Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

Summer Fun Family Photography Session

When your extended family gathers together after some of them driving over 1,800 miles and others flying over 5,500 miles just to spend time together, moments will be captured whether they want it or not. Being the photographer in our family requires me to pull off a family photo every summer and make it better than the last (at least that’s the challenge I present myself with after last summer’s photo was awarded by some as “The Best of all of our family shots over the years.”) Those are fighting words even if it was snapped by me. Without realizing how lucky we were to be posing in Missoula’s ‘Caras Park’ in the beginning of July, before all the surrounding fires of upcoming weeks ruined the visibility, air quality and any desire to spend any extended time outdoors.

The family from Michigan made their annual road trip to Missoula and were happy to have arrived during the perfect floating weather.


Grandparents were also super content having their “love bug” back for a few weeks all the way from Boise, ID.

With the sun still high in the sky, to get the famous “M” sign behind them, required some squinting or some would say we brought an Asian look back with us from Korea.

Funny that the biggest giggles came out only at the end of the session, or was there something in the grass?!

And of course, with the camera sitting sturdy on a tripod, a full family picture was in order to make the session complete!

As always, thank you for your time, your patience and your awesome expressions! Can’t wait to start planning for the next summer’s BEST family pictures.

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  1. What a cool and fun project to undertake every year Alla! This is inspiring me to do something similar with my own family. I LOVE the last picture withe the silhouettes. When did you start taking these pics? It would be cool to do a post in which you include the previous ones you’ve done up until the most recent. Good luck with next year!

  2. These photos are so sweet! Your family is lucky to have you to conceptualize and take these awesome photos. Our family does this too every Christmas but just the simple group photos, unlike yours that brings a lot of smiles.

    • While it does seem like an obligation to get all dressed up and create a new concept each summer, at the end of the day it is and going to be a lot of fun looking at these photographs over the years! I hope everyone sees the benefit in that.

  3. Can you please come over to Massachusetts and take photos of my family and I? That would be AMAZING 😀 I love love love the last shot of all you on the ground giggling and lying on each other stomachs. Not only is it fun but it’s just shows how close you are as a family unit. The camaraderie really translates well. It’s beautiful to hear that families are still traveling far and wide to be with one another. I want a family reunion to happen stat with my extended family members now!

    • I’ve never been to Massachusetts and might just take you up on the offer 🙂 Sadly, with all the giggles in the last shot, I totally forgot to put my camera on a tripod and jump right in there…Photoshopping myself in seems a little ridiculous and kinda fake, so we’ll just have to turn on the giggles next summer and recreate the shot!

  4. I love that silhouette shot at the end. My family is gigantic and we’re really good at making sure to always get those family shots and get a tripod in use always. Can’t leave anyone out if possible. Great photos. The lighting was just perfect.

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