Toronto Family Photographers & Great Spots for Photo Shoots
For most of us, taking professional family photos is more than a tad stressful. Planning and executing a successful family photo session is hard work and it doesn’t come cheap. While there’s no way to completely prevent all the anxiety associated with family photos, there is one key “trick” to making things go a bit smoother: Hire the right photographer. But while that advice is obvious, it’s not the easiest to follow. There are many Toronto family photographers who claim to be able to perfectly capture your family in a single frame.
To help you find your right match, we’ve pulled together a list of 10 talented Toronto family photographers, all of whom were recommended to us by past clients. When it came to finalizing our list of 10, we tried to represent a range of price points and styles, as well as include photographers who offer special packages that we think you might find appealing.
We’ve also rounded up nine Toronto locations that make for excellent backdrops for those photos. Note that some of these spots technically require permits for commercial photography, but any experienced photographer will know how to work through that process. Also note that one very famous Toronto destination is missing: High Park. This is because, despite all those wedding photos you’ve seen, commercial photography isn’t actually allowed at Toronto’s largest public park. However, you are allowed to take all the personal use photos you want there.
10 Recommended Toronto Family Photographers
Silvia is the talented photographer behind the popular Anchor Studio. She’s also a mom of three so she knows a thing or two about wrangling energetic kids. Anchor offers packages for maternity, newborn, cake smash and family sessions, ranging in price from $650 to $1450. Photos can be taken outdoors or indoors at Anchor’s downtown studio or at the Mint Room Studios in the Junction. Anchor also offers mini sessions throughout the year, including seasonal ones that can feature cute props.
With a style described as “colourful, candid and joyful,” Maxime Powell’s camera will capture your family at its happiest. Family packages start at $449 while rates vary for Anything Goes’ other offerings, including newborn, maternity, and various milestones (think birthdays or baby sitting up), start at $349. Photos can be taken at a location you’ve selected or at Anything Goes’ Vaughan-based studio, where props and clothing (including maternity gowns) are available.
Collective Photo Co. is home to the Take 10 session, “a cost-conscious fun, quick and successful 10-minute shoot that pleases all.” Costing $75, this experience gets you three fully edited high resolution files (with the option to purchase more) that are ideal to be printed and hung on your wall as a large, signature piece of artwork. Take 10 sessions are run throughout the year at various speciality boutiques, including locations in Burlington, where the Collection Photo Co. calls home.
Toronto lifestyle photographer Audrey D. Cooper takes a casual and warm approach to photography. It’s also one that’s quite budget friendly, starting at $225 for an hour-long shoot at the destination of your choosing. Enfys also offers seasonal mini-sessions (running $100 to $150), and a package she calls “porchtraits.” For $125, your family can a have 30-minute outdoor session on your porch, balcony, or backyard.
Kira Noel describes her style as, “…bright and airy, with a modern, simple aesthetic.” The result is gorgeous photos that we know will appeal to a lot of people. Kira carries her simple approach through to her pricing model. For $495, you can book a family, newborn, or maternity session with her at a location you’ve selected and receive 25 edited photos you’ll cherish for always.
Best known for their exquisite newborn photography, Lemons and Ants also captures your family’s other big moments, as well as just-because photo shoots. Photos can be taken at their bright and beautiful Leslieville studio or at a scenic destination of your choosing. You can also decide between more formal “studio photography” or “lifestyle photography,” which features fewer directions. Lemons and Ants also offers periodic on-site sessions, that let you indulge in their talents for a more accessible price, for example, $295 for a 10-minute session that will get you five edited photos.
With a background as a documentary photography, Maggie Devereux has a sharp eye for the details that will make your photos pop. Her style is candid, natural, and skilled at capturing both emotions and movement. Her Documentary Family photo sessions are customized to what works best for your family, in order to create photos you’ll love for years to come.
Now based out of Ajax, but able to shoot you across the Greater Toronto Area, Oakwood Villager offers all the usual photo packages as well as something we think is really cool: A season pass to four of Oakwood’s popular mini shoots. This unique program will leave you with a year’s worth of memories for $895. There’s also a VIP version of the package that gets you four full-length shoots at destinations of your choice for $1,295.
With a list of awards and over 15 years of experience, Pamela Yool knows a thing or two about capturing the perfect picture. While newborns are her speciality, Pamela also does everything from outdoor family photos to mini sessions to cake smash shoots in her-well equipped Junction-area studio. Her Grow With Me package is also an incredible gift for new parents: It
features three portrait sessions for baby (newborn, one at six-nine months and a first birthday cake smash) and a few bonus extras and discounts. Pamela’s session fee is $300 and even covers such “extras” as gowns and make-up application for maternity shoots, and baby outfits and props for newborn and baby sessions.
