Deer Lake - Family Photo Session {Vancouver Family Photographer}

Sadly, fall family photo sessions are almost behind us. As I reflect back on the season, this family photo session was definitely one of my faves!

It was my second time photographing this lovely family of four. Last year we held our family photo session in Vancouver and this year we chose the picturesque Deer Lake Park in Burnaby.

The conditions were perfect! It was a beautiful, crisp, fall afternoon with all those brilliant fall colours on display. The boys did absolutely amazing and, since it was their second go around, they certainly knew the drill: Play, have fun and interact with each other like I’m not there! They did such a great job having fun together as a family which allowed me to capture so many great moments.

I can’t wait until next year’s session!

Please get in touch with me here ASAP if you’d like to book a fall session!


Family Beach Session | Vancouver Family Photographer

As I sit down and write this post on a typical rainy Vancouver day, it makes me smile when I reflect back on meeting this lovely family of six for our warm, summer session at Vancouver’s picturesque Jericho Beach. As a father of two young boys, I am in awe when I meet amazing parents like these who can take on the responsibility of raising four really great kids.

The timing of our August session could not have been any better as it was before all that yucky smoke rolled into the city. The session was held during the last hours of the day, when the light has a warm, soft glow - perfect!  

I had so much fun at our session!  I was very appreciative at how well the family interacted naturally in front of the camera and enjoyed their time together.  It made it so easy for me to capture those authentic, candid moments (my faves!).


5 Tips for a Successful Family Photo Session

Hi!  I have been specializing in family photography in Vancouver for the past few years and have learned a lot about what it takes for a successful family session.  I have found that the following tips can make a huge difference in the results of the photos as well as the session experience for the family.


1. Book your family photo session in the morning or evening


The best time of day for family photos is either in the morning or evening when the light is soft and flattering. At this time of day, when the sun is low in the sky, the light has a soft, magical, warm glow.

In contrast, the lighting conditions at midday are intense and harsh, making it a poor time of day to photograph. The midday sun can create strong highlights and dark shadows on the person's face. With the overhead direction of the sunlight, this can also create "racoon eyes". Furthermore, the bright, intense conditions are generally uncomfortable for the person you're photographing and can cause squinty eyes.

Please visit my blog post here to see an example of the light at midday versus the evening. 




2. Location, Location, Location!


Identifying a location is a key consideration in planning a family photo session.

Find a place that’s meaningful – A place that has sentimental meaning can be a great place for a family session. For example, a local beach or park that's a favourite place for your kids to play.

Photos captured at a sentimental location will mean that much more when you hang them on your walls.

Has some shade – A shady spot can often provide the best lighting conditions when the light is harsh on a bright sunny day.

A quiet place – crowded places can be some of the worst places for family portraits. You’ll be constantly waiting for people to move out of the frame and all of the onlookers may make you feel self-conscious.

Please visit my blog post here for some of my favourite locations for family photos in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.




3. Preparation


Preparation is so important for family photos, especially when you have little ones.

What to wear - Ideally, it’s best to wear something that is comfortable and makes you feel good. Stay away from clothing with large logos or busy graphics. And of course watch out for outfits that might clash. Rather than match perfectly, think of having everyone wear something that goes together in a natural, yet not overly obvious way. Pick two or three main colours and pick clothes that fit that colour scheme. Solid, neutral colours with a pop of colour works well. Go for classic, not trendy.

Well rested and well fed - Happy kids (and parents) are well fed and rested. Schedule your session around naps, have a good meal beforehand and bring snacks for the kids.

What to Bring:

A dark blanket (No patterns) - I might ask you to sit down so that I can shoot from a higher angle. If you’re concerned about your outfit getting wet or dirty, bring a blanket or something small you can sit down on.

Extra clothes – With the little ones sometimes dirt/spit- up/food happens. It’s a good idea to have a backup set of clothes.

Favourite toy – Your child’s favourite toy is always a great addition!

Snacks and water - If your kids need a little mood boost during the session, a snack and water break can go a long way!




4. Do not look at the camera


Forget that I'm there! Not looking at the camera is super important if you want to capture those authentic, candid moments (My favourites!). I know it’s a bit awkward at first, but come prepared to act naturally and interact with each other like your not being photographed.



5. Have fun


This is truly the takeaway.  Having fun during your session produces the best photos and enhances your experience.

Play with your kids – Be playful and enjoy yourself as a family. Come ready to tickle, hug, joke, laugh, kiss and play. This allows me to capture those real, authentic moments. Enjoy the time with your family, this will result in great, natural photos.

