The Secret to Finding Photography Locations (no matter where you are)


So you have a portrait session coming up, you don't have a studio, and you have no idea where to go. I'll let you in on a little secret, it isn't as far away as you think!
Oh hey 👋 That’s Me, My Daughter and our backyard.721vanessa Photography
Would you have guessed where I shot this, had you not seen a pull back image?721vanessa Photography

Fast forward like... 5 years... and my eyes finally started to open. I started looking around more and finding the beauty all around me. Don't get me wrong, I love a good scenic view, but for portraits it isn't always the focus of my final look. Check out these from Garden of the Gods in Illinois.
Garden of the Gods721vanessa Photography
Garden of the Gods721vanessa Photography
Garden of the Gods721vanessa Photography

Sure, I could have easily stuck a person in any of these 3 locations. In fact, I tagged along with a fellow photog that was meeting her clients to shoot out there. She does GORGEOUS work with couples out there. Sure, I could shoot out there too, but I move to the beat of my own drum. Not to say I won’t ever shoot portraits there...but for now... I know it’s not my vision.

So why DID I tag along? I was actually participating in a year long photo project with a group of people from all over the world. When I heard the aforementioned photog was going out there, she let me ride along for the trip! Woot woot! (Did you hear that? You CAN be friends with other photographers in your town even when you’re in the same or similar markets)

If that's the type of photography you do, then yes, seek out those gorgeous landmarks. I am not bashing that type of photography AT ALL, in fact, I would LOVE to do more of that type of photography. However, as I previously mentioned, it isn’t my current I go on with my honey badger self and do what speaks to my soul.

This article is for people that aren't near major landmarks and need help seeing the beauty all around them. Or maybe you are in or near a major landmark and it just doesn’t speak to you the way it does to others.

If you can find beauty in the most mundane of places, imagine what you can capture in the most beautiful of places.
Find beauty all around you...even if it's a parking lot721vanessa Photography

The above photo was taken in a church parking lot.


If I were to tell you, prior to our session, we were taking photos in a church parking lot, what would you think? Would you question my skill? Would you question what you are paying for? Would you be confused?
Parking lot where the above photo was shot721vanessa Photography

This next one involves a little editing skill... so if you're just starting out & aren't sure how to accomplish these tasks, reach out to me & I would love to teach you:
Backyard721vanessa Photography

What's in your backyard?

So you have a pretty tree that is blooming but your A/C unit is in the way.

No problem! Edit that bad boy outta there!
Final Image721vanessa Photography

With a little cropping, cloning & whatever other adjustments you deem necessary to your preferred editing style, you can transform your backyard into a botanical garden, get the idea.

Next, let’s talk about your neighborhood. Do you have any neighbors that have amazing landscaping? Or maybe YOU have great landscaping?

If you know your neighbors, or you aren’t shy, you could always ask if you can use their yard. Or maybe you’re an introvert & their flowers are easily seen/accessible from the sidewalk.

Check out how I used my neighbors Black-Eyed Susans to create this chill portrait. There is beauty to be found all around you. You just have to be on the look out. Keep those eyes peeled! 👀 🍌
Neighborhood Street721vanessa Photography

For the next location... I actually did this photo shoot on Christmas Eve. The dead of winter. We got lucky and had a 50-something degree day (we had previously had 30 degree days) so we seized the opportunity and did a photoshoot in all of its brown glory.

I was looking for a photo of this area and forgot I did this mini BTS video. We were trying to do a Swan Lake themed photo shoot.
Final Image - Swan Lake Inspired721vanessa Photography

Check out some other photos where I have used a levee, park, or trail:
Levee721vanessa Photography
Disc Golf Course721vanessa Photography
Random Street with a cool tree721vanessa Photography
Final Image - Random Street with a Cool Tree721vanessa Photography

Just realized I didn’t post any we’ll throw this dude in the mix:
Grass - Backyard721vanessa Photography

Check it out I shot this at a Castle somewhere in Europe:
Mossy Wall on a random street721vanessa Photography

But were you briefly transported somewhere in Europe? 😅

Let’s recap! We’ve looked at:

  • Church parking lots
  • Your backyard/Your neighborhood/neighbors landscaping
  • Maybe you have a levee or a trail behind a public park (or the park itself)
  • Maybe you have a disc golf course/park
  • Look at walls that surround houses, whether that be a brick fence, retaining wall, or the side of a building.
  • Sometimes retail lots with grocery stores, malls, etc. have rose bushes, or pretty landscaping in the parking lot. Don’t be afraid to use those as well. Remember, you aren’t shooting the things around it...these are close ups.

Have you figured out the secret yet?

The secret is, there are locations all around you.

It’s easier than you might think.

To see the high resolution of any of these images visit my website:

You can also visit my website for more images that use every day backgrounds for portraits. See one you like but can’t figure out where it might have been taken? Email me! I’d be happy to answer that for you!

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I am a portrait photographer, graphic designer, creator extraordinaire. I suppose I am dabbling in writing too ?

Evansville, IN

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