Bucket List Photo Locations

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September 20, 2022

Today we’re going to talk Bucket List Photo Locations. I’ve been in business since March of 2017 so I’ve done a LOT of photo sessions. When you’re first starting out, you shoot anywhere that the client wants. Oh, I’ve shot in so many places that I look back on now and shake my head at. Places with terrible lighting. Places that are mobbed with people in the background. Places that are so big and spread out that finding the client is a tricky, not fun game. Eeesh. I wouldn’t go back those early days of my business for anything…except maybe to shake myself and say, “Do Better!”. We all start somewhere.

bucket list photo locations - boardwalk surrounded by beach grasses

Now, five years in, I can confidently say that I’m a seasoned photographer. I know what I do well and I know what I want to avoid (*cough* weddings *cough* extended families). I know how to find good lighting and how to pose clients to get the most authentic, candid results. I consistently deliver results that people love, cry (happy!) tears over, and rave about. I also know that my phone memo of bucket list photo locations needs to start being utilized a little more.

family photos, neutrals, earth tones, sunset

Let me explain. After five years of growth and knowing what to look for and delivering consistent results, I’ve learned which locations work for me, are convenient, and user friendly. I have a list of ride-or-die locations that I can recommend to clients when they’re trying to figure out where their session is going to be held. I love all of these places, I know what’s blooming when, I know where to find the great light and which trees are amazing at diffusing that light. But, to be honest, I’m a little bored.

mom and son, dad and son stand on boardwalk at sunset

I have this game I play with myself when I’m shooting at the Shrine of St Anthony in Ellicott City (this is one of my ride-or-dies and I LOVE it there so, please, I mean no disrespect)…I will challenge myself to shoot in a spot on the property where I’ve never shot before. Rather than trot out all the same poses in all the same places, I’ll make myself seek someplace new in a location that I feel like I already know extremely well.

family of five, husband, wife, son, two daughter, bucket list photo locations

It’s worked out GREAT. I come away with a new vantage point and my creative soul is appeased for a little while. I will never stop shooting at my ride-or-dies. BUT. That phone memo of bucket list photo locations is burning a hole in my pocket.

Every time I find somewhere new, I add it to that memo. And every time I talk to a potential client, I dangle it like a tantalizing tidbit, just praying that SOMEONE says, “YES! We trust you and we want to take a leap and shoot at one of these bucket list photo locations.”

dad with kids at bucket list photo locations

Now…I’d be lying if I said the thought of taking the plunge and going for one of these spots doesn’t make me nervous. I *like* staying in my comfort zone. I *like* not having to drive out of my way and potentially encounter the unexpected (many of these bucket list photo locations are much further than I typically venture, with parking trickiness and unknown variables that my inner child would rather cross her arms and stomp her little foot at, in favor of the comfort of the known).

But, yet, I still keep the list. One day, every one of those spots will be checked off. One day…

For your viewing pleasure, the family featured in this blog post is my own. This past August, we took our annual beach vacation and I had a goal to get updated family photos. Another photographer friend, Anna Arpasi, had shared a location spot on the eastern shore that I decided to use for our photos.

mom with kids, bucket list photo locations

This is a perfect example of a place that was brand new to me. I had no idea about parking, I wasn’t sure how far the spot I wanted to use was from the parking lot, I didn’t know what the crowd situation would be…none of that. We literally changed into our outfits in the parking lot and, thankfully, this location was steps from our car. The light was just as Anna promised it would be, beautifully diffused by the trees in the background. Our session took no longer than 30 minutes (thankfully, because it was HUMID –> see my hair – and my phone trigger for my camera went on the blink just as I needed to use it) and we got the photos done and out of the way so we could enjoy the rest of our vacation.

mom stands on boardwalk with daughters at sunset

Seeking out this new location adventure turned out spectacularly. Even if it hadn’t, it would’ve been okay, because *I* was the client, but any client who wants to snag a bucket list photo location will hopefully keep an open mind and be ready to wing it! Bummer for us this spot is on the Eastern Shore of Delaware so not any place I’ll be finding myself regularly (*sniff*) but it was a great spot for us and we’ll always have these sweet memories!

mom portraits with kids

Liz Viernes Photography is based near Annapolis, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.

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