photoshoot outfit inspiration? YoColorado has you covered with a colorful and stylish variety of Colorado shirts, hats, jackets, and other apparel. Shop our collection of Colorado kids’ clothes to find the perfect clothing and accessories to get your kids camera-ready.

How To Capture a Perfect Colorado Outdoor Family Photoshoot

Brad Miller
Brad Miller



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