How to Select Your Session Location

It can seem daunting to pick where you will have your portrait session, but it really doesn’t have to be! I know that you may be worried because you don’t know what will ‘look the best,’ but it’s my job to worry about that. It’s your job to have fun, relax, and feel like the models you are! For all my clients, I provide a list of some of my recommended places to help take some of the stress of you. With or without that list, you can pick a perfect location! Here are some simple questions to ask yourself as you are deciding.

What theme/vibe do I want?

Do you want lots of blooms with a more garden aesthetic? Clean and modern? Urban? Formal? Casual? Indoors or outdoors? If you want a particular theme, drive around and look for places that fit into your vision. You also can ask friends and your photographer for help! Some of my favorite sessions have happened in backyards or on the side of the road! It is very easy to overlook gorgeous locations.


Do you need a permit or permission to photograph there?

A lot of popular locations (especially in DC) have restrictions on photographers. It is up to you to do your research, call, and find out if you need to aquire a photography permit. Usually historic locations, large public gardens, and private property require notice and a permit (if they allow photos at all!). This is also true for lots of Christmas tree farms around the holidays!

Will it be in public or secluded?

If it will be in a public area, you have to decide if you’re comfortable being photographed with other people around. Also, the more crowded, the more likely there will be other people in the background. I love locations that are very public and completely private, so there is no right answer. It’s just your personal preference!


Do you want a personal connection to the location?

A location with personal significance helps tell your story, especially for engagement sessions. If you have a special connection with an area or specific place, it might be great for your shoot!


How easy is it to get there?

Keep in mind some outdoor locations are not open year round, or will not fit your desired theme depending on what season it is. Is there a restroom you can use? Are you comfortable changing in your car or would you rather there be a building/restroom to change in? Will it be easy to park and walk there? No matter if it’s an engagement or family session, remember that if you come into the session stressed out, there is a good chance your photos will reflect that!


Your location plays a big role in how your photos will look. Choose wisely, and ask for help if you want it!

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