A family photography session on a beautiful Devon beach with two parents and a young child squatting in the sand

Where to have your family photography session in Devon: some location ideas for your shoot

Where should we have our family shoot in Devon?

So, you are thinking about booking your family photography in Devon. Wonderful! But which location should you choose for your own shoot? Where are the best places for family photos in Devon? How much does the location matter? These are usually some of the first questions I get asked, so I thought it might be helpful to show you examples from family photography sessions at some of my favourite locations.

Family photographs in a range of different Devon locations

Have a browse through my end of year family photography round up, and you will see a range of images. These are taken in different places around Devon and further afield. As you will see, it does make quite a difference to the overall look of your family photographs. It’s good to think through the considerations before you decide what you would like to do for your own family photography session.

A family holding hands and looking across hills during a Devon family photoshoot

Where in Devon do you usually spend family time?

The good news is that Devon is utterly beautiful and has such a range of different options. It’s just important to think about what would work best for your own family.

Firstly, what sort of places do you usually enjoy spending time together? I want to capture your family doing exactly the sort of thing your family normally does, so let’s try and fit around that. If you are always on the beach, then let’s go exploring rock pools, have a barbecue by the sea, or build sandcastles. If you spend a lot of time on Dartmoor then there are lots of beautiful spots that work really well for family sessions, or plenty of other outdoor locations around Devon. You want the photographs to be in a familiar environment, for them to fit you as a family, to feel like you.

The other side of this question is, what will work best for your children? If you have younger children, then it’s also often really lovely to photograph your family at home. If you want to include some outdoors in your images, then perhaps we can start or finish at home. I love capturing the whole story of your shoot, which can include all the getting ready, or the coming home at the end. We can make sure any location that we plan for is suitable for little legs, or has facilities nearby if you need them. I want things to be fun for your family, so let’s choose something that is going to be interesting and enjoyable for your family. That way, happy and relaxed photos will follow naturally.

Consider the look of your photographs

A final consideration is what you would like the overall look and feel of your family photographs to be. The focus of the images will be the same wherever we have the shoot: photos of your family, having a lovely time together. But the location still makes a big difference to the images. There are a wide range of possibilities for your family photography in Devon. The green and hilly terrain of Dartmoor will look very different to a beach backdrop, which will look different to being in the forest, surrounded by trees, and so on. Have a look through my favourites below and see which sort of shoot appeals to you the most.

A family photography session at the beach, with parents and child laughing together in the sea

There are so many options, and I’ll always chat through things with you before we finalise our plans. This particular post focuses on Devon, but I regularly shoot elsewhere around the South West. I’ll also travel further around the UK where necessary, so the possibilities are endless. We just need to work out what is best for you.

So, where to have your own family photoshoot in Devon? Here are some tried and tested suggestions that you might like to consider!

My ten favourite Devon locations for family photography:

A Devon family photoshoot at Budleigh Salterton beach in evening sunlight

1. Budleigh Salterton beach (above)

We are spoilt for choice with beaches in the South West, so they do feature repeatedly on this list. So many Devon families tell me how much they all enjoy spending time on the beach together. It’s not surprising that so many family photography sessions end up by the sea.

There is something utterly enchanting about evening light at the beach, with the sun twinkling on the water. Budleigh Salterton is a particular favourite. There is a large car park right by the beach, and beautiful pink and grey tones to the pebbles. I love the colours here in all weather, and find it just as pretty on a grey day. It’s always great to spend time on the beach, and most children find it a really fun way to take part in a photography session.

Check out the Hookway family’s photography session at Budleigh here.

Various family photo shoots at Haldon forest Exeter

2. Haldon forest (above)

Shooting in the forest is a particular favourite of mine, and I find it absolutely perfect for family photography sessions. If you have pre-school or primary school aged children, I think this is a really ideal place to have a fun family explore. I want your photos to reflect a really fun time that you spent with your family, and this is perfect. I just love it when you get sunlight filtering through the trees to create the most beautiful and atmospheric images. There are lots of different forest options in Devon, so let’s have a chat about something that works for you.

Some Devon family photographs at Teignmouth river beach

3. Teignmouth

Another of my all time favourite locations, the River Beach at Teignmouth is something really special. The estuary creates an incredible backdrop, as the River Teign reaches the sea. There are always plenty of boats, both on the water and moored on the sand, creating lots of background interest. I love all the different colours and textures. There is also a row of beach huts that can create lovely backdrops for photographs.

It’s really pretty at any time of day, but this location works particularly well in the evening. The sun can set right across the estuary, casting the most beautiful golden light over everything. As Devon locations go, this one has a really unique look and feel to it. It is just gorgeous for family photography.

Plus, an added bonus. It has a lovely pub overlooking the water, where you can stop for some pre or post session refreshments. Perfect!

A selection of Devon family photographs in family homes

4. At home

I had to include this, as it’s such an important option to consider! Sometimes there is actually no need to go out at all. I really love capturing your family at home, so this is a great option for your shoot. I love doing sessions where we start or finish at home so that I can photograph everyone getting ready, or coming back at the end of an outing. With smaller children this can be particularly lovely, to capture those tired cuddles and stories to finish off with.

