Let's talk about session location

So if you have followed me for a while you already know this, but if you're new here it's important that you know that I am NOT a studio photographer. I'm not knocking studio photography at all, the light is always even, the weather will never affect a session, there are definitely some major benefits to doing studio photography. Now what I don't like about studio photography. Backdrops that make your pictures look exactly like the 500 other people that came before you and the 500 that will come after you. With backdrops usually comes the same 5 poses as the 500 people who came before you and the 500 that will come after you. All I can think is why would anyone want pictures hanging on their walls (real or virtual) that look exactly like hundreds of other people's when there is an amazing beautiful world of ever changing "backdrops" all around us?!?! 


I will always remember my senior year when every kid in every high school in a 25 mile radius went to one specific studio photographer in the area. This was THE photographer to go to, so of course I didn't want to go to him because, you guys, I was an individual, hahaha. Just kidding, the truth is we couldn't afford that guy but also, I honestly did not want the same rose on glass reflection, and posing with giant numbers of the graduation year photos that EVERYONE else had. I wanted something different and I DIDN'T want a studio shot. Now I've said all that to say this... I have been staring at a photo on my parent's wall from the photographer that took my photo who I really liked who was not that guy that everyone else went to that was SHOT IN A STUPID STUDIO! Because my mom liked that one and not the ones that we took down by the river. For 20 years I thought my mom never got any of those river photos and I have been a bit salty about it and she never told me otherwise. Then, in early November, after my grandmother passed away I was at her house in Michigan going through oodles and oodles of photos that I came across it! Yep, my senior photo down by the river! A place where I have photographed many seniors myself. And you know what? Even though my picture from years ago and all of theirs have been shot in the same location they all look completely different!

So I have always enjoyed going out and about and using the world around us to create beautiful photos. Being able to choose a location that allows you to have much more interesting and meaningful images is a good thing, but it does mean that you have tougher choices to make. Don't worry, I am going to help you!

When you schedule a session with me

Unless you have a very specific location already picked out with the proper permission needed to photograph there, I will choose a location for you based on your wants, needs, and proximity to your home. When I am talking with you about locations I will give you some options. We will get into those in a minute.  You'll want to think about your personal style and the style of your home decor when selecting one of these options. After all, the point of all this is to have beautiful images to display on the walls of your home. If you're home is sleek and modern, you're probably going to want to choose an urban location to keep with that modern look. If you are more rustic in your decor then you might choose to have your photos made in a park with a nice wooded area or even a farm.  At any rate, I have lots of options in the area to photograph at. In some cases I might have you meet me in an easy to find place in order to have you follow me to the location that might be less easy to find. In some cases I might get you there and you might look at me like I am totally out of my mind. In any case you can rest assured that I know exactly what I will see when I look through the lens of my camera and it will be beautiful.  

Permits & Fees

Ok, now we have to talk about permits and fees. There are some AHHHHHHHHMAZING locations in our area that offer "backdrops" that are just gorgeous. Many of these locations are free to use. Some of these locations require a fee, some require a permit, some require both.  My policy is that if a client chooses a location that requires a fee the client will be required to pay that fee prior to our session date. If a location requires a permit to photograph there, it will be up to the client to obtain the permit and make sure that they have it to show on session day. I will provide a list of locations at the end of this post that I know require a fee or a permit or both. 

Okay, enough blabber. 

Let's talk about those location options.  

Locations near rivers, Streams, lakes & Ponds

Water Location - Aquia Landing

Aquia Landing, Stafford VA

Rappahonnock River

Rappahannock River - Fredericksburg VA

City Dock Fredericksburg VA

City Dock, Fredericksburg VA

Between the Rappahannock River, The Potomac River, Lake Anna and many other little spots all over, there are plenty of locations with water backdrops in our area to choose from.

Location Options

  • Aquia Landing, Stafford VA
  • Rappahannock River Trail, Fredericksburg VA
  • City Dock, Fredericksburg VA
  • Old Mill Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Alum Spring Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Mountain Run Lake Park, Culpeper VA

Regional & Community Parks

Orange County VA Park

Leland - Madison Memorial Park, Orange VA

Old Mill Park

Old Mill Park, Fredericskburg VA

Mountain Run Lake Park

Mountain Run Lake Park, Culpeper VA

We are very fortunate to have tons a parkland in our area, however you might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of park lands that require a permit, a fee or both in order to have professional photos done. When deciding on a park location be prepared to walk to get to the best and most photogenic parts. I always like to tell people to bring your sneakers and carry the high heels.

Location Options

  • Old Mill Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Alum Spring Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Hurkamp Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Kenmore Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Cossey Park, Fredericksburg VA
  • Pratt Park, Stafford VA - Government Island, Stafford VA -
  • Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park, Stafford VA -
  • St. Clair Brooks Park, Stafford VA
  • Rockwater Park, Culpeper VA
  • Lenn Park, Culpeper VA
  • Mountain Run Lake Park, Culpeper VA
  • Leland Madison Memorial Park, Orange VA
  • Taylor Park, Orange VA

Farms & Vineyards

Sneads Farm

Snead's Farm, Fredericksburg VA (Caroline County)

Rounton Farm

Rounton Farm, Orange VA

The Winery at La Grange, Haymarket VA

Farms and Vineyards offer interesting and classic structures that can add to a va"backdrops" for your photos. Farms and vineyards are often sprawling locations so just like park locations wear your sneakers and carry your heels.

Location Options

Snead's Farm, Fredericksburg VA $25 photography fee + $8 entry fee per person available til dark

Rounton Farm, Orange VA $50 photography fee additional $50 to use "Ivy" the antique Chevy pickup truck for a photo prop, available til dark

Cities and Towns

Downtown Fredericksburg VA

Fredericksburg VA

Fredericksburg VA

When you thinks cities and towns you might not think oooooh pretty portrait spot. But give it a chance especially if you are a couple or a high school senior.

Location Options

Other local Options

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