Let's get shooting... but where? Peek these amazing spots

DC Market Street

Offering fantastic modern backgrounds, interesting architecture, beautiful rust streaked walls, barn doors, a tunnel, a bridge, in addition to stunning mountains, and desert backdrops. The lighting here is fantastic and offers endless looks for your shoot. I'm here so often I call it my office.  Click  for examples.

Gate Way Trail Head

Part of the stunning McDowell Mountain Preserve, offering great walking paths, towering cactus, stunning backdrops of our beautiful mountains, even a rusty red zig zag bridge that produces really interesting pictures. Sunrise is is amazing for this spot as the sun rises over the mountains behind us. However, sunset is spectacular too, in fact there is always a group of people that gather at this location just to catch our amazing sunset.  A permit is required to use this amazing preserve, rest assured I have one. Click for examples.

Tom Thumb Trail Head

Purple mountains at sunset, perfect afternoon light, vistas, vistas vistas. Great rocks and dreamy dry grass. I also have a secret spot, down a dirt road in this area that is just amazing! It's a bit of a drive.. but worth it!  A permit is required to use these locations, I have an annual permit, so no additional charge is required. Click for examples.

Scottsdale Civic Center

They have the iconic LOVE sign, which is really fun although on the weekend we may have to wait in line for this one (no kidding it's that busy) This spot also has pretty fountains, a pretty little garden, and green rolling hills. We also could wander the street of old town scottsdale, for an urban type, western street feel. Old town scottsdale has some cool brick alleys as well.  Click for examples.

Secret Meadow

Tall whisps of grass, sometimes green sometimes beautiful golden brown, green trees, beautiful backlighting. Located centrally, slightly annoying to park and walk too... but worth it! Click for examples.

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

The Arizona desert at it's finest. Great mountains, a trail and beautiful landscaping, plus a really neat rustic fence that we could have fun with. This place is a little gem and photographs excellent at sunset..

Roosevelt Row

 Roosevelt Row, is a walkable arts district in downtown Phoenix, featuring impressive murals, award-winning galleries with rotating exhibitions from local artists, unique restaurants, and boutiques. The Roosevelt Row Arts District (RoRo) is an awesome place to shoot and explore! Click Here for examples.

Scorpions Gulch

Located in central Phenix, next to South Mountain - Scorpion Gulch was built as a home and store selling candy and trinkets  . It's now abandoned and has no roofs, I'm not sure if it burned, but I do know it's a fantastic spot for photography. It's a drive, it's a touch of a rough area, there may be broken beer bottles, but it's so worth it! Click here for my examples.

Browns Ranch Trail Head

About 20 minutes north of the 101 this location feels like you stepped into quintessential Scottsdale. Boulders, cactus, elevation and slightly different vegetation gives this spot my award for most scenic, hmmm ok maybe it's a tie with a few others, but seriously it's amazing. Yes a permit is required, and yes I have an annual permit, so worry not! Click here for examples.

Your home!

Don't forget your home, I offer indoor session using your own living room, bedroom or backyard. I look at the light, bring my own and we are comfortable and have fun! This options is not available for the abridged session.

Doc Cavallier Park

A new favorite. Located in North scottsdale it offers amazing mountain views, boulders, a cool textured rock wall, room to run around and a fantastic playground for kiddos to let loose after our session. Click Here for examples.

What should I wear?

Coordinate your clothing do not match your clothing.

If you show up to your shoot all wearing white collared shirts and levis, just know there is not enough creative posing I can do to prevent your portraits looking like they came out of 1995. Ouch!  No no instead pick a color theme, think blues, jewel tones, pastels, pinks and creams, I love yellow and blues, reds and blacks, deep purples and yellows. There is one exception to this small kiddos and twins can always match, that is just plain cuteKeep in mind darker color clothing will frame your face better, if you choose lighter colors the focus will be a bit more on the clothing rather than your face.

Avoid busy patterns or characters on clothing

You may be a chevron or ikat fan right now, but I guarantee in a few years these trendy patterns will look stale and dated. Keep in mind, super busy patterns distract from what we want people to notice… you. I want people to look at your photo and notice you,  not the large Tory Burch logo on your sweater. Keep it simple :)

Layer it up!

I love layers, they give us the flexibility to quickly change your look, plus I think a jacket or an over shirt help to make your look  polished, a jean jacket a black cardigan, a blazer for a man can really look nice. I know it’s hot here but a light neck scarf can also go a long way to finish your look. Not a requirement but certainly something to think about.

Avoid all white/ black or florescent colors.

If everyone showed up in black if would difficult to photograph you can end up with clippings (which just means you loose a little details in the clothes in order to properly expose your skin) Florescent shirts can throw color casts on the skin, which is just time consuming to correct in photoshop, especially if it’s for every photo. So this request is just for me.. thanks!

Consider you backgrounds

Pretty self explanatory, but if we are shooting at the beach try to stay away from tan, I want your photos to pop from the background. If we are going to a shoot against the desert (most of the time that’s what we do in Arizona) stay away from light greens and tans for your shirt. Bright colors are my favorite look how eye catching this image is…

It's in the details

For men wear dark colored socks, so if they peek out they don’t stand out. Women consider a shirt with at least a small sleeve, this helps the attention go to your face, not your bare arms, as a rule it looks better (but of course not always)

Hair spray is your friend, we don’t want frizzy hair. If you have bangs make sure they are trimmed, I want to see your beautiful eyes! Make sure clothing is wrinkle and stain free. Ladies wear a bra that does not show thru or bulge. Use make up that is SPF free, some foundations with SPF can leave a white ghost like residue that does not photograph well. Nails should not be chipped and scrub under nails for those kiddos. Oh and if you have a toddler in a dress a diaper cover is a must!

You may not need to run out and buy something

I can almost guarantee that there is something in your closet that is just perfect. Keep it real, keep it comfortable! The best look is a happy smile. Toddlers are not happy in frilly scratchy dresses, as we are not happy in uncomfortable clothing. Jeans.. kids don’t like jeans, they are stiff and overwhelm them. I want your kiddo running around and happy!

Do you have helpful tips for small children to cooperate?

Let's bribe them!

Seriously, I have a bag full of goodies that can help kiddos focus. Feel free to bring your own candy items, but nothing that stains, smarties are my all time favorite. 


Don't tell kids to smile. We are going to have fun and make this a game. 

Let's team up.

When trying to get a toddler to smile, if you standing 10 feet away from me, it's an odd energy. I might be asking you to play peek-a boo behind my back, dance silly or make funny faces with me. Often just laughing yourself is enough to draw out a beautiful smile. 

Bring their favorite toy.

When it comes to photographing youngsters, I love when parents bring their favorite (smallish) toy to our shoot. How fun to have a beautiful image holding their favorite toy. 

Don't worry

Kids can sense worry and stress and it rubs off on them. Really, don't worry, I have 4 crazy wonderful kiddos of my own, and have photographed thousands of children, we will capture beautiful images.

Arizona is amazing! Do you have any photography for sale?

As a matter of fact I do!

I would just LOVE for you to have a Sara Waterman Photography original hanging on your walls! You can buy prints, canvases or metals!  I know cactus prints are really trendy right now, so I have been focusing on cactus and you can buy digital images at a great price. Almost free :)