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!

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Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA
My son could not contain his enthusiasm for this tire swing and would have stayed there all afternoon if we had let him. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

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!

Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA
This outdoor day bed was a lot of fun to shoot on at Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

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.

Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA
My youngest was just learning to sit up, so this bench by a pond was a fun place to prop him! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Photo Strategy

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.

Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA
We loved that Wild Hearts Farm had so many fun props, like this ride on John Deere tractor. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

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.
Wild Hearts Farm in Tacoma, WA
My son loved exploring all areas of the farm, including this barn. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Tips for Photographing Children on a Farm

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Family Farm Photo Shoot Tips & Prop Ideas

Thanks to Wild Hearts Farm for inviting us to take photos. All opinions are my own.

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36 Comments

  1. What a fun farm for family visits! I have family in the Seattle & Tacoma area, so I’ll have to let them know about this farm if they don’t already. Great tips, too, for family photo shoots!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Awesome! They just opened the farm up this past year to visitors. It’s a great spot for family photos!

  2. How cool that you got to go visit!! My kids love visiting farms, too, and I definitely would have jumped at a chance to visit Wild Hearts farm, too!

  3. You and your babes are PRECIOUS! I love taking pictures, but I am horrible at actually thinking ahead for photo shoots when we’re going to cool places like a farm, orchard, or somewhere historical. I’m definitely going to remember to take some props the next time we’re out adventuring–great tips! 🙂

    • marciecheung Reply

      Awww! Yes, I’m finding that I’m constantly saying “oh, I wish I would have brought blah blah with us!” So, now I make a list and bring anything I might remotely want!

  4. My son loves animales! This looks like a great family day. I need to take him this Fall and plan a visit to our local farm.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Thanks! Yes, we all really enjoyed exploring Wild Hearts Farm!

  5. I love the p hotos I have of my daughter on a farm in Wisconsin. My favorite pic is of her sitting on a tractor, with a scarecrow in the background.

  6. I love your photos! Finding great places to shoot is the most exciting thing for me! I love the shot of you on the bed with your kids! Also that tractor is so awesome.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Thanks so much! I’m so lucky that my husband enjoys photographing our family!

  7. You definitely got some great shots at this farm. I love that they had props there already so you didn’t have to bring a lot from home. My two boys would love that tire swing too!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes! My kids get a bit bored from my props, so it was awesome to play with new ones!

  8. you really did great a lot of great photos and shots here. these are all great. finding places to take creative pictures is always so much fun. love the farm idea so MUCH.

  9. All of these tips are wonderful to have on hand. I love the pictures you took of you and your kids. The one of your son is remarkable.

  10. This looks like such a fun day out and the kids look like they are having an absolute blast! We didn’t make it to Tacoma when we were in Washington but if we ever head back id like to visit this farm for sure

  11. This looks like such a great location to shoot some fun pics! I love the PNW and I will for sure keep this in mind when we go visit family. You have some great tips for the smoothest photo session possible 🙂

    • marciecheung Reply

      Thanks! Getting photos of kids can be tricky! Just trying to help other families!

  12. What a great place for a photo shoot. It’s hard to get the little ones to sit still so giving them a place to play makes for great photos.

  13. I always love hearing the stories from my sister’s photo shoot with the kids. Sometimes they cooperate and sometimes not. It definitely takes a skilled photographer and some planning to capture those moments.

  14. This is awesome! I always love hearing tips for photographs. I love taking photos, and have been wanting to start expanding to more than products and food! How fun!

  15. So fun and cute photos! I’d love to take photos like this of my kids. They would love visiting a farm!

  16. These are great ideas!! I’m going to pass this on to some friends of mine with kids. I know family pictures are always a challenge for them.

    • marciecheung Reply

      It can be so tricky to take good photos of kids. Glad to help!

  17. The place feels looks like it gives a very relaxing vibe. Thank you for sharing this, I might bring my kids here too. 🙂

  18. Farms are always so much fun especially since there’s so much space for the kids to play in. I think these are great ideas for having a children’s photo shoot in a farm. It’s good to have props as well! It looks like you had loads of fun!

  19. This place looks so fun! It looks like the kids had a blast too. I love how you had a photo strategy!

  20. I think it is a great idea to prepare the props and envision the sets before the photo shoot. That will make the photos really come to life when you are ready to take them.

  21. Veronica P. Reply

    I actually avoid shooting in the shade, I don’t like the noise that comes in in the shade and I prefer the magic of the sun flare.
    Instead, I shoot during sunrise and sunset. That’s when the magic comes in.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Great tip! Sunset is usually a bit too late for my kiddos, but one of these years we’ll have to attempt a sunrise shoot. I bet that would be gorgeous!

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