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  • Best Places for a Portrait Photoshoot in Jacksonville, Florida | Jacksonville Photographer

    Jacksonville Portrait Photographer

    Have you decided that you want to book a photo session in Jacksonville, Florida or the surrounding areas, but you have no idea where the best locations are to take those photos? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! Whether you want romantic, dreamy beach photos, rustic photos in a woodsy setting, or anything in between, I am full of suggestions.

    For portrait photography rates, make sure to pay a visit to my Portrait Photography Pricing & Info page!

    • Your Own Home/ Neighborhood/Favorite Spot

    Yes, there are beautiful places in and around Jacksonville, Florida, for photos, but choosing a location that is important and unique to you will make your photos even more valuable in the years to come. If your home or neighborhood is a place that is special to you, why not preserve it in your photographs? Many families worry when I suggest this, because they don’t think that their home is photogenic enough, but every home has spots that are perfect for photos, and remember-- the focus is going to be you, not the dust bunnies under your couch. Engagement photos cooking with or drinking coffee with your significant other in your kitchen, family photos of your kids playing in your living room, maternity photos in your future baby’s nursery, and/or pet photos going on a walk through your neighborhood are so important to help to preserve your memories not just of how you looked at a given time, but how you interacted with the environment where you lived. I also love sessions in a favorite coffee shop, restaurant, bookstore, etc, so if you have a location in mind, just let me know, and I will do my best to work something out with the owner of the location so we can do your pictures there.

     

    • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park | Mayport, Florida

    Hanna Park is a gorgeous mix of green, grassy fields, wooded areas, a lake, playgrounds, and beaches, so if you’re looking for a versatile outdoor location, this one is for you. This location is dog-friendly (as long as they are leashed), and there is access to bathrooms for changing and breaks. It’s $5 per car for admission, but this small fee is well worth it. For portrait photography sessions on the beach at Hanna Park, I would typically recommend a sunset session, but for any of the other spots here, any time of day is a-okay as far as lighting goes.

     

    • Big Talbot Island State Park | Jacksonville, Florida

    Big Talbot Island is such a unique location in Jacksonville, offering a beach filled with driftwood trees bordering steep sand dunes and a forest. For those who aren’t a fan of creepy crawlies, be aware that the forest paths are pretty similar to the area where the spiders lived in the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter; there are lots of spider “friends” overhead in the trees. Additionally, bug spray becomes a necessity the closer it gets to sunset on this beach. However wild the location is, it is gorgeous for portrait sessions.

    • Alpine Groves Park | Fruit Cove, Florida

    Alpine Groves Park overlooks the St. John’s River, and is full of photogenic, rustic buildings and oak trees with sweeping strands of Spanish moss. This park is perfect for photos at any time of day, since the trees at this location offer plenty of shade for nice, even light in your portraits. There is an old, white farmhouse with a spacious front porch for portraits, a pretty dock on the river, and miscellaneous other farm buildings on the property that are open for the public to explore. The park is free, allows leashed dogs, and has restrooms, picnic tables, and a children’s play area with slides and swings. The location is wonderful for family, childrens’, maternity or engagement photography sessions, and much more.

     

    • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens | Jacksonville, Florida

    The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is an unexpected but fantastic location for portraits! This spot may get pricey for large family portraits due to admission costs, but I would recommend it for engagement, children’s, and small family portraits. There is a bamboo forest, a Japanese-style zen garden, and a scenic dock on the river for more intimate pictures away from the crowds, and you have the opportunity for unique photos feeding the giraffes, riding the carousel, holding the lorikeets, hanging out in the butterfly house, etc. At the time of writing this blog, admission to the zoo is $17.95 for adults, and $12.95 for children between the ages of 3 and 12; children under 3 can get in free.

    • San Marco area | Jacksonville, Florida

    The San Marco area, particularly around San Marco square, can be a fun location for urban portraits. The location offers older brick buildings, cafes, and an old, art deco style theatre built in 1938. This location is best for those who are okay with a bit of a walk and a photo adventure. 

    • Treaty Oak Park | Downtown Jacksonville, Florida

    Treaty Oak Park features a massive, stately old oak that has been around for about 250 years, seated in the middle of a large, grassy field.  Sunset photos at this park are truly magical, with the sunlight streaming through the branches of the tree and offering gorgeous lighting for portraits. Parking at this location can be tricky, but the park is close to views of the St. John’s River, and is within walking distance from the Friendship Fountain for additional variety in your portraits.

