I love shooting in outdoor, natural light. Living in Arizona is advantageous too with it's beautiful backdrops throughout the state! I know planning your family or senior session can be stressful, but I want to make it as easy as possible for you! I have a list of different places for your family to choose from. Do you have your own idea? Let's talk about it!
1. Downtown Gilbert
One of my favorite spots to photograph families and seniors is Downtown Gilbert. It does get quite busy during the prime family photo seasons (fall for holiday photos / spring during senior season). There are so many little spots you can utilize! I have photographed at the top of the parking garage, and outside of the businesses. Do not photograph inside a business without permission...for ex: the ice cream shop or the coffee shop. Downtown Gilbert definitely has more of the "urban feel" but also can be light and airy. One of the best parts, you and your family go grab a bite to eat or a treat afterwards!
2. Tempe Center for the Arts
Another more urban or modern spot, Tempe Center for the Arts, has a lot of different options too. The bridge is gorgeous (especially during golden hour). There is some desert type landscape on the south side of the building and the Tempe Town Lake offers a stunning backdrop.
Tempe Center for the Arts is located at 700 W. Rio Salado. Tempe 85281
3. Riparian Preserve
This spot is great for the kids. While walking through the preserve, you can see the wild animals like the rabbits and beautiful birds and ducks. There is also a play type area in the front, close to the parking lot. I love photographing the kids playing here! There is a lake and so much desert landscape. If not photographing here, you and your family should walk through!
The preserve is located at 2727 E Guadalupe Rd. Gilbert 85234
4. Veteran's Oasis
There is not shortage of different places to shoot at this location. It's features a lot of flora and fauna and more of that desert landscape. This oasis is perfect for family sessions and senior sessions!
Veteran's Oasis is located at 4050 E Chandler Heights Rd. Chandler 85249
5. Downtown Phoenix
I love the bright colors and the colorful murals and art everywhere! There is so much character. Allow for some walking, you will want to keep checking out all of the art!
6. Downtown Chandler / Chandler City Hall
Downtown Chandler is great for families wanting more of a modern look. By City Hall, there is a lot of stunning lines, silver backgrounds, and some greenery outside of where the Chandler Chamber meets. There's a parking garage and some red brick backdrops & white brick backdrops.
7. Salt River
For the adventurous family, the Salt River is a great place for family photos! You do have to pay for the parking pass ($8 at Walgreens) but well worth it. It provides such a scenic view of our state. You may have to walk or hike through some rocks, so no heels!
8. Papago Park
Located near the Phoenix Zoo, Papago Park offers magical backdrops with the boulders. It can be crowded, due to a lot of hikers, so I would be mindful of that. There is so much area around the boulders to photograph at though. Hole-in-the-Rock is a popular spot for everyone. The kids will love checking it out!
9. Downtown Mesa
This location is so much fun! There are so many colors! I start off photographing at the Mesa Arts Center then we walk around for a "city" look. There are some fun murals along Main St too!
10. Scottsdale Civic Center
Water fountains, green grass, the LOVE sign and so much more! There isn't a lack of family friendly spots in this Scottsdale spot!
Other locations I love:
Desert Botanical Gardens (admissions fee)
Lost Dutchman State Park (parking fee)
Mill Avenue (fun for Seniors!)
Usery Mountain Regional Park (parking fee)
Or your local, neighborhood park!
To me, the location is not the key component. The key is the connection.
- Kimberly Carrillo