The decision on WHERE to have your engagement (or family) portraits taken is always a daunting task that is best tackled with visuals in my personal opinion, so I’ve put together this handy dandy list of the best outdoor portrait session locations in central Florida area (and associated cost information, if any) to help you all navigate finding the perfect backdrop for your upcoming session! The locations featured in this blog are Orlando, St. Pete, and Jupiter, Florida (AKA day trip distance for most central Floridians) and are listed in order of most requested location:
1. BLOWING ROCKS PRESERVE | Jupiter, Florida
The magical Blowing Rocks Preserve [featured above] is our TOP REQUESTED engagement session location, and one look at the photos from the sessions we’ve had there will completely explain why! This well kept FL secret is totally worth the drive; it will make you feel like you’ve found a Caribbean island with blue waters and rocks that jet out into the sea surrounded by lush seagrape canopies. The entrance fee is a modest $2/person.To see the FULL Blowing Rocks Preserve engagement sessions featured above, click through to: Danielle and Charlie, Brittni and Colin, and Christina and Thomas.
2. THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART | ST. PETE, FLORIDA
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in St. Pete has a little bit of everything for everyone: it’s waterfront, there’s beautiful greenery, and the architectural details are incredible! Full disclosure: The museum welcomes photographers and guests however there is a $200 photography session fee. The fee includes 2 hours of photography throughout the entire venue and every couple has said it was worth every penny. To see more from Erica and Tom’s incredible session, click here.
3. WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK | APOPKA, FL
There is no glow like the glow at Wekiwa Springs State Park. The sun shines at this state park in rich golden hues and the tall grass offers a constant touch of whimsy and romantic. There are also the springs themselves, which offer cute canoe photo ops as well as the chance to shoot IN the water, should you so please 🙂 This location is PET FRIENDLY for those of you looking to bring along one of your fur babies, and there is a $5-10 fee per car (depending on how many people are in it). To see more from the sessions featured above, click through to the blog posts for Kelly and Jeremy, Samantha and Nick, Shannon and Alex, and Jessica and Derek.
4. BOK TOWER GARDENS | LAKE WALES, FLORIDA
Tucked away in the corner of Lake Wales is one of Orlando’s best-kept garden secrets: Bok Tower Gardens. This spot has ACRES AND ACRES of stunning gardens and landscapes that will make any nature lover’s heart pitter-patter with happiness. There is a $15/person fee to enter and for a mere $5 extra, you can bring a well-behaved pup on a leash or in a carrier, making this spot PET FRIENDLY as well! To see more from this amazing session, check out Juliette and Allan’s full blog post, here.
5. DOWNTOWN ORLANDO
If sleek city vibes, eclectic wall art, and a killer skyline are the vibes you’re after, look no further than Downtown Orlando, which might be tied with Wekiwa Springs for the location we shoot at the most. Living in the downtown area for a decade gives me a slight homecourt advantage on the coolest spots along the streets and aside from the slight challenge to find free parking (which you can bypass by just parking in a garage), it is an all-time SO fan favorite! To see more from Emily and Tommy’s amazing Downtown Orlando engagement session, check out the full blog post, here.
6. BALDWIN PARK
Baldwin Park has been a long time favorite among photographers in Central Florida for couples and families who are looking for woodsy vibes WITHOUT making a long drive. The tall grass fields, glass-smooth lake, and fields of wildflowers make this spot another fan favorite, especially among families. There are no fees to park around the lake or to shoot at the park, and it is PET FRIENDLY! To see more from Sami and Josh’s engagement session, click here.
7. LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK | CLERMONT, FLORIDA
This location holds a special place in my heart because it is the first state park that I ever shot as a professional photographer. Fast forward over a decade later and I have hiked nearly all of the trails with my daughter on my back and have learned all the best spots to capture EPICLY romantic woodsy vibes. This spot is lakefront, has big open fields, tall trees, and IMHO has the BEST sunsets in the entire state – and it’s less than an hour from Orlando! There is a small $5-$10/car fee to enter and this location is PET FRIENDLY! Check out more at this incredible at these blog posts: Jessica and Abraham and Daffnee and Michael.
8. MEAD GARDENS | WINTER PARK, FLORIDA
Once only a small garden with a nice bike trail running through it, Mead Gardens has developed into a stunning garden grounds with hidden pockets of colorful flowers and forest vibes. Conveniently located in Winter Park and with NO admission fee, this spot is a fan favorite for families.
9. THE ST. PETE MURALS | ST. PETE, FLORIDA
For a location that is totally unique and sure to create statement pieces in your home decor, I can NEVER get enough of the St. Pete Murals located in downtown St. Pete, Florida. With over a hundred murals spread out across the city, there are sure to be murals for anyone’s personal taste and uber makes it easy to dash from one spot to the next!
10. SMYRNA DUNES PARK | NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FLORIDA
It wouldn’t be Florida if I didn’t offer up at least ONE of the Central Florida beaches as an option, right?! New Smyrna Beach is well known for the food, beer, pristine beaches and blue waters, and as someone who’s been visiting this particular shoreline for over twenty years, it’s another one of those special-place-in-my-heart locations. There is a little bit of a hike from the parking lot to the dunes, but the trade off is that we are able to shoot until past sunset, have immediate access to the jetties, and even get a bit of the lighthouse in the background! Smyrna Dunes Park is a fan favorite because it is also PET FRIENDLY and costs only $10 to get in.
11. GRAHAM’S U PICK PEACH FARM | UMATILLA, FLORIDA
This stunning little Peach and Orange farm in Umatilla Florida is quickly becoming one of the top requested engagement session locations because of the constant array of beautiful wildflowers that are being planted, the long beautiful rows of peach and orange trees, and the large fields with tall wispy grass.
12. THE FLORIDA STATE FAIR | TAMPA, FLORIDA
For our non-traditional couples, we love adventuring to places like the Florida State Fair for engagement photos! Wristbands get us access to ALL the rides and entertainment and a visit on a weekday means that there are fewer people and more time for meat on sticks and games!
For more FUN and DIFFERENT engagement session location ideas around the Central Florida / Orlando area, be sure to check out Chris and Kristina’s engagement session at the Florida State Fair, Amanda and Sean’s food truck engagement session, and Ellen and RJ’s Disney engagement session!