I have photographed this family for years. Every time, it’s been an effort to find locations that don’t look like the desert. This time, mom finally embraced the fact that they do, in fact, live in the desert and requested that we go out to get photos in the desert itself. So we met up at the Gold Field State Park Desert just outside of Mesa, Arizona for this family portrait session.
Arizona Desert Family Portraits
Before we shot the family together, we did the children’s photos in the harsher light. It is easier to photograph the group when the light is softer, after sun has gone down a bit.
The first test of the light was with their youngest son and his penguin. Penguins are very appropriate for the desert.
Mom’s dress is fantastic. The way it flowed in the wind created lots of movement and interest.
It’s important to note, desert light is very harsh. Without the use of a 2’x3′ soft box matching the sun’s harsh cross light, the photos would be extremely dark on the shadow side of the face. Using the Profoto B1 off-camera flash makes this easy. It is powerful enough to match the sun and portable enough to move when I need to move.
More importantly is its extremely accurate TTL which allows kids to move and adjusts for the change in distance. When little kids move, you have to move with them.
I love crying baby photos. Especially when there are other kids to react. The brothers’ reaction to their littlest sister really needs no explanation.
Toward the end, it started getting cold. Yes, it gets very cold in the desert as the sun goes down.
I love when the little ones leaned in to Dad for warmth. And of course, the shot of the family all together really showcases family togetherness at its best.
This image was my favorite because of its documentary nature… and the fact that it just feels like my childhood.
By the end of the session, I think all of the kids were either miserably cold, crying or frowning. So, any questions as to why we did the walking away shot for the final shot of the portrait session?