Little Starling Photography- Utah's custom lifestyle photographer bio picture
  • Welcome to my blog!

    I'm Lauriann Wakefield, and through photography, I help vacationers at Bear Lake express their love and connection with this beautiful place. I serve family clients in the Bear Lake Utah, Logan, and occasionally in the Utah County areas. My work can be described as editorial, with complimentary composition and beautiful light. Please contact me for information or to book a session. You can also contact me through Facebook.

Tips for a successful multi-family photography session

It’s warming up and many are thinking of summer plans and gatherings with families far and near.  If you are like many, you will be meeting loved ones you haven’t seen in years and you’ll want to document your time together.  Hopefully you can hire a photographer that knows how to manage a multi-family session.

I live in the beautiful area of Northern Utah called Bear Lake, and my summers are filled with meeting multi-families for portraits.  Not many photographers specialize in multi-families, so to help you and the photographer you hire, here are some tips to guide you and make your photo session go smoother and happier for all involved.

1. If you can, choose a photographer who lives at the destination of your family vacation.  She will be the most familiar with locations perfect for family sessions.  She may even have access to private spots not available to the public.

2. Communicate with the photographer exactly what you are expecting from the assignment.  Is the big family group your top priority?  Is this the grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary?  Do you want lifestyle photographs of a day at the beach?  Do you want grandkid shots with grandparents? Share a list with your photographer about what you want.

3.  If you have babies that will be tired and ready for sleep during the summer “golden hour,” let your photographer know that a morning session will work much better for your group.  Most photographers want to shoot during the golden hour when the sun’s light is beautiful.  But a well trained photographer can find great lighting at any time.

4. Let the photographer choose the location.  Before you meet, she will take the time to research the best location that meets you needs.  She will also choose a spot that has great lighting that will give the best possible portraits. And if she is passionate about a location and the results she can get there, you will be happier with the outcome.

5.  Make sure you have the photographer’s phone number in case you have trouble meeting up.  Many families are at vacation spots where streets are unknown.  Makes sure you can reach your photographer if you find you get lost.

6.  Arrive with well fed kids.

7.  Most likely you will be out in the summer sun.  Bring water especially for kids who get grumpy when they are hot and thirsty.

8.  Be aware of days playing in the sun that proceed your photo session.  Your photographer will love that she doesn’t have to edit sunburned faces.

9.. Know that some kids do not like attention on them while their pictures are being taken.   Imagine having five adults around the photographer yelling the child’s name and smile.  It can be overwhelming and confusing on who to look at.  And often the photographer’s directions can’t be heard.  The best approach is to let the photographer alone with the subjects.  Your photographer should know how to get the children comfortable and looking at the camera.  With just one voice directing, the kids are less confused on where to look.  And you will be happy with a photo of all of them looking at the camera.

10. If you are doing family, individual and multifamily shots, plan on the process taking up to two hours.  And let your whole group know ahead of time.  One way to ease the time waiting turns, suggest with the photographer that family units show up in timed intervals.  So not everyone is there waiting around for their turn.  I have used this approach on several families and they have loved how fast the whole session went.   For example, for a family of 5 adult married children, plus their kids,  I will have two family units show up first.  I’ll take their individual family portraits.  By the time I’m done with them, I’ve scheduled the rest of the group to arrive.  Everyone is there and we photograph all the multi-family group shots.  Once they are over, the two families that have had their pictures done, are excused to leave.  I finish up with the remaining 3 family units.  I’m there the whole time, but everyone isn’t.

11. Wear appropriate shoes for your location.  I take clients to  areas that have sticker plants, bugs, and sometimes wet dirt, so I advise them not to wear heals or flip flops.   And if you shoot by a lake like I do, bring bug spray for everyone.


I’ve noticed that family photos can be stressful for parents, and with so many involved, lots of confusion.   So give control over to the photographer, laugh and enjoy your time together!
Happy gathering!



This is our back yard.

