Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where should we shoot our portraits in New Braunfels?

A few days ago I started a series about where to have your portraits done in the central Texas area. I told you a few of my favorite places in San Antonio in this blog (you click on those words and it'll take you to that blog. Isn't that cool?)

Now I want to share a few of my favorite places here in New Braunfels. Of course I always recommend New Braunfels because I don't have to drive far so I'm biased for these locations.

New Braunfels, Texas:

Landa Park: I had to put this one first because it's such a popular photo spot. There are dozens upon dozens of possible back drops in this park. I think my very first photo session was done at this park years ago and now it's an old standby. Here is a link to the official Landa Park page. And here is a link to a session I shot there most recently. And another I shot there a few months before. There are more, but that should be enough for now. The rules are simple. There's no shooting fee. Obviously respect your environment and leave the place better than you found it. This place gets really packed on weekends during the spring and summer so avoid it during those times. I've found it's quite lovely at the end of autumn when the leaves are golden. Sunset in November is perfect for a session at Landa Park. As is the early spring when the trees have grown just enough to be green, but the people haven't begun to flock by the thousands.

Dry Comal Creek Winery: This one is a sweet little location tucked away off 46. The nice people at the winery offered me their venue when we chatted at a bridal fair. I promptly took them up on their offer and met one of my brides there for a bridal session. The results can be seen here. Since I first did this blog they did start charging a fee for photo sessions at the winery. Give them a call to check on that and reserve your time.

Greune: If you're looking for rustic, country, outdoorsy, this is the place for your session. So many of the buildings have that beautiful old barn texture going for them. The Guadalupe River provides a nice water back drop on days when it's not stuffed with tubers. There are even a number of nicely manicured Bed and Breakfasts in the area that provide pleasant images as well. Here is a session I shot in Gruene recently, and another. And here's a page about the community. There are no fees for most of the area, but keep in mind all this space is open to the public and the public is everywhere. The area owned by the Gruene Mansion Inn does require a $25 fee and a reservation. They will ask you to leave if you don't have a reservation and pay the fee. Please be respectful of their rules and you shouldn't have a problem. Update: Here's the latest session shot in Gruene as well as the Faust Street Bridge, which is just a couple of miles away and also provides an excellent backdrop.

The Faust Street Bridge: Since I mentioned it, let's talk about this little spot as well. The bridge provides great leading lines and is near an old factory that serves as a nice urban grunge backdrop as well. There's a brand new event center right next to the bridge that has some of the lushest grass this side of that nasty drought. I took a family here recently and here's what we shot. You are not allowed to trespass on the property of the Milltown Historic District venue or on the property of the old mill. Please respect the "no trespassing" signs and stay on public property.

The Comal County Courthouse and the Square: I shot a session with an attorney at the courthouse and discovered that I never realized how beautiful this building is. Here's that session. The courthouse is conveniently located right across from the gazebo, offering you the opportunity to attempt to cross the street -- be careful it's crazy -- and shoot some images on the square. I shot this session in the gazebo recently. Update: Here's another session I was able to shoot around downtown. Downtown also can provide little mini sessions tucked into any area. This young lady just wanted a session in front of the Brauntex. They came out great even though we stayed within a small space. The back alley areas can also provide some interesting urban images like in this session.

Cypress Bend Park: This park is just lovely any time of year. The cypress trees growing along the river give it a gorgeous canopy. What I love about this park is that it seems like a secret little park that not many people know about. It's rarely crowded. There's always wide open spaces and plenty of parking. Here is a session that was shot partly at Cypress Bend Park, partly at Hinman Island Park, which I'll discuss some more next. And here is a session of my own family at Cypress Bend. And a session of another gorgeous family at the same place. This father and son session even ended up in the water thanks to a fun rope swing.

Hinman Island Park: This is very near Landa and is often considered part of Landa, but it's actually its own little gem. Avoid this one at all costs during the summer months. It's the entry point for people tubing the Comal and it's always crowded during the summer and many times the people can be quite undesirable. There was some violence here this summer and I've heard lots of complaints about rowdy behavior. I include it on my list because I have had successful sessions there. See the link above in the Cypress Bend section. I once shot a bride tubing in the water, but it was done before tubing season got started so it was the perfect time.

Walking Trail near Dry Comal Creek at 337: I shot a session with a model at this location because we were looking for a wild, savage setting. We didn't want manicured lawns and landscaping. This area was perfect for what we were looking for. Take a look here. Occasionally a jogger or walker would happen by but we pretty much had a pretty easy time with setting up each shot. This spot was great for what we needed.

The Little League fields: I debated putting this one up here because it's such a specific interest but I had to. I shot a session there that turned out to be one of my favorite sessions. Check them out here. If you love baseball, the backdrops are perfect. Be respectful of the property and don't make a big production about it and you should be fine.

The drainage ditch near Landa Street and Loop 337: I only just discovered this location during bluebonnet season because the flowers were so thick and beautiful. Here is a link to one bluebonnet session, and another here. I'm hoping the bluebonnets return in full force next spring at this spot because it was so nice. {Update: They did not return I'm afraid, but I was still able to get a nice session in with the flimsy excuse for bluebonnets that 2011 provided. See that one here.} It's a lot bigger than it looks from the road and there's a nice little creekbed at the bottom of the hill. If you're lucky you'll see some deer. Be careful about staying away from the loop, those cars can fly by. And watch for bull nettle and snakes. I didn't see any snakes, but this environment is perfect for them. This little gem may disappear soon. I heard a rumor about the city designating it as a future dog park. Can't shoot portraits with the fear of stepping in doggy doo. But for now it can be our little secret spot.

Any old empty field of flowers: Okay I wanted to mention that I've shot sessions in areas that most people wouldn't consider. Here's a session in an empty field near my home on Morningside Drive. It was gorgeous for a few weeks in April with these yellow flowers. I had to mention it because I wanted to point out that you don't need manicured lawns, landscaping and structures to have a good session. I've shot sessions in crowded dining rooms with an open window, a reflector and a back drop. I've shot sessions in the rain, in a dirty cow field, against an old store in the middle of nowhere, in my own backyard, in my client's backyard, in an alley between subdivisions.

You're limited only by your own imagination when shooting in New Braunfels or anywhere. The sky's the limit. I'll add to this list as well as I discover more hidden gems in and around this amazing town.

Next I'll compile a list of my favorite San Marcos locations. Check back later!


  1. Thanks for sharing!!! You are a wonderful photographer!!

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