Dallas Location Guide

by Leah Goetzel

Oak Lawn Park

Uptown, Dallas

Oak Lawn is one of my favorite locations because it combines an urban, city feel with a nice nature component. It has a beautiful gazebo and white pillared building that can add structure and interest to any shoot. And the lighting around sunset is gorgeous poking through the trees!

 

Best time of day : About an hour before sunset or right at sunrise. 

Cost : free

Parking : unmetered spots on Lee pkwy

Accessibility : great! Easy parking, and relatively flat. 

Griggs Park

Uptown, Dallas

Griggs park is a new spot for me located in Uptown. It provides a great downtown skyline shot. I love the cool residential feel. It reminds me a little of New York. If you want something super accessible and relatively quiet (unlike Deep Ellum or Downtown) but still with an urban vibe and neat architecture this spot might be for you! 

Best time of day : Two hours leading up to sunset. If you want a skyline shot you definitely don't want harsh afternoon light. 

Cost : free

Parking : metered and unmetered spots all around. I like parking off State and Thomas. 

Accessibility : great! Easy parking and super easy to navigate. 

Downtown Dallas

Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum is such a fun location, it might even be my favorite place to shoot. If you want an urban environment with lots of fun colors, this is the location for you! I love popping into local coffee shops and breweries to capture my couples vibe. There are tons of different murals scattered around, so go walk and explore! There's not a whole lot of shade in this location, so go in the evening or early morning! I also highly reccommend a weekday shoot as weekends can get very busy! 

 

Best time of day : two hours leading up to sunset on a weekday. Not much shade and very crowded on weekends. 

Cost : free

Parking : metered spots, parking lots and  free parking on Crowdus street. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to find parking. 

Accessibility : medium, relatively flat but lots of intersections and walking. 

Downtown Dallas

Various Rooftops

So many great fun spots to explore! These garages are fantastic if you want skyline views. You can tack these spots onto Deep Ellum or Oak Lawn park! Sunrise or sunset is a must since there is no shade! It can also get a little windy!  

 

Best time of day : hour before sunset, otherwise the light is much too harsh. 

Cost : free + garage entry ($2-$10)

Parking : in the garages

Accessibility: medium, some have a few stairs to climb. 

Margaret

Hunter Bridge

Downtown Dallas

This is a great spot to view the Dallas skyline. It's absolutely gorgeous around sunset, during the day it's much too bright and the bridge will be washed out. I definitely recommend this location during a weekday, parking is difficult and the bridge can be swarming with people. 

 

Best time of day : hour before sunset on a weekday, no shade at all, tons of people on weekends. 

Cost : free

Parking : usually free parking is available in the small lot in front of bridge

Accessibility : great once you find parking. 

Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

East Dallas

The Botanical Gardens are a great location if you want a variety of backdrops and beautiful flowers and color. I love shooting here but lighting can be a bit tricky as they close at 5pm. I recommend getting here at 9am for the best light! However, some of my favorite shoots have been at this location.

 

Best time of day  : 9am-10am, both for good light and lack of crowds

Cost : $15 entry per person including photographer.

Parking : $15 for parking including photographers, can get crowded so give yourself time to find a spot!

Accessibility : medium, very flat and easy to traverse but if you want a variety of locations there is a bit of walking. 

White Rock Lake

East Dallas

Lots of amazing docks scattered throughout. There's also quite a bit of greenery for a more traditional backdrop. The lighting is quite harsh, sunrise or sunset shoots here are a must!

 

Best time of day : if you want the golden glow, the hour before sunset. But sunrise is nice too. 

Cost : free

Parking : lots of free spots scattered off E. Lawther Lane.

Accessibility : great. Easy parking to dock access with some greenery close by. 

Prairie Creek Park

North Dallas / Richardson

I love Prairie Creek Park because it is smaller and compact but provides some awesome backdrops. There's a small waterfall feature as well as a couple bridges. It can get a little crowded with local photographers but if you come on weekday you should be good! This is the location I shoot all my mini sessions at! 

