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A Family Photoshoot at Vasquez Rocks

Southern California features some amazing views for family and romantic photographs. Usually, when we think of SoCal portrait locations, we picture the sprawling city of Los Angeles and its many famous architectural marvels. There really are hundreds of beautiful locations to choose from, but there is so much more to be seen outside L.A.

Vasquez Rocks Family Phootshoot

Vasquez Rocks Natural Park Area

While many families and couples I photograph like to consider the classic photography 'hotspots' like Union Station, the Walt Disney Concert Hall or Pasadena City Hall as potential shoot locations, few clients of mine consider the many natural wonders that often hide just outside those Los Angeles City Limits. Recently, I did a photoshoot with a family that wasn't afraid to blaze a trail into wilderness when we shot at the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park near Agua Dulce, California.

Vasquez Rocks Family Photos

Funny enough, my photoshoot with the Pramono's was never meant to be a family photoshoot. I was hired for a simple birthday party waaaay back in March (Wow, it really does seem like ages ago). Of course, you would know that March is right when the Covid-19 Pandemic was really started to kick off in the USA. A few lockdowns later, and there was no longer any birthday party for me to attend. Instead of asking for a refund, Mr. & Mrs. Pramono asked me to help update their family photo album when things became a little safer out there. Fast forward 7 months later, and we are still dealing with Covid-19, but it was more or less safe to go outside again.

Vasquez Rocks Family Photoshoot Los Angeles California Austen Hunter Portrait Photographer Mom Dad and Daughter Family Pictures

I suggested the Vasquez Rocks as a potential shoot location while helping to plan the family's photoshoot. I think I came across it on Pinterest in for some very impressive engagement photos. After considering my suggestion, the Pramono's decided they were game for it, and just like that - the shoot was on!

When is Vasquez Rocks open?

The nice thing about the Vasquez Rocks is that it's open nearly all year round. The entrance to the park does have a gate that gets locked overnight (times change across the season, but it's generally at sunrise/sunset), but this only bars vehicles from entering the park. Walk-ons seem to be permissible at any time. From the gate, getting to the Vasquez Rocks is only a quick 10-15 minute hike over mostly-flat earth.

Another great advantage for photographers shooting at the Vasquez Rocks is that photography is welcomed in the park, and nobody gave me any trouble for hauling around my big 38" Umbrella and heavy-duty Light Stand. However, it would be prudent to prioritize your most important gear to bring, as there are at time tight spots and turns to navigate while hiking toward the Vasquez Rocks.

Vasquez Rocks Photoshoot

Since daylight was alright diminishing as we entered the park, I elected not to go all the way to the Vasquez Rocks and instead chose an overlook about 5 minutes from the front entrance for our photoshoot. With the compression that longer focal length lens like the 85mm provide, those distant rocks can look much closer than they really are. This maximized the time we had for our shoot while still framing a captivating background.

We had about a good 45 minutes to capture our shots. The family was very happy with how they turned out. Since I rarely shoot without my off-camera flash these days, I don't get worried when the sun starts to set. In fact, I appreciate how some of the shots in our set came out after blue hour had set in. Come take a look:

It's always nice when my clients bring a personal touch to their photoshoot (Something I highly encourage among my clients). In this case it happened to be Jago Merah, or "The Red Champion". That's the little remote control car you see in some of the images. Jago Merah is the Pramono's adventure companion, a little toy they bring on their family outings. The Vasquez Rocks was a great backdrop for this little R.C. car, and added a little outside-the-box interest to an otherwise standard fare family photoshoot.

Vasquez Rocks Family Photoshoot Los Angeles California Austen Hunter Portrait Photographer

Are you interested in getting some unforgettable family photos taken in the Pensacola, Florida area? Get in touch with me to book a session!

I hope you enjoyed this little write up of my latest photoshoot adventure! If you're not following me over on the Instagram - you are missing out! The 'Gram is where I show off tons of Behind the Scenes content and sneak peaks of my latest work. You're also welcome to subscribe to the Newsletter for new events and seasonal discounts. Lastly, get in touch with me here if you'd like to schedule a session with me.

Austen Hunter Photography Portrait and Family Photographer in the Pensacola Area, Florida

Austen Hunter Photography is a Pensacola, Florida photographer who specializes in senior picture photography, beach photography, fashion photography, graduation photography, military portrait photography and headshot photography in a bold, graphic style, from Destin and 30A Florida, to Pensacola to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama. Austen Hunter has been published internationally and is known for his bold, graphic, and clean photographic style. He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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