Tag Archives: North Phoenix Desert Photography

The Berlew Family

I’ve always been a morning person. I love the freshness of a new morning. I love the promise the day brings. I love the light.

As a photographer, I think I actually (dare I say it out loud) prefer shooting a morning sunrise family session over the traditional evening golden hour session. Everyone is so alert and ready to conquer whatever the day has to offer… even a family photo shoot!

These precious twin brothers and their wonderfully awesome parents met me recently on a chilly (for Phoenix) Sunday morning right at sunrise for their first official family photo session. Baby T (the twin in the blue and green plaid – who mom and dad lovingly called “the Quaker” because of how he was dressed – ha ha!) was stoic and slower to warm than his little bro. Baby B (he actually is the younger of the twins and was given the nickname of “the Amish boy” for their session) who was all smiles and silly faces for the whole sunrise session.

With the gorgeous Phoenix desert as our backdrop, this loving family needed little direction but gave me so much to capture. Their interaction was genuine and beautiful and the warm and beautiful AZ sunrise was truly second to none.

Phoenix family sunrise photoTwin brothers at family sunrise photo session

The KNIFFEN family | North Phoenix Family Desert Photographer

When a family books me for lifestyle family portraits, my main goals are to capture love and connection; if nothing else, a quick glimpse into the essence of what makes that family special and unique.

I do not want my clients to have images that are stiff and uncomfortable (albeit well-dressed) versions of themselves.  I want them to cherish the images that convey a feeling and that bring them back to a fleeting moment in time. When I deliver their gallery, I strive for their response to be “you really captured, US!”

Without a sense of connection I am simply capturing the pose and their outfits.  Perceivable connection gives family photos a human feel, and makes everything contained in them appear genuine and sincere.

Once you give yourself the freedom to go beyond the traditional, stiff and posed family portraits, you not only get images like these that exude emotion and authentic family life moments, but you take the pressure and stress out of looking perfect for family photos.

There are so many reasons I adore natural, lifestyle family portrait sessions but I think the images speak for themselves every time.

Family on a blanket in the desert in Phoenix | Lifestyle Family Photography in PhoenixSibling tickle | Phoenix Lifestyle Family portraitsMom + Dad | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsBig brother cheesy smile | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsSibling shot | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsLittle brother in a Tree | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsTwins touching noses | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsUp close twin eskimo kiss | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsChild Portrait | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsTwo brothers and a sister | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsFollow the Leader Family shot | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsKids skipping away | Phoenix Lifestyle Family Portraits Family Money shot | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsFamily connection on a blanket | Phoenix Lifestyle Family PortraitsDesert lifestyle family shot | Phoenix Family Photography Freckles and red head little girl up close | Phoenix Lifestyle Family Photographer

Mama Melissa


Motherhood is miraculous. The journey is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. It was my own maternity session that set my appreciation for maternity photography into motion. I, for one, certainly didn’t feel “glam” enough to be in front of the camera. It took some convincing from my sweet hubby, but I am so grateful I have the images now. My girls love flipping through my maternity albums and seeing “their baby bump.”

I love being able to offer that keepsake and experience to gorgeous mama’s on their journey. Including this featured mama right here. She’s a SweetLife celebrity and has graced these pages before as this beautiful lady is a second time SweetLife Maternity Mama!

Her poise and undeniable beauty certainly made my job easier but pair that with a gorgeous Arizona desert sunset and it’s pure Maternity Magic!

An Arizona desert maternity session has such an ethereal feel to them and have quickly become a favorite photography session I shoot.

Arizona desert maternity session | Sweetlife PhotographyArizona desert maternity session | Sweetlife PhotographyArizona desert maternity session | Sweetlife Photography

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos

Let’s just admit it, picking out what to wear for family photos is one of the most stressful parts of getting your photos taken.  You want everyone to look nice and happy, and preferably booger free…and it can be a little stressful.  But it doesn’t have to be!

The next time you are choosing what to wear for family photos, keep these 10 tips in mind.

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Be sure to keep your location in mind when you are picking out your outfits. If you are in an urban setting, you will want to make sure your clothes match your surroundings so you natural in the location instead of stick out like a sore thumb. If you are in a grassy meadow or farm, you may want to skip the heels and choose something more natural. Whatever your location may be, make sure the tones and style of your wardrobe will compliment and not clash with your surroundings.  On the flip side, be sure that you aren’t choosing outfits that will make you blend into the background.  You will want enough of a contrast so that you stand out!

