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

    I'm Lauriann Wakefield and I strive to photograph the families who hire me in an artful and authentic way.
    I serve clients in the Bear Lake Utah / Idaho area.

    I have a modern style of photography that illustrates your life, love and laughter together.
    I want to photograph you and your loved ones in beautiful natural light, interacting and having fun.

    Please contact me for information or to book a session.
    You can also reach me through Facebook.

Favorite moments from last summer

I was blessed to meet 41 extended family groups over the summer break of 2015.  Yes, I was BUSY!
Here are some of my favorite moments from last summer:


We met at Ideal Beach on a beautiful sunny morning.  As it was the first week of July, I worried that the beach and lake would be filled with beach goers.  But 9am proved to be a good time to beat the crowds.  We pretty much had the beach to ourselves and I enjoyed spending a beautiful Bear Lake day with this cheery family.


One of the most unique requests I got last summer was an email asking if I was free to photograph after their elopement in the county court house.
They had come to Bear Lake just for this reason, and I was happy to provide memorable pictures.


This is the largest family I’ve photographed to date.  63 individuals and every member of the family was there.  I pulled the mom and dad out from the group and took this portrait.  I told the back group to be casual.
When the parents turned around to see their posterity all spread out, tears came to their eyes.
The mom expressed love and gratitude for her family and marveled that they were all together.
I couldn’t help but feel that happiness comes through family life.
This moment was a highlight of their trip and one I know they will always remember.



The other fun thing about meeting families for pictures are the private locations I get invited to.   This family wanted their pictures done at their friend’s place, Indian Creek Ranch, which is located at a remote spot on Bear Lake.  We had ponds, ducks, trees, barns, hollyhocks and dusty old roads.  A photographer’s dream and I loved it!  I think one of the most charming locations I’ve been to around the lake.




Another unique thing last summer was photographing some YouTubers, or vloggers if you’re not familiar.
So during our shoot they filmed the fun and put it up on You Tube.  Check it out if you want to see me in action.

Jared and Ellie’s YouTube channel:


Matt and Emily’s YouTube channel:

I met the Hight family at The Reserve Beach on Bear Lake.   This was in June and early in the season, no one else was around.
As I was done with our session and walking back to my car, I turned to see this fun group of moms and daughters lingering at the beach even though there was an approaching rain storm.
You can’t help but feel the peace and calmness at the shores of Bear Lake.


When I can, I love to created these landscape portraits for other clients too.IMG_8172bIMG_7665b

At the end of this session, the parents just let the kids go and play in the water.  I loved it!IMG_2218b


I will always remember getting a hug and a kiss on the forehead from the dad of this family as we wrapped up our session.  He was so grateful  his family could be together for pictures.
And I walked away feeling grateful for kind and heartfelt clients.



The mother of this family wanted portraits of her kids playing at the lake.
Why yes!  I would LOVE to do that.  🙂



Close to my heart is a family where the father had terminal cancer.
He was generous (bought me chocolates) and kind, and I enjoyed meeting his family.
Their trip to Bear Lake with their kids and grandkids was a last celebration of being together.  It was an honor to provide family portraits for them.


I meet so many wonderful families that give me the privilege to document their families.
I hear of future changes, missions and babies.
Many tell me they haven’t been all together in years.
A lot come from other states to gather at Bear Lake.

I love seeing siblings laugh together.  I love meeting proud grandparents with all their children and grandchildren around.
I leave each session with the deep impression that family love is what makes life so valuable.


I’m looking forward to meeting my 2016 families.



I’m starting to book summer families at Bear Lake! Groups are dreaming of warm summer days at the lake surrounded by loved ones and wanting family reunion photos.  I just wish it looked a little more like summer now.
There is still ice on the lake so we are doing our part to break it away to see our blue lake again.

Just a reminder to groups, July and August fill up fast for me, so schedule as soon as you can.



Cyd rogers Tetro - March 5, 2016 - 9:30 pm

My parents are coming home first part of July. We will be up there July 6,7,8. Could you fit us in? What are your rates?