 

Best time of day : the morning, but this spot has lots of shade so all day it's great. It does get darker earlier because of the shade. 

Cost : free

Parking : lots of street parking and a small lot off of W. Lookout Dr and W. Prairie Creek Dr.

Accessibility: medium, very accessible from the car and relatively compact. But the waterfall feature is rocky and a little hard to traverse. 

Plano

Arbor Hills

Nature Preserve

If you want a more rustic vibe, with open fields and grass, Arbor Hills is the spot for you. It's quite a big park so if you're not able to traverse easily or have a stroller it may not be the best option. In order to get the most even, golden glow, a sunset shoot is a must! The cool lookout structure is about a 10 minute walk away, so if you're wanting that photo make sure to let me know!

 

Best time of day : two hours leading up to sunset

Cost : free

Parking : huge free lot with ample spots, can fill up on weekends. 

Accessibility : poor. Must go down a hill or ramp in order to get to the open area. All the good spots are about a 5  minute walk. Flat shoes are advised! 

Allen

Parker

Rose Garden

I found this spot after looking for months for a rustic barn, it is gorgeous! The lighting around sunset is the best I've seen at any location. If you're wanting a rustic look, or just beautiful golden light this location might be the spot for you! 

Best time of day : two hours leading up to sunset

Cost : free 

Parking : a big lot off of Gray Lane. 

Accessibility : great. Most of the area is flat and relatively in close proximity! 

Adriatic Village

Mckinney

This location is amazing and unlike anything else I've seen! You feel like you are in the Mediterranean. If you want a classic, romantic setting, this spot is fantastic! 

 

Best time of day : hour leading up to sunset

Cost : free to use, $10 travel fee. 

Parking : decent amount of street parking, some parking garages too. 

Accessibility : great. This is a pretty concentrated area. There are some cobblestones but they're pretty easy to navigate. 

Frisco

Frisco Square

I was recommended this location from a client living in the area and was so pleased with the spot. I loved the cool arches surrounding the square and the shops provided a cute, small town feel. Plus! The lighting was beautiful around sunset.

 

Best time of day : two hours leading up to sunset

Cost : free

Parking : lots of free parking

Accessibility : great. Very easy to access. Very flat. 

Grapevine Lake

Grapevine

I recently found this location (hence only the photos of myself and Zain) and am obsessed! It looks straight out of California and the light is gorgeous around sunset! Super stoked to photograph here! Imagine a gorgeous, flow-y dress on that cliff! 

Best time of day : hour before sunset

Cost : $50 photography permit fee, $25 travel fee

Parking : lots of parking scattered about

Accessibility : medium, if you just want photos on the beach, it's great! But if you want to get those epic cliff shots it's a little more tricky to traverse.

Grapevine Botanical Gardens

Grapevine

I looooove the Grapevine Botanical Gardens, it would be the absolute perfect location if it was just a little closer! It has a great mix of manicured florals, rustic touches, and wooded areas. There are several bridges, and ledges. And it's free to enter! This is a great shaded area, so great at all times of the day. 

 

Best time of day : great all day!

Cost : free entry, $25 travel fee

Parking : two free lots

Accessibility : great. Incredibly accessible. Very flat and compact. 

Grapevine

Stone Creek Park

A really lovely small park in Grapevine. There is a nice bridge and some greenery. But the showstopper is the creek which allows some gorgeous portraits. 

Best time of day : three hours leading up to sunset 

Cost : free entry, $20 travel fee

Parking : free street parking. 

Accessibility : low. The main area of the park is great, but if you want any photos by the water be prepared to walk on some big, jagged rocks. 

Fort Worth

Fort Worth Botanical Gardens

What a stunning location. These botanical gardens are massive, and there's something for everyone. It had such a unique feel that I really loved. And the lighting was beautiful. The only downside is there are quite a few additional fees.

 

Best time of day : evening in the winter or morning in the summer

Cost : $75 for entry, $50 travel fee

Parking : included

Accessibility : medium. The different gardens are quite spaced out, but usually there is a tram to transport you. Lots of steps and stones.