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outdoor photography at a local Melbourne park

Melbourne Outdoor Family Photographer

FART! Yep, I said fart!

And I’m going to say it at your outdoor family photoshoot too, because that’s the word that gets not only the biggest smiles from the kids but from the Dads too!

Life is too short to take seriously, especially family life.

And yes, while the days of motherhood can seem a monotonous conglomerate of saying and doing things on repeat, little squishy fingers and toes grow way too quickly and these days really are fleeting.

Blink and your barely crawling little baby is packing their preschool bag and off to kinder. Blink again and they’re finishing their first year of prep. One more blink and you’ll be staring into their teenage eyes that are now the same height as yours…

Before you Blink again, make sure you’ve captured your family life and their precious childhood before it’s too late!

A boy looks directly at the camera while his dad whispers something in his ear with his brother and mum looking at them

What are my Melbourne outdoor family photoshoots about?

I'm a lifestyle photographer and my aim is to showcase your family in a very natural and candid way in one of the many beautiful outdoor locations Melbourne has to offer! 


I know you're not models and that you may be feeling a bit nervous or awkward... but don't stress, I've got you. I guide and direct you throughout the photo shoot and capture what unfolds. You'll soon forget about the camera in my hands and just focus on doing some fun things with those you love the most! 

My main focus is keeping the kids happy and engaged. There’s no need to worry about their behaviour, I’m a fellow Mum and I know that kids will be kids!

I’m going to encourage them to explore the beautiful outdoors, to show me things and to play games with you. I will be telling them funny jokes (at your expense, by the way) and I ask you go along with it and have some fun with the kids.

I also give you prompts and direction such as tickling one another or whispering secrets and then capture your family’s magic as it unfolds.

Occasionally I ask for some smiles because I know Granny wants at least one of those photos…

However, as family life is anything but perfect (and for truly authentic family portraits), I encourage you to forget awkward smiles at my camera and embrace truly smiling at your beautiful family and having fun.

outdoor family photoshoot in melbourne. Kids running under a picnic blanket

Outdoor locations in Melbourne for your Lifestyle Family Photos

Where you choose to have your session will depend on your personal preference (as well as the time of day you can make the session).

The best parks and reserves in Melbourne for family photos

An outdoor Family portrait with older children at a prak in Melbourne
Melbourne Outdoor family photographer Gill Cook and her daughter are in a field of flowers at Olinda RJ Hammer Arboretum
Two young children running in front of their parents and have fun while having their photos taken at an outdoor park in Melbourne

We are so blessed in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne to be surrounded by so many beautiful parks that look like the great outdoors rather than suburbia. These spots give a beautiful bush and grasslands backdrop without the need of travelling too far.


I like to stick to areas that don't get too busy (so you have some privacy) and that don't have a visible playground (because let's be honest, your three year old is going to make a bee-line for the playground and forget all about cuddles with you!) 

My favourite parks in the Eastern Suburbs to photograph in include:

  • Ashwood Reserve

  • Mount Waverley

  • Blackburn Lake

  • Braeside Park

The best beach in Melbourne Bayside for family portraits

A family of four play together at their lifestyle outdoor family beach photoshoot in Melbourne Bayside
Two girls holding hands and dancing in golden sunset at a Melbourne Bayside Beach
A family walk along the beach holding hands in Melbourne Bayside
Family portrait at a Melbourne Bayside beach. Everyone is smiling at the camera

The best spot for beach family photos is near Ricketts Point - Beaumaris, Bayside Melbourne.


This little spot isn’t too busy which allows you all to relax and be yourselves. It has the most beautiful backdrops including sandy beaches, rockpools and rocky cliffs.

And if you are in favour with the weather gods of Melbourne (which can actually happen) the golden sunset in this spot is exquisite!


Of course the Mornington Peninsula is also just on our doorstep and offers some amazing coastal scenery. For a small additional fee I also travel to Flinders which has the most breath-taking cliffs for photos.   

