I love doing big family photos. There’s a lot more energy when you have a big group of people, and it makes it easier on me as a photographer to get a bunch of good photos because I have so many different subjects to work with. Rather than taking a ton of photos of a family of 4 and trying to make each one look unique, I can recycle poses and specific locations with individuals or sub-groups.
Doing the group photo of everyone together, however, is not easy. I’m pretty sure there’s some quadratic equation out there that shows the diminishing probability that everyone is going to look good at the same time (hint: it’s basically hopeless once you go over 8 people). I don’t know if I’ve every done a large group photo where I didn’t have to swap faces of at least one or two people.
Thankfully, the Santores are a ridiculously photogenic family (though I did have to do some face swapping so that everyone’s eyes were open):
I had never shot at Red Butte Canyon before (it’s up in the northeast corner of Salt Lake Valley past the University of Utah campus). I’ve seen lots of photos done at Red Butte Gardens, but it’s an arm and a leg to do photos there (it’s $12 an adult and $7 a kid to enter). Right next to the gardens, however, there’s this nice little canyon with some great trails running off of it.
Since I had never been there before, I arrived early and did some trail running to scout some good locations for photos. I decided on a little section of river trail at the end of the canyon’s accessibility (most of it is closed off for conservationism) which had a nice little bridge and some cool stairs that we could do photos on.
I also found a trail that went west on top of a ridge that overlooked the Salt Lake Valley. With the beautiful sunset lighting, it was a truly fantastic place for family photos.
And family photos are ALWAYS made better when you have an adorable baby girl in a flower headband:
A big thanks to the Santore family for letting me do their family photos and for following along when I made them hike steep trails in their nice clothes. Check out the gallery below to see the rest of the photos from this family shoot!