Location Ideas for Single family sessions
Morning shoots are great for families that want to have their session early when kids are fresh.
I can’t guarantee that we will have a bright blue lake for pictures. It depends on a lot of factors like time of day, what side of the lake we are on, and sun vs clouds. And if you notice with my examples below it’s not a common result.
I meet most families about 9AM or 10am.
If you want standing on the beach or in the water photos then this location is my favorite. It is on the south end of Bear Lake. July and August are busy times at Rendezvous Beach and most likely we will have to walk a bit down the beach to find a vacant spot. 8:30am or 9am are the best times to beat the crowds. It is a Utah State Park and has an entrance fee of $10- $20 per car depending on your circumstance. They won’t let you in free if you’re “just taking pictures”. Some families have made this their “beach day” after pictures since they have paid to be there for the day.
For all beach locations, I don’t recommend wearing nice shoes or heals. I can’t guarantee the lake to be super blue, it all depends on cloud cover. Most days in July and August are bright and sunny. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face. By the bathroom building there is a water faucet to wash sand off feet. With beach photos, I spend extra time editing out background people in the water.
Most sessions we will have sunny days, but every once in awhile it will be overcast. The lake level also is a factor on whether we have lots of dry sand by the shoreline, or wet sand at the shoreline.
This is free beach access in the heart of Garden City. Because the water level is low this year there is plenty of beautiful sand to do pictures on. The water is shallow too if you want to stand in the water. I recommend meeting at 9am.
Garden City park beach
Because the water level is low this year, we can meet at the beach just down from the Garden City Park and have plenty of sand for pictures. We would park and walk down the boardwalk to the lake, and then down to the water's edge. It's about a 6-8 minute walk. This spot is great as it's free to the public, but will be very busy in July. I recommend meeting at 9am or earlier. Because of the walking distance, I don't recommend this spot if your family has mobility challenges. In fall the boardwalk is covered in yellow fall leaves. And there's a fun mural in the park if you want something colorful.
rocking ranch hill
This location is on a hill just north of Garden City and is high enough to have beautiful views of the lake and mountains. I love it for how easy it is to get to. It has no homes nearby. It also doesn’t have any shade so pictures will have sun on the faces (see below). We get there on a dirt road which is sometimes a little bumpy. There are a few sticker/prickly plants in the grass. I highly recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes for kids if they don’t like the feel of grass on their legs as the grass here is itchy.
This is private land that I have permission to photograph on. Summer days are mostly sunny. So with that, I don’t recommend wearing dark pinks, corals or reds as the the sun bounces that color around. I get better skin tones when families wear neutral colors. I expose for the faces in shadow, which makes the distant background lighter. Because we may have cloud cover, I can't guarantee we will have a bright blue lake in the background.
I like to meet families here at 9am.
near Meadowville Drive
There is a rustic spot on the south end of Bear Lake between Garden City and Laketown. It has bush areas, shady spots, lots of rocks, and some sandy beach areas. We can stay in the shade, or be on the beach or a mix of both. Pictures at the beach will have sunlight on the face. If you want a free location near the lake, and some shade, then this is a great spot. We park on the main highway and walk down a short slope. Definitely wear sturdy shoes to handle the slope and rocks. I meet clients at 9am for the best shade.
Rocking Ranch hill
This location is just north of Garden City and has beautiful views of the lake and the west mountains. It is private land that I have permission to be there. I love this spot right after sunset when skin tones are soft and there’s no harsh sunlight. In the summer months the sun sets pretty late, between 7:30 – 8:30pm depending on the month. If you want pictures in the shade, then we need to meet at 7:30pm or later. After the sun sets we can have views of the lake too.
Rocking Ranch Hill is on a dirt road, sometimes a little bumpy, and has no homes around. There are a few sticker/prickly plants in the grass, and it is an active cow pasture. I highly recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes for kids. The grass is high here and I’ve seen how kids don’t like the feel of grass on their legs. The cows most likely will walk away from us.
In the fall months I like to meet at 6pm. Peak fall color season is at the end of September, early October. The grass is green in May and June. In July it's half green and golden. In August the grass is golden.
This is a good shady spot for evening sessions with aspens and pines. I recommend meeting at 7:00 or 7:30 in the summer months. 6pm in the fall. This location is very rocky and not good for high heels or those with mobility challenges. I would recommend closed sturdy shoes so we can walk to a variety of settings.
If you want standing on the beach photos then this location works great. It is on the south end of Bear Lake and is a Utah State Park with fees to use it. It is a Utah State Park and has an entrance fee of $10- $20 per car depending on your circumstance. They won’t let you in free if you’re “just taking pictures”. There is easy parking near the beach. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face. There is plenty of sand here and beaches are less busy in the evening. Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes come out at dusk. At any locations on the beach I don’t recommend wearing nice shoes/heals. With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water. If you don’t like the lighting with sun on the faces, then we can meet right as the sun sets and have lovely soft pink lighting.
On the Idaho side of Bear Lake is North Beach. There is a $14 per car fee, $10 for Idaho residents, and it’s 30 minutes from Garden City. This place is highly popular and overcrowded so I recommend meeting as late in the day as possible. 7:30pm or 8pm. I like it for the clean beaches and simple background. The water is shallow a long way out and easy to stand in. Since we will most likely be in the sun, I don’t recommend wearing dark pinks, corals or reds as the the sun bounces that color around. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face. I get better skin tones when families wear neutral colors. With beach photos, I spend extra time editing out any background people in the water.
east side at sunset
With the lake level so low this year, we have access to soft shallow sand. The sunset gives us beautiful lighting and reflection with the water. I like to use the beach access in Laketown, or First Point.
In the summer I meet clients at 7pm or 7:30pm.
stump hollow trail
Up Logan canyon this is a mountain location I absolutely love. It has aspens, pines,and a rocky stream. It’s just 20 minutes outside of Garden City, near Beaver Mountain Ski. We can meet as early as 4pm. Peak fall colors are mid to end of September.
near Temple fork
Another mountain location I like is halfway down Logan Canyon near Temple Fork. It involves a short 5 minute hike up a hill to some beautiful mountain views. I recommend wearing sturdy shoes for hiking and walking in the grass.
This spot is right in the heart of Logan Canyon with fields of grass, stream, aspens and mountains. A good time to meet here is 6 or 7 pm in the summer. 4 pm in the fall. It’s 45 minutes from Garden City.