I’m wearing the smile you gave me

Someone is 6 today!





IMG_6914vIMG_6946vvIMG_6940vsYou are bursting with personality!  You love donuts, and anything with dinosaurs.  We still have trucks and trailers and cars all over the house.   You finally started playing video games with your brother.   You like drawing and coloring, and anything that goes in a desk: tape, stapler, scissors, post-its, paper, highlighters.  You claim them all.  You prefer playing outside with your imagination, you just don’t like to do it alone now.  Of all the Star Wars characters you like Darth Vader best.   (maybe I should be worried with that)


Tips for a successful multi-family photography session- Part 2

Two years have passed since I last wrote Tips for a successful multi-family photography session” 
And from all the families I’ve met I have learned a few more tips to share.

The following are my observations.

1. I still feel that choosing one of the photographer’s location ideas will produce the best results.
A convenient location, like at your cabin, might not be as simple as it sounds.  Experience this summer has shown me that when we’ve photographed where the families were staying, the kids were less cooperative.  Even older kids who you would expect to cooperate during pictures.  Because this happened several times, I have wondered if the kids acted up because they wanted to be inside where their toys were, or fun games, or the food.  I can imagine exploring the house you are staying in is more fun than a photo shoot.  That is why I think it is wise to photograph away from where you are staying, and away from the distractions of your cabin.

Maybe traveling to a location makes pictures feel like an event.  “We are getting in the car and going somewhere to take pictures.”  Instead of “we are interrupting your play to come out into the back yard for pictures.”   Something to consider when you are planning pictures for your family reunion.


2  Lighting.
I wish I could control the type of lighting that I love at the location my clients want for pictures, every time.  Especially for those who want to meet down on the beach of Bear Lake.  I agree it’s beautiful, it’s blue and the water is calming and peaceful.  But on a sunny day, there just isn’t any shade which leads to highlights being bright on the heads and in the water (which some people don’t mind.)  Some individuals are susceptible to having squinty eyes.   So when there is cloud cover, that is when magic lighting happens.   It is a subtle difference, but the lighting is soft, and skin tones are buttery and compliment with the blue water.  The lake isn’t shimmery, instead it is a soft calm tone.   These type of settings are my favorite and I’m so excited when I meet clients on a cloudy day.  I just wish that was something I could have happen every time.


Which brings me to my tip,
If soft lighting and buttery skin tones are your goal, I suggest choosing a shady location that way you don’t have to worry about harsh lighting, bright highlights, summer heat, and glare if it happens to be a sunny day for your appointment.  Shade is the one thing you can control.

3. Don’t wear florescent colors.
They just don’t photograph well for portraits.  They color-cast into the shadows, which means it reflects it’s color on objects/people around it.  Not an ideal situation for timeless portraits.
With the photo below my son’s florescent shirt reflects yellow under his chin.  A minor issue as I love the moment so much.

_MG_4253bsBelow is a zoomed in closeup from a family portrait that highlights how florescent shirts color cast.  Look at the arms and under the chin.  It makes it difficult for the photographer to get good skin tones.



4.   Someone is going to cry.  Plan on it and accept it, especially if you have extended family together.
I absolutely love doing grandkid group shots. The more the better and crazier.  But quite often, someone will not be up for the game.
So I’m quick with these, as I don’t like to traumatize kids.  But how fun is a grand kid group hug, criers and all!


5. What about Snow?

If you are interested in coming back for a winter photo session, I have tons of tips in this blog post.

f6.   Be easy going.  Chances are things won’t go as you imagined.  It’s hard to predict the behavior of 30 people.  Let alone 30 people on vacation!    I’ve seen it over and over- parents struggling with a kid who is usually so cooperative.  Teenagers refusing to smile.  And grownups vocal for it to be over with.  I do my best to make our time together run smooth, timely, and easy.  I love it when groups are ready to go with the flow, take what we can get and just have fun together.   Magic happens when we are all enjoying the moment.  Your family is special, and it’s my job to capture those details.


Happy gathering!