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Why Your Senior Portrait Session Location Matters

Tips & Tricks

July 27, 2021

When it comes time for portrait sessions, I think one of the most stressful pieces for both the photographer and the client is often the selection of a session location. I see the same types of questions asked in Facebook groups all of the time and it’s not uncommon for the client to be unsure of ideas of session locations when it comes time to plan their session. “Where can we go to get great photos?!”

As the photographer, I believe it’s important to have a few of your favorite locations available as options for your clients and I’m going to share a few of my tips for making sure you choose versatile and diverse session locations! While these tips can work for any portrait session, they are especially important for those senior portrait sessions so that you can have lots of variety in your photos!

The Importance of Picking your Session Location

Ideally, you want your senior portrait session (or any portrait session, really) to look like you were at multiple locations. You don’t want your final photos to come back looking like you were just standing in one spot with several different poses. Having variety for your photos is really important! But you also don’t want to be driving to lots of different places! That’s definitely not efficient for your costs or your client’s time.

Selecting a session location should not be based on “hey, there are lots of trees here” – that won’t provide lots of variety for your full portrait session. This is different than a mini session that is done in a short amount of time and often just in one staged location. The more variety that you can have in your backgrounds for your photos, the better the chance you have of bringing out your personality!

I’m going to share three of my absolute favorite session locations within the south-central Pennsylvania region that I think are phenomenal options for senior portrait sessions!

Overlook Park (Lancaster, PA)

Senior Portrait Session Locations at Overlook Park and Downtown Lancaster, PA | KateMartinPhoto.com

I love shooting sessions at Overlook Park because you can get a LOT of different backgrounds and styles at this park! There are some stone buildings and a white barn that work great for backgrounds. There is also a creek and a lot of greenery throughout different parts of the year. In the fall, winter, and summer, there are almost always some flowers blooming in different areas of the park. And there are some pine tree areas that are also great for winter sessions.

Grings Mill (Reading, PA)

Senior Portrait Session Locations at Grings Mill, Berks County, PA | KateMartinPhoto.com

I love this location! Grings Mill has two different locations that are within a 5-minute drive of each other and I love to utilize both of those. There is a huge old bridge and also some old stone buildings. The bridge goes over a dam, which has a waterfall feel. Lots of flowers during different times of the year. There is also a lot of fencing and smaller bridges over water. There are dozens of different locations within this park to get a lot of variety within your session.

Historic Rock Ford (Lancaster County Central Park, PA)

Senior Portrait Session Locations at Historic Rock Ford in Lancaster County Central Park in Lancaster, PA | KateMartinPhoto.com

At Historic Rock Ford, you have an old building with a big wrap-around porch, some pillars, and brick walkways. You also have use of a tiny white building and a large barn, an herb garden, and tall grass locations or trees. You can also venture out into Lancaster County Central Park for more outdoor locations with trees, fields of grass, or streams of water.

Now that you know what to look for in a session location, I hope that you are able to find some truly unique and diverse location opportunities! I would love to hear in the comments below what your favorite session locations are!


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