Phon D Sutton is one of my go to locations for family pictures year round. In the Spring/summer its super green, the water level is high and we’ll be working around a lot of people as its not only a popular photo location but also a super fun place just to play! In the Fall/Winter things are still pretty green with a little more brown, the water level drops, and it’s not as busy.
With easy water access and many different little alcoves, nooks, and cranny’s it’s one of my favorite placed to get in the water and get my signature (FAVORITE!) splashing pictures.
What you need to know
Phon D Sutton Recreation Area is in Tonto National Forest so you will need a recreation pass to park. You can buy them at select gas stations before you head into the park for $8 or you can buy them at a kiosk in the parking lot for a few dollars more.
I recommend starting your family session at Phon D Sutton an hour and a half before sunset as those pretty mountains make for an early sunset at this location.
To get down to the water you have to walk down a semi-steep, rocky hill. Wear shoes to “hike” in and then change into your heels after you’ve reached the bottom. If you need easier accessibility I recommend Water Users Recreation Area for a similar look and feel.
Finally, bring towels and clothes to change into if you plan on getting wet (which you should, it’s more fun!).
Why I love Phon D Sutton for Family Pictures
Besides the fact that it’s gorgeous I love how unique the landscape is and there’s something even better around every corner. In fact, for this session, the exact spot I wanted to take them was being used by another photographer so we just explored a little bit and found this picture perfect bend in the river.
Also, family pictures at Phon D Sutton are just more fun! There’s always lots of climbing, exploring, splashing, etc. and all of those are just really great photo ops and even better family memories.