One of the very first question seniors usually ask me after they book is how do you choose your senior portrait location? Living in such a beautiful and varied of the state Loudoun County has so many spots to offer for senior sessions. It can seem almost overwhelming to pick! I’ve had seniors choose locations just because they thought they were beautiful, because they wanted to find a creative backdrop, or because it was important to them to have portraits done in a meaningful place.
To help narrow in on locations for you I provide all my seniors with a questionnaire. This breaks down locations six ways to help me find the perfect fit. These six categories are: rural, urban, natural, historic, seasonal and out of the box. Once I see what a senior is interested I provide more detailed location suggestions. Below I’ve broken down the categories even more!
Urban locations have iron fences, exposed brick, textured walls and city streets. They can be a perfect match if you want the sweet charm of a small downtown area. Urban locations also pair well with an edgier look. Street lights and concrete are eye-catching and a great alternative to traditional locations. You can find some colorful murals, cute shop windows or historic architecture.
Rooftops, Downtown Leesburg, Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, Downtown Middleburg
Rural locations are classic senior portrait backdrops. They are almost guaranteed to give you lots of golden sunlight and old buildings. I love shooting in some of the local parks around Loudoun as well as wineries and farms in the area. These are perfect if you’re looking for large open spaces, grassy fields, and barn backdrops.
48 Fields, Claude Moore Park, Local Wineries, Ida Lee Park, Open Fields
While similar to rural, ‘natural’ locations focus much more on the forest and the flowers. We’ll head down to the water, take a walk in the woods or find the latest blooms if you’re interested in a natural backdrop. Make sure to bring a pair of sneakers as we wander off the beaten path. These are perfect if you have a love for hiking or the outdoors!
Great Falls, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Blandy Experimental Farm, Scott Run Nature Preserve, C&O Canal
With so much history in Loudoun and even more down the road in D.C., historic portrait locations can be a great way to go. Any famous monuments or landmarks are stunning backdrops. You can also go for a simpler look with historic homes and estates. If you love classic architecture and neutral backdrops these should be your go to.
Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Rust Manor House, Morven Park, Manassas Battlefield, Tidal Basin
Every now and then I have a senior who’s interested less in the location and more with what they’re surrounded by. Maybe you want to get lost in a maze of sunflowers or brave the cherry blossom crowds? Perhaps fall is your favorite season. Changing leaves will need to be included in your session! I’ve also headed to the coast for my beach loving seniors and worked to find a chilly date if you’ve got your heart set on portraits in the snow. These take some extra coordination and patience. However, they’re perfect for a senior who wants their portraits to stand out.
Sunflower Fields, Cherry Blossoms in D.C., Snow Days, Fall Leaves, The Beach
Out of the Box
While I love shooting in every location out of the box senior sessions are some of my favorites. I love when seniors are brave enough to go for it! These could be location sessions such as museums, art exhibits, carnivals, and greenhouses. They may be out of the norm, but they always come out stunning. I promise you that out of the box locations will set your senior portraits apart from the crowd and make you stand out!
Rawlings Conservatory, Hirschorn Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Harbor, Carnivals, Coffee Shops
Like more than one category? Don’t worry! Many locations cover more than one of these categories which means your session can be full of lots of variety and different backdrops. Whether you’ve booked a senior session with only one location or multiple, we’ll be sure to find the perfect match (or matches) to bring your portraits to life!
Welcome to my blog! I'm so glad you're here! I'm a Virginia senior portrait and wedding photographer based out of Loudoun County and the Shenandoah Valley. Take a look around the blog to see the amazing couples and seniors that I get to photograph! Looking forward to getting to know you!