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Bay Area Family Session: Indoors or Outdoors?

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Oct 19, 2020

So you’re thinking about booking a Bay Area family session—Hooray! Family photos are something you’ll never regret doing. Not only are they one of the best ways to preserve important memories (time flies by so quickly when you’re busy raising littles!), but they’re a fun experience (I promise!) to share with your family. 

Once you’ve decided on getting a family session done, you’ll need to decide which type of family session you’d like to book. Namely, an indoor or an outdoor session.

Indoor Family Sessions

For some people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think about indoor photo sessions is a studio setting. 

Studio settings can be great for some types of photography, but it’s become less popular for family photos in the past 10 years. The stuffy, posed, family studio images of the past have now been replaced with more candid, natural, documentary-style photos, which feels so much more personal. 

What does this mean for indoor family sessions? Often, they take place right in your own home and, really, what could be more comfy for your kids than hanging out in their own space, just doing what they do? Indoor family photo sessions are all about capturing those special little moments that happen in your everyday life. The beautiful chaos of getting ready for the day, the spilt cereal, the belly laughs while cuddling on the couch, the mid-day, I-need-a-snack-and-a-nap meltdowns that moms sometimes have—there’s nothing to fake here. It’s just your family, being your authentic, messy, amazing selves.

A woman in a pink sweater sits on her couch and smiles while her toddler plays in the background during an indoor family session in the Bay Area

A father holding a guitar sits on a bed with his wife and baby during an indoor Bay Area family session with Hi + Hello Photography

A mother holds her baby while sitting on a couch and speaking with her young daughter in their backyard in the Bay Area

A toddler walks in front of her crib while carrying her blanket during a lifestyle family photo session with Bay Area family photographer Hi + Hello Photography

A family of four sits at the dining room table eating breakfast together in the San Francisco Bay Area


Benefits of an indoor family photo session:

  • No need to leave the house—stay in the comfort of your own home.
  • Kiddos often feel more comfortable at home, less fussing. 
  • Capture the special everyday moments that you’ll love looking back on one day.
  • No need to worry about the weather.
  • Lots of privacy encourages an intimate vibe that comes through in the photos.


The tricky part: You may feel like you need to deep clean your house top-to-bottom before your session (and who has time for that when you’re busy raising little humans?), but don’t worry, that little bit of dust on the shelf or basket of laundry in the corner is part of your everyday life right now and it won’t be a focal point! Now, during Covid it gets a bit tricky because guidelines keep changing so be sure and hit me up with any questions about safety, county rules, etc!

Outdoor Bay Area Family Photo Sessions 

Outdoor family photo sessions have their own benefits—especially in the beautiful Bay Area, where there are plenty of awesome outdoor family photo locations to choose from!

Something that’s tough to beat when it comes to outdoor sessions is that GLORIOUS natural lighting. I mean seriously, when that light hits just right, it’s a heart-eyes emoji moment every time. I don’t limit myself to only photographing families at a certain time of day like some other photographers do. Because I’ve been doing this a very, very long time I am super comfortable with shooting in all kinds of light, and my priority is scheduling sessions at times that work best for your family. 

Outdoor Bay Area family sessions also allow us to capture a variety of backgrounds and landscapes and make for beautiful, nature-inspired photos. Because who doesn’t love nature? 

Similar to indoor sessions, outdoor sessions are still a great way to capture your family just being REAL. I love when my families plan a fun adventure or activity to enjoy together during their outdoor sessions. You just get to play and have fun, and leave the rest to me! A number of the families I work with also like to split their session time and start out at home then head out to a favorite hiking trail or park or beach for a picnic, hike, or kite-flying adventure. These photos are about you, and I try to be as accommodating as possible when talking about location and activities. 

A family of five plays together on a beach in the Bay Area for candid family photographs with Hi + Hello Photography

A well-dressed child plays in a park and smiles at the camera during a lifestyle photo session with Bay Area family photographer Hi + Hello Photography

A boy riding a skateboard in a park during an outdoor Bay Area family session

A man carries his baby son on his shoulders while his wife looks up at the baby and smiles

Two women wearing white dresses stand in a beautiful field for a maternity photo session with Bay Area family photographer Hi + Hello Photography

Benefits of an outdoor family photo session:

  • Take advantage of beautiful landscapes and natural lighting.
  • The day can double as a fun adventure for you and your family.
  • Kiddos have lots of space to burn off energy and play.
  • Capture a variety of shots and backgrounds.
  • Add a personal touch by choosing a location that means something to your family.


The tricky part: You have to be a little more aware of the weather from about mid-November to March. But family photos in the rain can be pretty darn cute, too! I mean, there’s nothing better than some puddle-jumping toddlers, amiright? Just make sure you dress appropriately. Stay cozy out there! If you’re down for it, I’ll make it happen.

Booking a Bay Area Family Session

Have questions about which type of family session is best for you, or ready to book a session with a Bay Area family photographer? That’s what I’m here for! Let’s chat about how we can capture your family being your fun, amazing, true-to-life selves.

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