If you’ve been following my blog for any extended length of time, you might’ve realized how much I LOVE incorporating the personalities of the people I photograph into my photos, including finding the perfect, unique location that represents who that person is. However, I realize that many times, it can be tough to find a completely unique location for every single person I photograph (that would be crazy!). Because of that, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite locations to photograph senior girls and what I love about each of them:

1. Hartwood Acres Mansion

Why: One of my favorite features about Hartwood is its diversity. It includes a variety of different elements within a short walking distance, including a garden, woods, gate, and a stone mansion with archways, doorways, and lots of character. There is a lot to work with in this location, and is a great spot to choose if you’re interested in having a mix of nature and classic architecture.

Best Time of Year: Year round! However, if you’re interested in using the garden, it’s best to schedule between the spring and fall.

Sample Sessions from Hartwood Acres:

2. Phipp’s Conservatory (outdoors)

Why: Phipp’s is a close runner up to Hartwood. With its beautiful outdoor flowers, aquatic gardens, and unique architecture, along with its close proximity to Schenley Park and Oakland, Phipp’s has lots of unique elements within a mid-range walking distance.

Best Time of Year: Phipp’s is at its peek late spring into early fall.

Sample Sessions from Phipp's:

3. Mellon Park

Why: Mellon has stone elements reminiscent of Hartwood, but on a much smaller scale. It has more of a focus on nature.

Best Time of Year: Spring, summer, and fall are my favorite seasons to take photos at Mellon Park.

Sample Sessions from Mellon Park:

4. Downtown Pittsburgh

Why: Downtown Pittsburgh has so many beautiful architectural elements that are perfect for "chic" seniors who love the city atmosphere! With tons of locations within just a short walking distance, downtown Pittsburgh has so much to offer!

Best Time of Year: One of my favorite parts about shooting in downtown Pittsburgh is that it looks good almost all year round! In the summer, you will get the benefit of the natural greenery in some of the small park areas (Mellon Green, Mellon Square), but when shooting in the wintertime, you can barely notice what season it is!

5. Historic Harmony

Why: Much like the other locations mentioned previously, I have a love for Historic Harmony because of its diversity (and because it’s a short distance from my house! ;) ). It has a variety of historic buildings with bright colored brick, doors, and windows, and even has a coffee shop (Wunderbar) right in town!

Best Time of Year: Historic Harmony is beautiful all year round! Of course, for more greenery, it’s best to schedule during the spring, summer, and fall months.

Sample Sessions from Historic Harmony:

6. McConnell’s Mill

Why: The more I shoot at McConnell’s Mill, the more I love it! There are so many different elements to work with – some within walking distance, and some within a short driving distance. In the central part of McConnell’s, there is the wood mill, river, waterfalls, rocks, and roads. Within a short driving distance, there is a field and “Cleland Rock,” which has become a personal favorite of mine for it’s West Virginia-like views!

Best Time of Year: I’ve taken photos at McConnell’s during every season and can honestly say that I love photographing clients there year ‘round! However, I do find it to be especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing.

Sample Sessions from McConnell's Mill:

7. Succop Nature Park

Why: You guessed it – there’s a great amount of variety at Succop, especially if you are looking for more a mix of natural elements, mixed with a bit of architecture in your photos! Within walking distance, you can find a pond, field, and willow tree, along with a beautiful mansion-esque building to provide lots of different opportunities for lots of variety!

Best Time of Year: Moraine is beautiful in the spring summer, and fall months (but summer is my favorite time!)

Sample Sessions from Succop Nature Park:

8. North Park

Why: North Park is a great option for more natural-focused imagery. With a wide variety of landscaping and natural elements, including woods, fields, and a lake, as well as benches, bridges, and fences, North Park makes for a great location for more "classic" senior portraits.

Best Time of Year: North Park is gorgeous during Spring, Summer, and Fall (but I love all of the colors of fall!).

Sample Sessions from Moraine State Park:

But don't forget about other locations...

Every photographer has a "wish list" of locations they want to shoot at. Besides the locations mentioned above, here are a few other locations I would love to photograph senior guy portraits at:

  • Downtown Pittsburgh (some prominent features include Strawberry Way, Mellon Square, and parking garage roofs!)

  • Allegheny Commons Park (a beautiful bridge, gates, a unique view of the city, lots of nature, and the Mexican War Streets are nearby!)