Try not to get frustrated - If you are stressed and frustrated, the kids will feed off this energy and get worse. If you stay calm and have fun, the rest will follow.

Come with an activity – An activity that the whole family can enjoy is a great way to get authentic family photos and keep kids engaged (and happy!).

Think of some fun games - Games are a really great way to infuse some fun into a photo session. For example, I often play Simon Says with my families, which is a really fun game that encourages the family to interact with each other.



Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post!  I hope it was helpful in planning your next family session.

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions using the below form, or send me a message at


Name *



Little Girl Steals the Show | Burnaby Family Photo Session

I met this fabulous family (including their sweet dog Jazzie!) for their family photography session at Deer Lake in Burnaby.  The session was held in the evening when the light is perfect for family sessions.  The best time of day for family portraits is in the mornings and evenings, when the light is soft and flattering. 

It was evident early on that this little girl was going to be the star of the session.  She arrived wearing wings and was ready to go!  She did absolutely amazing and gave me so many great moments.

I loved how this family laughed and had fun together.  They did a great job forgetting that I was there and simply enjoyed their time together, which allowed me to capture some real, authentic moments. 


Vancouver Maternity Photographer - Riverfront Park

It was a beautiful day when I met this lovely couple for their maternity photography session at Riverfront Park in Vancouver.  We met in the morning when the light is soft and flattering.  We found a nice little forested area which made for a beautiful, natural background.  The light was perfect as it filtered through the trees.

The happy couple were so excited for the arrival of their first baby (boy!) which really translated into some great moments and photos.  I really loved how they had fun together and it was so easy to get some really great images.



Vancouver Family Photo Session - Yaletown

It was the day after a snowstorm had swept through the city when I met with this lovely family of three for our Yaletown family photo session in Vancouver.  We started out with some family portraits in a quaint little courtyard in their building before heading out for a stroll around the neighbourhod.  It was tough conditions in the snow but this family were absolute troopers as we slogged around the snowy streets of Yaletown.  At one point, we ducked into the Roundhouse for a little warm-up and they had a little family read with their adorable little one-year old.

I very much enjoyed my time photographing this family.  They did amazing and gave me so many fantastic, authentic moments!  I hope to get the opportunity to photograph this family again in the future….just maybe on a slightly warmer day.

Cute one year old boy in family photo session
Family photo hugging in Vancouver
Photos in Vancouver of family of three
Family portrait with mom and dad walking with one year old
Family playing in snow during Vancouver family photo session
Mom and son play in family photo session
Family photography in Vancouver
Photo of family in Yaletown, Vancouver
Nice moment of mom, dad and son in Vancouver family photography session
Family cuddles in Vancouver family photos
Family walking on streets of Vancouver during family photo session

If you're interested in booking a session or have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me at 604-839-5806, or send me a message at or by using the below contact form.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Delta Family Photo Session - Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Planning an outdoor family photo session in the winter is tricky at the best of times, but for this family session we were super fortunate to have a clear, cool winter day.

I met with this lovely family at the picturesque Reifel Bird Sanctuary, which is a great location for family photos with its beautiful meandering trails, peaceful ponds and, of course, LOTS of birds! The session was held in the afternoon, a couple hours before sunset, which is the best time of day for family photos as the light is soft and flattering.  It was a cold day, but thankfully the sanctuary has a nice little warming hut that provided a much needed escape from the cold.

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this session! It was such a pleasure hanging out with them and they gave me so many great moments to photograph.

Photo of family with son
Father and son family photo
Family of 3 with 1 year old photo session
Family of 5 outdoor photo session
Family of 3 photo session walking on trail
Photo session in Delta with grandparents walking through trail
Family of 3 photo session in Delta

Some of my favourite locations for family sessions...

As an on-location family photographer, I have become quite familiar with the various parks around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.  Here are a few of my favourite spots for capturing family photos:

Trout Lake - Vancouver

Family photography in Vancouver

On a nice day this is a pretty busy place, but I have been able to find some pretty sweet spots away from the crowd that are perfect for family pictures!

SFU - Burnaby Mountain

Family photo session

There is a secret spot up on the hill that contains a beautiful field which is perfect for a family session, especially on a summer evening.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Vancouver family photographer

What can you say, it's a stunning park!  The colours are amazing, especially in the fall.

Spanish Banks

Vancouver family session

Spanish Banks is a fantastic spot for a family session as it offers so much in the way of photographic opportunities - beach, fields, bridges, and the fall colours are devine!

Reifel Bird Sanctuary - Delta

Delta family session

The Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta is a great place for a family session with it's picturesque ponds and beautiful meandering trails.

