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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dinsmore

Location matters

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

What's the best spot for our photo session?

I'm so glad you asked! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a location for your session, whether it's for engagement or maternity. You want to make sure it's accessible, first and foremost - is there parking? Is there a long walk to the site? Is it crowded?


Second, you want to consider what vibe you're going for. Rustic? Organic? Urban? Glamorous? If you've got a style in mind, I've got a location for you. Check out some of my favorite spots in the Gainesville area:




Dudley Farm Historic State Park - Newberry, FL


Dudley Farm is a hidden gem here in North Central Florida. Full of history, raw texture, and real Florida nature, it's a perfect and versatile location for almost any kind of session. I especially like to bring couples here, though, because there's so much room for interaction - between the couple as well as between them and the environment.

Downtown Gainesville, Florida


What's not to love about Downtown Gainesville? The options for backgrounds are almost limitless! From the regal architecture of the Hippodrome Theater, to the eclectic Sun City Center, to the historic Firestone Building a few blocks away, there is something interesting everywhere you look!



Micanopy Historic District


Micanopy (mik-an-o-pee) is kind of like the town that time forgot - in the best possible way. Everything looks like it came straight out of history book - aged brick walls, rustic buildings, quiet streets, and some of the biggest Live Oak trees in Florida. It's perfect for a vintage-style session or, if you're really adventurous, a modern vibe against a historic backdrop!


Florida Beaches


I admit, I'm a sucker for a beach session. No, I don't love trekking across the sand with all of my equipment, but I DO love what the beaches have to offer in terms of visual interest. My favorites? Marineland Beach and its coquina rocks, offering a unique texture to every scene. And Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island, with its driftwood and scraggly old trees. It's a total mood. (More about Boneyard Beach here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/learn/boneyard-beach )


Historic Thomas Center, Duckpond Area, Gainesville


The Thomas Center is a popular place for a reason - between the beautifully appointed gardens and the gorgeous Mediterranean-revival architecture, it's got everything you need for a photo session. I wish I could name a favorite spot on the grounds, but I can't. Everything about it is a photographer's dream.

(Visit http://www.historicthomascenter.org/ for more information)


San Felasco Hammock State Park

I just recently discovered this spot and I was in love the second I pulled into the parking lot. It was a dreary day - cold, damp, and drizzly - but it didn't matter. Even the muted winter colors seemed to just pop out, and the textures...gasp! There's a uniquely organic feel here - more than in any other natural setting I've used - and I'm itching to get back there and create!


Kanapaha Botanical Gardens


Last, but certainly not least, is my first love. Kanapaha Gardens is a visual wonderland. Winding garden paths, vine-covered pergolas, a bamboo forest, succulent gardens, an entire Camelia forest...the list goes on. If you're looking for a natural setting with lots of versatility, this is the place to go.


(more information here: https://kanapaha.org )


Northern Florida is rich with both history and some of the most lush and varied nature I've ever seen, and I know there is even more to explore - here, and beyond. Maybe in a year I'll have a new list that's twice as long!


Thanks for hanging,


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