Beautiful photography locations help to complement and enhance your overall photo session experience. Nevertheless, they are not the most important part of your photo session. You and your family are.
With this in mind, to assist my repeat and future clients, or truthfully any visitor on this site, I have compiled a list of over 400+ photography locations that I have personally worked in. Most of these locations are in Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area as this is the base of my past photography experience. The list is frequently updated as my clients continue to explore new locations.
All photography locations are listed in 6 major groups based on their feel, characteristics, main key points, and what each location can offer. For easy navigation, you can skip directly to a category of locations using the links below. You also have the option to browse through all of the 400+ locations in the order that they have been posted.
In each location write-up, I’ve included:
An image that was taken at this location by me personally, key points that I have found each site can offer, a link to a blog from a full photo session at that location, who would benefit most from the area, the photography location’s official website for you to further explore, and a Google Maps link to access it directly.
In the end, I have listed a handful of photography locations that are on my “bucket list” to photograph in the near future.
CONSERVATION AREAS, GOLF COURSES, GARDENS AND PARKS
Beautiful gardens and parks are some of the most preferred photography locations, year-round.
As well, conservation areas offer so much open space and freedom during all four seasons. Many families find that they are the place to go for their family photos. Filled with endless opportunities, vibrant natural colours, and low admission costs, these places help to create great memories and fun experiences for all my clients. To top it off, many conservation areas provide specific seasonal services to further enhance the visitor experience. For example, some have splash pads and swimming pools available in the Summer or skating and cross-country skiing in the Winter. Autumn in these locations is always great for bicycling or organized tours through the changing leaves and Spring is well-known for the vivid wildflowers and the fresh awakening of nature after its winter hibernation. Many of my adventure-seeking and nature-loving couples find these sites amazing for their couple of engagement photos.
City parks are another widely used option too. From small local parquettes to large multi-purpose parks, Ontario offers such great choices and infinite possibilities. Some of these stunning parks are located along the Great Lakes while others that are just as gorgeous are simply within a neighbourhood. It should be noted that some well-maintained parks require that a photography permit be acquired prior to the photo session. This ensures that the family or couple has unrestricted access and the location will not be overcrowded for the photo session. Understandably, the majority of the parks in Toronto require permits because of the sheer number of inhabitants. Make sure to do a bit of research before embarking on your adventure.
Gardens are another great photography location to consider. They are meticulously kept and ideally situated to provide a picture-perfect area for any photography need. I have had such great experiences with such a wide variety of photo sessions in gardens. From large or small weddings, engagement sessions, family reunions, graduation photos, and through to family photography, you really can’t go wrong. Each garden is unique. Visits are scheduled in advance with admission fees, entrance charges, or photography permits.
Golf courses and country clubs are photography locations that are most often used for wedding photography, engagement photos, and family reunions. With their lush green rolling hills, golf courses are one of the most famous places for great sunsets and dramatic wedding and engagement portraits. Each golf course and country club has its own unique feel. In my 25 years of photography experience, I have yet to see two that look alike.
DOWNTOWN, BRICK AND URBAN CITY LOOK
Using an urban city look location for your photography session adds a unique atmosphere and perspective to your images. Almost always, these locations are chosen by people who are emotionally connected to them as well as those who are attracted to that sleek style of image.
Because each location has so much soul and its own distinctive personality, images cannot be duplicated. Even if we were to attempt to replicate one, they would still look so different from each other as so many factors come together to create those moments.
An urban city location has so much to offer. It’s important to make sure to stop and explore the various textures and perspectives as opposed to doing a fast-paced or quick photo session.
Any area in your neighbourhood could be used to create urban city look photos.
Often, these sessions include background traffic and crowds. Some people may not be concerned with this aspect, however, others may find it noisy and overwhelming. The majority of my urban city sessions are for couples or engagements who want to make a statement that truly compliments who they are and their current lifestyle. There have also been weddings that have chosen this type of scenery for the very same reasons. One of the categories that has recently really expanded into this look is corporate and business portraits. Many people are looking for a unique look to their branding and these type of unique images really stand out.