Diefenbaker Park - Tsawwassen

Tsawwassen family photo session

Diefenbaker Park in sunny Tsawwassen is definitely a nice spot for a family session!  A favourite with the locals, this park offers a picturesque pond and forested hills.

Deer Lake - Burnaby

Deer Lake family seen in Burnaby

This large park offers a ton variety for a family photo session.  With it's spacious fields, nice trails and scenic views, you can't go wrong with Deer Lake.

Barnet Marine Park - Burnaby

Burnaby family session

Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby is a great place for a family session.  It's an interesting place with the remains of the old lumber mill and the mill's old scrap burner.  It's a pretty cool place with some interesting history and great views of the inlet.



Please send me a message if you're interested in booking a session.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Brisk December Family Photo Session - Tsawwassen

After a number of weeks of rain, I finally had the opportunity to photograph April and Marc's stunning family at Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen.  This session was extra special for me as my relationship with these peeps goes WAAAY back.

On this day, even though it was a wee bit nippy, they all put on a brave face and gave me a ton of great moments.  They did a great job forgetting about the camera and gave me a ton of real, authentic moments - in some pretty touch conditions.

I look forward to documenting this family in the years to come!

Click here if you'd like to message or chat about your next family session.

Family Photos
Family session
Family photography
Vancouver family photographer
Family photo session Tsawwassen

Burnaby Family Photography Session | Barnet Marine Park

It was the perfect morning when I met this lovely family for our session at the Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby.  The family looked great!  The kids had a lot of energy and had fun exploring the remains of the old lumber mill, especially the mill's old scrap burner.  It's a pretty cool place with some interesting history and great views of the inlet.  

We ended the session with a fun play in a huge pile of leaves.  The perfect way to end a fall family session!

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Burnaby photography session.jpg
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Burnaby family photo session.jpg
Burnaby family photography session.jpg
Burnaby family photography session.jpg
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Family Photography Session | Queen Elizabeth Park | Vancouver Family Photographer

The rain stopped coming down just minutes prior to our Vancouver family photo session at Queen Elizabeth Park.  We almost cancelled, but I'm so glad we didn't.  The conditions were perfect!  The light was soft and beautiful, filtered through a thin layer of clouds.

This lovely family's little girl, Arya, was a bundle of energy, which is familiar ground for me as my 5 year old also has boundless energy.  We had so much fun exploring the trails that meander through the beautiful gardens.  Arya especially loved the picturesque waterfall and pond.

Although it's a busy place, Queen Elizabeth Park is a great place for a family photo session.

Do you need a family photo for your Christmas cards?  Book now for your fall family portraits!

Vancouver family photo session
Family Vancouver photography
Family photography in park
Family photography session
Family photography in Vancouver
Family photography session in Vancouver
Vancouver family photography

Golden Sunset in Burnaby | Family Photo Session

It was a beautiful August evening when I met this fantastic family for our photo session in Burnaby. The session took place at the perfect time of day when the light was warm and golden.  The family looked great!  Their wardrobe was nicely coordinated and not too matchy, matchy.

The kids did amazing!  Their little guy was a little fussy at times (as baby's do!), but with a little patience and a couple of breaks, we were able to get all the shots we wanted and then some!

The busy season for family photos is just around the corner, so book your fall family session now!

Outside family photo in field
Family photo of father and son
Family walking in field
Dad holding up baby
Family photo session in field

My Top 5 Online Photography Resources

David Eklof Photography  |  Vancouver Family Photographer

I have had many influences on my path to specializing in family photos.  In the past 10 years there has been an explosion of online photography resources.  When I first picked up a camera 20+ years ago, the only way to learn was by taking a course at school.  Today, the resources available to photographers is simply astonishing!!  You can now access FREE instruction on the internet from the best photographers in the world.  Crazy!  On the flip side, the huge volume of information out there can be a bit overwhelming, especially for a newbie photographer.  Furthermore, when there's so much information out there, it's easy to spend too much time at the computer learning and not enough time practicing.  It's great to have a solid knowledge base, but the real learning happens when you're out there taking lots of pictures and putting that knowledge into practice.   

