Choosing a Location for Your Portrait Session
Living in the Pacific Northwest means that we have many beautiful locations to choose from for your portrait session. I hope these tips will help you determine which location will work best for your session. Your choice will also determine our lighting, your color and style of clothing to wear and our posing options.
Before we dive into our location finding tips I want to point out that an amazing location isn’t always necessary. Sure, having a beautiful location as a backdrop is wonderful but there are ways to work around the most bland location. Ways to utilize the various backgrounds at our disposal, creating bokeh to blur out the background and be creative with what we have can make any bland location look amazing.
With that said . . . the right location is important and there are several things you need to keep in mind while choosing one.
- Choose a location where you feel comfortable. Do you have a special spot that is important to you and your family?
- Choose a location that fits your personality. Do you love spending time out in nature? Or are you more of an urban city person?
- Take in consideration who will be in the session. If you have smaller children choosing a location away from traffic that has wide open spaces for the kiddos to run around might be the safest choice. Being in a more convenient location might be a better choice for the less mobile.
- Choose a location that fits the season you plan to take your portraits. Locations can look completely different during different seasons.
- Choose a location that will give you a wider variety of backgrounds.
I personally like to use locations I’ve used before because I know the go-to sweet spots and am familiar with the lighting. But I’m always open to new locations as long as I know ahead of time and can scout them out.
Below is a list of locations I frequently use:
Amtrack/Sounder Station (3201 Smith Avenue, Everett, WA 98201): This location has an urban industrial look with a few gardens for green spaces. This is the location I use on rainy days. Restrooms are available for outfit changes inside the station.
Bothell Landing : This location has a lovely bridge, old buildings and beautiful walking paths. Restrooms available for outfit changes.
Brightwater Treatment Plant (http://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/brightwater-center.aspx): I usually only use this location on overcast and/or rainy days because of the lighting. It has a wonderful covered area with different textures plus a few bridges.
Flower World (http://www.flowerworldusa.com): Has a wonderful water wheel, large pond and nooks and crannies to take pictures. Public restrooms available for outfit changes.
Haller Park in Arlington (https://www.arlingtonwa.gov/facilities/facility/details/Haller-Park-9): This park has a wonderful bridge. Downtown Arlington also has unused railroad tracks, an old 30’s architecture style high school and a downtown similar to Snohomish. 6 miles out of town is an old red barn at the Nakashima Farm Trailhead (https://snohomishcountywa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/-65). Restrooms available for outfit changes.
Heritage Park (https://www.alderwood.org/heritage-park/): This park has several different backgrounds (brick, wood, stairs, willow trees, benches and an old Trolley). Restrooms available for outfit changes.
Historic Downtown Snohomish: A great location with tons of different backgrounds (different colored bricks, old wood buildings and both of the Snohomish and Pilchuck rivers).
Jennings Memorial Park (http://marysvillewa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Jennings-Memorial-Park-16): This park has older buildings, a small arboretum, a few boardwalks and a small lake. Public restrooms available for outfit changes.
North Creek High School (3613 191st Pl SE Bothell, WA 98012): This high school is chalked full of industrial backgrounds and has a nature boardwalk on the property. This location can only be used on the weekends during the school year.
The Evergreen Arboretum (http://www.evergreenarboretum.com): This is a very small arboretum that is in the process of expanding. Public restrooms located at a nearby park.
Rhododendron Park (https://www.kenmorewa.gov/Home/Components/FacilityDirectory/FacilityDirectory/10/103: This park has a few open grassy areas, a more modern boardwalk (black plastic instead of wood), beautiful trees and rhododendrons (bloom only in early spring).
Willis Tucker Park (https://snohomishcountywa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Willis-D-Tucker-Community-Park-37): This park has open fields, chain linked fences, trees and the main building with different textured walls.
Note: I do have images on my website from a few sessions I did in Seattle, WA. Those sessions were done under special circumstances. I normally do not shoot in downtown Seattle.