Location ideas for extended-families

MORNING TIMES     

  • 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 for your best chance.
  • I bring stools and chairs for large groups.  If you don’t want stools in your pictures, just let me know.
  • I meet most summer families between 9am or 10am.
  • And if we are meeting on a sunny day, I suggest not wearing eye glasses as they pick up glare and reflections.

 


RENDEZVOUS BEACH
(Due to a very wet winter, there are only a few sandy beach locations for the summer of 2020, so Rendezvous Beach is one of my favorite spots)
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.   Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.  By the bathroom building there is a water faucet to wash sand off feet.  With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water.

The photos below were taken between 9 or 10am on a sunny day.

 

Rendezvous Beach is a Utah State Park and a fee use park.  See below for their rates.  On Friday and Saturdays it goes up $5.

 


IDEAL BEACH
If you are staying at Ideal Beach then we have access to their private beach.  Your pictures will have views of the iconic Bear Lake mountains and the lake behind you. On busy days in July, the beach may be all filled up.
With any locations on the beach I don’t recommend wearing nice shoes/heals.  They also have tall shady trees if you want to be in the shade.  These large trees make it so we can meet later in the morning or afternoon if needed. I can’t guarantee the lake to be super blue, it all depends on cloud cover.  With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water.  Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.

One of the downsides of Ideal Beach are the busy days in July and August.  Even in the morning I’ve found little room on the beach for pictures.  This beach gets filled up very early.  So if you want to take pictures here, you’ll need to reserve a spot for us.

 

The four photos below were taken around 9am on a sunny day.

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IMG_0770The following 3 photos were taken about 9:30am on a cloudy day.

Ideal Beach also has beautiful tall trees for some really nice shaded photos.


BEACH BY REST AREA
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. Right now this location is under construction so I wouldn’t be able to do pictures with the trees, but the beach area is available.  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 brush and rocks, then this is a great spot for large groups.  We have plenty of parking and you won’t need to walk very far.  I meet groups here at 9am.


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 for small groups.  We park on the main highway.  I meet small groups here at 9am.


ROCKING RANCH HILL

This location is just north of Garden City and is just 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.  It also doesn’t have any shade so pictures will have sun on the faces (see below).  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.

These three photos were taken about 9am in June on a sunny day.  The grass is green in May and June.

These 2 photos were taken about 10am on a sunny day early July.

This photo was taken about 10am on a sunny day end of July.  The grass is half green and half golden.

These two photos were taken about 9am on a sunny day in August.  By now the grass is all golden.


THE RESERVE
In Fish Have, Idaho  (Due to a very wet winter, the sandy beach by the lake is underwater, but there are a few sandy spots near the pavilions). Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.
Families staying at The Reserve have access to this gated private beach.  It has large trees and is quiet.  I love it for the variety in setting and color.   We can find shade for small groups.

 

 


YOUR CABIN
Some families, especially very large groups, want the ease of pictures done at your own place.
If that works for you, here are some suggestions.
I prefer outdoor shady spots on level ground with a large area to pose your family.  That way I don’t have to worry about sun on faces.
I can’t guarantee that we will have a bright blue lake for pictures, or be able to angle towards the view.  It depends on a lot of factors like time of day, what side of the lake we are on, and sun vs clouds.

If the shady spot is in the evening we can meet in the evening.

The photos below were taken on the front porch in the morning.

With families photographed in the shade, but the background is not shaded, I expose for the faces which makes the background extra light.
So if you want a view of the blue lake behind your family, this type of setup won’t capture the lake very well.

 


AFTERNOON TIMES

 

ROCKING RANCH HILL
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 is pink.    In the summer months the sun sets pretty late, between 7:30 – 8:30pm depending on the month.  So keep that in mind if you have little ones in your group.    I’ve also photographed summer groups here as early as 4:30pm.  It has a different feel than sunset.  See examples below.  If you want pictures in the shade, then we need to meet at 7:30pm or later.
It is an easy place to drive to and has no homes around, and is easy for large groups to gather.   I highly recommend wearing long pants and closed shoes for kids.  The grass is high here and I’ve seen how kids don’t like the feel of grass on their legs.
In the fall months I like to meet at 6pm.  Peak fall color season is at the end of September, early October.

The following photo was taken in May about 7:30pm after sunset.

IMG_9446The following photo was taken in June about 7:30pm after sunset.

The following 2 photos were taken in July about 4:30pm on a sunny day.

The following 2 photos were taken in early July about 5pm on a sunny day.

This photo was taken about 7pm in July.

This photo was taken about 7:45pm in July, after the sun had set.

This photo was taken about 7:30pm in July, after the sun had set.

This photo was taken about 7:30pm in August, after the sun had set.

The following photos was taken after sunset at 6pm in October.

 


TONY GROVE
This lovely mountain location is located in Logan Canyon, about 35-40 minutes from Garden City.   In the summer there are wildflowers.  In the fall the colors turn yellow.  I like to meet families here at 7 or 7:30pm so we can be in the shade which will give us gorgeous light.  Tony Grove is also only suitable for small groups, 20 people or less as there’s lots of scrub and rocks, and no large areas suitable for large groups.  Tony Grove is open from July to September.


