Put your feet up and watch the sunset from this gorgeous private patio in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Put your feet up and watch the sunset from this gorgeous private patio in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

The days are long, the nights are warm, and invitations to backyard BBQs are piling up. Summer has arrived! After a winter that dragged on for months, I’ll take any excuse to get outside. Add the mouth-watering sizzle of food on the grill, an icy spray of foam from a freshly-cracked beer, and I’m in heaven.

Get ready to toast s’mores (or a glass of wine!) by the firepit in this elegant outdoor entertaining area.

Get ready to toast s’mores (or a glass of wine!) by the firepit in this elegant outdoor entertaining area.

One of my long-time clients, EP Henry, is a manufacturer of hardscaping materials, specializing in backyard patios and entertaining areas. Their products turn basic backyards into a summertime host’s dream party zone. When photographing these fun outdoor spaces, I must showcase their products — the tiles and walls which draw guests in and sets the mood for entertaining. My goal is to help people imagine their own backyard as the perfect place to gather friends and family.

An outdoor chef’s dream setup, this covered outdoor pavilion is the center of any party.

An outdoor chef’s dream setup, this covered outdoor pavilion is the center of any party.

Using props, creating a roaring fire, adding outdoor lighting, and by shooting at twilight, we’re able to set the mood for gatherings small and large. By scouting the location in advance, we can plan for the best angles, props, and times of day to shoot different areas.

As with any residential shoot, we must coordinate with the homeowners to get the shots we need while respecting their private space. Good communication is key.

Looking back at these images, it’s easy to start day-dreaming about my own outdoor oasis — surrounded by family and friends, enjoying ice-cold drinks and delicious food just off the grill!

A firepit sits poised for sundown, ready to draw guests into casual conversation.

A firepit sits poised for sundown, ready to draw guests into casual conversation.

Stunning underwater lights and garden torches light up this party-ready pool.

Stunning underwater lights and garden torches light up this party-ready pool.

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