Did you kid miss their school photos (or maybe the images just didn’t turn out)? Then reach out to Nathalie, the talent behind Pictonat, and book a “boutique school portrait” that will capture the spirit of your little one in a classic school photo pose. Pictonat also offers the usual maternity/newborn/family sessions, including in-studio, portrait-style experience, or an on-location shoot. Pricing starts at $695 for 30 minutes of shooting and 10 digital images. Additionally, seasonal mini seasons are scheduled throughout the year for such scenic locations as a lavender farm. Pictonat’s website also features some great resources on how you can improve your own photography skills.
Great Toronto Locations for Family Photo Shoots
55 Mill St., Toronto
The Distillery is easily one of the most popular spots in the city for professional photos for good reason: It is packed with charm, whimsy, and coolness. In addition to the always-present old, brink buildings and cobblestone streets, the Distillery is usually home to at least a couple eye-catching, giant art pieces. It also has easy access to food, shelter, and real washrooms. Taking professional family photos here will cost you $250 for a permit but if you’re just taking “casual snapshots” no permit is needed
1751 Lake Shore Blvd. W, Toronto
There are plenty of lovely spots along Lake Ontario that make for great backgrounds, but we’ve selected this one because the Humber Bay Bridge just looks so cool in photos. This spot does get a bit busy, so patience and a plan is required but trust us, the photos are worth it. The bridge is located inside Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, which also has plenty of amenities that can
help make family photos go a little smoother including a washroom, a drinking fountain, and a playground.
65 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr., Toronto
Located inside Etobicoke Colonel Samuel Smith Park, the Power House Recreation Centre is an old, elegant brick building turned arts and recreation centre that also doubles as an eye-catching historic backdrop. A short walk away is the lake, as well as lots of natural greenery, providing you with plenty of choice for your family photos. There’s also a playground that you can use as a bribe for smiling for the camera.
Zoo Rd., Toronto
If you’re after a “wild” setting that’s still an easy drive from Toronto (or anywhere east of the city), Canada’s first national urban park is the destination that you’ve been looking for. The Rouge River Vista Trail, the Mast Trail, and the Orchard Trail are all family-friendly paths that are filled with pretty spots, suitable for photos. The park is especially spectacular in autumn, when the fall colours are out, but is also a great spot for spring and summer shoots. The park, which is free to access, is also dog-friendly, in case you want to include your furry family members in your photos.
1132 Leslie St., Toronto
Sprawled across 154-acres, this former private estate is loaded with scenic spots. Particularly notable is the Serena Gundy Park area, which boasts both manicured lawns and ample foliage, giving you a choice of backdrops. There are also various historic buildings found throughout Sunnybrook, in case that’s the vibe your photos are going for.
Polson Pier Viewpoint
11 Polson St., Toronto
While this spot doesn’t have an official address, most local photographers know exactly where to go to get some of the best skyline views of the city. This spot is well known for its dramatic sunset photos, but you can also get some pretty cool shots any time of the day. It’s on-the-water location, and its unusual, quasi-industrial setting also offers plenty of other, non-skyline backdrops.
The Toronto Islands
The destination is a bit of a hassle to get to, so we recommend that if you head out to the Islands for photos, you make a whole day of it. Maybe start with day off with your photo shoot and then offer an outing to Centreville Amusement Park as a bribe for good behaviour? Olympic Island, located just to the left of the ferry docks, is a quick and easy spot to grab some photos with a stunning city background. There are also plenty of other spots, including (in the summer) the fountain and pretty much all of Ward’s Island, with its gorgeous flowers and homes.
11 Dockside Dr., Toronto
With its many powder pink umbrellas; real, white sand and lake in the background, Sugar Beach is the spot for families looking for an fresh alternative to all those family photos in the woods. Note that Sugar Beach does have a “water feature” that is essentially water shooting up from multiple holes in the ground. Kids are encouraged to play in this feature and with the right planning (including a change of clothes), it could be used to create some really cute and original photos.
East York, Toronto
This east-end destination is a sprawling slice of nature with multiple entry points (including via Stan Wadlow park) and dozens of great photo spots, including cute bridges, pretty vegetation, and cool, concrete bridge pillars. If your family is up for a bit of a hike, you could even pose for photos in front of the Don Valley teeth (which are properly known as Elevated Wetlands). Taylor Massey Creek is particularly spectacular in the fall when the leaves of thousands of deciduous trees change colour. It can though be a rather rough and icy in the winter so consider this more of a three-season location.