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Capturing the Perfect Family Fall Photos: Expert Tips for Arizona Aspen Photos

Arizona Aspen Fall Family Photos tips

It's never too early to book fall photos

The most important thing I want you to take away from this post is that it's never ever too early to be booking your photoshoot during the changing leaves in fall in Flagstaff, Arizona. My clients book their fall leaves photoshoots 6 months to 1 year out because I've really drilled it into their brain.

Bring layers

Fall in the mountains, especially at 7,000 feet elevation, can get very chilly! Temperatures during fall photoshoots in Flagstaff can hit low 40's and even high 30's so choose your outfits accordingly, make sure you're prepared with extra layers and patience.

Choose a local photographer

Local Flagstaff photographers will know the best times, locations and game plan for helping your fall photos go as smoothly as possible and will be able to communicate the best etiquette for the area.

Plan for extra travel and parking time

Especially on weekends. In the fall, my alma mater Northern Arizona University hosts its homecoming weekend which adds to the chaos of how many tourists visit Flagstaff. Our aspen trees are some of the only spots in Arizona to see the changing colors of fall leaves and it draws massive massive crowds of tourism.

It's highly unlikely you'll have the places to yourself

Wherever your photographer is planning your aspen photos, it's highly unlikely you'll have a lot of space to yourself. As I mentioned above, the tourism is no joke. If you hate having your photo taken (especially in front of other people!) then you'll want to talk about the best options with your photographer.


Carving in Aspen trees, leaving beer cans, confetti, champagne bottle corks, and other trash are all a one-way ticket to completely pissing off the locals and getting your photo taken and posted on local pages about who to look out for. The Aspen trees tend to be targets for people to carve initials and drawings which puts the absolute worst taste in peoples mouths. In general, showing respect for our accessible Aspen tree locations is essential to make sure we can continue to use these spaces.

In summary, there are really strong pros and really strong cons for planning your family photos with changing fall leaves and aspen trees in Arizona. The spaces are limited and the crowds get bigger and more unruly each year. Is it kind of a pain in the ass? Hell yes. Are they worth it? Yes, yes, yes!

As a local photographer I've limited how many family photo sessions I offer with our aspen trees just based on how dystopian the whole experience can feel. But I will say, the drive through the mountain will always take my breath away and it's a treat to capture the photos and edit them. There's no denying the photos are stunning and really capture the transition to crisp weather, cozy clothes and more family time. Taking the extra time to know what to expect and how to plan for it will definitely be key to a successful fall family photoshoot in Flagstaff!


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