Your wedding - all the questions you wanted to ask me
June 6, 2016
Engagement session - what to expect?
June 6, 2016
Best spots for family photography in Vancouver
July 9, 2019
I have been photographing families, large and small, for over five years.
It is such a privilege to meet the group of people with their unique personalities and relations, and get to know them a little bit during a photo shoot. It is an opportunity to capture the images they will be going back to for years to come, and I don’t take it lightly, as there is a responsibility that comes with this.
In order to deliver the best possible pictures to my clients I need to I take into account a lot of details while preparing for the session.
Family dynamics and mobility issues
Firstly, how many people are in the family? How many kids? What are the ages of the kids and their relations (siblings, cousins etc)? Are there any mobility issues that should be taken into account?
Knowing this information helps me to suggest a spot that would be the best for this group. Do we need a playground nearby for the kids to release some energy and get the candid images of them playing? Or the kids love playing close to the water and we’ll get some great pictures at Jericho Beach of them playing in the sand.
If there is a stroller involved or someone in the family might need a wheelchair, or is limited in walking the distances, I may also suggest a spot to accommodate these restrictions.
Time of the session
Whenever possible, I always recommend planning a session closer to sunset (the exact time will be different depending on the season), to take advantage of the best lighting, so called “golden hour”. The sun is already pretty low and the quality of light is very flattering.
However, it is not always possible if young children are involved, and it may be too close to their bedtime, resulting in tired and unhappy kids (not what you want for a photo shoot!). So the first priority is to pick the time when the kids are going to be happy and rested, and if we could plan that time to be closer to the evening/sunset, it will be ideal.
The session will take anywhere from one to two hours (usually 1,5 hours), depending on the number of people and the kids.
Finally, the location
If the family lives in Vancouver, they might already have a location in mind that they like, and I am happy to follow their lead. If they are traveling to Vancouver and may not be familiar with the city, here is the list of my favorite spots:
One of the locations that has pretty much everything – forest, the ocean, Rose Garden, view to downtown… However, there are also a lot of tourists around and it may require some patience to take the shot. Also, you’ll to pay for parking anywhere in Stanley park, but good news is that it is valid all around the park and you could move from one spot to another within your parking window.
It is one of my favorite places to shoot, as it is easily accessible, stroller and wheelchair friendly (for the most part), there is a playground (a few), and has a variety of backgrounds and is truly beautiful.
2. Granville Island
Very nice spot with a playground, nice wooden walkways, views to False Creek and Burrard Bridge, sailboats, cherry blossoms (in season of course), some nice colored walls and interesting textured backgrounds…
It is mostly stroller and wheelchair friendly, but might get busy during the weekends. Parking may be a bit challenging at times, but there are some free options as well.
Additional bonus of Granville Island is that it has lots of covered areas if the forecast is not too promising.
3. Van Dusen Gardens
If you are into variety of blossoms, it is a great spot to check out. There is an entrance fee of $8-11 (depending on the season), but it is probably the best spot in the city for different flowers. It may not be the best location for families with kids, as it is slightly too restricting for the little ones, and it doesn’t have a playground. It would probably the best for couple’s photography and for families with bigger kids.
4. Jericho Beach
Another strong favorite of mine! This spot has such a great variety of backgrounds, from the view to Vancouver Downtown to sailboats at Jericho Sailing Club, amazing willow trees and famous logs on the beach, not to forget the pier. As with all Vancouver attractions, it might get busy on a nice sunny day, but there are lots of little nooks to hide from the crowd. There is no playground right up though. If it is something you’d like to have for the shoot, we may consider moving towards Vancouver Royal Yacht Club. There is a new wooden playground right there.
Parking is okay with a big parking lot by Jericho Sailing Club, and also some free options, which may require a little walk.
5. Coal Harbour
On top of Coal Harbour Community Centre, there is a playground, and some amazing views to Stanley park and marinas. The walk towards Stanley Park or Convention Centre gives a variety of background.
This spot is the best for smaller families or couples.
Little hint – if not too busy, try to park on the street at the meter, it will be much cheaper compared to parking lot rates.
Read about the other 5 spots in my next post (coming soon), with a special bonus – an answer to a question - what if it rains?