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


The days of ‘everyone wears white on top and denim on the bottom’ are out.  Like, sooooo out.  Having your outfits coordinate does not mean that everyone has to wear the exact same thing.  Having everyone in a different outfit that still coordinates allows individualism and makes for a more pleasing photograph.

 Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


This is something I do all the time when I am choosing my family’s photo session outfits.  Where are you going to be putting these photos?  On the walls of your home!  Therefore, think about choosing outfits with tones that will flow well with the style of your home.  If your home decor is more bright and spunky, bust out those polka dots and red heels.  If your home decor is more muted and calm, think about outfits that have more natural tones.  Yes, deciding what to wear for family photos can be as easy as looking at the walls that surround you for inspiration!

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Having everyone wear a variety of textures can help create depth in your photographs and is a great way of incorporating a variety of tones.  A great way of mixing textures is by using a variety of fabric such as cotton, denim, cable knit, tweed and lace.  Wearing textures is also a wonderful way of portraying your personality through your photographs.  For example, a baby girl in an delicate puppy print cotton dress enhances her sweet and precious demeanor, while a mom rocking her cable knit duster can show her stylish nature but they compliment each other perfectly.

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Creatively incorporating color into your family’s wardrobe is a great way to draw interest into your photographs.  Whether you utilize color in someone’s shirt, belt or a hair bow, having a pop of color can be very pleasing to the eye when you are arranging what to wear for family photos.  Even choosing something as subtle as your earrings to incorporate color can make such a great difference.

 Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Accessories are a great way of adding interest to your family portraits.  If you are not one who likes using a pop of color in a big way, using accessories, like a  great pair of earrings, is a great way to still add a pop to you photographs.  It’s also a wonderful way to incorporate textures and help coordinate your outfits.
 Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Does your little one hate wearing headbands?  Mine did. Do you love a certain shirt but you always find yourself fussing with it?  Make sure you eliminate outfits that could potentially cause problems during your session.  Even though that headband is so darling on your daughter, if she hates wearing it she is going to be miserable…and miserable in your photographs.  Once you show up to your session, the only thing you want to worry about is keeping the kids happy, not keeping them looking good.

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Patterns are a great way to coordinate outfits together because they typically tie the family outfits together. However, patterns can be overwhelming and chaotic if you have multiple people wearing them.  If you choose to use patterns, it is best to have one person wearing a pattern and the other family members in complimentary solids.
 Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


As a mom, we put our kids first all the time. But when it comes to figuring out what to wear for family photos, mom needs to pick out her outfit first. Choose an outfit that you love and then use that as your starting point. After your outfit is chosen, start picking out outfits for the other family members that coordinate well with yours.
 Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography


Even though pops of color are great, avoid anything that is neon.  Neon colors can create color casts on your skin.  This means that the bright neon color will reflect on your skin and turn it an unnatural color.  For example, if you dress your little girl in a vibrant orange, your skin will start to look orange as the color bounces off of your skin.

Ten Ideas for What to Wear for Family Photos | SweetLife Photography

These are just a few tips to inspire you as you browse through your wardrobe before session day!  Most importantly, make sure you choose outfits that YOU are comfortable in.  Outfits that make you feel confident.  Trust me, as a photographer it is always easier to photograph families who feel comfortable and confident in their outfits because those emotions reflect well in their final portraits.

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Pop of Pink | Phoenix Desert Maternity Photographer

Confession: As this gorgeous mama stepped out of the car, it just blurted out of my mouth… “oh. my. gosh. you look like you literally swallowed a basketball. You look amazing!”

Now, some could take offense to the comment, I suppose (I’m certain this mama has heard that comment before as she just giggled and politely smiled). But I really meant it as a sincere compliment. It was out of complete envy I blurted that out. I only WISH I had looked so stunning during my pregnancies!

I must hand it to the beautiful pregnant ladies I’ve been photographing lately. You ladies make growing a baby look BEAUTIFUL!!! I mean, check this gorgeous girl out!! She’s literally glowing in the truest sense of the word. Everything is tiny with exception of that adorable baby bump. She lit up the desert for her session with me and daddy-to-be was more than happy to be her arm candy.

Ya’ll, Phoenix is in bloom… book your spring photo session with me today! 

North Phoenix Desert Maternity Photographer | SweetLife PhotographyNorth Phoenix Desert Maternity session -- SweetLife Photography

North Phoenix Desert Maternity Photographer :: SweetLife PhotographyNorth Phoenix Maternity Photographer :: SweetLife Photography

Phoenix Desert Maternity Session :: SweetLife Photography