Where Do We Go? | A Family Session Guide

 

One would think that choosing your location for your family session would be easy peasy.

Think again!

We are spoiled rotten with the wide variety of landscapes here on the Central Coast which doesn’t make finding the perfect spot for you and your family a walk in the park. There’s just too many perfect choices!  I know, I know we shouldn’t complain and luckily I’ve been around the county enough over the past 5 years to know where the sweet spots are and can help you along the way.

Things to consider when choosing your location for your session.

  1. Does the theme fit your family? If you are a country lovin’ cowgirl, then an open field with oak trees might be the perfect place for you. If the beach is your happy place then a coastal session it is! My point is, if you are planning to show up in wranglers and boots (which lots of my clients do and I LOVE it!) then maybe we won’t be heading to the ocean. You want your photos to represent YOU and what YOU love.
  2. How will the photos look in your home? Choosing a location that matches your decor is essential.
  3. How long is the drive? While I have no problem venturing to the coast to grab that perfect shot, your tiny toddler who hates the car might. The last thing we want is to start off the session grumpy so make sure you take these things in to consideration.

 

If you need a little head start in choosing your perfect place, then take a look at some of regular places below.

HALTER RANCH

Why I love it:

  1. The Big White Barn, need I say more?
  2. Golden light that is to die for.
  3. Lots of variety – the barn, the walking bridge, red silos and orchards. Plenty of room for the littles to run around and explore.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. It’s busy. Chances are we won’t only be moving around wine tasters, but other photographers as well.
  2. Being that their gates are only open until 5 pm, shooting at this location is only available after Daylight Savings ends. Being that the golden hour is so idyllic, I cannot bring myself to shoot here any earlier in the day.

 

SAN SIMEON – WILLIAM HEARST MEMORIAL BEACH

Why I Love It:

  1. The pier, the golden light, the eucalyptus grove. It’s almost as if every element was perfectly placed here to create the most magical sunset light.
  2. It’s not a tourist trap. We won’t be fighting massive crowds and I won’t be editing random people out of your photos for days.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. It’s a bit of a drive up the coast.

 

SWEET SPRINGS NATURE PRESERVE

Why I love it:

  1. It’s peaceful and smells so good – eucalyptus for days.
  2. There are a lot of chances for variety in your photos – walking bridge, benches, trails lined in trees.
  3. GORGEOUS golden light.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. The weather is unpredictable. When it’s sunny here, it’s BEAUTIFUL!! But unfortunately, this spot tends to be socked in with clouds frequently so it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.

 

MORRO BAY SAND DUNES

Why I love it:

  1. Soft white sand that’s perfect for playing in.
  2. My secret spot that no one ever goes to – it’s like our own private beach.
  3. The way “The Rock” sits in the backdrop.
  4. The texture that greenery adds to the beach setting.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. It’s about a 10 minute walk from our parking location to shooting location.
  2. Being that there is nothing to filter the direct sunlight, sessions must take place as close to sunset as possible.

MISSION SAN MIGUEL

Why I Love It:

  1. So many fun textures: brick, stone, succulents!
  2. Perfect compliment to a neutral wardrobe color palette.

Drawbacks:

  1. There is a Koi pond that the kiddos LOVE! Sometimes it helps and sometimes it works against us as a distraction that the kids can’t pull themselves away from. Either arriving early so the kids can get used to the idea or visiting the location on an earlier date can help ease the excitement during our session.

 

ALLEGRETTO VINEYARD RESORT

 

Why I Love It:

  1. Again, lots of textures! Greenery, stone and marble. This adds gorgeous depth to your photos.
  2. Beautiful golden light.
  3. Variety of locations to choose from: gardens, staircases and gazebos.
  4. Delicious restaurant inside the resort for you to enjoy after our session and celebrate a job well done!

Drawbacks:

  1. This is a popular wedding venue – shooting on a Saturday is not recommended.

 

JIM GREEN TRAIL

Why I Love It:

  1. Rolling hills and lots of trees!
  2. Plenty of room for the kids to run around and explore.
  3. Neutral backdrop colors give you the chance to have fun with your wardrobe colors. Make it pop!

 

Drawbacks:

  1. “Itchy grass” – you know what I mean, mama! Comfy clothes and shoes for the littles are a must here.

 

PASO ROBLES COUNTRYSIDE

Why I Love It:

  1. Beautiful golden grass and giant oak tree.
  2. Gorgeous sunsets.
  3. The epitome of a classic Paso Robles country session.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. Itchy grass, again. Boots are recommends for the small trek up the hill.

 

THE PASO ROBLES MURAL

Why I Love It:

  1. It’s colorful and vibrant!
  2. It has a unique urban feel that you don’t find a lot in our area.
  3. Perfect way to show your hometown pride.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. The light is best here in the mornings between 8 and 10.
  2. Important to catch this location before the downtown shops open to ensure there are no cars parked in front of it.

 

 

Downtown Square

 

Why I Love It:

  1. Lots of places to sit and get cozy.
  2. Unique urban vibe.
  3. Variety in textures: brick, concrete and oak trees.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. Can be crowded, tourist season is upon us.

 

PRIVATE VINEYARD PROPERTY

 

Why I Love It:

  1. Oak trees, golden grass and vineyards! What more could you want?
  2. Beautiful golden light.
  3. Plenty of room to run around.

 

Drawbacks:

  1. Can be slightly windy at times – but thats typical in Paso.

 

 

PASO ROBLES WALKING PATH

Why I Love It:

  1. In the Fall, the leaves on the ground create the perfect cozy vibe.
  2. Room to play and explore.
  3. Paved trail for your convenience.
  4. Early sunset time as it sits in a canyon – no pushing the limits of bedtime!

 

Drawbacks:

  1. Important to catch this location after the leaves fall as the ground around the trees is just clumpy dirt beforehand.

 

 

Well there ya have it! These are my most frequently visited session locations. Obviously, I am open to any new suggestions and ideas. I love exploring and finding new places. If you see a particular location above that sparks your interest and you would like to see more photos from their session – please let me know and I can always send a sample gallery.

 

I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!

 

 

 

 

 

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