high school senior girl wearing a purple parachute dress on the Salt Flats in Utah

Destination Session: Bonneville Salt Flats

The Salt Flats are one of our favorite places to use parachute dresses with our High School Seniors. A highlight about going on a destination session with Samuel Marvin Photography is the unique one-of-a-kind locations, like Cabo San Lucas Mexico. This trip, however, was all about the arid and out-of-this-world white landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats crossing the border of Utah & Nevada. The Bonneville Salt Flats are the perfect backdrop for vibrant colors with high contrast as well as for muted soft tones that look angelic & serine. For this shoot on the Salt Flats we went with both; bold and rich saturated colors of army green and bright purple parachute dresses and a soft ombre pink.

army green parachute dress at sunset on the Salt Flats of Utah

Parachute dresses can be tons of fun to use in a photoshoot! They can also be a bit hard to work with. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your parachute dress on a photoshoot.


Parachute Dress Photo Tips

  • Have extra hands!
  • Tie strings to the corner points of the parachute
  • Have extra heavy-duty clamps
  • Create your own wind
  • Have the model sit or stand on a stool
  • Use a lander for a different angle

Parachute Dresses NEED Extra Hands

While you can get great images without having extra hands you will love the volume and movement you can create with the parachute dress when you have extra hands to help you fluff and move it. A really simple way to make sure that these extra hands are not in your images is to have the people hide under the parachute or to tie strings to the corner points of the parachute and have your helpers pull the strings up and down to create movement.

Use a Wind Machine to Create Movement in the Parachute Dress

If you are in a studio or at a location with no wind we would suggest that you come prepared with your own wind. A medium-sized fan can generate a good amount of air movement to catch the parachute creating that volume that we all love!

Use a One-Size-Fits-All Parachute Dress and USE CLAMPS!

The parachute dresses that we made for this session are a one-size-fits-all. We created a skirt with grommets that we could lace a rope through to change the size of the opening. However, while we were on the shoot we soon realized that we would have been in a sad place without the clamps that we brought, just in case. The clamps allowed us to create the waist shape and bodice shapes that we wanted for the photos.

a purple parachute dress on the Salt Flats in Utah for a high school senior destination session

Parachute Dresses, a Stool, and a Ladder = Great Angles!

Don’t get stuck in a rut at your photoshoot when you are using a parachute dress. To get a new and unique angle get up on a ladder and shoot down toward your subject. Or allow the dress to reach its full heights by having your Senior or model sit or stand on a stool. Working with different angles both for you and for your model will help you create a standout parachute dress image!

behind the scene picture on a parachute dress photo session at the Salt Flats in Utah
behind the scene picture on a parachute dress photo session at the Salt Flats in Utah
behind the scene picture on a p
behind the scene picture on a parachute dress photo session at the Salt Flats in Utah
close up image of a high school senior using a pink parachute as an accessory on a destination session at the Salt Flats in Utah

The immense volume of a parachute dress is something to feature in your photos! However, you can also zoom in on your subject allowing them to be the focus of your final image. Use the parachute dress in different ways, like as a background with your subject laying down on it. Get creative & have fun playing with the volume, shape, colors, and size of the parachute dress.

high school senior laying on Utah's Salt Flats wearing a ombre pink parachute dress
young woman wearing an ombre pink parachute dress in a military hanger

This was just one of our photoshoots that we did on the first day of this High School Senior Destination Photo Session. We also went took the parachute dresses to an old military hanger, traveled out to a cool rock formation north of the Salt Flats, and did a few additional photo sessions on the Salt Flats.

Want to join us on our next destination session? Or maybe you want to stick around the Treasure Valley and have more traditional Senior pictures to hang on the walls. Give us a call at 208.297.5867 to schedule your complimentary Studio Tour and learn more about Senior photos.

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