1.  CreativeLive

CreativeLive is an AMAZING resource for photographers.  It was launched in 2010 by commercial photographer Chase Jarvis.  I could seriously binge on CreativeLive all day long.  The content is incredible and the courses are delivered by world class photographers (Like Sue Bryce, Roberto Valenzuela, Tamara Lackey and Lindsay Adler!).  I love the format.  The courses are broadcasted on the internet live to an audience of real students for FREE!  All of the "On Air" content is free, which includes live and re-broadcasted content, with the option to buy courses and watch and re-watch them at your own pace.  It can be a little pricey, but they have great sales all the time.  Keep your eye out for the 19 classes for $19 sale, incredible value!!  I often use the "on Air" content to get a taste for a course and the instructor, to see if it's something I would like to invest in.  If you love photography, then you have to check out CreativeLive!!  

2.  Photography Concentrate

Lauren and Rob of Photography Concentrate is an absolute gold mine of information for photographers of all skill levels.  They have tons of free content on topics such as composition, photo editing, tips on how to improve your photography and the business of photography.  I love reading their articles!  They are fun, well written and easy to understand.  Lauren and Rob are Canadian too...which makes them even more AWESOME!!  Their passion for photography and teaching absolutely oozes out of their content.  They also have a cool YouTube channel that's definitely worth checking out.  I have learned so much from Lauren and Rob and highly recommend their website.  Sign up for their Club and get the content emailed directly to your inbox!

3.  Improve Photography

This is where I go to nerd out on all things photography.  Improve Photography has an insane amount of material on it's website.  It has 100's of FREE articles on topics such as landscape photography, portrait photography, post processing and gear.  They also have a section called IP Plus.  For $20 a month you have access to 195 video tutorials and 281 presets.  You can also upgrade your IP Plus to receive mentoring from professional photographers such as Jim Harmer (founder), Nick Page, Erica Kay and Brian McGuckin.  My personal favourite are the fantastic Improve Photography podcasts.  I especially love Portrait Session and Photo Taco.

4. is a really great learning platform that provides courses on business, software, technology and creative skills.  It boasts over 700 photography courses, with topics ranging from photographic foundations, camera and gear, post processing, portraits and lighting.  Where really excels in my opinion is in the realm of post processing, with their high quality, easy to follow  tutorials on Lightroom and Photoshop.  This isn't a free learning platform however, with plans starting at $20 a month.  I have recently learned that the Burnaby Public Library offers full access to the database to Burnaby resident card holders.  Check out your local library to see if they have the same set-up. 

5.  Clickin' Moms

Okay, so this one may seem weird as I'm not a Mom, but this website is clickin' awesome!  Especially for learning how to photograph kids and families.    Clickin' Moms is divided into four 'Sister Brands':  Click Photo School, Click Magazine, Click & Company Store and Click Away Conference.  Click Photo School runs online workshops where you can either do 'Full Participation' or 'Study Along'.  In the full participation ($300) workshops you get the full interactive online experience and critiques from the instructor, whereas the study along ($150) gives you access to all the materials without the interaction and critique from the instructor.  Click Photo School also offers "Breakouts".  For $50, these tutorials generally consist of a PDF and a set of videos.  I have personally done a few of these and found them to be of incredible value, especially for the genre of family photography.  My personal favourite Breakout is by Erin Brant, check it out!

When is the best time of day for outdoor family photos?

David Eklof Photography  |  Vancouver Family Photographer

This is a great question that comes up a lot when I'm booking outdoor sessions for family photos.  In sunny conditions, the best time of day for photos is either in the morning or evening, when the light is soft and more flattering.  And you want to look your best, right?  When it's cloudy out, as it often is in Vancouver, the time of day is not nearly as important.  However, even on cloudy days I find that the quality of light is still better in the mornings and evenings. 

 The Golden Hour- In photography, this is roughly the first hour of light in the morning and last hour of light before sunset.  At this time of day, when the sun is low in the sky, the light has a soft, magical, warm glow.  In contrast, the lighting conditions at midday are intense and harsh, making it a poor time of day to photograph.  The midday sun can create strong highlights and dark shadows on the person's face.  With the overhead direction of the sunlight, this can also create "racoon eyes".  Furthermore, the bright, intense conditions are generally uncomfortable for the person you're photographing and can cause squinty eyes.  

As a way to demonstrate the difference between a photo taken at midday versus one taken during the golden hour, I took the below images at the same location 6 hours apart.  The first photo was taken at 1:30 pm and the second one was taken at 7:30 pm.  As you can see, there is a huge difference in the quality of light between these photos.  The first photo, taken during the intense midday sun, has created harsh shadows on the boy's face and, due to the direction of light coming from directly above, the shadows have given him "racoon eyes".  Whereas, in the second photo his face is evenly lit with beautiful, warm, golden light.  Same boy, same location, same camera, same lens, same aperture (f2.8 if you care), different time of day and with much different results!


