Top 3 Parks and Places in Charleston for Family Portraits
Jun 10, 2020 | By: Erin Rose Photography LLC
The most common question I get as a Photographer in Charleston is:
Where should we do our session; What do you recommend?
So, let's talk about it! I'm going to list off some of my favorite spots in the Charleston area, hours that have the best light, when I book them and more!
#3: Charles Towne Landing, State Historic Site
The historic site of Charles Towne Landing is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is located just 6 miles outside of Charleston City. There is an entry fee of $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 6-15 and free for children 5 and under. The best time for a session there is right when they open at 9am. The light is better and you don't have to feel rushed to make it out for closing. There is a museum, animal attraction, hands on tours and explorations, and lots of walking trails to take advantage of after your session.
The park is great just about any time of year, but best in the spring during azalea season and spring blooms. The Avenue of Oaks is one of the best spots for portraits, as well as their marsh view, the Legare Waring House, and oaks boasting loads of spanish moss.
Hampton Park is one of the most versatile green spots here in Charleston and situated downtown. It's actually the only park free to enter, free to use and showcases gorgeous spanish moss, live oaks, a large white gazebo, duck pond, and seasonal flower beds and trees. In the late winter, early spring, it's also perfect for showcasing azaleas and in the summer the crepe myrtles and jasmine bloom. It's a great alternative for places like Angel Oak and Magnolia Plantation if you're looking for the greenery and moss but want a quicker session, avoiding large crowds, and saving a little money over the entry fees.
For Hampton I try to schedule sessions to start within an hour of sunrise or about 2 hours out before sunset. The golden hour there is perfect to showcase that beautiful moss and rich colors. Monday through Thursday are the best times to visit for less of a crowd, but Saturday mornings can also work well. Leashed dogs are welcome there and parking is free.
#1: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
By far, one of my most favorite places in all of the Low Country for sessions is Magnolia Plantation located off of Highway 61 about 13 miles from the city. They are open 8:30 - 4:30pm daily and is perfect early morning or before closing. Photography sessions do require a pre-approved session date from the events office and $150 fee. The fee is well worth the price though considering the normal entry fee is $20 per adult anyway. Once you've paid your entry fee you have access to all the gardens and petting zoo all day. Tours are additional but are only about $8 each.
The great thing about the Plantation is that it is beautiful any time of year with seasonal blooms and decorations. It's best to book during the week right at opening due to the high demand and crowds during the summer and fall.
More recently Cypress Gardens reopened after being closed for three years due to flooding. I have YET to get there with a family or couple for a session but would love to add this to my list of options. If you're interested, let me know!
Middleton Place is another Planation right up the road from from Magnolia with a vast amount of waterfront land and gardens. Much like Magnolia, there is a photography session fee to use their property but the views are spectacular.