RENDEZVOUS BEACH
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.  I like that there are tall trees for shade, or we can be by the waters edge in the sun. 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.

The 7 photos below were taken about 7:00pm on a sunny evening.

The photo below was taken about 7:00pm on a sunny day in the shade of a tree.

The 2 photos below was taken about 4pm on a sunny day.

The following photos were taken right after the sun set behind the mountains.  Approximately 7:45pm in the summer depending on the month.  This lighting only works for 30 minute sessions.

Utah State Park is a fee use park.  See below for their rates. Fridays and Saturdays the fee goes up $5.


EAST SIDE

On the east side of Bear Lake in the early afternoon, we can catch the lake when it’s bright and blue, if it’s a sunny day.  This place is rocky so don’t expect a sandy beach.  For small groups there is a dock we can use too. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.  I like to meet families here between 2 and 4pm.  This is a Utah State park too and the day use fee is $6 per car.  Since we will be out in the sun, 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. With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water.

 


 

IDEAL BEACH
If you are staying at Ideal Beach then we have access to their private beach.  Your pictures will have views of the mountains and the lake behind you.
There is plenty of sand at Ideal Beach. Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.  With 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.

The 2 photos below were taken on overcast days about 7:30pm in July.

IMG_7523b

IMG_7588b

This photo of grand kids was taken about 7pm in August, and they wanted to be away from the water, but on the sand in the shade of the large trees.
This family was also in the shade of a small tree, but near the water at 7pm in July.


NORTH BEACH

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.  This place is highly popular so I recommend meeting as late in the day as possible. 7:30 or 8pm.  I like it for the clean beaches and simple background.  The water is shallow a long way out and easy to stand in.  Since we will most likely be in the sun, I don’t recommend wearing dark pinks, corals or reds as the the sun bounces that color around.  Pictures at the lake will have some sunlight on the face.  I get better skin tones when families wear neutral colors.  With beach photos, I spend time editing out anyone in the water.

These two photos were taken when state-wide fires caused smoke to be in the air.  The following 3 photos were taken about 7:30pm in cloudy shade.


SUMMIT OVERLOOK

This is a good shady spot for evening session for small groups.  I recommend meeting at 7:00 or 7:30 in the summer months.  6pm in the fall.  This location is very rocky and not good for high heels or those with mobility challenges.  I would recommend closed sturdy shoes so we can walk to a variety of settings.  In June through August there will be some wild flowers.

The following photos below were taken at 6pm in September.

The following two photos were taken about 7pm in June.

The following three photos were taken about 5pm in June.

The following photo was taken at 7pm in August.

 


CONESTOGA RANCH

If you are staying at Conestoga Ranch in Bear Lake then we can take pictures there on site.  It has plenty of room for a large family on the grass or a small family around the wildflowers.  The wagons and tents make a charming backdrop.  The wild flowers bloom in mid June and July.  I like to photograph here right near sunset 7 or 7:30pm.


 

YOUR CABIN

Some families, especially very large groups, want the ease of pictures done at your own place.
If that works for you, here are some suggestions.
I prefer outdoor shady spots on level ground with a large area to pose your family.  That way I don’t have to worry about sun on faces.
I can’t guarantee that we will have a bright blue lake for pictures, or be able to angle towards the view.  It depends on a lot of factors like time of day, what side of the lake we are on, and sun vs clouds.
I avoid shooting indoors, but we can use that if the weather is bad.

The following photo was taken about 7:30pm in the shade of their back yard.

The following photo was taken about 7:30pm at their cabin backyard on an overcast day.

The following photo was taken about 6pm at their rental’s beach on a sunny afternoon.

The following photo was taken about 7:30pm at their rental’s beach on a cloudy afternoon.

The following 2 photos were taken about 7:00pm in the shade of their rental.

We photographed in the shade of this house that blocked the afternoon winds.

 


 

WINTER LOCATIONS

Because of snow and travel, I like to find winter locations that are easy for groups to get to.  If we meet in the morning I prefer 10 or 11am.   For afternoons I prefer 2 or 3pm.

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MARINA OVERFLOW
This location is very easy for large groups to reach and is right in Garden City.  Roads are plowed.  We would meet up on a hill with views of Bear Lake behind you.

IMG_4072bIMG_5111bIMG_5199b


BEAVER CREEK
If you love giant snowy pine trees and grand mountain views then this is the location for you.   It is up Logan Canyon and about 30 minutes from Garden City.  It is a great spot for small-medium groups.  This spot works great in the late morning or early evening.


THE RESERVE

If you are staying in the gated neighborhood called The Reserve in Fish Haven then we have access to these stunning views.  It works for large groups as we can park on the road and be right at this view of Bear Lake.  10am is the best time at this spot.


SUMMIT OVERLOOK

I haven’t done snow pictures here yet, but I think it would be a great location for small groups that don’t mind walking in the snow.  We would be able to park at the rest stop parking, and then walk around the area.    This location is very rocky and not good for those with mobility challenges.  On a sunny day in the morning we could have views of the lake in the distance.  In the afternoon, we could have pictures with the trees in the background.  If it’s overcast, then we can take pictures at any angle.

 

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