A Note About Locations
The locations featured below are some of my absolute favorites for on location photo sessions in the area. They are each fun to explore and provide a variety of different background looks. They range in style from rustic to urban to regal to homey. Take a look through the example photos to see which style fits you best. if you have a location in mind that is not featured below, please feel free to tell me about it. There are many additional possibilities and I am happy to look into other locations to find out if we need to obtain any permits or permissions. Most of the locations listed below do require permission or permitting. I am always happy to coordinate that between my clients and the location. Any permit fees are added onto your session fee.
My clients love this out of the way location in Chester County for it's rustic quality and setting among wide open meadows. It features an old stucco house, a painted weathered barn, gorgeous stone walls and rolling meadows of tall grasses and milkweed. On several occasions it has also featured some curious deer. It is a peaceful area without any crowds.
This old farm located in Valley Forge Park is always a popular location for a multitude of activities. Everyone loves it there, from people walking their dogs, to couples getting married to families holding photo sessions. It's a really fun place to explore and has a very rustic quality. It features meadows nestled into valleys, an old white stucco house, an old white and green painted barn, stone paths and a creek with a quaint arching bridge. On weekends evenings we will share the location with many other people. On weekdays we will only see a few other people out and about.
Eastern University, located conveniently in Wayne, is a great location for outdoor photo sessions. It has a rustic feeling throughout the heart of the campus. An old building with sweeping curved stone steps leads down to a pergola covered patio that sits beside a quaint pond. This side of campus also features an old gate house and a refurbished working waterwheel. One of the perks of Eastern University as a location for a session is the access to indoor restrooms. While there are often students enjoying the area, it is rarely crowded.
The campus at Bryn Mawr college is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I like to describe it as Secret Garden meets Harry Potter. There are beautiful gardens, sweeping lawns and amazing old stone architecture. We will see students walking around, but it is unlikely that we will run into any crowds.
This beautiful home and small farm operates in Lower Merion Township. I personally love it so much I held my own family's photo session there recently. It features an early American stone house, picket fences, a wildflower field, the ruins of a stone barn and a working barn with live animals! When the property is not being used for community events, it is available for photo sessions. We might have a couple of other people on the property enjoying the beauty.
Washington's Headquarter's in Valley Forge Park is the real deal. George Washington himself worked here! My clients love this location for it's mix of history, spacious natural settings, and interesting architecture. It features an old train station with beautiful lines, the old stone house where Washington lived and worked and several of the iconic Valley Forge soldier huts. It is one of the most popular and busy locations in the park for tourists, especially on nice weekend days and evenings. During the week, however, we would practically have the place to ourselves. It also has a nice restroom building on the property.
Phoenixville makes a wonderful backdrop for portraits with it's slightly urban feel. It has great colors, buildings with amazing texture and a lovely walking path by the river with an old bridge. While the streets are often busy with pedestrians, there are lot of brick alleys to use when we want a quieter image. Bonus: after your session in Phoenixville you can walk to one of the awesome restaurants or cafes for a meal or snack!
The Wayne train station is just full of possibilities for portraits! The stone walls, old railings, glass block windows and the sidewalks beyond are all great settings. It is a working train station and the streets around are busy with vehicle traffic, so please keep this in mind. If your children are young and mobile, this is not be the best option. If everyone is street safe and grown out of the curious childhood phase, this is a wonderful option.
Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park is a favorite location for many people (myself included). It has a mix of stunning stone architecture and expansive views across the valley. It is a popular location for weddings and an active church, so available weekend evenings during the spring and fall are limited. It is also a very popular location for photo session and tourists on weekends so expect to be surrounded by people, especially in the fall.
Hunting Hill Mansion in Ridley Creek State Park is an amazing location. The exterior of the mansion and the grounds and gardens are open to the public and are impeccably maintained. While it is a highly popular location for people holding photo sessions, exercising or just hanging out, it's always possible to find a beautiful spot on the grounds to use as a backdrop. The grounds do close frequently on fall and spring weekends for weddings. I will always check the mansion schedule to make sure we don't have a conflicting date. If possible, I recommend holding photo sessions at Hunting Hill on weeknight evenings or weekend mornings.
Appleford Estate in Villanova is loved by everyone for it's beautiful old stone house and the well maintained formal and informal gardens that surround it. The gardens feature a pond, a boxwood maze, beautiful flowers and quaint garden sculptures. It also has walking trails through the woods on the property boundary. Much like many of the locations above, it is a wonderful place to explore. Appleford is often booked on weekends for weddings, but it is possible to arrange to hold a session there on a weekend morning, weekday or on a weekend when they don't have a wedding scheduled. As a service to my clients I will contact Appleford to make arrangements.
Private property is an option for your photo session as well. Using your home makes truly unique and personal portraits. We can use the gardens around your home or find nice settings inside. If you have a family member or neighbor with a space you would love to use, we can reach out to them and ask to see if their property might be a possibility. If you know of a business with an amazing space or a gorgeous property in your community, I am happy to contact them to inquire about possibly using their property. In my experience, most people are happy to help in whatever way they can.
In addition to having an indoor, in home studio space, I also have two and a half acres of outdoor space that borders Valley Forge Park with sweeping views across the valley. My outdoor spaces are at their best first thing in the morning and shortly before sunset. This is an excellent option if you would like to have both studio style and natural light style images to choose from.