I’ve observed the “not so nice” quality I have of being annoyed when our neighbors are here interrupting our solitary and quiet street.  Not you Faye :)  When we moved here, and I found out there were no next door neighbors, or neighbors next door to them, and on, that I wondered that we might feel isolated and lonely.   And though I do miss having kids close by to play with my kids, I LOVE our quiet street.  Tranquility every day.  Until summer. :)

We’ve enjoyed the beaches all to ourselves for months and months, and now it’s visitor season.  We have to share our giant backyard, childhood wonderland.
I am a little annoyed.
But we still claim it as our lake.
Along with hundreds of others.


Love the gift of life

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that He gave life to someone who loves the gift.” -Shauna Niequist

Stephanie Crosby - April 4, 2014 - 5:50 pm

Lauriann, You (wow!) have a gift. Gorgeous! I want you to take pictures of my family for a day. :) ha! If only it were that easy. Too bad I’m in Houston and not at Bear Lake. :)

Bear Lake Artist, Lauriann Wakefield

A little about myself-

I’m Lauriann Wakefield and I can’t believe I get to live here!

I think it all the time.
Two years ago I moved to a rolling hill in view of the beautiful Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border.  If you’ve been there you’ll understand the magic of this place, and the beauty of the mountains and the brilliant blue water.  Locals call it a little piece of heaven, and I’ve found that it is a place that feeds my soul.

Professionally, I am a portrait and lifestyle photographer, but painting and being an artist, have always been a part of what I’m passionate about.   I’ve had a good amount of art training, from when I was young through to when I was in college.   Although I’ve tried most mediums and subject matter, watercolor was my medium and still life setups were what I painted.  I loved fabric, lace, quilts, and texture and thought I would never stop painting them.  There was nothing like getting lost for hours in paint and wondering how did the time go by so quick.

Somewhere between college and work I lost that need to paint.   If I was a writer, I would have writers block.  I needed a new subject matter, but nothing motivated me to stir the paint.  Till Bear Lake.


When did you start painting oils and what do you paint?

Before I could really appreciate them, I had oil painting lessons when I was young from a very talented painter, Stuart Heimdall.  I always wanted to get back into painting oils embracing all of it.  I thought it would be when I was much much older.  I had it all planned out.  I was going to be that eccentric lady, with a handful of wind chimes on my porch, and the luxury of painting all day in my messy studio.

Now when I drive around Bear Lake and the surrounding mountains taking pictures, I see paintings.  I see colors and I see how I would put them on canvas.  It’s as if the land is begging me to paint it.   I’ve never had that experience before.   So I listened to the wind, drove to the nearest art store an hour away, and with a little bit of fear I bought the gear that I would need.   Landscape painting was my new thing.  I’m still in an exploring phase.  Still a little rusty.  But thrilled to feel the paint again, like a refreshing breeze.  There must be something in this mountain air.

Who inspires you?

At the moment I am captivated by the landscapes of Douglas Fryer.  He also lives in a rural, small Utah town, and captures the beauty of simple farm life.   His work is abstract, yet defines mood in landscape. I love his color palette, and perfect brush strokes.




I have a long way to go in my painting process.  I struggle with being too illustrative.  I want to paint more loose, more abstract.  I want the viewer to feel the brush strokes,  feel the wind in the hills, and see the movement.  I aspire to be a gallery painter again.  This summer, I hope to be exhibiting my work at the 2014  Bear Lake Raspberry Days.

And a quote that keeps me motivated:

Author, Elizabeth Gilbert said, “There’s never been a better moment to have been born female in the developed world.  We’re still not where we should be, but we have the best chance of anyone yet to do the work we want to do.  We are more than just caretakers, which is the main role women have had for centuries, we have a voice and creativity.  Do you think having a project that wasn’t 100 percent great ever stopped a man?  I’m constantly encouraging women to put their work forward, to get out of their own way.”  Elizabeth feels in every fiber of her being that it’s never too late to pursue that creative drive, never too late to change the course of your life, though she knows full well how difficult it is to act on that urge.


To see Lauriann’s photography work, visit

To see her oil paintings and work in progress visit  and