Finding a location for your next photoshoot can be difficult. Chester County and surrounding areas offer many different photoshoot locations that are perfect for a variety of sessions. The best location for your photos depends on a few factors.
Some of the photo sessions I offer don't require you to pick a location. For example, event photography takes place wherever the event is. But you may want to pick a few spots on location you’d like to get specific photos, like your company photo or a first look. Many of the other sessions I offer require that you pick a location.
You are never alone in this process. I have completed hundreds of photo sessions all over Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. I am always happy to offer suggestions! There are a few things you should consider when picking any photoshoot location. This post will walk you through how to find photography locations for your next session.
Be mindful of the season
Before scheduling your photoshoot, think about what season you’d like your photos taken in. If your session will be taking place inside, obviously the season doesn’t matter. But outdoor locations are season dependent. Some locations aren’t open or accessible in specific months, like trails in the winter or outdoor ice skating rinks in the summer. Pick a location that complements the season.
Weather is another factor to consider when picking a location. Does your desired location have shade for sunny days or a covered area in case it rains? Sometimes poor weather is unavoidable. It’s important to pick a location that is versatile. Don’t be discouraged by a cloudy day! Overcast weather actually makes for better photos than bright sun.
Pick a photoshoot location that represents you
Before you start to research, ask yourself these questions. What do you want your photos to look like? Do you want them to be warm and inviting? Cool and urban? Natural? Industrial? Do you want bright colors or neutral tones? Your answers will determine where you should have your photoshoot. Some of my favorite locations to recommend are Upland Farm Park and Everhart Park for natural backdrops and West Chester Borough for urban-style photoshoots.
If you’re unsure where to start, go to Pinterest or Google and start searching for ideas. Make a board or a list of the pictures you like, and ask yourself what you like about them. You can always share your board or list with your photographer to get some help.
Here is a list of locations you might want to research based on the look you desire for your photos.
Natural: public parks, private parks or gardens, vineyards, farms, coastlines
Historical: historical sites (battlegrounds, buildings), museums
Architectural: bridges, skyscrapers, steps or staircases, rooftops
Industrial: industrial parks, warehouses or factories, parking garages
Professional: indoor spaces, home or work offices, coffee shops
Fun/colorful: murals, carnivals or amusement parks, boardwalks, urban spaces at night
Always do research before picking a location. Make sure your location is safe and legal to take photos at. Don’t pick the first thing that comes to mind without looking at your other options. Make sure you consult your photographer once you find a location you like. If your location has bad lighting or is expensive to shoot at, you might need to pick a different location, which can be disappointing.
Trust your photographer – I am trained to find the best locations for you, and will do everything I can to make sure your session is perfect!
What if you can't find a location that you love close to home? No problem! I love to travel for photoshoots. Whether it's a few hours away or in a different country, I'm happy to travel to take your photos. Being in a new place provides us with the perfect inspiration to capture great photos.The more diverse, the better
It’s important to find a location that gives you a few different options within the same space. If you’re unsure what background you’d like, this can be a great way to get the best shot. Pick a location like a park that has both natural and structural backgrounds.
These locations give you a variety of looks to work with. And you'll be able to use photos from the same session for different things!
For example, if you pick an engagement location that has both natural and architectural backgrounds, you can use the natural photos for your save-the-dates and the architectural photos at your wedding! If you have a diverse location, you can take photos that serve different purposes within one session.
If your session has more than one outfit, this is especially important. You don’t want to get the same exact photos in a different outfit, you want a variety of photos. Picking a diverse location can give you many options without having to move locations, which saves you money and time.
Check for rules and regulations
Every location is different, and it’s important to make sure taking photos at your desired location is allowed. First, check to see if your location is public or private property. Most public spaces, like parks, allow photography within operational hours. Private property may not allow photography at all, or you may have to buy a temporary license to get your photo taken. Most licenses are priced between $100 and $1000, depending on the location.
Locations like museums and gardens have a fee to enter. Always check locations for hours of operation, especially during off-seasons. Parks may close on certain dates, and businesses might close on a specific day of the week.
When picking a public space, it’s important to understand that there will be variables out of your photographer’s control. For example, in a public park, you can’t keep people from walking, jogging, or cycling through your photos. As your photographer, it’s my job to work with these obstacles so that you get the best photos. We just need to be patient!
Sometimes simple is better
You don’t need a complicated backdrop to get beautiful photos. In fact, some sessions may be better with a simple background, like professional headshots or newborn sessions. If you’re looking for a simple backdrop, indoor sessions are a great choice. Weather is not a concern because you are inside, and you have more control over your environment.
Indoor backgrounds don’t need to be boring. You can spice up an indoor photoshoot with props, furniture, lighting, and your outfit. Indoor locations are great if you have a specific theme or don't want a distracting background.
Other things to consider
Each photography session is different, and some sessions have specific things to consider.
For family or engagement photography, you may want to pick a location that is meaningful to you. This might be where you went on your first date, your local park, or even your own backyard!
Headshot photoshoot locations depend on how professional you want your headshot to look. Business headshots look a lot different than dance headshots.
Dance photography locations depend on whether you want your team to have still shots or movement-focused shots (or both).
No matter your desired photo shoot locations, I am dedicated to providing you with a fantastic experience. I would love to send you suggestions if you’re not sure where to start. You can also check out my Instagram for inspiration and ideas. Picking a photoshoot location is a fun part of the process, so relax, find some inspiration, and get started!