I try really hard to make my photography sessions easy for my clients from before booking all the way through the delivery of their gallery. My clients are typically busy moms and dads who do not have a lot of time to spend planning their session and are looking for a photographer who will guide them through the process with ease. Ultimately, they just want their family to look fabulous in an awesome location and want their photographer to help ensure this.
When clients book sessions with me, I get the most questions about what they should wear and what location they should choose. Some clients instantly know what “look” and “feel” they want their session to have right from the beginning and some clients need to be shown examples and draw inspiration from other sessions/images.
With regards to styling their sessions, I now offer my clients access to a unique styling tool. It really helps you visualize things and colors that coordinate well together. The tool can help give you inspiration for your own personal shopping extravaganza or you can buy clothing items and accessories directly from the tool! And of course I am still available for suggestions or final “approvals” if needed.
That’s enough about styling! This blog is going to be about locations, locations, locations! Charleston, South Carolina is an amazing town with a plethora of amazing locations to use for photography sessions. The purpose of this blog is to tell you guys some basic things I look for when scoping out a new location for a session and to outline some of my favorite locations and include examples of images of each. This way, when I get questions about locations, I can direct my clients to this blog and all of the information they need to make a decision is right here! Super easy and informative right?
So, what makes a good location? In my opinion, I like variety! I love shooting at places that have two or three areas with different looks so that my clients get a gallery full of pictures that are not all the same. I also like locations that are not busy with people and tourist. Sometimes this can be dependent on the time of day and even time of the year here. Trees or buildings to filter the light are always good because a lot of people do not realize that too much sun and light can be a bad thing for photographs. And lastly, I like locations that give my clients (especially clients with children) space to roam. I love the images I get of kids exploring their environment and being free!
Now on to specific locations! To keep this from being the longest blog ever I am going to break it down into a couple of parts. The first will focus on Downtown Charleston and a couple of parks in Charleston. The other parts will be posted over the next week and include areas of Summerville, Moncks Corner, and of course the Beach! Enjoy!
What is not to love about this city?! If you want to know more about why I love this city, check out the blog I wrote about just that. For my downtown sessions, I typically help the client choose a meeting place (usually Waterfront park or White Point Gardens). We will start the session at that location and then take a walk. I love exploring streets and areas of this beautiful city and finding new “spots” to use as portrait backdrops along the way.
Pros: No admission fees or permit fees (as of yet). There is a lot of variety. Best done at sunrise or sunset, but can do at anytime of day if we look for shady spots. Classic Charleston look and feel.
Cons: Parking. You have to find parking and often pay for parking. I will guide you on where to park based on where we meet if needed. Can be very busy all days and times especially on weekends in the tourist season and around the well known Charleston landmarks such as the pineapple fountain, the battery, etc. That’s why I like staying on the little roads around the city.
Pros: Located a little outside of downtown toward West Ashley, this is a gorgeous park with large oaks and lots of greenery and Spanish moss. There’s also a gazebo and some other structures. Spring time is my favorite time of the year here as the flowers are all in bloom and it is absolutely gorgeous. As of right now, sessions here are free with no admission fees or permits required (but that may change). Parking is usually ample. I suggest late evening sunset sessions here.
Cons: There really aren’t many if any. The only one I can think of is bathrooms. There are bathrooms, but they are kind of obscure and not always close when you need it!
Charles Towne Landing
This is another amazing park in the West Ashley area. I have become quite fond of this park in the last few months. It is a large park with large oaks and water views. There’s a couple of building structures that can add variety. History buffs will love this location as there are all kinds of history “exhibits” scattered throughout the park.
Pros: Decent variety, but mainly greenery and trees. There’s a beautiful Avenue of Oaks.
Cons: $10 admission fee for adults, $6 for kids ages 6-15, free for kids 5 and younger. It’s a large park and getting to some of the sweet spots is a bit of a walk. It is a popular place for weddings and social events. If there is something planned on the day of your session, some of the park (usually the Avenue of Oaks and the surrounding area) can be off limits as they may be setting up for the event. There are set times of operation so we have to leave when it closes and can not shoot right up until sunset, but there are lots of trees and shady spots to filter light which makes this not as bad.
River Front Park
This is a beautiful park in North Charleston. It is on the site of the old Navy base which closed down many years ago. Recently, they’ve been renovating some of the old buildings and making them into event venues.
Pros: Good variety as there are water views, large trees, green space, and large buildings. It’s a spacious park with bathrooms available. Free Parking and no admission fees or permits required (as of now).
Cons: Mosquitoes…who am I kidding? That’s a con to every outdoor location around here almost year round! This park is frequently used for festivals. We would need to check the event calendar to make sure there are no chili cook offs, etc scheduled the day we are planning on using it.
Alright! I just gave you a taste of some of my favorite locations for sessions in Charleston. Stay tuned for more locations to follow! I’ll highlight the beaches in my next blog! Until next time, I hope life is awesome!