firefly photography

The blog

July 20, 2021

How to do fall family photos that aren’t cheesy

family photos with two boys by a lake in charlottesville, va

Fall is the most wonderful season for outdoor family photos in Virginia, but how can we make them feel natural and warm instead of cheesy and stressful?

In Charlottesville between September-November, we get gorgeous leaves, deep (and earlier) sunsets, and cooler temps – all great for families with younger kids.

So how do you take advantage of all fall has to offer without going full-out cheesy for your family photos?

Here’s a little peek at my approach to fall family photos that will keep things simple, meaningful, and celebrating all the love you feel for the people.


1. Forget the props.

I know, some of you are cringing. “But the PUMPKINS!”

How about instead of forcing your child to sit on top of one, we gather your family around the kitchen table and share in a memory of carving them!?

If you’d rather not do your session at home, I promise you that pumpkins are not the thing that will make or break your photos. What you really want are photos of your family in flattering, joyful, love-soaked images – and that goal has nothing to do with the apple crates, checkered banners, and red wagons.

2. Rethink what to wear

There is no fall formula for what you have to wear for fall family photos. Ditch the matching polos and scratchy dresses. Instead, go for textures and accessories in warm tones to play into the fall vibes like mixing denim, corduroy, and velvet. Long dresses and layers look amazing in the fall, so have fun with your personal style and what makes you feel confident rather than staying fixed on stuffy standards you might see on Pinterest.

3. Be open about location

Most people approach fall family photos in Charlottesville with the vision of mountain views and epic sunsets. Obviously, this is always amazing.

HOWEVER, there is just as much gold in the light and comfort through your home as there is in a colorful forest or open field. (Check out this post for more of my favorite unique spots and know that I keep even more tucked away for ya)

Remember, you want family photos with a feeling – and that’s more about you and your connection than the location.

For those resistant husbands and rambunctious kids who might be rolling their eyes at the idea of family photos, I swear that when they experience a session the Firefly way, they’ll walk away laughing instead of eye-rolling. There’s no backdrops, no hard-and-fast rules about smiling or standing still… and yet, you’ll find that we’re able to make photos with all the gorgeous fall vibes, family connection, and love you’re truely after.

No apple crates required.

Interested in booking a family session with me in Charlottesville this fall?

Hop on my email list to get details about the Fall Booking Party happening on August 9th where insiders will get first access to my calendar and prime weekend dates between September-November!

You might also like:

Things to do in Charlottesville with kids

4 Tips for Including your dog in family photos

Why it’s okay if your kids ‘misbehave’ during our session