I get asked all the time from clients, “Where was this particular shoot done?” or “Where is good to shoot in this city?” So I thought that I would put together a page dedicated to my top photography locations to give you an idea of where you may like to go to get similar shots in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
1. So first off, I have photographed weddings, engagements, families, bands and basically every other kind of portrait shoot that can be done, in nearly every major location in the Lower Mainland, but I don’t think that I have photographed at any specific location as much as I have at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC. More specifically, the 8th Ave entrance. The park has everything there! It has long grassy fields, barns, a bridge over a stream, a gazebo, ponds, benches under beautiful trees, old rustic fences, old historic buildings and an actual raceway in the middle of the bush. It’s amazing! Here are some of my favourites from there.
2. Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey is another great place to shoot, especially for family shoots. It has long grassy fields as well, a cool pedestrian overpass to play with some lines in the shot and some cozy tiny paths that have a magical fairy tale feel to them in the sunset. See what I mean?
3. My favourite beach locations are Blackie Spit in White Rock and Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen. They both have similar offerings. They’re basically like Tynehead with a beach… and no pedestrian overpass. In photography, whether it be wedding portraits or landscapes or some obscure niche that I haven’t even heard of, everything comes down to light. And when you primarily use natural, available light, you are at the mercy of the sun and weather. This is particularly important with beaches. If you arrive at the wrong time or in the wrong season, the shoot could be sabotaged the moment you make an appointment. It is important to know the location and when and where the sun is going to be in relation to the water and your subject. Beaches can get complicated. They can also get very cold and windy if you go in the late fall or winter. These two have great lighting and work fantastic for portraits in the spring and summer.
4. Another nice spot for shots on the water is Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, less than ten minutes west of Coquitlam Centre. There are some nice docks, a beach area, a boardwalk and some bushy tunnelled pathways that make for a great shoot.
5. I think by now you may see what makes a location great for portrait photography for me. It’s environmental diversity. If I can get a multitude of different shots just by walking a few steps here and turning a couple of degrees that way, then the shoot is going to render many more images that are fresh and unique. I’m often hoisting my camera into the air aiming down, or crouching on the ground, often falling down. Especially with kids, they love to watch me fall while trying to keep up to them. I do this because it just adds more to the environment. I can isolate the sky or just the ground this way. So my number 1 place to shoot in the city is Coal Harbour because of that fact. I LOVE Coal Harbour. It has fountains, the ocean with a mountainous backdrop, a dock, sailboats, stone and concrete structures, romantic pathways (stone and natural), amazing lines, epic cityscapes, and great lighting.
6. I’m not sure if Squamish is considered the Lower Mainland or not, but seeing as how it’s only 30 minutes or so to Vancouver, I thought that I would throw it in. I took a couple up the Sea to Sky Gondola for their engagement session in late November. We had to reschedule several times as they were flying in from Dallas and we were waiting for snow in an unusually warm year. This location may be very specific to season and weather, but the shots we got were unbelievable and the couple was thrilled. When we went, there was beautiful snowy scenery. There is a suspension bridge over a forest canopy, that when timed right, will have a sunset in the background. There are a couple lookout points and a wooded area with pathways as well. It’s just so gorgeous and all of it has these crazy mountainous backdrops. I loved shooting here.
7. A hop, skip and a jump from Blackie Spit in White Rock is Stewart Farmhouse. This place has become my favourite out of all of these. I only found out about it a year and a half ago but I have shot there countless times already. It has a nice heritage house, barns, an orchard, nice pathways, a beach and a dock on the water. I absolutely love this place.