Wild Hearts Farm
I’ve been following Wild Hearts Farm on social media for awhile. It’s a small, private farm located in Tacoma, WA just 30 minutes from Seattle. One of my favorite photographers Heleyna Holmes has been posting gorgeous photos of her children at the farm for the past year. With a tire swing, little pond, barn and studio, it’s an ideal space to get relaxed photos of kids. So, when Heleyna invited me to an open house at Wild Hearts Farm, I jumped at the opportunity!
Just driving on the property gave me a nostalgic feel. The lazy tire swing hanging from an enormous tree is the first thing we noticed. Even though the lightening was a bit harsh at 3pm, we started there so our 3-year-old could get out some energy. He had a blast! The swing can really move, which thrilled him!
I know my youngest also loves swinging, so I thought it’d be cute to swing with him. However, I’m much heavier than a small child so we were a bit off balanced. Thankfully, our preschooler offered to swing with us! It was an absolute hoot!
Once we were thoroughly dizzy, we opted to move along to a few of the sets they had on the property. They had a day bed in front of a shed, a wooden swing with flowers, and a 4th of July themed area. Wild Hearts Farm also features an indoor studio. When we were there, they had 2 different sets in the studio. We ended up staying about 2 hours and my husband got shots of our two boys and me all over the farm.
When I do a photo shoot with my children, I usually create a plan. I have a list of props to bring and I think about any photos that would be useful in the upcoming months. You can read more about my love of props here. I like to maximize every experience. However, our schedule opened up the day before this shoot enabling us to attend. So, I didn’t bring many props with us. Thankfully, Wild Hearts Farm has lots of props and sets, which made our shoot fun and seamless.
Farm Prop Ideas for Kids
- Holiday-related props. Wild Hearts Farm provided American flag backdrops, pinwheels and a red tricycle for 4th of July themed photos. In the Fall, they will have a pumpkin patch so it’d be fun to wear overalls.
- Vehicles. Tricycles, wagons, bicycles, pedal cars, rocking horses are all fun ways to get action shots of kids on the farm. And small toy versions of tractors, dump trucks and trains also make for cute shots.
- Butterfly nets. Kids love butterfly nets because it gives them a reason to run around!
- Wooden signs. I just can’t get enough of the wooden sign trend! And they go perfectly on farms. I especially love ones that have a vintage feel.
- Mason jars. It would be fun to do a jam-making shoot featuring mason jars, berries and cooking pots and wooden spoons!
- Wooden stands. Farms are a great backdrop for any photos where kids look like they are selling something. I love the idea of candy cane or hot chocolate stands in Winter. Or the classic lemonade or ice cream stands for spring/summer.
- Stuffed animals. Real animals can be unpredictable, so I love doing photos with stuffed animals. Chickens, pigs and rabbits are ideal stuffed animal choices.
- Cowboy/Cowgirl. You can always incorporate ropes, boots, and hats for a rodeo shoot.
Tips for Photographing Children on a Farm
- Think about wardrobe. Usually, I dress my kids in button down shirts and bow ties for photos because I think it’s adorable and they haven’t fought me on it (yet.) However, being on a farm is a very unique opportunity. Since it was a warm Spring day, I dressed my youngest in a checkered romper. Then, I dug through my oldest son’s clothes to find colors that would coordinate. Had it been cooler weather, we would have done jeans and plaid shirts.
- Go early or late. Outdoor photography always turns out a bit better if you go early in the morning (a few hours after sunrise) or later in the afternoon/evening (a few hours before sunset.) The sun should be about 45 degrees, which is lovely for photographing faces.
- Load a wagon. We have a collapsible wagon we bought at Costco a few years ago. It’s perfect for loading camera gear, props, diaper bag, and the children. This was a great place to plop down my baby while we did photos of just my oldest son and me.
- Bring snacks. Grumpy kids make for a frustrating shoot. I like to bring along sweet treats to keep the photo shoot fun. It’s one of the few times I will outright bribe my son. For this shoot, I brought along fruit leathers and pouches. Just be sure to also bring baby wipes to make sure faces and hands stay clean for photos!
- Realize it’s a farm. The ground may be muddy and the wood might have splinters. I tried sitting my baby in the grass for some photos, but the grass was a bit too prickly for him. Thankfully, I brought along a blanket. If there are animals on the farm, watch out for poop.
- Shoot in the shade. Farms often have a lot of harsh sunlight that can cause strong shadows. And kids tend to squint their eyes in sunlight, which isn’t always cute in photos. Instead, head to shady outdoor areas or stay close to barns/houses to maximize the shade.
- Take off shoes. Some of my favorite photos of my kids are when they are barefoot. There’s something about being on a farm that just calls for bare feet. I didn’t put shoes on my youngest, so that was easy. Unfortunately, my oldest had strong feelings about keeping his shoes on.
- Deviate from your plan. This is a hard one for me. As soon as we got on site, I had already imagined what photos I wanted to do in each location. But, my oldest wanted to ride on a rocking horse…frequently. So, we just made a few stops in between locations to ride on the rocking horse. My youngest also got hungry, so I took some time to nurse him.
Thanks to Wild Hearts Farm for inviting us to take photos. All opinions are my own.