C H O O S I N G A L O C A T I O N

This is a review compilation of some of the locations that I’ve taken photos at along with their pros and cons. There’s a pretty wide range of location types, so hopefully you can find one you like, but if you have another location in mind (ex: nearby your house, etc) let me know. The locations are in no particular order (locations I’ve more recently found out about are near the end).

Esther Clark Park

 
 

Pros

  • Tends to look golden in the summer/early fall

  • Good lighting near golden hour

  • Range of photo poses/types of photos here

  • Minutes from Pinewood

Cons

  • Muddy during the late fall/early winter

  • Unpredictable in appearance

  • Can have burrs/prickly plants, tics, etc.

 

Redwood Grove Nature Preserve

 

Pros

  • Bridges, walkways, and trees that make for a range of photo types

  • Nature/classic senior portrait vibe

  • Consistent appearance year round & bridges prevent muddiness

  • Near Pinewood /Downtown Los Altos

Cons

  • Lighting can be tricky because of tree leave splotchiness

  • Tree coverage can result in darker photos

  • Gets darker earlier in the day

 
 
 

Cuesta Park

 

Pros

  • Good lighting, especially during golden hour (golden hour look a lot stronger during the summer)

  • Photo from close up portraits, sitting photos, and full body poses work well at this location

  • Easy to get to! (Ex: could do this and another close by location)

  • Mix of greenery and golden look

  • Variety of posing

  • Easy to walk around

Cons

  • Appearance varies: yellow/golden in summer, but turns green in the late fall

  • Should double check location before choosing to make sure it looks as desired

 

Filoli Garden

 

Pros

  • Range of photo backgrounds, posing, lighting, etc

  • Mix of nature, stair cases, scenic sitting points

  • Reliable in appearance (even when raining, not muddy)

  • Winter/Late fall: christmas lights

  • Summer: Flower gardens/ roses

Cons

  • Far travel distance/ not easily accessible (I would need a ride)

  • *Entry fee (this would add to the overall cost of portraits)

  • Because of entry fee, have to wear wrist band (can be photoshopped out if desired)

  • *Closes at 5 (before golden hour/ can have harsh lighting)

 

Lost Trancos Open Space Preserve

 

Pros

  • Golden/glowy vibe

  • Up high, so can get photos with just sky as a background

  • Paths, some flowers

Cons

  • Difficult to get to (slightly terrifying drive up that consists of passing too many cyclists)

  • Can have harsh lighting

 

Municipal Rose Garden

 

Pros

  • Flat expanse of roses, roses, and roses

  • Arch ways, fountain (Gatsby-esque), lots of color

  • Variation of poses

  • Easy to walk around (no hills/stairs)

  • Perfect golden hour lighting (see above)/ nothing blocking the light

Cons

  • Far away from Pinewood area/ difficult to get to (I would probably need a ride)

  • Can have other people present (because it’s a popular photo spot)

 

Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden

 

Pros

  • Green, cactus background that works well with poses at different heights (sitting, standing, etc)

  • Different paths, coves, and places to sit

  • Some variation in types of cactus/ backgrounds (ex: some cacti have small colored flowers)

  • Easy to walk around/relatively small

Cons

  • Can have harsh lighting/ hot temperature wise

  • May not be able to take photos sitting flat on the ground (cacti have spikes)

  • Need to be careful of accidentally sitting, bumping, or falling into any and all plants here

  • Can have splotchy shadows (easily avoidable)

 

Arastradero Preserve

 

Cons

  • Very harsh & direct lighting / Harsh light golden hour

  • Have to stay on paths (snakes and spiders)

  • Small window of time to get good lighting

  • Limited variety of poses with the background

Pros

  • Sky background

  • Scenic background (cool for landscape photos)

  • Background not too busy/distracting

  • Close to Pinewood

 

Other Location Ideas (pending on photo samples)

Heritage Rose Garden, Hakone Gardens, Elizabeth Gamble Garden, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Purisima Creed Redwood Open Space Preserve, Foothills Park (need to be Palo Alto Residence), the Dish, behind Pinewood School, areas near your house.