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. Central Oakland
Why: Oakland (while also housing Phipp’s Conservatory) has lots of beautiful locations to work with within a mid to long range walking distance. Within just a few blocks of space is: the Cathedral of Learning, Frick Fountain, Mellon Institute, and Heinz Chapel, as well as some beautiful spots for natural imagery (Phipp’s is pretty close, too!).
Best Time of Year: One of my favorite parts about shooting in Oakland is that it looks good almost all year round! In the summer, you will get the benefit of the natural greenery surrounding the buildings, but when shooting in the wintertime at locations such as the Mellon Institute and Cathedral of Learning, you can barely notice what time of year it is!
Sample Sessions from Oakland:
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. Moraine State Park
Why: You guessed it – there’s a great amount of variety at Moraine, especially if you are looking for more “natural” elements in your photos! At the South Shore boat launch, there are docks, fields, bridges, and forest within a very short walking distance.
Best Time of Year: Moraine is beautiful in the spring summer, and fall months (but fall is my favorite time!)
Sample Sessions from Moraine State 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:
- The South Side (lots of architectural elements and street art, including the Hot Metal Bridge and art by Baron Batch)
- Downtown Pittsburgh (some prominent features include Strawberry Way, Mellon Square, and parking garage roofs!)
- Soergel's Orchard (the most adorable apple orchard - perfect for the senior who loves fall!)
- Allegheny Commons Park (a beautiful bridge, gates, a unique view of the city, lots of nature, and the Mexican War Streets are nearby!)