Do-it-Yourself Photo Shoot at Laguna Gloria

Professional photographers are a great resource to help you document your child’s early years. I also like to supplement those professional photos with my own from time to time, and Austin has some great locations for do-it-yourself photo shoots.

There are few places in Austin that rival the mix of natural beauty, art, and architecture found at Laguna Gloria.  I have been wanting to explore its photographic possibilities for a while, so we got up bright and early one recent morning and paid a visit.

I know a lot of kids that are total hams in front of the camera. My daughter is not one of them.  She has this 6th sense for whenever I am trying to capture a moment and either turns at the moment I hit the shutter, makes a funny face, or says, “No pictures, mama!”.  I wanted some advice on making the most of our outing, so I contacted the very talented Katherine O’Brien of Katherine O’Brien Photography ( We hired her for our wedding photos and LOVED her work).

She shared the following tips for getting great photos with young children:

  • Most importantly, schedule your shoot for their best time of day– when they’re fed and happy!

  • Know your equipment before hand – It’s really hard for a 2 year old to sit still and smile into the camera and you’ll end up losing their interest waiting for you to focus or trying to figure out a new technique before hand!

  • Toddlers have also just discovered their new freedom of walking and running around -so get them on the go!  Some of the best shots are of kids engaging in play- playing with a toy car- doll, having a tea party. You can also make it  fun by swinging your toddler between the two of you, lay down and read a book together, bring a picnic and/or ride on Daddy’s shoulders!

  • Redirect their behavior instead of getting frustrated.  Once the swinging doesn’t work move onto another fun activity or stop for a snack. Since you’ll be documenting their whole lives with photos,  you’ll want them to remember taking photos is fun!

Armed with my point and shoot digital camera, Katherine’s suggestions, and a desire to get creative, I dove into the experience.  I took over 90 photos and got 6 or 7 that I really liked.  Visiting Laguna Gloria has also motivated me to register for a photography class at their Art School!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Other good photo-op locations around Austin:

Do you have a favorite location or tips that you’d like to share?

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Laguna Gloria
3809 West 35th Street
Austin, TX 78703

(grounds close at 5 p.m.)


Many thanks to Katherine O’Brien!


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Categories: Arts, Destinations, Outdoor Fun


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