When it comes to photo shoot locations, we are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Seattle has endless possibilities when it comes to photography that I never run out of ideas and I never get bored with shooting here. Choosing a location for your photo session is key to planning the rest of your session because it not only determines the vibe of the photos, but also the types of outfits you will wear and the best poses to try.
One of the first decisions you will have to make when it comes to deciding your photo shoot location is whether you want it to be indoors or outdoors. Think about the type of shoot you are planning and where you will be most comfortable.
For instance, if your home is your pride and joy, think about shooting at home for a more photojournalistic ‘hour in the life of’ photo session. Or maybe you walk your dog every day and want to bring him along in an outdoor park setting. And if you guys frequently go out in nature, it may make sense to shoot at one of the many beautiful parks in Seattle or even head out to the mountains for more of a wild PNW vibe. And if none of those sound like ideal options, you can always consider scheduling a studio photo session as well.
Once you have an idea of whether you want to shoot outside or inside, you can start to plan the rest of your session accordingly, but for the purpose of this blog post, I will be primarily focusing on outdoor locations.
How accessible is the location for everyone involved? Are you planning an elopement with extended family? If so, then maybe a mountain hike is not the best option for your older or very young relatives. And if you want that classic city street shot, then maybe save that for a time when it’s just you and your partner without the kids. Accessibility and safety for everyone is one of the most important things to consider when choosing your location, not just the backdrop.
The time of year also plays a big part in the overall look of your photos. Autumn colors bring a sense of warmth and coziness that are great for family or couple photos. Maybe you love adventuring in the snow. Then wintertime is the perfect time to capture photos of you playing in the snow and these photos also make the perfect addition to your annual holiday cards. Or maybe fun, summer vibes on the beach are what you’re after. Think about the overall look and feel that you wish to have and select a time of year that will reflect that best.
Lighting matters! Here in Seattle, overcast days are typical between the months October through May and while you may be wishing for a nice, sunny day, what many people don’t realize is that cloudy days actually provide the best lighting for photographers. Bright sunlight creates harsh shadows on subjects so soft, even lighting usually works best. For summer sessions, morning and dusk are also great times to schedule photos because they provide ideal lighting that we photographers call “golden hour.” If your shoot happens to fall during a time and day where there is bright sunlight, I will be on the hunt for open shade the whole session to make sure you are getting the most flattering light possible!
If we’re doing an engagement session, you’re going to want somewhere that speaks to you as a couple. Maybe it’s your first hike together or your favorite distillery or coffee shop. Whatever it is, you’ll want to shoot somewhere that holds meaning to you both and makes you happy.
If you are planning a family photo session, your considerations should weigh heavily on your kids’ personalities and their temperament as well as mobility and logistics. How does your drive coincide with nap time? Will you have a big stroller in tow? Are your kids ok with walking long distances or do you want to keep the walk close and easy? City parks are always a safe bet and will never go out of style, but you could also try something a little more fun and colorful like the Olympic Sculpture Park or Georgetown in SODO. You will also want to consider how your children will be with tons of people around and varied distractions.
1. What kind of shots do I want? Edgy, urban, colorful and artistic or timeless, nature, beautiful and outdoorsy?
2. What place holds meaning or fits the particular stage of life we are in?
3. Is there a place that is personal or somewhere that we have been going to for years?
4. What kind of look am I going for in my photos?
And now, the list you’ve all been waiting for; a list of my 40 favorite photo shoot locations in Seattle. Enjoy and please comment below to let me know if I’ve forgotten anything!
Downtown Fremont / Fremont Canal Park
Gas Works Park
Green Lake Park
Juanita Bay Park
SAM Olympic Sculpture Park
The Urban Horticulture Center, UW
Washington Park Arboretum
Canoeing on Lake Union
Capitol Hill Coffee Crawl
Capitol Hill Graffiti Crawl!
Rooftop Seattle City Skyline Views
The Pier by the Ferris Wheel
The University of Washington
The Woodland Park Zoo!