One of the most frequently asked questions I get when a family wants to book photos with me is WHERE they should have them taken! In all honesty, the location is the least important piece to me - it doesn't matter to me where you want to go, we will find a way to create beautiful images no matter where we are!
However, that doesn't mean I don't also LOVE a scenic location for my photography sessions - of course I do! The environment only adds to the magic. So, when my clients ask for recommendations on where to take their photos, I do my best to accommodate!
We are so lucky in St. Louis, because we have so many beautiful parks and urban-scapes to choose from for photography! No matter where you're located in the metro area, there's no doubt there's a perfect park, green space, or city-street that inspires some stunning imagery.
Here is a list of locations in St. Louis that I either love to photograph, have photographed frequently, or that have lots of variety when it comes to portrait sessions. I hope they help you envision your photo session or inspire some ideas!
Forest Park is a classic option for a photo session. Clients sometimes ask, "isn't that cliche," or "doesn't everyone go there," and maybe those things are true, but I don't think they're BAD truths! Forest Park is BEAUTIFUL and HUGE! There is a good spot to take a photo quite literally anywhere you look. There is so much variety, potential and opportunity at Forest Park. It's a great option any time of year for any kind of session. I have photographed families, high school seniors, and engagements here! There's beautiful scenery but also a perfect mixture of urban landscape too. There's something for everyone. Yes, it's one of the most popular locations for photo sessions in St. Louis, but for very good reason. We are so lucky to have a park like this in our backyard! I love exploring Forest Park for photos.
Lafayette Park is another very popular destination for my photo clients. This one is a favorite because it includes lovely landscapes, including ornate details and textures, but it's also tucked into a gorgeous urban neighborhood in downtown Lafayette Square. There's a lovely lake, pretty iron bridge over a pond, lovely greenery and gardens, and a couple buildings that offer excellent texture and color. You're likely to have a few ducks or swans in the background of your images too! Plus, there are so many cute little shops and small businesses flanking the park, so when you're all finished with your session, you can unwind with a coffee or ice cream or hang out at one of the nearby restaurants.
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove is one of my favorite recommendations for clients who are looking for "forestry." Tower Grove has hundreds of beautiful tall, lush trees. They show off gorgeous color in the fall, but also look exceptional as a blanket of green behind you. There are also lots of little details in the park to enjoy, such as the stone ruins and the pond, as well as colorful bridges and pavilions. Another great option for a combo of scenic and urban.
Bee Tree Park
Bee Tree Park is one of South County's unsung hero parks! Tucked away in Oakville, this park has a lot to offer for a photo session. Wooded trails, several overlook areas of the river, a rustic red barn, a beautiful stone house with picturesque gardens, and a fishing lake that makes a beautiful backdrop. There's a little bit of everything here, which makes it a great location option for any kind of photo session.
Okay, this place is just amazing. It's a bit outside of STL - located in Augusta, near St. Charles - but it is definitely worth the drive. When you see this beautiful place, you might do a double take and think you somehow drove to Colorado or Arizona or something. The gorgeous cliffs and sandy beach-like landscape create a stunning location for photos. I especially love Klondike Park for romantic engagements, but it's truly perfect for any kind of photo session. If you prefer an outdoors-y, mountain-esque location (and didn't think you could get something like that in STL), you definitely want to consider Klondike for your photo session!
Francis Park is a cute, family-friendly park nestled in St. Louis Hills in the city. It's quaint and open, and offers some great spots for family photos. There's lovely greenery, open spaces, long walkways, and it's surrounded by a cozy neighborhood of classic STL brick bungalows. And it's super pet-friendly! I think this park is a great choice for families!
arnold city Park
I might be a little biased to Arnold City Park because it's located in my town, but there's a lot to love about this park! A large, beautiful lake with fountains, surrounded by a nice walking trail, an expanse of wooded area with tall, full trees, as well as open spaces. There's also a bike/hike trail that takes you through all that wooded area and makes for a great woodsy background for photos.
There's a lot to love about Kirkwood Park, and a lot of variety. This is a busy park because there's so much to do here, but there's definitely still a lot of potential for photo session. There's great wooded areas, water features, and hillsides. This is great county option for family sessions!
Fabick Nature Reserve
I bet this place doesn't even show up when you Google "photo locations in STL," because it never did for me! I did a little digging to find this place, but I'm so glad I did because LOOK AT IT. A wide open expanse that mirrors something like a cliffside overlook, and it's absolutely stunning in the fall. Colorful trees as far as the eye can see, and a cozy lake tucked away along the trail. Because it's a nature reserve, it's a bit different than your typical park - so you won't find buildings or park benches or other structures that you'd often expect in a park, but don't let that scare you away - the views here are worth the short little walk. And it's located right in Fenton. Who knew, right?
Here are EVEN MORE locations to consider for your photo session!
Castlewood State Park
West Side Park
Twin Oaks Park
And this list is always growing! I'll often research places I've never shot before, or a client will introduce me to a new spot, and I will fall in love each time with all the possibilities. If you have a great idea for a photo location, never hesitate to recommend it. I love trying new places and passing those suggestions to new clients who need a little inspiration!
Try not to overthink the location too much when planning your session. Unless the location is significant or sentimental, the environment around you is not the focus - you and your family are. While lovely scenery certainly adds to your images, any open, clean, safe place is perfect. Here are some images I took in "random" locations - off the side of the road, under overpasses, etc. Wherever we go, we'll make it work! That's part of my job as your photographer - to take what I get and create with it. Don't stress!
Don't forget, you don't even have to go anywhere for your photos. I love photographing lifestyle sessions in your home too! If you just want to stay close to home or get photos of your family in your element, that works for me too! In many cases, your own backyard or living room very well may be the perfect spot!