Studio VS Outdoor

How do you know where to have your session? Here are some helpful tips to determine if a studio session or outdoor location is best for you.


There are times that the studio is the perfect location for your session, and other times that you just can't beat being out in the beautiful California scenery. I'm always happy to help you determine what is best for your session and where would fit your style.

Things to consider

  • Time of Day:  It’s important to consider what time of day is best for you and your family as we plan your location. We can shoot at any time in the studio because I control the lighting. When shooting outdoors it best to have a low sun so avoid harsh shadows and unflattering light. 1 hour prior to sunset is the prettiest light of the day! This golden hour can't be beat, but if that is your children's bedtime it might not result in any happy smiles and thus is not worth the effort. I would be happy to work with you about the best location for your selected time of day to get the most beautiful photos possible. 
  • Weather: While we always have the option to go in the studio in case of rain, unpredictability with the weather can be a major factor in whether you’ll want to consider having a studio session or planning to go outside. I recommend that we shoot in overcast or better conditions; if it’s extremely cold, windy and or raining, we’ll need to plan to have a studio session or re-schedule for a different date. 
  • Attire: Your choice of clothing and the age of your family members may also impact whether you’ll want to stay indoors or go outside. The location you choose for your session can inform -- for example, certain parks have a more informal feel and walking through the grass would be best for more casual attire instead of dress clothes and heels. If you’d like very formal photos with dress clothes for young children, the controlled environment of studio portraits may be a better fit for you to protect your child’s clothes and make sure the environment is consistent with the style of clothing.


  •  Look of Images: One of the most critical factors in deciding whether to have a studio or outdoor session is how you’d like your images to look. Which do you prefer for your images: the look of greenery, mountains and an outdoor setting, or a formal portrait look with a specialized backdrop, props, and studio lights?  While I always can bring in supplemental lighting to even outdoor sessions for the cleanest, most flattering light, if you prefer formal portraits with a backdrop, props, and special styling options, you should opt for a studio session.

  • How You’d Like to Display Your Images: It’s important to consider your goals for what you’d like to do with your final images and where they will be displayed. If your goal for our session is to create beautiful wall art for a specific room in your home (nursery, living room, etc), your room’s color scheme and interior style will inform how your images look and are displayed, and ultimately, where they are taken. If you’d prefer a fine art album to remember your leisurely photo session in the park with beautiful candid images of your family playing together, you may prefer an outdoor session at your family’s favorite park. I’m happy to step you through all your options and make professional recommendations so that your vision for your photos is beautifully executed.

  • Age of Children & Dynamics of Family: Outdoor locations tend to be better when little ones have a hard time sitting still and they need to be on the move. In the studio we're limited on placement of people so we stay on the background, outdoors we can be much more adventurous and move around more. This also lends to more dynamic engagement and candid fun images.

As a professional photographer with 15 years experience, I would be thrilled to help you plan your perfect session -- whether it’s for your family, maternity, newborn, or a special occasion. Check out to review your options and book your session today!


Some of my Favorite Locations!

SitHappy Studio look
Communication Hill San Jose
Gamble Gardens Flowers Location
Photos at home
Vasona County Park location
Vasona Damn at sunset


  1. Brooke on July 3, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I love how you had an image of each family or person to show the difference in studio and outdoors. Great points too. This will be very helpful for your clients.

  2. Amy on July 3, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Great blog post. It’s so neat to see the different options.

  3. Gillian on July 3, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    So much great info!

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