The Phoenix valley area offers such a diverse landscape for taking family pictures, whether you want the classic desert vibe or a more rugged local aesthetic, the variety here in the valley has been so much fun for me to get to know since moving here two years ago. ost.
When I’m looking at locations for family photos, I like to find places that have natural beauty, aren’t over populated or distracting, and are safe for the kids. I also look for places that have good lighting and easy access so that you aren’t too tired by the time you get to the actual place for your pictures! I have found some great places all over the Phoenix valley to take pictures and I’m sharing my favorite spots in this blog post.
Living in Phoenix means desert and cacti. But if I’m being honest, I’m not a huge fan of the cactus look because I feel like it’s overused. Plus, being a California girl, I crave real trees and greens over towering cacti in my family photography. I’ve found some beautiful places for family pictures in Phoenix that are not just about the cactus, yet still give off a desert look.
This is a great place for taking family pictures because it’s only about 20 minutes from Central Phoenix, has easy parking and trails and gives you a desert look without dangerous cacti all around. Since I want you and your kids to be able to move around during my photography sessions, this is a great place to do that!
There are trails around the lakes, bridges and places to sit or walk while taking your family photos. Although this location can have a lot of visitors at all times of year, there are so many nooks and crannies, that it’s easy to find places all over the preserve where there aren’t distractions or too many people.
I have a couple favorite verandas at the park where not too many people go and where we can walk around, throw rocks and even climb a couple trees for the more adventurous kiddos. Sunsets at Papago Park are also beautiful and although it’s a desert vibe here, the palm trees add a different look than your typical desert bush
Before even moving to Phoenix, I knew from seeing other photographers’ work that I had to go adventure near Salt River located in Mesa, AZ. Little did I know how much fun it would be to see the wild horses and the variety of backdrops that the Salt River has to offer. My top three favorite places at the Salt River are:
Coon Bluff: Easy access to some beautiful trees to help filter the golden hour sun and then walk down to the water for some shallow water play.
Phon D Sutton: A great place for seeing wild horses and wading in the river, with lush green all around. The river has such a romantic feel here, that Phon D Sutton is a popular place for maternity sessions or family sessions, especially when you have young children.
Water Users: A mountainous spot along the Salt River where you can have access to the water, skip stones, and even get a beautiful picture with the Four Peaks Mountain Range in the back.
Like I said, I’m a California girl at heart, so when I can find a field filled with lush green grass and beautiful trees, you know I’ll be taking photos there! This secret field is located near Avondale, only 20-30 min from Central Phoenix and is an amazing place for pictures, especially for families with kids who need to run around a lot and be contained at the same time. Certain times of year, this field is more green than others, so I always like to scout it out ahead of time before taking a client there to make sure it doesn’t look like a bunch of dead grass
If you’re wanting a more urban look that is unique to Phoenix, I’ll bring you and your family to a small plaza located in the heart of Phoenix that has mediterranean vibes, with archways and stairs. This spot is a new place I found recently and is great if you’re needing a session earlier in the day because the architecture provides shade in ways an open field can’t and that means less squinting and cooler temperatures.
Last but not least, one of my favorite places for pictures in Phoenix to take my families too is in Downtown Phoenix. There are a fantastic array of murals, buildings and even parks in Downtown so that if you’re wanting something that feels local, more urban, and have a unique feel to it, you’ll want to choose a spot in Downtown Phoenix for family pictures. There are a few aesthetics in downtown, including the murals, beautiful rooftops as well as local parks and architecture.
Although here I’ve been sharing my recommendations for the best places for taking pictures in the Phoenix valley, I want to mention that another beautiful and unique option for family photos is to choose to do them in your own home. I share examples and reasons why you might want to consider this option in a separate blog post HERE.
If you’re wanting to book your fall family photos early this year, I highly recommend you get on my email list so you have early access to my fall calendar. I open up my availability for photography sessions to my newsletter list before sharing it with the public.