Getting Good Pictures at the Pumpkin Patch (8 fun ideas)

Is going to a pumpkin patch on your fall bucket list?  It is on mine!  Not only is the pumpkin patch a lot of fun, it is full of photogenic scenes.  I always have a goal of getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch.

Every year, out family goes to the same pumpkin patch in town.  And every year, we get amazing photos of the kids and family.  They usually have the same setup every year, so I can get the same background each time.  Having the same background really showcases how much my little one has grown over the year.

With all the pumpkin patch trips, I have learned what and what-not to do for some fun fall photos. In a nutshell, here are the tips I have for getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch:

  1. Plan your outfits
  2. Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand
  3. Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can
  4. Don’t shoot into the sun
  5. Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume
  6. Lean what you can and cannot bring into the pumpkin patch
  7. Don’t go too late into the season
  8. If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them

Here are each of these items in more detail:

Plan your outfits

Flannels and denim usually work well for pumpkin patches.  Avoid anything that is too busy.  Also, check the weather forecast when planning your outfit.  Depending on the temperature, you may want to dress in layers for not only your comfort, but so you have more options for your photos. 

Make sure you plan your outfit accordingly.  Choose something photogenic, but still easy to move around in.  If you are bringing kids along, be sure to pack extra clothes that will still look cute in pictures.  You never know when you may have an outfit emergency and need to change them.

One year, I put my son in a long-sleeved, orange and grey onesie for our trip.  I finished it off with some jeans, and he looked super cute for photos.  The photos I got that year are some of my all-time favorite photos of my child.  However, the onesie I chose had a penguin in the middle of the chest.  It was a cute penguin, but it wasn’t very “fall” themed.  I may be the only one that notices the penguin and thinks it is an issue, but I wish I had planned the outfit a little better.

Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand

If you have never been to the pumpkin patch before, try researching them online.  See if you can find any recent images of the place.  Do they have a barn you can use as a backdrop?  How about a bunch of hay bales you can sit your kids on?  By taking a look ahead of time, you can have a mental checklist of areas that might be good to get some photos in.

If you can’t find anything online, hit up your friends to see if any of them have been to the patch.  If they took any pictures, ask if you can see them.  Most people are more than happy to show off their pumpkin patch album!  Even if they didn’t take the exact photos you are going for, you can get an idea of what you can do.

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Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can

One of the secrets to getting good photos at the pumpkin patch? Take them before the fatiuge sets in Lets face it: Both kids and adults will eventually hit a wall when it comes to fun outings.  If you are wanting to get cute photos of smiling, happy kids, you will want to do it fairly soon after arriving at the patch.  After a few hours, those kids will start getting tired and cranky.  Then you are left with scowling or crying faces.  This is true for adults as well as children!

Another reason to take the photos early is to ensure that there are no mishaps before photo time.  Pumpkin patches are notorious for being dirty, and usually there are farm animals around.  You may get spit on by a goat, or get your pants dirty from sitting in the dirt.  If your photos are already taken, it is less of a concern.

Don’t shoot into the sun

This is more of a basic photograph tip rather than anything specific to getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch.  Shooting into the sun can cause harsh shadows.  To get good clean images, make sure your back is to the sun.

This being said, every rule is made to be broken. 😊  If you have been shooting for awhile and are feeling comfortable taking pictures, try changing things up.  Have your subject turn at different angles to see how the shadows fall.  Or, try getting a picture of the sun through the fall trees.  Have fun with it!

Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume

If you want photos of just you and your family, look for areas where you will not have a lot of people in the background.  This may mean you need to get to the edge of the pumpkin patch.  Or it could also mean adjusting your angle so that there is not as many people in the background.  If this is not an option, and you have a DSLR camera, adjust your aperture to blur out the background.

Another option is to look for something where you won’t have anyone behind you.  This could be the side of a barn or a cornfield.  This way you can get clean photos without having to wait for everyone to move.

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Learn what you can and cannot bring in

Different pumpkin patches have different rules.  If you are planning on bringing in your DSLR camera or any props, be sure to check with the venue to make sure it is ok.  This is ESPECIALLY true if you are getting paid to do the photos.  However, even if you are just taking photos of your own family, it is best to check what the rules are.

Don’t go too late into the season

The later it is in the season, the more apt you are to get into snowy weather.  Once the snow starts setting in, those pumpkins are going to start wilting.  You can still get photos, but you may not have those bright orange, round pumpkins you want in the scenery. 

Another reason is that your photos may start blurring the lines between fall and winter.  If that is the look you are going for, go for it!  Get those frost covered pumpkins or hay bales with snow on them.  However, if you want to keep your fall and winter photos separate, be sure to plan your pumpkin patch trip before the snow sets in.

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If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them

Kids can get tired of taking pictures, so it can be helpful to have something to distract them.  If they are going to be holding something, you want to make sure it will still work with your picture.  Try brining a fall or farm themed stuffed animal: black cat, owl, chicken, etc.  You can also bring with a toy tractor or vintage car.

Depending on the patch, you can might be able to use one of the for-sale pumpkins as a prop. Especially if you are going to be buying it.  Have your kids pick out a pumpkin and have them pose with it.  They will probably be so proud of picking out their own pumpkin they will be happy to oblige.

Conclusion

It is the time of year to get great fall photos.  The pumpkin patch is no exception.  Getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch doesn’t have to be hard.  You can get to the patch with a plan, and leave with some great pictures.

Note: This year I took my photos at the Moon Farm in Grand Junction, CO. If you would like to check them out, visit their webpage at https://moonfarm.net/.

To recap the different tips for getting good pictures at the pumpkin patch:

  1. Plan your outfits
  2. Try and scout out shooting areas beforehand
  3. Try and get the pictures done as quickly as you can
  4. Don’t shoot into the sun
  5. Look for areas that don’t have a high traffic volume
  6. Lean what you can and cannot bring into the pumpkin patch
  7. Don’t go too late into the season
  8. If photographing your kids, bring fall-themed toys to distract them

If you enjoyed this post, please check out some of my other articles.

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Fall Sayings for your Letterboard

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