Outdoor Locations for Family Photos

Outdoor locations for family photos in Pasadena

I spend a lot of time searching for the best outdoor locations for family photos. All of these beautiful spots are in the Pasadena area. It’s a thrill when I discover a new place that will make a great backdrop.

A family of four at one of the best outdoor locations for family photos in Pasadena (or nearby). This family is standing among a grove of trees. They are color coordinated in blacks, nave blue, and purples. The trees are straight and tall behind them The sunlight filters through the trees. This would make a great large framed prints. Image by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena CA.
(Above) One of my favorite outdoor locations for family photos

What I look for in outdoor locations for family photos

There are numerous qualities I look for when scouting the perfect location for family photos.

Setting Sun

The setting sun shining through trees creates a beautiful golden light. The late afternoon light is always the best, no matter what time of year, but it is essential during the summer. In the fall, the light is pale and less harsh, so any time of day is fine for family photos.

The setting sun in Southern California has a special quality. There are particles in the air that add a subtle texture, even more so the more you’re surrounded by trees and fallen leaves. The particles catch the light and add even more sparkle.

Holiday photos for La Canada families. I found the perfect outdoor locations for these family photos. Mom and Dad work for JPL in La Canada and wanted family photos of their two boys and their family dog. We met in La Canada and took these gorgeous family photos for the Christmas card Look at that gorgeous flattering light! It's so important to have heirloom family photos that you love and that will be a part of your family forever I love outdoor on-location photo sessions in beautiful locations where the family feels comfortable Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena CA
(Above) Family photos outdoors in the setting sun

Shades of Green

Different shades of green add depth and interest. It’s even better when the tones of green are at different distances from the camera. Photographing someone in front of a flat monochromatic hedge doesn’t provide the same appeal.

A young girls sits on a stone wall. She's wearing a vivid purple sweater and blue jeans. She's at an outdoor location in La Canada and she's part of a family photo session. Her long dark hair reaches past her shoulders. She's smiling at the camera. There are trees and bushes behind her.
(Above) Young girl in purple sweater on stone wall for outdoor family photos
Look at this beautiful outdoor location for family photos! A teenaged girl is standing among green tree branches and red bracts. The leaves surround her and frame her. She's wearing blue jeans and a black sweater crop top. One hand is on her hip/ He blonde-brown hair reaches past her shoulders. The sweater has a crossover V-neck and long sleeves. She's smiling at the camera. Image created by Rebecca Little Photography Pasadena CA.
(Above) Family photos at Pasadena outdoor location


A Large Focal Point

A large focal point like this large boulder adds It provides a gathering place for the family and also a place to sit. Walls, boulders, and tree trunks all provide seating and a way to arrange a family in a pleasing manner.

A family of five at a La Canada outdoor location for holiday photos. They are standing in front of a large white boulder.
(Above) Family of five in beautiful outdoor location for family photos

Willow trees

Willow trees with thin drooping branches and dancing leaves frame faces beautifully. They make nature a part of your photos. Their delicateness is especially suited for girls and women.

(Above) Outdoor location for family photos at my studio in Pasadena

Places to Sit

Small boulders, fence posts, walls, tree trunks (even swingset!) are all structures you can find in a natural setting. I use these to separate and pose family members.

This family of five is wearing Los Angeles Dodger jerseys and sitting on a swing set in a Pasadena park. This outdoor location offers wonderful posing opportunities for family photos.
(Above) Family of five wearing their Dodger blue during annual family photos outside

Wide-open Space

If I know my client wants a large framed print for their wall, it’s best to have a wide-open background. For large prints, the faces should not be too large or occupy the entire frame. When the subjects are smaller and take up a smaller part of the photograph, the scale works better.

(Above) Forested outdoor location near Pasadena

Fall foliage

Sometimes it’s hard to find fall leaves of many colors in Southern California. I like to search for them though. There are several areas around town with groups of trees that reliably change color.

(Above) Family photos in autumnal outdoor location
(Above) Brilliant fall foliage at this outdoor location for family photos

Sunlight and Shadow

A mixture of bright light and shadow can create a great background. Shadows can act as a natural vignette to highlight the subjects.

The light can be used to draw your attention to the subject while the background is darker. Sunlight can be used to illuminate the corners of the photo as it travels from the upper corner down. Sunlight adds highlights to hair and creates a bright, Southern California vibe.

(Above) Outdoor location for family photos at my Pasadena studio
(Above) Family of four in outdoor Pasadena location

Tall Grass

Tall grass makes a classic photo location. Both dried grass in neutral colors and tall stalks of green are visually appealing.

(Above) Family photos in nature with tall grass

Lifestyle photos in an Outdoor Location

I went with this family as they picked out their Christmas tree. Being outside hiking or spending time at a park is an ideal way to be in nature and have an outdoor setting.

Carrying home the Christmas tree
(Above) Altadena family carrying their Christmas tree at this great outdoor location

Great trees

Large trees with majestic canopies add visual interest and beauty to family photos. This is great for wide shots where the family is just a part of the frame. These photographs also are ideal for large framed prints.

(Above) Beautiful locations for outdoor family photos

Hanging tree branches

Tree branches that reach horizontally make for interesting backgrounds. The branches can be bare or they can be in full leaf. Bare branches are especially beautiful in black and white.

(Above) Using tree branches as a backdrop for family photos outdoors


I love a pop of color. It’s pretty and adds visual interest. I searched all over town for this setting with the thick shrubbery with red bracts. This is just a small area surrounded by dirt and open space. But a small space is all I need to create beautiful images.

(Above) Outdoor location with greenery and red bracts for family photos

A stand of trees

(Above) A stand of trees in outdoor location for family photos

Framed prints

I have different collections that suit your needs, whether you want framed prints or digital images.

If you have a beautiful backyard, I am happy to come over and create beautiful photographs for you there. Or we can discuss a few locations that I can recommend.


Email me to schedule your outdoor family photos

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