Sunday, September 5, 2010

So where should we shoot our bridal portraits?

It's a question I hear every time I schedule a bridal session. Or any session really. There are so many places to shoot that the possibilities are endless, but I thought I'd do a few blogs about some of the places I've shot before and even some that I haven't shot just to give an idea to future brides, engaged couples and even families who want lovely settings for portraits. I'm hoping to include links and photos as well and add to this as I find new places.

Let's start with San Antonio, since that's the biggest city I'm closest to, then we'll get into New Braunfels, San Marcos and Austin. I put a lot of miles on my car and have even driven to Fredericksburg and Galveston for bridals so I'll include those here as well.

San Antonio:

The McNay Art Museum. Beautiful setting and dozens of possible backdrops. Here's a link to a gallery I shot at this lovely setting. And here's a link to their page on photography. Basically we're allowed to shoot there if we pay the $20 shooting fee. A very reasonable price considering many comparable places charge 5 times as much. There is no place to change and they ask you not to change in the bathrooms so it's best to show up ready to go. Update: I recently was asked to shoot a wedding at this location and wanted to add those as well. Click here for the latest link.

The San Antonio Botanical Gardens.
Nicely manicured gardens and some cool architectural areas as well. Here's a session I shot there. Well, actually it doesn't show you much because we showed up after the 5 p.m. close time. My bad! But fortunately, the parking lot has some nice areas as well and we didn't need much space for this session. So here's a gallery of images I took at a recent family session. And finally, here's a link to their visitors page. Basically, they charge just the cost of admission to shoot there. Of course they ask you to respect their gardens and don't go trampling any plants. That's just common sense. That rule applies to all these places. Keep in mind that you're a guest on these properties and leave them as nice or better than you found them.

The San Antonio Riverwalk
. This area is pretty massive and has tons of hotels and businesses all along the area. This particular session that I shot here was taken outside the Tropicana. Changing areas are pretty sparse unless you get a hotel room to change in. Some of the businesses may take issue with you using their restrooms to change so it's best to either get a hotel room or come dressed and ready to go.

The San Antonio Missions. Mission San Jose is my absolute favorite setting for a session. It's just simply gorgeous. Here's a link to a gallery of images from this mission. And here's a link to their photography policy page. In a nutsehll, they charge a $100 fee to shoot professionally. The park rangers will see you coming in with professional equipment and dressed in your bridal gown and they will collect it at that time.

The Japanese Tea Gardens. This is a beautiful place for bridals, engagements, seniors, whatever. There is a $20 fee to shoot there, and once again, be respectful of the plantlife. Here's a link to a gallery of images I shot there. And here's a link to their page. I recommend going on a day in the middle of the week around an hour before sunset. The crowds are at a minimum and the lighting is perfect. Try to shoot on a weekend and you'll be battling hordes of people and there's not much room on those little sidewalks to share when you're trying to have your photo taken. Once again there's not really a place to change so arrive ready to go. Update: Here's another session I was able to shoot at this beautiful place.

Breckenridge Park. There are some really nice areas to shoot at this park, especially a bridge near Broadway and Hildebrandt. I'd love to share a gallery of images from this site but I have yet to shoot there. The number one reason is that this park is so packed with people most of the time that shooting just isn't feasible. There are about 4 months out of the year when you can barely move your car through the roadways let alone find a parking space and get out. If you do shoot here, make it during the middle of the week and have a back up plan in mind if you can't park, especially if it's a nice day. There's no fee to shoot here and the only place to change is in the bathrooms -- which aren't very nice.

So that's a start for the San Antonio portion of this list. I'll come back and add to it periodically, and tomorrow I'll get started on a list of my favorite New Braunfels area settings.


  1. Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up!

    Travel to Bermuda

  2. Those places are really good for taking your customer portraits on location. Some places are starting to charge photographers a fee which is not fair. Other people with cameras have no problem and don't get hassled.