Selecting a location for your photo shoot can often be as challenging if not more challenging than choose what you will wear. Each client that I work with will be asked a series of questions about their personality, style, and home - specifically where they plan to display their portraits. Why? Because a location should tie into your personality & style not overpower or be a complete disconnect from how you style your home or how you dress.
More often than not, my clients defer to me for location selection - which I am happy to help with as there really isn’t a shortage of locations within Lancaster, Pa and the surrounding counties. Below you’ll find a list of my favorite go-to locations along with tips & tricks for maximizing your location and time in front of the camera.
Before reading through my suggested list of locations - don’t over look your own Rolodex of possible locations. You’d be surprised at the number of private locations you might have access to if you simply ask a friend or family member. I’ve had clients invite me to private farms or homes with beyond beautiful grounds, photographed a high school senior who was a swimmer in her best friend’s family pool, an Alpaca farm, and have been designing a photo shoot for an upcoming high school senior that involves a private plane.
Let’s get creative with locations and think outside of the box. As I jokingly say - brick is brick and grass is grass. The location isn’t as important as how you feel in your photographs and who you are photographed with!
Downtown Lancaster (Central Market & Press Room & Fulton)
Downtown Lancaster offers no shortage of locations for those who want an urban backdrop in their photographs. You’ll find no shortage of red bricks, painted murals or the energy of the city. Those who live in Lancaster, know how lucky we are to have the oldest operating farmers market in the country making Central Market a tourist destination and a popular place for locals. My advice, avoid Central Market on market days; Tuesday, Friday & Saturday as the alleyways are often filled with vendor vehicles and people scattered around. There are two parking lots next to market starting at $3.00 an hr.
Press Room - The brick courtyard with a large waterfall/fountain. Personally, I avoid the fountain at all costs - it’s fun for snapshot, but not for a beautiful portraits. Opt for the archways as they provide shade in a hot sunny day, coverage in the event of rain, and simply just a beautiful backdrop.
Throughout Downtown Lancaster there are plenty of beautiful hidden locations, my only suggestion is keep your wits about you, when scouting locations.
Lancaster Train Station
Allow me to defer you to Amtrak or the train station itself for photography policies - should you wish to use this location please inquiry directly with the station for policies & procedures.
Lancaster County Park
Situated south of Downtown Lancaster you will find a beautiful park with rolling hills, tall grass, access to the river, a covered bridge, an old plantation and photo opportunities at every turn. A note about Historic Rockford Plantation - photographers are required to purchase a membership to photograph on the grounds. Personally, I no longer maintain a membership to Rockford Plantation due to my preferred photography style.
This location is new to me in 2019 due to the need for a wildflower field. The park is known for it’s disc golf course. Personally, I only ventured through the park enough to use the wildflowers - note - by the middle of August the wildflowers have reached their peak and would suggest using the field in the earlier park of summer.
Also known by locals as Steinmain Mansion located on Marietta Ave. Sadly, I have not had an opportunity to photograph on the grounds yet, but am so ready too! Check their website for photo shoot availability, tour dates/hours, and any other policies!
I’m a sucker for Lititz and if you aren’t local to the area, Lititz was named one of the coolest small towns in the US a few years ago. With plenty of quaint shops, a beautiful park, and places to dine, Lititz is a fun destination. Lititz Springs park is a beautiful park within the town and offers plenty of parking, a natural spring that runs through the park, a playground, and lush greenery. Certain weekends in the park (and Lititz) are to be avoided - like 4th of July as they celebrate in the park with fireworks, the weekend of the Lititz Craft Show is another weekend to avoid. The downtown shopping area provides a softer urban backdrop with cute alleyways and brick walls. There are also a few other hidden gem locations I like to stop by when in town for a photo shoot.
LANDIS VALLEY MUSEUM
Landis Valley Museum grounds are stunning - however, the $100 fee for portrait photography is a bit on the expensive side keep that in mind should you want to use the grounds.
ROCKY SPRINGS AMUSEMENT PARK
A hidden gem of a location that requires both permission and a fee to be paid depending on the number of people involved in the photo shoot.
Hershey Gardens does require an admissions fee for everyone and photographers are required to sign a document with the rules.