Picking the perfect place for your photo session doesn't have to be stressful! Let me help you out!
Follow these tips to choose your ideal location:
- Think about the look and feel you'd like your session to have. Something beachy or a little more on the rustic side? Perhaps more of an urban or an artsy feel? Are gardens more your speed, or do you like lots of tress and greenery? Something more whimsical or unique, maybe? The sky is the limit!
- Think about how this look and feel relates to your personality. Does it make sense for you?
- Browse through my list of favorite locations below, read the descriptions for each, and pick a few favorites. Give them a google to check the distance from your house and to see some additional photos of the locations.
- Let me know your selection and any ideas you may have for the shoot!
Withlacoochee River Park- Dade City, FL
This park is such a hidden little gem. Withlacoochee River Park boasts an 1840's replica Indian Village, including an old wooden church (pictured above). With towering trees, golden fields, and secluded pathways tucked around every corner, the options here are endless.
Ideal for rustic sessions of all lengths! Location with the Church is about a 10-15 minute walk from the parking lot.
Saint Leo University Campus- San Antonio, FL
Saint Leo University is a Roman-Catholic Liberal Arts College and easily has one of the most stunning campuses in the area. The architecture is mostly Spanish-inspired and the perfectly manicured grounds elude a tropical vibe as well. The campus also offers rolling hills and breathtaking views of Lake Jovita.
This location is perfect for all types/lengths of sessions.
Dade City Garden Club- Dade City, FL
The Garden Club is a quaint little 3-acre venue on the outskirts of Downtown Dade City. It plays hosts to smaller weddings from time to time, but on most days it is very quiet and serene. The most notable backdrop at the location is, of course, the gorgeous white church! There is also a really nice area that features six small "garden" areas you can walk through and enjoy!
This location is great for all kinds of sessions, but because it is a smaller venue, it is best suited for Mini or Standard sessions! However, it is a short drive to historic Downtown Dade City, so it could easily be combined for longer sessions!
Downtown Dade City- Dade City, FL
Downtown Dade City has so much charm and whimsy, it would be hard not to have a great session here. Highlights include: fantastic brick streets, the old historic Courthouse, the ivy-covered wall of Kafe Kokopelli, and of course, the antique storefronts and quaint cafe's. It would be so fun to incorporate the antique stores or old ice cream shops (how fun for kids!) into your session, or even grabbing a beer at the Brass Tap for a truly unique Engagement Session.
This location is ideal for all types/lengths of sessions and can be 100% personalized to fit your style/personality.
Eureka Springs Park- Thonotosassa, FL
Eureka Springs is a botanical paradise tucked away behind Tampa Executive Airport. Home to a peaceful springs, a greenhouse, a 1700-foot boardwalk, and flowers, ferns, and plants of all types, this place is a photographers dream come true! And the best part is, it's rarely crowded!
This location is ideal for sessions of all types/lengths. $2 Parking Fee. Best for weekend sessions during the months of November-March, as it closes too early for "golden hour" sessions most of the year.
Temple Terrace, FL
Situated right on the Hillsborough River, Riverhills Park is one of those locations I fell in love with instantly. It has beautiful, tall trees, a gorgeous wooden boardwalk that follows beside the River, and offers one of the best sunsets around! There is also a little hiking trail that is lush and green and lots of fun to use for some variety in the session!
Because this is a smaller park, it is ideal for Mini or Standard sessions.
University of Tampa- Downtown Tampa, FL
The University of Tampa is one of those locations that's used by just about every photographer in the area. And there's a good reason for that: it's gorgeous and there's lots of variety! The Victorian-style main building is perfect for vintage lovers and holiday photos, while the bamboo and palm trees on the main lawn give off definite tropical vibes. The city skyline in the background is perfect for a more urban feel and the sunsets here can't be beat! There truthfully is something for every taste here.
This location is ideal for sessions of all types/lengths. Busy location certain times of the year and parking can sometimes be a challenge.
Picnic Island Park-
South Tampa, FL
Picnic Island is a great little park that offers some lush, tropical greenery, as well as wonderful beach areas (without the traffic of actually going to/parking at the beach). There is also a fenced in "dog beach" there as well, so it is a great place for those sessions involving your fur-babies!
