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Choosing a Meaningful Location for Your Family Photos

Nothing makes me happier than taking photos of families in locations that are meaningful to them. Don't get me wrong--I love a breathtaking picturesque outdoor location as much as the next person (and am always happy to send lists of options to help you choose one)--but some of my all time favorite images were taken in family's homes or front yards, their family getaways, places they love to hike, or parks their kids love to play in.

You should never hesitate to pitch me an idea for a location that's meaningful for you - as long as I can make it work, I am always game to take photos in your special spaces (I do need to make sure we can shoot in a direction that won't force you to stare at the sun, and some locations have photography restrictions or require permits or permission).

Read more on some of the benefits of choosing a meaningful photography location, and see some of the images from a session at this family's amazing cabin.

1. Familiar locations put your family at ease.

Over and over again, the photos families tell me they love the most are the ones where they look the most relaxed. Working in a space that's familiar for your children often puts them in a happy, confident emotional space, which of course makes for the sweetest photos.

2. You get to document your family in a place that triggers all their happiest memories.

How awesome is it that you and your children will have a visual record of a place that's tied to your favorite memories? Images in meaningful spaces always feel so important to me as a photographer and a mama... they feel like a record of beautiful lives lived.

3. Meaningful locations are often fun spaces.

I usually get a fun physical and creative challenge when working with kids on their "turf" - I've crawled over rocks, climbed trees, and convinced parents that it's okay to let their kids jump on their beds just this once. Families usually LOVE the images that result from those adventures - they just come the closest to capturing the unique and special personalities of their family members.

4. Sometimes, it's just easier.

Shooting in your home, or your front yard, or your family camp, or a park near your house... it just has a convenience factor that any parent I think can appreciate. Maybe you get to avoid a long car ride, or just get to have super easy access to a change of clothes or snacks. If you have a super energetic child (both of my boys went through phases where we described them as "runners"), meaningful and familiar spaces can just feel safer, too, and that extra bit of stress relief can go a long way in making EVERYONE feel more relaxed for photos.

5. We can also photograph meaningful activities.

If your family has special rituals or activities that they love, we should document them! Does your partner make you a cup of coffee every morning? Do your kids love to do cannonball challenges in the pool? Does your kiddo love to bake, or dance, or paint? Let's capture all of it. I LOVE planning and capturing activities feel important to your family.

Ready to book a family session in a meaningful location?

Contact me! I am more than happy to chat with your about your ideas, and can't wait to capture your family in your most important spaces.

Laura Waugh is a lifestyle and documentary family photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is available for travel nationwide.

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