I am updating this blog post, because this is always a huge part of my year, planning bridal portrait photoshoots! I have shot countless locations in and around San Antonio, and this year I have a few new locations I hope my brides will consider. Everyone's situation is different, but keep in mind a few things when deciding where you would like to be photographed.
First think about your wedding style, the style of your dress and envision what type of setting you see yourself. Are you in a ballgown, or a sleek satin gown, or ruffles and boots? What time of year do you plan to shoot, and is it necessary to consider a back up indoor location in case of a wintery rainstorm? I recommend shooting at least a month prior to the wedding day to ensure we have enough to edit and have prints made. Keep that in mind when shopping for the dress! All fittings should be complete 2 months to six weeks prior to the wedding day. Now let's talk about some of my favorite locations to shoot:
Cibolo Nature Center | Everyday Dawn until Dusk | $20 donation
For that rustic, Texas bride feeling with wide open skies, grassy fields, and a river. What more could you want. This is a gorgeous location anytime of year, but the only rain plan is to reschedule. The river is lined with tall maple trees, which means absolutely gorgeous color in the fall.
Southwest School of Art | M-F 9 AM - 4 PM | Free
So, this is one of my favorite places to take brides, not only because it is versatile, architecturally interesting, and a great setting on a good and bad weather day, but also it's free. As long as you make an appointment during their Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM staffed hours, Southwest School of Art supports artists and allows you to come and shoot. If you are not having your wedding at SWSA, they do ask that you come dressed and do not use the dressing rooms or bathroom to put on your dress. I have shot some lovely portraits there. Here are a few examples.
Southwest School of Art Bridal PortraitBridal Portraits by Aria Productions at Southwest School of Art Southwest School of Art Bridal PortraitBridal Portraits by Aria Productions at Southwest School of Art Southwest School of Art Bridal PortraitBridal Portraits by Aria Productions at Southwest School of Art Southwest School of Art Bridal PortraitBridal Portraits by Aria Productions at Southwest School of Art
2. Landa Library and Conservancy | Always Open daylight hours | Free
This is another beautiful location, however you will need to obtain a permit from the San Antonio Film Commission 6 weeks in advance of the shoot. (Links below to the process for obtaining a permit.) There is also interesting architecture found on this public space, and I would really like to learn more about the origins of the archways overlooking the gardens.
3. San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden | Always Open daylight hours | $20 Photo Permit
This space has recently undergone some rebuilding and it is such an inspiring location for a bridal portrait. You feel like you're not in San Antonio, but maybe an island somewhere in the Pacific with a majestic waterfall. I definitely prefer to shoot here early in the morning to avoid harsh light and crowds. However, I can make it work any time of day. Go onto their website to obtain a permit for individual portrait sessions.
4. The Dominion Country Club | By appointment only | $250 Photo Permit
So, if you would like privacy, a beautiful location, with green rolling hills a pond and a glorious water feature, this may be your space. I love shooting here because the catering staff takes such great care of you and your guests, they allow you to dress on the property, you have up to 2 hours to shoot, so no rush and there are so many options for creating a unique bridal portrait. I have shot here in the summer and the winter, and it is always a great location.
Dominion Country Club Bridal PortraitSan Antonio Bride photographed at The Dominion Country Club by Aria Productions Dominion Country Club Bridal PortraitSan Antonio Bride photographed at The Dominion Country Club by Aria Productions
San Antonio Missions | By Appointment, Permit Required | $172 after hours, $136 during park hours
I love shooting at the Missions, but there are a few things to know. You must apply for a permit through the National Park Service and schedule your shoot in advance. The cost for this permit is generally $172.00 which includes the non-refundable Special Use Permit application fee of $50.00, the $50.00 location fee and $72.00 for NPS staff overtime (2 hours X $36.00/hour) as all permits outside of normal park operating hours (9AM – 5PM) require NPS staff monitoring. I have shot in the middle of the day here, but you never know if a busload of school children will be visiting during that time, plus the light is better in the evening or early morning at Mission San Jose.
San Antonio Bride at Mission San JoseThis was shot mid day, at The San Antonio Missions.
Éilan Residences and Shops | Always Open daylight or evening hours | $Free (as of this post)
I love a big dramatic, architectural bridal portrait, and Éilan is just perfect for that. So, in order to shoot inside this gorgeous luxury hotel, you must be a hotel guest or having your wedding at this hotel or pay the hotel fee which I believe was $560 only on certain dates by appointment last time I checked. That is totally fair, but for those of us who are looking for interesting architecture in the backdrop of a portrait, we can certainly do the work in the exterior of the hotel, residences and shops for free and get some really amazing portraits. Again, this is a public space, so not a lot of privacy, but it is so dreamy and mediterranean. My only worry is that at some point they will decide to enforce a fee just to keep all the photographers from overrunning the place on those beautiful spring days.
Éilan Bridal PortraitSan Antonio Bridal Portrait at Éilan Resort and Residences and Shops by Aria Productions Éilan Bridal PortraitSan Antonio Bridal Portrait at Éilan Resort and Residences and Shops by Aria Productions
Red Berry Estate| By Appointment | $500 + tax
A hidden gem north of downtown San Antonio, this luxurious estate is a bride's dream! I recommend a weekday morning or evening to capture golden light sparkling over the lake or through the gorgeous fountains. See a glorious bridal shoot here.
Here are a few more:
|Location||Fees (charged by the venue)|
|Cibolo Nature Center, Boerne||$20|
|Japanese Tea Garden (best early morning or weeknight)||$20|
|The Orchard Studio (Castroville Area, appointment required)||$25|
|San Antonio Botanical Garden||
|McNay Art Museum||$30|
|McNay Art Museum Courtyard and Interior Foyer (appointment required)||$125|
|The Gardens at Old Town Helotes by appointment||Free when available|
|Landa Library (photo permit required, 6 weeks notice)||Free, (permit required)|
|The Pearl (best on a weeknight or early morning 8 AM)||Free|
|San Antonio Riverwalk by||Free|
|-Southtown/King William/Johnson Street Bridge||Free|
|Local Public Parks -||Free|
|-OP Schnaebel Park||Free|
|-Friedrich Wilderness Park (Awesome Fall Color Dec-Jan)||Free|
|For Christmas Lights: Riverwalk, Travis Park, Under Navarro Street Bridge||Free|
These are just a few suggestions for you. Search my blogs for other bridal portrait locations, and if you have any suggestions, definitely leave a comment down below. My prayers go out to all the federal furloughed workers, that this shutdown will end soon and get our country back to work. In the meantime, please reach out to me if you have any questions or would like suggestions for your dream bridal portrait.