Are you considering a family photo session in Calgary? I’ve been taking photos of Calgary families for over 13 years and these locations are some of my tried and true favourites. Whether you have a 5 month old or a teenager, there’s a perfect spot in Calgary for you and your family. I’ll give you the lowdown on each spot, what you can expect and what ages it’s best for. These are some of Calgary’s best outdoor family photo locations in a park setting.
Douglas Fir Trail
This is such a hidden gem in Calgary. I love taking my kids here for a quick hike if we can’t make it out to the mountains. Set within Edworthy Park this trail is the perfect length for a hike and a photo session! I would not recommend this for families with small children but if you have children 8 and up it is so fun! They can run, climb the hills, balance on the fallen trees, jump off the stairs and bridges and then at the top we get a fantastic view of the city! With this location you get a fun family outing and I will get some amazing adventurous photos of you. If you have reluctant teens this is a great way for me to get photos of them without them feeling awkward or ‘posey’.
BEST FOR: Families with kids 8 and up and especially families with teenagers.
This is such a sweet location. I love it for maternity photos and family photos but it especially bodes well for families with babies and toddlers. Why’s that? Because you can park on the road and you are steps away from our spot. No long walks to get to the location. If you’re carrying a baby or have a stroller this helps a lot. As for the setting, it’s the prettiest green in the Spring/Summer. There’s long grass, huge mature trees, dandelions for picking, lilac bushes for smelling, little walkover bridges, tons of room to explore and run.
BEST FOR: Any family but families with small children and babies especially.
*NOTE – it is also a dog park so if you or your children aren’t the biggest fans then this isn’t your best spot.
Do your kids like to throw rocks? Who doesn’t? The river location by Shouldice Park is ideal. What I love about this location is the variety. The big seller for me is the rock beach and river but to get there we walk through a really lovely treed area. There is a perfect climbing tree ALL the kids love. Not too high to scare Mom and Dad but high enough to get the thrill of climbing a tree! Just a short walk away is another great spot under the 16th Ave bridge. When we arrive at the rock beach it’s a beautiful spot to have fun, play ‘who can make the biggest splash?’ and get some amazing images!
BEST FOR: Walking age and up. The rock beach isn’t stroller friendly and you’ll want them to be old enough to enjoy the thrill of throwing sticks and rocks in the water.
*NOTE – it is also a dog park so please take that into consideration if you aren’t a dog person.
Definitely one of my favourite locations. I’ve found so many Calgarians have never been here or even heard of it. Griffith Woods is a 93ha park in southwest Calgary. It’s set along the banks of the Elbow River. Surrounded by spruce trees you feel like you’re in Kananaskis but you haven’t left the city! In the winter it is magical but in the Spring/Summer the kids can run, explore, bring their scooters, splash in the creek (at the end of our session!), cross the boardwalks, look for wildlife (owls, deer, moose, baby beavers, I’ve seen them all here). I’m never disappointed when I bring a family here. The other bonus is that because so many people don’t know about this park, it is much less busy than the more popular parks in Calgary. So if you dislike the idea of others watching you have your photo taken, this is a great choice.
BEST FOR: Walking age and up. It’s not ideal for sitting nor is it ideal for strollers.
*NOTE – a lot of the session we’ll be walking and exploring.
There’s a reason Bowness Park is so popular – it has so much to offer. For photos we can use the dock and have the lagoon as a backdrop. Bowness has beautiful mature trees, pathways we can walk along and the kids can watch the ducklings. Bridges, a small train that runs through the park (if you have little ones, you must take them on this before they get too big!) and they rent canoes and paddle boats – how fun is that for photos? AND the Bow River is on the North side of the park so we can stop there too!
BEST FOR: All ages. Little ones will love to feed the ducks, ride the train and explore. Older kids will enjoy taking out a canoe or paddle boat, throwing rocks in the river. Stroller friendly.
*NOTE – see above. Bowness is POPULAR which means at times it can be really busy. I suggest if possible we do a session here on a weekday evening or weekend morning.
Baker Park is another one of the lesser know parks in Calgary. Right across the Bow River from Bowness Park, Baker Park has lovely paved pathways that make it really easy to manoever if you’ve got small children and strollers. It is much less busy than Bowness park. Beautifully manicured lawns with flowers in the Spring and Summer, there are often weddings taking place on the weekend here with the river as a backdrop. An easy spot to sit for photos and to put your little one down on the grass.
BEST FOR: All ages but babies and small children will enjoy it the most.
Fish Creek Park
Maybe the most popular place in Calgary for photos? I used to avoid coming here simply because so many other photographers shoot here but lately I’ve really come to appreciate it. Can it be busy? Absolutely. But I’ve been many times when it’s quiet. A Saturday or Sunday afternoon usually isn’t one of them! So once we strategically pick our session time this location really has some perks. Huge fields of grass, a fun path the kids can bring their skateboards or scooters on, a nice bridge and the beautifully organic fallen tree that can be used in so many different ways. If we’re there at the right time we can also end our session with a stop at Annie’s Cafe for an ice cream cone (bribery tends to work REALLY well for photos).
BEST FOR: Everyone. All ages can enjoy this spot and it’s stroller friendly.
So good for little ones. Park, grab your stroller if you need one and we’re off. Paved pathways throughout and we’re not walking far. Confederation Park is wide open spaces for the little ones to run. Lots of nice soft grass to sit on, a few things to climb but in general a really nice, safe place for kids to explore. The trees are magnificent and the bridge framed by greenery is so pretty.
BEST FOR: Families with babies and toddlers. Older kids might find it boring, I’ve got better locations for them 😉
What do you think? Did I miss one of your favourite spots in Calgary for photos? Let me know in the comments below.
Stay tuned for my next post on CALGARY’S BEST URBAN FAMILY PHOTO LOCATIONS!