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Out & About; how to document summertime adventures with kids

A few weeks ago, I got together with a talented photographer friend of mine, Melanie, and we took our kids on a scouting expedition to Gatineau Park. Whenever possible, I always make the time to scout a location days before a photoshoot. It helps me plan compositions, understand lighting, and adjust for the unexpected.

Armed with our cameras, we explored the Étienne Brulé lookout, the Mackenzie King Estate and Old Chelsea. We had so much fun scanning the location and formulating photo sessions ideas! Since it was the first time that our kids had met, we documented their encounter, and their budding friendship over the discovery of brand new places.

With summer holidays just around the corner, you'll be on the go often, making memories for many years to come.

Here are a few tips on how to document your summer adventures when you are out and about with your family.


It's always great to see kids take in a new environment. What will catch their eye? Where will they go? What will they do? Step back and quietly see the world through their eyes. Capture those inquisitive moments as they unfold.

Make it a game

Once you're done observing, it's time to play! Draw their attention to unique parts of their surroundings and engage them by asking questions and creating unique little games. While playing, you'll be able to capture some honest moments and the joy that this playtime creates. In the examples below, we played who's the tallest, who can make the scariest faces and who can find the world's tiniest pine cone!

Use what's at your disposal

Find props in your surroundings. The setting of your adventure is a key storytelling element of your photograph; make it a character in the story. Look for interesting colours, textures, shapes and colours.

Keep the special requests to a minimum

Even if you have a special photo in mind, or a location you'd like to take advantage of, keep your requests to a strict minimum. By not asking too much of your little ones (or big ones), you'll probably have an easier time getting them to cooperate. Although documenting your outing is great, it's also important to be present and know when to put the camera away for a few minutes.

Lastly, make sure you're in the photos too! Set your camera on a timer, or get a friend to include you in their pictures. Your family will be happy to look back on the day and see you amongst them (thank you Melanie!).

I hope you found these tips helpful! Looking for ideas of family adventures to document this summer? Check out Melanie Mathieu Photography's blog post: 5 Outings to document summertime with your kids. We will be continuing our collaboration by launching a project all about documenting summer. Stay tuned!

Have a great time this telling your summer stories.

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