Good lighting is everything. If you are concerned about having individuals with squinty eyes, I suggest choosing a shady location. Morning shoots are great for families that want to have their session early when kids are fresh.
I can’t guarantee that we will have a bright blue lake for pictures. It depends on a lot of factors like time of day, what side of the lake we are on, and sun vs clouds. And if you notice with my examples below it’s not a common result. But if the blue lake is your main goal then scroll down to my East Side section in the afternoon for your best chance.
I meet most summer families about 9AM or 10am.
If you want standing on the beach photos then this location works great. It is on the south end of Bear Lake. There is parking near the water’s edge and is easy for large groups. Even on busy days, I’ve been able to find spots on the beach. It is a Utah State Park and has an entrance fee of $10- $20 per car depending on your circumstance. For all beach locations, I don’t recommend wearing nice shoes or heals. And be aware that there will be other people visiting the beach. I can’t guarantee the lake to be super blue, it all depends on cloud cover. Most days in July and August are bright and sunny. By the bathroom building there is a water faucet to wash sand off feet. With beach photos, I spend time editing out background people in the water.
BEACH BY REST AREA (This place is currently closed and under construction)
There is a rest stop on the south end of Bear Lake between Garden City and Laketown. It has grass areas, shady spots, and some beach areas. If you want a free location near the lake, and don’t mind the brush and rocks, then this is a great spot for pictures. We have plenty of parking and you won’t need to walk very far. I meet groups here at 9am to catch the shade.
ROCKING RANCH HILL
This location is just north of Garden City and is high enough to have beautiful views of the lake and mountains. I love it for how easy it is to get to. It has no homes nearby. I highly recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes for kids if they don’t like the feel of grass on their legs as the grass here is itchy. This is private land that I have permission to photograph on. There is no shade here, most often we’d have a sunny day. So with that, I don’t recommend wearing dark pinks, corals or reds as the the sun bounces that color around. I get better skin tones when families wear neutral colors. Because I expose for the faces in shadow, the distant background is lighter, so I won’t be able to get the lake a brilliant blue color.
NEAR MEADOWVILLE DR
There is a rustic spot on the south end of Bear Lake between Garden City and Laketown. It has large bush areas, shady spots, lots of rocks, and some beach areas. If we do pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face. If you want a free location near the lake, and don’t mind the wild brush and rocks, then this is a great spot. We park on the main highway. This spot works best at 9am.
ROCKING RANCH ROAD
This location is just north of Garden City and has beautiful views of the lake and the west mountains. I love this spot right at sunset when the sky turns pink. In the summer months the sun sets pretty late, sometime between 7:30 – 8:30pm depending on the month. So keep that in mind if you have little ones. It is an easy place to drive to and has no homes around. I highly recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes if your kids don’t like the feel of grass on their legs. Because I expose for the faces in shadow, the distant background is lighter, so I won’t be able to get the lake a brilliant blue color.
In May and June the grass is green. In July through August it fades to golden dry grass.
In the fall months I like to meet at 6pm. Peak fall color season is at the end of September to early October.
If you want standing on the beach photos then this location works great. It is on the south end of Bear Lake and is a Utah State Park with fees to use it. See rates below. There is easy parking near the beach. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face. There is plenty of sand here and beaches are less busy in the evening. Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes come out at dusk. At any locations on the beach I don’t recommend wearing nice shoes/heals. With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water. If you don’t like the lighting with sun on the faces, then we can meet right as the sun sets and have lovely soft pink lighting.
On the Idaho side of Bear Lake is North Beach. There is a $5 per car fee, and it’s 30 minutes from Garden City. In July and August this place is highly popular so I recommend meeting as late in the day as possible. 7:30pm. I like it for the clean beaches and simple background, there usually isn’t plant debris in the water. It is shallow a long way out and easy to stand in. I like evening times at the beach as there a fewer people around us.
The following show North Beach on a sunny evening.
If you want to catch that beautiful blue lake, then we can meet on the east side around 2 or 3pm. I can’t guarantee the blue color but at this time and location is our best chance. The beach has lots of rocks and not much sand, but I love using the dock.
The East Side is also beautiful at sunset and provides a different and lovely look to the photos. In the summer I meet clients at 7pm.
STUMP HOLLOW TRAIL
This is a mountain location I absolutely love. It has aspens, pines, rocky stream. And it’s just 20 minutes outside of Garden City, near Beaver Ski. My favorite fall location. Up in the canyon, we can meet as early as 3pm. Peak colors are mid to end of September.
NEAR TEMPLE FORK
Another mountain location I like is halfway down Logan Canyon near Temple Fork. It involves a short 5 minute hike up a hill to some beautiful mountain views. I recommend wearing sturdy shoes for hiking and walking in the grass.
This spot is right in the heart of Logan Canyon with fields of grass, stream, aspens and mountains. A good time to meet here is 6 or 7 pm in the summer. 4 pm in the fall. It’s 45 minutes from Garden City.
This photo was taken early October at 4pm.
BEAR LAKE SUMMIT
This is near the summit rest area with view of Bear Lake, about ten minutes up the hill. Back behind the building are aspens and pines and wild flowers. It is a very rocky and rough area, so wear sturdy shoes. After sunset we can have views of the lake behind you.
The following 6 photos were taken in the fall at 6pm.
Small families can have pictures taken at this stunning spot with panoramic views of Bear Lake and the west mountains. It’s the perfect spot right at sunset. Since we are on the rocky mountain top, I suggest wearing solid shoes and long pants. For fall colors I’d try around the end of September.
NEAR BEAVER MOUNTAIN
This is another mountain location I absolutely love, and it’s just 20 minutes outside of Garden City. It has aspens, pines, rocky stream. If you don’t mind the walk we can be by an old bridge. It’s my favorite fall location. Up in the canyon, we can meet as early at 4pm.
It’s a beautiful lake up Logan Canyon. Easy to get to and worth the trip. We can park right by the lake, and there is an entrance fee of $7 per car. It’s open from July to September. In the summer months there are wild flowers. Fall brings yellow aspens. Please make sure your kids don’t pick the flowers so that others can enjoy them.
If you have a small boat or canoe we can take pictures on the lake too. Tony Grove is about 45 minutes from Garden City.