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Location, location, location

The first question clients usually ask me about is clothing … the second is about where to shoot the session. And this is obviously super important! Some clients know exactly where they want to go, but most need a few ideas. So, I have compiled a list of a few outdoor locations, in order of my favorites. This is a super-long post … if you read it all, you rock! I posted images from several of the locations too, enjoy!
1. Jerusalem Mill, Kingsville – hands down absolute #1 favorite location – tons of variety and beautiful colors. It’s best there in the afternoon or early evening for lighting, but the morning works well too.

2. Swan Harbor Farm, Havre de Grace – this is a bit further than I normally drive, but I include it in my locations because I love it. I’d definitely call this my 2nd favorite location. Many people host their weddings here, there are tons of great backgrounds (cornfields, barns, & water view). And if there isn’t a wedding going on, there’s a beautiful old house too. This location is great throughout the day.

3. Cromwell Valley Park, Towson – I was very recently introduced to this location (thank you M. family!), and I really love it! It’s a peaceful setting and there are a lot of great old trees & cool textures, including a beautiful rock wall. There are plenty of different areas, so there is a good place to go all day long.
4. McDonogh School, Owings Mills – my alma mater 🙂 Although a bit out-of-the-way for most of my clients, it is perfect for a few of them. The campus is unbelievably gorgeous, and there are literally dozens of different locations. There are lots of great trees and fields along with amazing old buildings and a stunning chapel (that I actually got married in!). And again, there are so many different spots, it’s great all day long.

5. Stansbury Park, Dundalk – although there aren’t a ton of places that are ideal for shooting sessions, there are a few pretty awesome spots. There is a great deck & pier with a nice water view and some nice trees. This park is best in the early evening.
6. ROHA Farms, Hydes – this is a family-owned farm and has a lot of great natural backdrops. There are farm animals as well, so your kids are sure to enjoy themselves. It has a great pumpkin patch, offers hayrides and is a perfect location for fall sessions. There are plenty of different spots, so this location is fantastic all day.
7. Weber’s Cider Mill Farm, Parkville – a beautiful location for fall sessions, but it is very crowded. It’s best early in the morning right as they open. It has pumpkins, hay bales and farm animals. There is also a big apple orchard, although I believe there is a cost associated with it.
8. Gunpowder Falls State Park, Chase & Towson – the Hammerman area in Chase is where I shoot all of my beach sessions. It’s best in very late afternoon & early evening for lighting purposes – it’s just too bright in the morning during the summer. It costs $3/person (my cost is not included in the session fee). Towson offers a beautiful area near the Gunpowder Falls Dam – lots of pretty water views. Part of this area is shut down on the weekends, but there are still many gorgeous spots for sessions all day long.

9. Ladew Topiary Gardens, Monkton – this is out of my normal travel area, but it’s too beautiful not to post. There are acres and acres of breathtaking gardens (check out the photos on the website!). There is a fee to get in (~$10/person) that is not included with the session fee and a travel fee will apply. But, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind location for your session, you’ll definitely get it here!
10. Your own backyard, anywhere – this is an often-overlooked location, but your backyard can totally rock. I’ve had at a ton of success with backyard sessions. Not only are there pretty places everywhere, your kids will be more comfortable and it will mean more to you looking back on your portraits. As long as you have some kind of natural backdrop (trees, fields, etc.) and an area of shade during the time of our session, I can make it work!

11. My home studio, Perry Hall – this is a terrific option for newborn or baby sessions if you don’t have anywhere in your home that would work. I have a lot of space and lots of big windows with awesome natural light.
12. Lastly, indoors at your home, anywhere – this would be my absolute last choice for a session (aside from newborn & baby sessions). Lighting can be tough and your kids won’t be free to move around and be themselves. Although we can usually get some cute posed portraits, my preference is to be outside where we can capture more natural images of your children. That is, of course, unless I’m photographing a newborn or small baby … in that case I can utilize just about anywhere in your home because they can’t move 🙂 I can bring additional lighting to supplement your natural light if needed.
I hope this has helped you in searching for the perfect location for your session. If you have an idea for another location, I’d love to hear it! I enjoy going to new places and am on the constant lookout for the “perfect” spot. Happy New Year everyone, I’m looking forward to a really fantastic 2010 with you!