5 tips for picking a location for your Photo Shoot

If your looking for tips on locations and what to look for when selecting a spot in Arizona for your next family portrait… then you have come to the right place. I’m a Scottsdale based portrait photographer and I love educating and helping other photographers and non-professionals alike.

The recipe for a great family portrait is divided into 4 parts. 1. A great location (that’s covered here) 2. proper posing and attire choice. 3. Proper lighting and exposure, using either off camera flash or some natural lighting techniques. 4. Post processing pop… I think in today’s age it’s really digital art that finishes your image.

Let’s cover part 1. I think you will be surprised to learn that a location has less to do with sweeping vistas and more to do with a few rules to really make your portrait fantastic.

  1. Make sure your location matches your subjects attire and personality – If your family is wearing shorts and pastels, let’s keep it easy breezy and use a park setting, or take them to the beach, not posed on a grand stairway. I know it’s an obvious point but you would be surprised. It can look cool when it’s couple or a single person but for a family portrait the surrounding should match the attires feel.
  2. Make sure your families attire choice pops from the background – If you are shooting at the beach, let’s not all show up in tan. If you are at a park pick colors that contrast nicely with green, yellows, blues and reds all would look fantastic. For Arizona desert shoots I love blues and yellows.
  3. Look for even lighting – The easiest thing you can do for your family portrait is to make sure your lighting is even. You don’t want direct sunlight on anyone’s face.. one of the easiest thing to do is put your family with their back to the sun, this can lead to really pretty backlighting… but be careful that your background is not super bright. You want filtered light. So find a big tree or bush and put them in front of that with the sun behind them and shazaaam you are a magic maker!!! Here are some examples….

    4. Look for dark backgrounds, for the most part people pop off the page when what’s behind them is darker than they are.


5. Consider the age of the kids. If you have small kids, a place with grass is fantastic, so they can run, jump, lie down. It really makes a difference.


Thanks for reading! I’m an on location, Scottsdale based photographer. I love family, love, laughter good wine and making art for your home.


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