Mama and her Boy | Burnaby Mountain Family Photo Session | Family Photos

David Eklof Photography  |  Vancouver Family Photographer

It was an overcast morning when I met this mother and son for our family photo session on Burnaby Mountain.  The timing was excellent, as the best time of day for a family photos is in the morning or evening when the light is soft and flattering.  They looked great!  Their outfits were nicely coordinated without being too overly matched.  

This 4-year old boy was itching to get out on his bike and burn off some energy.  I was able to get some shots of him as he happily tore around on his bike.  After his ride, I had some games planned for our session but this little guy wasn’t having it!  I quickly realized that this session was going to be on his terms, which is often the case with the little ones.  He had his own games in mind so we just rolled with it.  This worked out great as the moments that happened before me were authentic and real… just the way I like it! 

All I did was guide them into a nice location with good light and background.  We found a lovely field with long grass and a beautiful forested background.  It was perfect!  These two were so adorable together as they rolled around in the long grass, picked berries and played with ladybugs.  There were lots of fun moments, but also some sweet quiet ones as well. 

Vancouver photographer burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session
Vancouver photographer Burnaby family photo session

Healing with Horses | Vancouver Family Photographer

This little girl lost her father to cancer last year.  I had the honor of photographing her session with Larissa Jaala of Epona Rose Healing with Horses.  This amazing place has provided a safe setting for her to grieve the loss of her father.  The beautiful white, healing horses, Spirit and Rain, help the girl understand her difficult emotions.  The horses mirror what she perceives as sadness, grief and frustration, which allows her to empathize with the horses and connect with those feelings in her own words.  This is truly a special place!

Epona Rose Healing with Horses is the culmination of Larissa's three decades of connecting with horses. Larissa's own experience of going through the loss of her father led her to experience the healing power of horses.  Larissa combines her 10 years of Bodymind Acupressure with her life skills coaching and Equine Facilitated Wellness Programs to support people through grief, loss and trauma so that they can move forward living life with joy, self-esteem and peacefulness.

5 tips for Photographing Kids | Vancouver Family Photographer

Over the past few years of photographing my own kids and taking family photos, I have learned a few tricks that have made a BIG difference in getting consistently great photos of kids.   If you keep these tips in mind, and practice a lot, I guarantee you'll see improvement!  


1.   Get down to their level

This is the takeaway.  Changing your perspective and getting down to the kid’s level will instantly improve the photos of your kids.  Most snap shots of kids are from the unflattering angle of the adult looking down at the child.  By getting down to their level you will create more intimate and compelling photos.


2.   Relax. Have fun!

Don’t try to pose your kids.  If your kids are anything like mine, this always leads to frustration and really bad photos.  Be patient, go with the flow, and be ready to capture meaningful and authentic moments.


3.  Capture motion

This is my favourite.  I love capturing motion!  This one takes some practice so don't be afraid to take LOTS of photos.  Get your kids involved in an activity, get down to their level, and snap away.  This is a great way of getting shots of kids being kids.


4.   Use a fast shutter speed

It goes without saying that kids move around a lot.  You'll need to use a fast shutter speed of 1/250 or higher to freeze the action and get sharp images.  Use the “Sports Mode” if you’re using a point-and-shoot camera.


5.   Find the best light

When outdoors try to photograph in the early morning or the evening before sunset.  Photographers often refer to this time period as the 'golden hour', when the light has a magical, soft, golden glow.  If you’re shooting outside in the middle of the day, when the light is bright and harsh, try to find some shade where the light is even and more flattering.  When shooting indoors, turn out all the lights and move the activities to a large window where there’s lots of natural light.


Please contact me if you're interested in booking a family portrait session.  I am based in Burnaby and anywhere around Vancouver.  My sessions are fun and play based, and my style is relaxed and real.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Name *

Trout Lake Photo Session | Family Photos | David Eklof Photography

I had the pleasure of spending time with this awesome family for their family photos at Trout Lake Park, Vancouver.  It was a beautiful evening and these two active boys had a great time chasing bubbles and exploring the park.

I learned some interesting facts about these little dudes.  You won't catch them listening to Raffi or Kidz Bop 34,  they like to rock it out to Queens of the Stone Age and Slipknot.  Also, these brothers have very different career aspirations, as the oldest wants to be a doctor and the youngest wants to be a police robot.  Christmas is a busy time for this household as the boys are Christmas and New Year's Eve babies.  Wowsers!


Boy chasing bubbles - Vancouver Family Session
Family outside portrait in Vancouver
Children by lake - Family Photo Session
Mom and child - Family Photos
Family portrait session in Vancouver