Creating Dreamy Photographs | Location Choices

The biggest question I get when booking a family session is, “What should we wear?”  Over the next few months, I plan to dive into styling for sessions in more detail as I know this is a great concern for folks who are about to be photographed.  Today I am going to start at the beginning, with location choices.  How you style your clothing can be dictated by where you go.  But before we get to that, let’s talk about how to choose the right backdrop for your next photography session.


I find a lot of times, couples/families will choose a location for pictures based on two things.  The sentimental value of the location & the how aesthetically pleasing the location is.  No matter what you choose, the biggest factor with how your pictures come out is the lighting.  Two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset are the BEST times of the day to get great images, but if you cannot set up a time in those windows, the second thing to think about is “Is there shade?”  If there is, your photographs will be amazing.  Choosing a wide open area in the middle of the day can be difficult to get the “dreamy/creamy” look in your photos.  The sun will cast harsh light on your face, creating shadows under your eyes, nose, chin.  Basically in all the WRONG places.  LOL!


Now don’t get me wrong.  Having a beautiful fountain, tree, building in the background is the DREAM photo, but it isn’t the end all be all.  If your fountain, tree or building are in harsh lighting those photos will not come out the best.  Let’s be honest here.  What is the first thing you look at when you see your picture?  I will put a dollar down betting that you look at YOURSELF first.  Then you’ll look at everyone else in the image.  And lastly you will look at the background.  While a beautiful background is the dream photograph.  It isn’t everything.  If I had to choose whether to put you in harsh light in front of the fountain or putting you in a shaded area with nothing behind you, I would choose the shade.  AND I guarantee you that you would LOVE the shaded picture SO much more.  Trust your photographer.  If they don’t put you in front of something you find aesthetically pleasing, there is probably a reason.  For us, it all comes down to finding the right light.  So be patient and see if you can get that image towards the end of your session when the sun is lower.  🙂


The next thing that I think about when I am choosing a location for my clients is their personality.  I love getting a read on them to see what they like before we finalize a spot.  If they are laid back, relaxed folks, I love putting them in environments that are similar.  A park, a lake, and docks have been my go to places in the Dallas area for these types of families.  If my couple/family is more active and loves city life, I would choose something more urban.  Downtown living areas that architecturally beautiful OR a water feature that has city backgrounds in it are a great places for family photos.  Knowing what city you are in too is key as there may be places that show the essence of that city that you would want to showcase.  For my St Louis couples/families that LOVE the city, we would FOR SURE have the Arch in the background.  Being in the city for couples shoots, you can also get creative with wall murals.  There are so many wall murals in every city that add something fun to the background of an image.  The last option is something that makes total sense, but if my couple/family lives in the country or LOVES country life, I DEFINITELY want to take their images in a country setting.  It wouldn’t look authentic if we didn’t.

In our next blog, we will start to breakdown locations and clothing choices for each location to look your best on camera.  🙂

See you guys there!




  1. […] as the location you choose.  Today we are going to talk about how to choose colors based on the backdrop that you have chosen.  If your goal is to have that light, airy, dreamy look in your photographs, color choice is key. […]

  2. […] as the location you choose.  Today we are going to talk about how to choose colors based on the backdrop that you have chosen.  If your goal is to have that light, airy, dreamy look in your photographs, color choice is key. […]

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