Family Lifestyle | Laughter Family

An Outdoor Family Documentary Session in Fair Oaks CA

This was such a fun shoot! I joined Marlene and Robert on a hike to a hidden lagoon at a nearby nature reserve. We met about 2 hours before sunset, and I was hopeful that we would reach our destination just in time before we had to head back. They have 2 children under the age of 8 and one baby - I obviously did not think through this fact when I suggested only two hours before sunset.

Family hike on the American River Parkway during sunset

The walk took us through the back area of the American River Parkway that I didn't realize existed! The trail was nice and wide; the sun peeked through some areas, while hiding in others. I imagine that it's a great hike year round, regardless how hot it gets here in Sacramento County. 

Boy and girl looking at little black and white dog on a leash on the American River Parkway

At some points, big brother Mason and little Penelope brought out their bug catchers and magnifying glasses to observe some critters that they noticed on the ground. I really enjoy the photo of Penelope and her magnifying glass. It makes me laugh because she was looking through it so intently. I think she was convinced that holding it that close to her eye was helping her find more bugs to observe. 

Little girl holding a magnifying glass to her eye and standing in the middle of nature trail

When we arrived (and not a moment too soon, based on the children's reaction when we got there!) they ran to the edge of the water. What a beautiful scene! We saw a turtle in the middle of the water, and witnessed a few birds on the other side. The family shared binoculars to see the wildlife. I loved seeing the little ones look out onto the water and enjoy nature. Mason even challenged himself to balance on a log (after he returned the binoculars to his mother, in case he fell in). 

Boy looking out over a lake with binoculars
Girl looking through binoculars over a river with her family behind her and older brother in a stroller

We stayed as long as we could before the fading light left for good. I hope to find and visit this area again, perhaps with my own children...after we get some binoculars ;)

Thank you so much Marlene and Robert for letting me join you and your family on this wonderful hike! 

Happy family walking up a bike path

Claire Toney is a Sacramento Child Portrait and Family Documentary Photographer. She loves long hikes through woody areas with her family, especially when they allow her to take photos of the changing scenery and of them. When she is not spending time with her husband, 2 children, and 2 dogs, she is taking photos of other families and children. If you would like for her to take photos of you and your family, send her a message at or call her at (916) 769-5482.