When it’s gloomy outside it can be hard to muster the enthusiasm to get the kids outdoors. And with no colour in the air or leaves on the trees it can be difficult to find inspiration for photographing children. Even as a professional documentary and lifestyle family photographer in south London, I find once the glorious colour of autumn has subsided and before we get the gorgeous crisp whites of frost and snow, London can sometimes feel a bit dreary for outdoor photoshoots. But in truth there are lots of hidden gems photographically speaking that can turn what at first seems uninspiring into some great shots. Here are my top tips for getting some great shots of your kids when the weather is miserable.
1. Start indoors. Get the kids playing with their toys or on an imaginary adventure and get the camera out. They’ll love showing you – and the camera – what they’re doing and an invitation into their world can bring about some great shots. If its rainy outside a good old-fashioned raindrop on the window race can make for some great reflection images.
2. Go on a train journey. Kids love trains. Even big kids. Kids looking out the window as the world whizzes past always make great photos – especially in black and white.
3. Go urban. If bare trees, rained out parks and dreary skies aren’t inspiring you much as a backdrop, head for the town. There are always interesting settings to be found – an interesting doorway, graffitied walls, steps and busy streets. Being a professional lifestyle family photographer in London, I’m lucky that I have one of the best cities on my doorstep as my urban background but any town or city has interesting nooks and crannies, interesting architecture and fantastic spaces if you look.
4. Don’t dismiss the ‘dreary’ as un-photogenic: there’s nothing like kids snuggled up in gorgeous brightly-coloured woollens, layers and textures to bring out a sense of romance at being bundled up against the elements.
5. Look out for colour. Brightly-coloured walls, graffiti, neon signs, bright architecture, lovely painted doors – they’re all great for adding a pop of colour to a dreary day. Or why not get out the bright accessories – a bright red hat or a yellow coat can do a lot to revive an otherwise dull composition.
6. Have fun! Look for some fun props to add to your images – brightly-coloured or interestingly-shaped balloons are great for kids to mess around with, or over-sized lollypops, silly hats and comedy glasses. There’s nothing makes a good image as much as kids larking about being silly.