There is so much to explore and utilize for your photo session in an urban city space. You can just imagine the possibilities of unique cafes, busy streets, cute farmer’s markets, famous city buildings, historical spots, and traditional locations.
When you think of using an urban city space, most times a downtown area is what comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be a metropolis like Toronto to give you the look you are aiming for. Instead, a simple one-street downtown area can hold so many of the same photo opportunities. Narrow streets with exposed bricks, ivy-covered walls, and outdoor emergency stairs are my favourite settings with this type of look. What might be a scary-looking one-way street at night could easily be one of the best for lighting for a couple during the day. Narrow streets are secluded and evenly lit which means great light for creative wedding, engagement, or business portrait results.
STRUCTURAL, BUILDINGS AND BRIDGES LOCATIONS
Southern Ontario is filled with so many unique and distinctive locations with buildings and bridges. A particular style that stands out for me is the old buildings with their intricate yet rustic designs from the settlers that arrived hundreds of years ago. In this compilation of potential locations, you will find a mix of these older structures as well as new buildings with a more modern or futuristic look. These are particularly popular photo locations for the newer generations and forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
Castles offer such a classic look and are truly a one-of-a-kind photography experience. For a similar type of look, many privately built and owned mansions and manors are situated in prime locations, offering breath-taking views. On large estates, you can often find structural objects that are unique characteristics to only that location. Buildings and locations that have been used previously for filming movies and tv shows are often also available for photoshoots. It is such an experience for everyday people to be able to use and enjoy these types of locations. However, all of these locations do require photography permits. While perhaps a bit on the pricer side, the excitement of it all is truly worth every penny.
While bridges are sometimes situated with some great buildings, they make great stand-alone locations too. These places offer many creative perspectives which can be photographed in different seasons and during different times of the day.The structures of Southern Ontario and their buildings and bridges can easily be used for any kind of family and children photography. While it may need a bit of an extra budget to organize a session at these locations, the outcome is always rewarding and the memories and experiences are truly one-of-a-kind.
WINERIES AND DISTILLERIES
Wineries and distilleries are a unique location for your next photoshoot. They are in a category totally of their own. With such distinct characteristics and photo opportunities, these locations create such a captivating photo experience.
Most Southern Ontario wineries are located in the Niagara region while some others are in the Whitchurch-Stouffville area and Prince Edward County. Each offers a unique representation of their brand along with long lines of vineyards and vibrant greenery. Over the years, many have also invested in their properties in order to attract more business and foot traffic. Adding features such as ponds, gazebos, patios, and restaurants as well as services such as wine tours and overnight facilities, each winery strives to tell its own unique story.
One of a winery’s best assets is its wine cellars. The underground area where barrels of wine are stored is such an inviting indoor photo area for creative and dramatic images.
To organize a photo session at one of these locations, you will need to arrange it ahead of time with the winery and may need to obtain a photography permit.
These wineries are increasingly a popular location for engagement sessions and even intimate weddings. It is large enough to host an event but still small enough to be able to customize the experience for each client. These are also a great location for family photos. There is an abundance of space on the properties for the kids to wander freely while still being easily supervised.
While their final products may be similar, distilleries actually offer are far different setting for your photoshoot. Most of the appeal comes from the actual building as opposed to the grounds of the vineyard. The inside decor is a focus along with the business of packaging the spirits and the experience of tastings too. A distillery might be more tailored towards clients looking for an intimate modern-urban look. Distilleries have been utilized for intimate weddings and one-of-a-kind, creative engagement sessions. These spaces do not really lend themselves well to family photos. Photography permits are required at all of these locations.