     

    • St. Augustine Historic District | St. Augustine, Florida

    Gah! St. Augustine’s Historic District is just all-around gorgeous. If you’re in for a wander around the city, every side street offers photogenic locations for portrait sessions. St. George Street’s cobblestones and variety of shops make for a setting that is full of character; Flagler College and the exterior of the historic Memorial Presbyterian Church (built in 1889!) are also beautiful spots to take portraits. On top of that, St. Augustine features the Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish fort along the Matanzas River-- the fort is surrounded by grassy fields and a riverside walking area bordering a street where horses and buggies are often parked. This location, like photos in the San Marco area, is best suited to those who are okay with a bit of a wander around the area to find the perfect spots for photos. It has so much to offer in terms of portrait opportunities.

    • Camp Milton Historic Preserve in the town of Baldwin | Jacksonville, Florida

    Are you looking for photos in fields of tall grass, or on a tree-shaded road? Camp Milton is the perfect spot for these kinds of rustic portraits. The area is more isolated, but is accessible through the Baldwin Rail Trail, an old railroad that was turned into a beautiful, rural bike path. Feel free to bring your bikes along for portraits of you bicyling the trail! There are restrooms along the trail, and Camp Milton has a few historic buildings scattered throughout the property, as well. 

    • Atlantic Beach/Neptune Beach and the Beaches Town Center | Atlantic Beach, Florida

    Jacksonville Beach is often overcrowded, so if you’re looking for a beach portrait photography session, I recommend Atlantic Beach or Neptune Beach, instead. Atlantic Beach allows leashed dogs at all times of day, if you’re planning a session that integrates your best buddy. I love to park along 11th Street in Atlantic Beach, because this patch of beach is close to a small pier that is beautiful for photos, and there are outdoor showers in this area to wash your feet after the shoot. When planning a photo session at the beach, light and tide are the biggest considerations; low tide and sunset are the best conditions for your portrait session, so we will need to plan accordingly. This patch of the beach is also very close to the Beaches Town Center in Atlantic Beach, which makes for a very scenic location for photos that have more of an urban feel.

    • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park | Palm Coast, Florida

    Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a little more of a roadtrip, located about an hour out from Jacksonville, near Marineland. This location boasts 20 acres of formal gardens, and roughly 400 acres of oak trees, spanish moss, and beautiful, rocky beaches. This beach is one of the closest rocky beaches to Jacksonville, making it stand out from the rest. Admission to the park is $5 per vehicle, and dogs are permitted in specified areas of the park.

    • Cumberland Island | Camden County, Georgia

    For those who are feeling more adventurous, Cumberland Island is a whimsical, wild spot for gorgeous portrait photography. Accessible only by ferry at certain times of the day, the island is very isolated and beautiful for engagement photography. The island has a resident wild horse population, beautiful beaches, as well as Dungeness, the ruins of a mansion on the island. (If you’re up for an overnight stay after your shoot, the island does also offer camping.) 

    • Jekyll Island | Golden Isles of Georgia

    Jekyll Island is a sweet little Georgia island with a quaint downtown area, beautiful beaches, and a gorgeous property called the Jekyll Island Club hotel. This is another beautiful location for a portrait session adventure, or we can jump straight to the Jekyll Island Club property, featuring manicured gardens and a beautiful, grassy lawn, and do a full portrait session there. 

    • Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach/Fort Clinch State Park | Nassau County, Florida

    Another island experience, this sleepy beach town is full of character, antique shops, and cafes. Portrait sessions in this location can be a mix of urban, park, and beach photography; all of these locations are within walking distance in the historic district of Fernandina. Fort Clinch State Park is also a gorgeous spot for photos. Located in Fernandina, Fort Clinch offers so many intimate spots for portraits with beautiful light and gorgeous archways, as well as a view of the ocean. The park charges $6 admission per vehicle.   

    • Walt Disney World | Orlando, Florida

    Need I say more? Okay, so this location may not be directly around Jacksonville, Florida, but come on-- a portrait session at Walt Disney World? This photo session would be an extra-special opportunity for documenting your children’s first time visiting Disney, or for engagement or senior portrait photography. I can follow you around and document your day -- your ride to the park on the ferry, your time spent on each ride (the Mad Tea Party ride is particularly fun for portraits), your wanders down Magic Kingdom’s picturesque Main Street, and your joy as you watch the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular and fireworks display at the end of the night. Contact me for rates.

    Do you have any questions about anything in this blog post, or would you like to get in touch to talk more about booking a photo session in any of these locations? Please feel free to contact me at chelseawhitemanphotography@yahoo.com, or by heading on over to my Contact section. I would love to hear from you!