On Location vs. Studio | What is Best for Your Knoxville Family Portraits

Hiiii friends!  Thank you for stopping by and checking out today’s Tuesday Tip.  It is the first full week after I made the big decision to move all of the photography genres that I photograph, as well as my personal blog,  all under the one “Sarah Keenan, Photographer” umbrella.  Eek!  It has been SO wonderful on my end.  And, I’d love to hear how it is impacting your reading experience.  Are finding your way to what you are looking for?  Please feel free to comment below or email me your response.  I am always looking to create the best experience for you. ✨

This Tuesday Tip is about how to selecting the best feel and space for your Family Portraits.  I love being able to offer both Studio Family Portraits and On Location Family Portraits because the process and outcome is vastly different.  And, options are always good!  😉  In this post, I detail the differences between the two styles and then explain the pros and cons of each setting.  My goals: Make your decision on where we will work together a little easier.

Studio Family Portraits:

Studio Family Portraits are scheduled for and taken in my Westland Farms Studio.  They are indoors and use off-camera lighting and backdrops to create a more classic style photograph.  Because of the size of my studio, Studio Family Portraits are not recommended for families larger than 7 people big.  But because our lighting environment is 100% controlled, the outcomes are pretty endless.  We can create anything from traditional black and white images to colorful, family holiday pictures.  These images are also perfect for Children, Cake Smashes, Newborns, Head Shots, Bridal Portraits, Senior Portraits, Boudoir, and Pets.

Pros: There is SO much control; Lighting, Temperature, and Environment are all ours for the creating.  Choose any color back drop, create mood, add props.  A studio is a creator’s playground.  In here, almost anything is possible.  Oh, and weather does not impact our ability to shoot in studio…yay!

Cons: In my studio there is no natural lighting and we are bound by size.  There is typically less movement in my studio portraits.  And, they tend to be more “posey.”

On Location Family Portraits

Over the last many years, I have seen a huge trend away from Studio Family Portraits and a swing toward what I call On Location Portraits.  On Location Portraits are taken just about anywhere that is not a studio!  Most often, these pictures are photographed outdoors; a park, downtown, at the lake, a family farm, or a gardens area.  But, they can also be scheduled for your home, a neighborhood common space, or a coffee house.  On Location photographs have very few rules and use natural light and the surrounding area to fill in the backdrop of the images.  On Location Portraits are great for Families of any size, Children, Branding Photography, Maternity, Engagement and Bridal Portraits, and Senior Portraits.

Pros: Natural Lighting is ALWAYS the best, images with movement tell great stories, on location shoots provide for multiple backdrops in one happy spot 😃, we are not limited by size of space

Cons: Weather is a factor

Tip for choosing what’s best for you and your family; First pick the style that makes your heart the most happy.  Look at examples online, make a Pinterest board, and begin creating a visual of what you want your final images to look like.  Go with your favorite style and we will work together to make it happen from there. ❤️

And, as always, I am standing by to help.

With Grit & Grace~

Sarah Keenan, Knoxville Family Photographer

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meet sarah


I have an affinity to all things light and airy.  I love color, sunshine, romance, and laughter.  I love inspirational quotes, meeting new people, flowers, and the idea of finishing a great book.  My go-to drink is coffee.  My outlet is dance.  And, aallllll of my free time is spent with my crew, including our German Shepherd, Gaia.   

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Hi there!  I am Real Estate Photographer, Sarah Keenan.  Raised in East Tennessee and a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and all that offers runs deep for this gal.  Having worked in photography for over 14 years, I am excited to be back home and working along side folks like you.

As a small business owner, I personally understand the time, effort, and dedication that goes into leading a life as an entrepreneur. I thrive on efficiency.  I am on your team.  I am your Knoxville Real Estate Photographer. 

Take a look around.  If you like what you see please give me a shout.  I’d love to serve you and your business goals.