RUSTIC, BARNS AND FARMS
Throughout Southern Ontario, there are beautiful rustic barns and farms. These provide an amazing opportunity to age a vintage or rustic feel to your photo session. However, this look is not only found at these locations. You can find the textures and depth of a rustic feel in so many spaces around us. You simply must know what you are looking for. A distressed, old fence with weather-treated wooden planks can be an awesome opportunity for this type of background. These days barn photoshoots have become increasingly popular. It is very trendy to have a wedding or event in these spaces. Twenty years ago, this was almost certainly unheard of. Or potentially only used by those living in more rural locations. Now, wedding clients who are looking for a vintage or rustic wedding choose to escape the busy cities and urban areas in search of tranquility and freedom of choice. Barns offer the privilege to escape from uniformity or to steer away from the expectations of what a wedding is “supposed” to look like. Undoubtedly, a barn is the perfect photography location that offers a distinctive look for any type of photo session. The rustic environment in and around the barns contributes to that vintage feel and look.
Farms are another photography location that can achieve the same type of feel and also take it to another level. Using the whole farm for a photoshoot means you are looking at the bigger picture than simply the barn. You have so many other features to take advantage of with these great photography locations. When looking for a farm for your next photo session you could consider using an apple farm, lavender farm, sunflower farm, pumpkin patch, or even a pick-your-own style farm. Each type of farm has the potential to give you very different images from each other. Along with some great photo opportunities, most farms also have attractions such as animals and kid-friendly activities that make them lots of fun and absolutely worth visiting. With the increased popularity of farms, many of them in the Greater Toronto Area have been improving and adding on extra amenities based on visitor feedback. You may find a corn maze, games, restaurants, climbing structures, wagon rides, shops, and other amazing experiences on your next visit. Farms have become trendy for a day-trip adventure for families looking to escape the city all year round. This is especially so for Fall and pre-Christmas season. It is also a perfect time for families to enjoy the outdoors together, get some candid photos, and have fun in the fresh country air. While there are admission fees to visit the farms, it is quite affordable considering there are no permits required once you have your admission ticket. This option is similar to a conservation area photo session in this regard.
WEDDING VENUES, BANQUET HALLS AND HOTELS
Wedding venues cover a wide variety of locations that can be used for a wedding ceremony and/or reception. This doesn’t mean that other celebrations such as birthdays, graduations, engagement parties, baptisms, and christenings, and bridal or baby showers cannot be held here too.
These venues are designed to offer a one-stop-shop type of experience to their guests. Some of these locations have outdoor facilities with gardens, ponds, or lake views as well as large parking lots for guests. Indoor spaces offer such an appeal as well. With high ceilings, beautiful chandeliers, and gorgeous staircases each venue has its own unique feel. If you are looking for a classic, luxurious, modern, or contemporary experience, you are sure to find one that suits your style.
That’s not to say that other places or locations cannot hold these types of events. While other locations can accommodate wedding ceremonies and receptions, these venues specialize in weddings and have more of the expertise that is required for larger guest lists. When you are holding a large event, you want to be reassured that your chosen location can provide a fast turnaround of their food service, that they can give superb service to many guests in a short amount of time and the area of your event is well-maintained and large enough to comfortably hold your invited guests without feeling cramped. Did I also mention that many of these wedding venues can host more than one wedding at a time? I have worked at a location that incredibly had 8 events on the same day. This type of availability means that there is a better chance they will be available for your event as compared to smaller venues that only hold 1 at a time.
Banquet halls are a kind of wedding venue that focuses strictly on events and parties. Most of these have little or no outdoor areas. However, inside these spaces are stunning and luxurious. These are perfect for summer or winter celebrations when the extreme heat or the harsh cold keeps you from enjoying the outdoor spaces of barns, farms, parks, and such.
Hotels are also becoming quite popular as wedding venues. Each offers already a distinct look to attract their overnight guests and sets them apart from their competitors. Some possess grand lobbies, lavish halls, or breath-taking rooftop party areas with city skyline views. These can be a one-of-a-kind experience for your event photography. As well, there are gorgeous indoor spaces and studio-like areas that are perfect for an indoor alternative session. Undeniably, with their versatility, hotels are becoming comparable to their counterpart wedding venues and halls. However, from a photography standpoint, they also offer a great all-in-one location option.