It can actually work really well to have the whole session in your home – for a young baby or newborn shoot, then I would always suggest this, but it can work for any age group. Imagine a lovely set of images of your family all making pancakes and snuggling on the sofa together on a Saturday morning, or the children having fun in their own play spaces and bedrooms. Capturing images in your own home can be such a precious memory to look back on in years to come, so it’s well worth considering for your shoot.

Have a look at the Cope family’s photography session at home here.

A selection of family group photographs on North Devon beaches

5. North Devon beaches

Okay, so this isn’t just one location. I couldn’t choose just one here, and the thing that I really love about a lot of North Devon beaches is similar to all these options. I adore the wide, flat sands that you get, when the tide is out. It can just create such an interesting visual – beautiful reflections in the wet sand; huge, open spaces not feeling crowded by other people; distant muted colours. I particularly love Woolacombe, Saunton Sands, and Westward Ho! Family photography on the beach is always fun, and these wide, sandy stretches are wonderful.

A selection of Devon family photographs at Steps Bridge, Dartmoor

6. Steps Bridge, Dartmoor

Dartmoor is full of the most beautiful spaces. For family photography in Devon, it offers so many possibilities. I could fill an entire post with different Dartmoor locations, but I’ve just picked a couple for now. Steps Bridge is one of these – just the loveliest river walk, with lots to explore and beautiful greenery. I think that sunlight shining through leaves is one of the prettiest set ups for photographs, and this can create some really magical images of your family together. There are lots of similar places on Dartmoor, so let’s have a chat about options if you fancy something like this!

Some photos of two sisters together in different Exeter locations

7. Exeter

I am based in Exeter, so I may be biased. But it also means I know lots of really brilliant locations around the city. It is a really gorgeous option for your family photography. There are plenty of other things to do in Exeter, so you could make a whole exciting day trip out of it.

I particularly love the area around the river, with Exeter Quayside and all the brilliant local businesses based there. Lots of lovely coffee shops and cafes, options for canoe and bike hire and lots more. There are plenty of walks of various lengths around the river, and it’s really easy to get a range of different backgrounds for your photographs. The river itself is beautiful, but there are also valley parks and wilder areas, and lots of interesting buildings and brickwork. If you fancy the more urban side of Devon for your family photography, then this is a great option!

Some Devon family photographs in different locations

8. Into the Devon countryside: paths, streams, rolling hills

Devon is full of the prettiest countryside, which is perfect for your family photography session. There are endless pathways, beautiful walks through fields, along rivers and streams, through valleys and over the hills. It can be really lovely to get completely away from other people, and just spend some time exploring somewhere new as a family together. Or maybe you have a favourite walk that you often do. These memories are so precious to photograph and look back on as the children grow older. I am constantly finding new locations that work so well for family photography. If you don’t have somewhere in mind, then let’s chat about some of the places I have discovered and see what would suit your family.

A selection of different family photographs on the beach at Beer

9. Beer

The picturesque fishing village of Beer is one of my favourite spots for family photography in Devon. The pebble beach has lots of fishing boats and beach huts, and is surrounded by beautiful chalky cliffs. The beach itself is more than enough for a family photography session, with plenty to explore and do on the pebbles. But the village itself is also lovely to look around, with some pretty little seaside shops and cafes. There are really gorgeous walks on the cliffs from Beer, with dramatic views across the Jurassic Coastline. So if you are feeling energetic, a family photography session could take in a combination of all of this.

Bonus fact for you: the name Beer actually comes from the old English word for woodland ‘beare’, due to the original forestation around the village.

Have a look at the Jones family’s photography session at Beer beach.

Devon family photographs at Dartmoor

10. Fernworthy Reservoir, Dartmoor

There are several different reservoirs on Dartmoor, and they can be a lovely focus for a trip out. Fernworthy Reservoir is particularly pretty. There is plenty of car parking and an easy route around the edge of the water. When the sun is shining then it is really stunning, with the blue skies are reflected in the water. But it is equally lovely on a grey day, with the gentle Dartmoor colours. In autumn you have all the rich orange and yellow tones of the leaves.

I think that Dartmoor can be so pretty at all times of year. If the reservoirs don’t do it for you, then we could walk up to one of the Tors and take in the views, or explore woodland, or riverbank walks. There is something to suit all ages and abilities, and it’s always absolutely beautiful. As a location for Devon family photography, you can’t beat it!

So what would work best for you?

Which of the locations above particularly appeal to you? What do you think would work best for your family? Where would your children enjoy going? What time of year are you having your shoot and how will this affect the location? These are all things to bear in mind as you plan your own family photography in Devon. Hopefully this blog post has helped to answer some of the above questions for you. I’m always happy to discuss ideas with you, and help you work out what would suit your family best.

Although the majority of my family photography sessions take place in Devon, I also travel regularly across the South West and cover the whole of the UK. You can have a look at a London family photography session on my blog here. Please do get in touch to discuss your own requirements.

Whether you have a family shoot already booked in with me, or you are just thinking about the possibility, I’d love to chat through options with you, so please do get in touch and say hello!

Let’s create some really beautiful photographs of your own family!

A family photoshoot on the beach together at Exmouth


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