My blog is where I share detailed wedding and engagement stories on my journey as a wedding photographer. You'll also find blogs about great venues and planners to connect with and tips on how you can make your wedding day the BEST day possible.
One of the first goals I set for myself immediately after moving to Austin, Texas was to discover all of the great locations this city has to offer that I could use for engagement sessions. Whether it be driving around town intentionally searching for scenic spots, sliding through the city on a Bird scooter (my personal favorite) or making a quick run to o H-E-B, I began compiling a list of places I knew I wanted to shoot at once I began connecting with couples here. After I had a laundry list of places then came the fun part of shooting engagement sessions with as many couples as I possibly could.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the never-ending selection of unique and picturesque places I’ve been able to explore with engaged couples since I’ve been here and for those wondering where they might want to go to capture their own engagement session, I’ve put together a list of 10 of my favorite spots that I’ve enjoyed exploring in the short time that I’ve lived here in Austin. Enjoy!
One word, gargantuan! This park, situated in south Austin a few miles off of I-35, is an amazing location for engagement sessions, family sessions and the like. There is a perfect mixture of wide open spaces, trails and trees to give you a great variety of options when capturing moments with couples. There was a Greenbelt area but I wasn’t able to find the path down to it during the hour or so I spent with my couple so I decided to try again next time. If you have a couple looking for an outdoor location in south Austin this would probably be your best bet.
Located on the west side of North Lamar just north of 15th street is Pease Park. This is another large size park that’s great for engagement sessions. What stood out in for me was the large tree sculpture that was constructed just one month after I moved here. After randomly driving by and seeing the sculptures in the distance I quickly whipped out my phone and it added this park to the growing list of spots I knew I would shoot at. After connecting with a great couple here I also discovered that there is a greenbelt area that you can climb down to that makes for some awesome, awesome environmental shots. This spot is centrally located and is great for couples living in the downtown area or near the UT campus.
I realized that this spot would be great for an engagement sessions after my clients suggested that we shoot there and I did some research on Google. Again, this is another very large park located in Northwest Austin off of capitol Texas highway and Lakewood Drive. This location provided for some great environmental shots as well as a wide open view of the sunset as it dips below the horizon. With several trails and the ability to incorporate the creek into your shots this is a very dope spot and would be convenient if you are coming from Lake Travis or The Domain. Don’t be afraid to kick your shoes off and explore the other side of the creek. It’ll be worth it.
If you want an absolutely amazing view of the Colorado River and the 360 bridge then look no further than Mount Bonnell. Located off of Mopac and 35th St, this was another spot that was suggested by a client of mine and I can see why it’s one of the more popular spots in the city. It has great sunset views and a descending rock path that allows for tons of creativity and Golden hour warmth. It’s not a spot I would shoot at often but it’s definitely good to have it as an option when you want that one epic shot. Also, be mindful during the summer months because there is very minimal cover from the South Texas sun and you’ll be baking for most of the session. Bring water!
The first time I shot here I didn’t get to explore every inch of the grounds but the second time around was when I really got to see what areas this park had to offer. Mueller Lake Park is located right off of Airport and Aldrich and is great for anyone living in central or east Austin. This Park has a small lake, plenty of trees and a long stone staircase that drops down right by the waters edge. On the other side of the lake there is also a walking trail that goes around the entire space on the opposite side of the large staircase and would be perfect for a golden hour vibe. This spot is a great all in one location or it could serve as a pit stop on your way to another location depending on how much time you have. You can’t go wrong either way. Also, there’s a coffee shop nearby and a small shopping area that would provide some variety for your shoot as well. If you haven’t been to Mueller Lake Park, be sure to pay a visit soon. They also have food trucks!!
This is a hidden gem that I drove by randomly and added to my list just in case and I’m so glad I did. From the wraparound walkway, the multiple bridges, oversized tree and hills, this very small park has a landscape of options to create amazing moments during your engagement session. Don’t be afraid to explore areas off of the beaten path and have fun with the space. The few times I’ve been, parking has never been an issue and the park is centrally located as well. Great for people who leave in central Austin and don’t want to make the drive to a scenic area. I really think this park will become a new favorite spot for you. Fun fact, the same couple that you see in the images above actually decided to have their wedding at this same park a few months later after we had our session. How cool is that?
I didn’t really know Lou Neff Point WAS Lou Neff point until Cesar and Alex (pictured above) took me there. If you slide over to Zilker Park, park on the Southside of Barton Springs road and take a walk East on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail, you’ll walk straight into Lou Neff. We shot here during the winter months so there wasn’t any greenery but I could tell that in the spring and summer this place will be PERFECT for anyone wanting a shot of downtown Austin and Ladybird Lake with plenty of greenery. Like, it really doesn’t get any better. Along the way there are several walkways, bridges and paths to explore and who doesn’t enjoy a good walk, right? If you want THE shot of Austin, Lou Neff will make it happen. Side note: This is where Cesar proposed to Alex and they made the drive all the way from Corpus Christi for their engagement session!
After construction was finished on the new library location downtown, I knew I had to shoot there. I don’t do extensive location scouting these days, just a quick glance and either I’m inspired or I’m not. Although I added the library to my list it was a complete surprise as it had much more to choose from than I originally thought. From the abstract art pieces by the front entrance, the riverwalk area nearby or the ‘library’ sign on the westside of the building, the Austin Central Library is new, fun and a great spot to shoot if you’re looking for a downtown feel. Also, I love chilling at the library just to grab a cup of coffee. Fun Fact: This is where I did my recent photo shoot with local photographer Elissa. Want a cool spot to shoot? Pick the library!
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of many greenbelt areas that provides the chance for couples to take pictures in a scenic area without a 30 minute drive into the middle of nowhere. I drove by this particular area several times while driving to the mall on the 360 highway. This area was on my engagement session to do list for several months before finally getting it on the calendar. Right off the beaten path, this trail is great for anyone wanting an area that has water and rocks as well as some natural ‘cliffs’ that line the opposite side of the trail. If you want to have fun, walk a little further south on the trail and you can walk directly under the Capital of Texas Highway and get some shots there as well. The Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail is quite large but you won’t have to walk very far to capture great moments for your engagement session.
Last but not least, the Johnson Creek Greenbelt. If you park at the corner of 7th street and Atlanta on the west side of downtown Austin and walk across the street you’ll have easy access to one of the lesser known areas (if I had to guess) of the greenbelt systems here in Austin. This trail is part of a system of walkways and bridges that makeup the beginning (or end) of the trail that runs along the north side of ladybird lake. Although the hustle and bustle of traffic can be heard above, the area has a certain calm about it and won’t have much foot traffic to worry about. This creates a great atmosphere that will allow you to connect with your photographer and your significant other and enjoy the moment. If you’ve never been to this little slice of fun, check it out for yourself.
So. Many. Great. Spots. Seriously, I always describe Austin as the perfect blend of city and country. A bustling downtown with scenic areas less than a 10 minute drive away in any direction. When I moved to Austin in January 2018 I knew I would find great places to shoot but was unaware of just how many great spots I would have to choose from. In all honesty, this list easily could have contained 40 places but for now, I’ll leave you with 10. I hope that this quick blog will help you in choosing where you’ll shoot your engagement session and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I wish you the best!
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