When it comes to a beach family photoshoot, I'm firm on the timing of the session (a sunrise or sunset photoshoot) as there is very little shade during the day and portrait photos taken in full sun are not ideal.

What about family photos at your home or garden?

family photos in melbourne
family photoshoot at home with newborn baby
mother and sons at home photoshoot in melbourne

You can definitely have your family photos at home - it is where the heart is after all, and will certainly be the most authentic backdrop for your photos. 


Generally Newborn photos are carried out at home, however, there is no reason that we can't get some photos of you and your family enjoying the space you use everyday. 

Every house is different and unique and the timing of your session will be advised based on the light in your garden and in your home. Usually mid morning is the most common time for in-home and garden photoshoots.

Family on the beach at sunset looking and laughing with one another

When is the best time for Outdoor Family Photos in Melbourne?

Golden hour has the best light for portraiture photography

Believe it or not, bright sunshine is not ideal for portrait photography - as a photographer I'm always hoping for overcast days (with no rain).


I only will the sun to shine during golden hour (which is the beautiful golden light that occurs the hour before sunset or the hour just after sunrise). At this time of day, the light is really soft and flattering for portrait photography. 

Therefore, I always recommend golden hour for outdoor photography, especially at the beach.

I do understand that this time of day isn't always ideal for young families, especially in Melbourne during summer when we have daylight savings. For families that can't make the golden hour timeframe, I strongly recommend a park setting where we can find some shade from the trees.

When is the best time of year for outdoor family photos?

The most popular time for outdoor photos is Autumn and Spring - the sun is lower in the sky at this time of the year which means in the days that the sun is shining the golden light is truly magical.

Sunset is also at a much more convenient and family-friendly time so the sessions can start around 4:30pm (opposed to 8:30pm during the height of summer).

However, I do shoot throughout the year and just recommend you plan your wardrobe according to the weather.

And while we're on the subject of weather, as we know, Melbourne's weather is about as stable as a toddler's emotions... I keep a close eye on the weather the week before your session but generally we go ahead with the photoshoot provided is not bucketing down or blowing a gale.  

large family photoshoot with grandparents

What's included in the cost of my family photography packages

My outdoor family lifestyle photoshoots are all inlcusive

I like to keep things simple and never want you to be blindsided by additional costs you didn't see coming. You can see more details about my pricing here, however I'll summarise it below.

My session fee includes a full online digital gallery of 50-75 edited images (dependant on the size of your family) in both colour and black and white.

The gallery can easily be shared with friends and family all over the world.

Included in the price is a curated slideshow I put together of my favourite images from your session which truly captures your family’s story.

A lap top showing an oline outdoor family photoshoot gallery

Are there any additional costs?

I also offer professional fine art mounted prints, lay flat albums and fine art print packs (set of 24 prints) that you can order from your gallery at additional costs (if you wish to order).

These fine art prints are not your usual photographic gloss prints! They are created using Canon inkjet technology on signature fine art matte 230gsm paper with a smooth ivory surface providing pin-sharp details with no reflective sheen.

All the items in the store are printed by a boutique printing lab here in Melbourne, with over 60 years experience and have an archival rating of 150 years.

Extended family sessions are very welcome and each additional family unit is charged at $100 per family on top of the base price for the photoshoot.

Please note, occasionally I run mini photography sessions which have a session fee and then the option to buy digital prints on top of the session fee. These are much shorted sessions with a strict 20 minute time frame. 

A lady is looking at a laptop choosing beautiful print products from her outdoor photoshoot in Melbourne

I'm Gill, an outdoor family photographer serving Melbourne and surrounds

Gill Cook Melbourne Outdoor Family Photographer

My art is not about capturing perfect family portraits but rather about capturing Portraits of Family Life.


The squishy toes, the giggles and laughter, the movement, the cuddles and even the tears.


And like I said, occasionally I say “fart” to promote the giggles rather than the tears.

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of land where I work and live. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

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