Cypress Point Park- South Tampa, FL
This park is such a gem! If you love the beach look, but enjoy variety apart from just sand and water, this may be the perfect place for you! This is truly where nature and the beach meet! Lush greenery, amazing rocks, tall golden wheat grass, and of course, white sandy beaches and those beautiful Tampa sunsets! This is a wonderful choice for maternity sessions and sessions including small children, because it requires very little walking from the parking lot!
Lake Mirror/Hollis Gardens-
Downtown Lakeland, FL
Surrounding the peaceful waters of Lake Mirror is a picture perfect pathway of flowers and unique architecture. For a session that's a little different and a lot romantic, this may be the place for you! Although there is plenty of variety right here at the lake, this location is within walking distance to Downtown Lakeland, and the beautiful city streets and buildings can easily be incorporated into your session!
This location is ideal for sessions of all types/lengths. Hollis Gardens itself, closes early during the "Spring Forward" months, but the Lake Mirror area surrounding it is open 24hrs. If you want to utilize the actual gardens, this is best done in November-March after time change. (The photos above are all of the Lake Mirror area, not the gardens themselves).
Lake Parker Park-
The first time I visited this park, the very first thing I noticed was the sheer variety of trees. It was absolutely breathtaking to see so many different types of greenery. The second thing I noticed were the phenomenal bridges! And the third thing I noticed was the giant lake! All of these things combined makes this park a truly one-of-a-kind location.
This location is ideal for nature lovers and sessions of all lengths!
In-home sessions are growing in popularity and don't have to be limited to just newborn photography anymore (even though that's where 100% of my newborn sessions take place). This can also be a great option for engagement sessions, maternity sessions, and family photos in general. Think about it, what better way to tell the story of your love/life than within the walls of the place you call home?
Additional Location Suggestions:
- The Railroad Museum (Zephyrhills, FL): Best for Mini Sessions! Great for Kids!
- Downtown Zephyrhills (Zephyrhills, FL): Cool old storefronts, brick streets, "Splashon5th" murals, and a brewery!
- The Pioneer Florida Museum (Dade City, FL): Incredible old buildings full of history; $8/person admission fee
- Crews Lake Wilderness Park (Shady Hills): For nature/lake lovers! Also a beautiful garden area and a "railroad" station!
- Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (Downtown Tampa, FL): Artsy and urban; Bay views
- Downtown Tampa (Franklin St., Zach St., murals, and beyond): Artsy and Urban; can be combined with Curtis Hixon for extra long session
- Lake Rogers Park (Odessa, FL): Woodsy and Lakefront; For rustic/nature sessions of all lengths
- Hillsborough River State Park (Thonotosassa, FL) : Rolling rapids, bridges, and palmettos-a-plenty! For nature sessions of all lengths
- Park in Carrolwood Village (Carrolwood, FL): 4523 W Village Dr; Small but colorful; situated on a lake; best for Mini Sessions
- Sparkman Wharf (Downtown Tampa, FL) : Funky, unique, vibrant, and urban!
- Hyde Park Village (Tampa, FL): Bright Shopping Plaza with a Fountain. Laid-back, casual, and fun!
- Philippe Park (Safety Harbor, FL): Distinct "Old Florida" vibe; waterfront
- Sawgrass Lake Park (St. Pete, FL): Rustic and woodsy
- Edward Medard Park (Plant City, FL): Lakeside Park with incredible trees! Lots of variety here. For sessions of all types/lengths.
- Florida Polytechnic University (Lakeland, FL): Super unique building with amazing architecture
- Withlacoochee State Forest (Brooksville, FL): Lakefront Park with Ivy-covered trees, beautiful sunsets, and dripping Spanish Moss.
Lake Buena Vista:
- Disney Springs : Available for Deluxe Session Only
- Disney Boardwalk: Available for Deluxe Session Only
Take the Unique and Personal Approach!
PLEASE don't feel like you have to be limited to these location suggestions (or to traditional locations at all)! There are so many unique ways to plan a photo session that will truly showcase your personalities! Think about it! Are you and your family/significant other health conscious at all? How cute would a session themed around a local farmers market or produce stand be? Are you big beer drinkers? How about planning around a Brewery? Are you artsy? What about a painting themed shoot? The options are endless when you start to think about who you really are and where you feel most like yourself. (Photo Top Left: Engagement Session taken at Fall Festival in Wesley Chapel, FL; Photo Top Middle: One year old photos taken at TJ's Deli and Ice Cream in Dade City, FL; Photo Top Right: Engagement Session partially taken in Downtown Tampa Bar)