Adventure sessions with families and couples have my whole heart. There's definitely something special about traveling outside of the city for a photo session where it feels like you have the whole place to yourself. I feel grateful this year to have traveled to some pretty amazing locations outside of Seattle. This year, one of my goals for family and couples sessions was to photograph at some of my favorite scenic spots around the Pacific Northwest. I met this beautiful family last year during my holiday studio minis that I held in Pioneer Square at a studio called Olive Seattle. We began the conversation to begin talking about a future Summer beach adventure session. I feel like it's never too early to plan in advance for family photos. Life moves fast and as my business grows, I'm finding that dates are going faster than in years prior. Getting in touch with me early to grab a spot on my calendar ensures that you've already taken care of finding and securing a date before someone else books your spot. I always have returning clients, but as my account on Instagram grows new people are finding me and requesting dates for photoshoots.

Boy and girl sitting on rock watching sunset at Rosario Beach, WA

After talking about how far they were willing to travel, we picked an evening in August and timed it for golden hour. This location is one of my favorite spots for adventure sessions due to the variety of landscape, height, and background opportunities. A short hillclimb to the top of a cliff area brings you to one of the prettiest beach and island views in the Pacific Northwest. It's breathtaking and I can always hear the excitement in my client's voices when we walk into the open field area. During the Springtime, this hillside sprouts tiny little wildflowers which gives a completely different look to your photos. There are tall rocks everywhere for kids to safely climb, and amazing viewpoints of the water and the islands.

Couple facing each other standing on cliff edge with sunset in background at Rosario Beach, WA
Couple standing on cliff edge watching sunset at Rosario Beach, WA

If you're looking for dramatic backdrops and a variety of color for a Summer family or couples photoshoot, I highly recommend this spot. It's beautiful all year 'round, but it can be windy and cold during the cooler months - it all depends on how adventurous you are. With the kids tucked safely on the rocks behind us, we managed to sneak Mom and Dad away for these romantic photos. With the sun setting in the background, I played with light and took images from two different viewpoints to capture the golden sun and again to capture their faces being lit up by the sun. Playing with light is one of my favorite things to do during a photoshoot. I love experimenting with shadows and a variety of angles to see what my camera will find.

Mother standing with girl and boy on sloping hill with sun setting behind at Rosario Beach, WA
Mother wearing white halter dress playing with kids at Rosario Beach, WA

The thing I love about beach sessions is all the water that acts as an activity for your photoshoot. Having an activity that is meaningful to your family really helps you to focus on something other than having your picture taken. A guitar, a picnic, or something as simple as a blanket or scarf can all act as props for your photoshoot. My client specifically requested a beach where she could dip her feet in and play with her kids. There are so many things I love about this photo with the mountains, water and trees in the background, but my favorite is always seeing my clients enjoying their time. The sun was setting in the background and we were there right on time to capture this sweet moment between this Mama and her kids. Besides the moments behind the camera, I'm always checking the light and the sun to see how quickly it's moving. I never want to miss an optimal time for lighting. Some locations have the sun disappear faster due to cliffs, hills, or trees, so sunset times are not the same for every location. I always ask my clients to be flexible the day of their session to see if we potentially have to pivot to a slightly earlier or later time.

Mother wearing white halter dress carrying little girl while walking in water

As a family and couples photographer that focuses on candid moments, I'm always looking for spontaneity that naturally occurs when you are interacting with your loved ones. For parents, I always ask that they focus on their kids and partners instead of the camera. You could be missing a sweet moment with your kids or partner - maybe they're trying to grab your attention, are searching for a hug, or want to bring you in closer for a snuggle. While you have me capturing pictures for you, take the time to have fun and look for gentle moments of connection. This little girl was a bit apprehensive to go into the water on her own so her Mother took the opportunity to pick her up and walk in with her. This created a gorgeous portrait for her and her daughter that I could have easily suggested to them, but it's always better when it happens naturally.

Family of four standing with children on beach at Rosario Beach, WA
Family of four sitting on black rock beach watching sunset at Rosario Beach, WA

There are so many things I learn from each and every session with families and couples. Everyone shows love and affection differently, but the one constant trend I see in every family or couples session is that everyone wants to be acknowledged; especially kids. Let your kids, yourself, and your partners be exactly who they are during a session, love on them, and don't forget to take a deep breath and have fun. Enter into every photo session with low expectations. You may visit a beautiful location such as this again and again throughout your lifetime, but during the time you have booked a photographer like me, I'll be there to capture it for you so you can remember exactly how it was years from now.