Family Photos at Descanso Gardens

Family Photos at Descanso Gardens in La Canada

You can never go wrong with having your family photos done at Descanso Gardens in La Canada. It’s a beautiful place to spend time and all seasons offer something to see and experience.

Descanso Gardens is located 1418 Descanso Drive La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011. Their phone number is 818-949-4200.

These are family photos I toll at Descanso Gardens in La Canada. This is a photo of a married couple. They are standing in front of a concrete wall covered in multi-colored ivy and leaves. He is wearing a brilliant blue shirt and she is wearing a deep purple sweater. They have their arms around each other and are smiling at the camera. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Family photos of a husband and wife at Descanso Gardens in La Canada

Photography locations at Descanso Gardens

I can’t choose my favorite location at Descanso to photograph. There is truly such variety. Whether you like the bright colors of whatever is blooming or large trees that provide a majestic canopy, we can create beautiful family photos anywhere.

My favorite locations for family photos

The waterfall

The cool shade of the fir trees that surround the waterfall creates a hidden spot perfect for family photos. There are several spots for beautiful photos on and near the waterfall.

There’s a little pond behind the waterfall. The sunlight reflects off the water and provides a nice backlight. There aren’t trees directly behind the waterfall, so the sunlight in the background contrasts nicely with the dark shade of the trees.

For info about family photos in Pasadena, click here

One of a series of family photos created at Descanso Gardens in La Canada, CA. his little girls is wearing a brightly striped sweater. She's sitting with a waterfall behind her. The sun is behind her and shining on her hair and shoulders. She's sitting on a large boulder and smiling at the camera. Photo created by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena, CA.
(Above) A young girl sits near the waterfall at Descanso Gardens

The forest of pine trees

The forest of pine trees gives plenty of shade and creates a different, moodier atmosphere than the usual family photos taken at Descanso Gardens. This area lends itself to black-and-white photos.

(Above) Mother and son in black and white family photo at Descanso Gardens near the waterfall

Green Hills, Upper Path

This is such a pretty area and feels like you’re in a peaceful meadow. There are gently rolling hills and lots of greenery. And lucky for us, a big boulder to sit on.

(Above) Family photos on a large boulder at Descanso Gardens

The Deciduous Trees

The deciduous trees at Descanso Garden are beautiful! The leaves add texture and visual appeal. I like to visit in the fall they change colors. It’s best to capture them at the perfect intersection of green, gold, and orange. When the leaves carpet the ground they add to the lovely setting.

(Above) A young girl sits in front of changing fall leaves at Descanso Gardens

I just love the fall colors at Descanso. Sometimes you have to search the Los Angeles area to find changing leaves and their variety of reds, oranges, and golds.

(Above) A father and daughter in front of fall foliage at Descanso Gardens

Late afternoon is the best time for family photos at Descanso Gardens

The best light is in the late afternoon when the sun is low and filtering through the trees. There’s something about the texture of the light and the particulate in the air that makes it so attractive. The setting sun casts a golden light that is soft and flattering. The prisms of light that reflect off the camera lens add to the mood.

I know of several locations where we can photograph your family with the sun behind you. This is perfect for creating that bright, outdoor Southern California vibe.

(Above) Family photos near the rose garden at Descanso Gardens

The Oak Forest

I love the wide-open feel of the stand of oak trees. These are the coast live oak. Some of these trees are hundreds of years old and they are native to California.

They make a majestic backdrop. An image like this where the subjects are small in the frame is perfect for a large framed print, or even printed on canvas.

(Above) Family photos in the oak forest at Descanso Gardens

A close-up photo like the one below, where the faces fill the frame is better for a small print, like an 8×10 or 11×14. This image was also created in the oak forest.

(Above) A family of three at the oak forest in Descanso Gardens

The Bridge

The footbridge is a perfect spot for photos. There’s a variety of greenery behind the subject. The combination of different shades of green and textures provides visual interest. The trees and shrubs are far enough in the background that they blur nicely and create the perfect non-distracting backdrop.

(Above) Young girl photographed at Descanso Gardens in La Canada

Hanging tree branches with green leaves

The branches make a beautiful backdrop. These family photos were taken in December at Descanso. Tree branches also look nice when converted to black and white.

(Above) Father and daughter family photos at Descanso Gardens in La Canada
(Above) Family photos for La Canada family at Descanso Gardens

Other locations for family photos at Descanso Gardens

I have a variety of locations that aren’t listed above.

Top of the Mountain trail

There’s a trail that winds to the very top of Descanso Gardens and through the dense forest. It leads into a valley that has lots of nooks and crannies where we can shoot. It’s worth exploring even if you’re not looking for a place for the perfect family photo.

Near the Train Tracks

I know spots along the train tracks that don’t see a lot of foot traffic. Some are in deep shade with wonderful greenery and it’s like you’re in a different world. Others have bright sunlight filling the forest.

The Rose Garden

In and around the rose garden are benches, walls, and structures that make ideal photography locations. There’s one plant in particular with the most dramatic trumpet-shaped flowers.

Descanso Gardens Memberships that come with family photos benefit

If you have a Perennial Circle Membership, you’re entitled to one family photography session a year.

The Descanso Gardens Perennial Circle Membership is $1,000 and your family photos can include up to 10 people.

What month should we visit?

Any month is good for family photos, it depends on what you’re looking for. Do you like fall leaves with changing colors? November is a great month for that. A lot of my shooting locations are good year-round. I choose them because their backgrounds are compelling during all seasons.

What’s in Bloom Every Month at Descanso Gardens

  • January – camellias
  • February – cherry trees
  • March – tulips, irises, and lilacs
  • April – azaleas, native wildflowers
  • May – roses
  • June – roses, summer annuals
  • July – roses
  • August – summer annuals
  • September – crape myrtle
  • October – fall foliage starts to turn
  • November – camellias, ginkgo leaves turn yellow
  • December – camellias, ginkgo leaves turn yellow

For a full list of what’s in bloom at Descanso Gardens right now, follow this link.

Prefer family photos in the studio?

Let me know if you’d rather have family photos at the studio. I have magazine-style hand-painted canvas backdrops and professional lighting equipment. There’s a private changing room where you can hang your clothes.

See my portfolio with photos created at my studio.

I also have plenty of natural light and outdoor settings (though nothing can beat Descanso Gardens in terms of variety).

Email me for family photos at Descanso Gardens

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My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I accept QuickPay with Zelle, credit and debit cards, cash, and check.


serving Pasadena, CA and surrounding areas since 2010


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