Outdoor photography is one of my favourites. I love nature and being able to incorporate that into my photography sessions is an added bonus. I have been thinking about writing a post about locations in and around the Hamilton, Ontario area and I have finally gotten around to it. Let me share some of my favourite locations, spots I cant wait to shoot at and the spots that are free or will charge for permits.
Oh the castle. I have done tons of sessions at this location. It offers so much variety in shooting. From the castle itself to the large trees, garden and pathways. My favourite time to shoot here is in the fall. The large trees turn such beautiful fall colours and they are always tons of leaves to have your clients walk through and play with. The one thing I have noticed however is that the leaves change very quickly and there are only a few weeks where you will get the best photos, so make sure you keep an eye on those trees!. Also, one of the best parts about Dundurn Castle is that the City of Hamilton will allow you to photograph on the grounds for free. The only stipulation is that you must not exceed 9 people in the group. This is great for family, engagement, couples photography. Although, the City will charge you to use the site for wedding photography.
Another historical house located in the downtown core. Whitehern has some great locations for photos. The site includes a beautiful wrought iron front gate, stone wall, steps and garden area. While the site at Whitehern is smaller than most, there is still enough space to get all of the photos you would need for a session, while still having variety. Whitehern is also free, similar to Dundurn Castle as long as you do not exceed 9 individuals.
Yet another historical property located in stoney creek. Battlefield Park has a large grounds with two separate buildings to photograph at. There is also the large watch tower at the top of quite a few stairs (its not that bad, if you are up for a bit of exercise). The grounds have quite a few gardens that are in bloom for the summer months. In the fall you can also walk through a pathway with all of the beautifully coloured fall leaves. Battlefield park is also free for groups under 9 people.
I love Hamilton beach in the summer. Especially after about 4pm. The sun starts to set behind the trees and creates beautiful lighting for my sessions. The only draw backs to the beach, is that you can never be sure if there will be a family in the area where you want to shoot (I have a favourite area that I always go to). There may also be some garbage in the area, and you may need to clean it up before hand or just remove it when editing. The best part is that the beach is FREE, which makes it even more enticing for those family sessions.
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
The RBG is located in both Hamilton and Burlington. It has multiple parks and buildings to take your clients for sessions. I have taken photos in the Mediterranean gardens (indoors), Hendrie Park, Rock Garden and Arboretum. While the grounds are beautiful, there is a fee to access the park as a photographer. Depending on the size of your group the permit can range from $30-$200. Also, Saturdays are reserved for wedding photography, so that family session you were hoping to book will have to wait for another day.
This has been on my list for over a year to photograph here. I just haven’t had a chance to make it over there. The new Gage Park Greenhouse is also open and allows photography (for a fee). Gage park has beautiful flowers, pathways, open fields and stone work. The Park, unlike the greenhouse is free to shoot at.
PIER 4 / BAYFRONT PARK
Down by the Hamilton harbour is Pier 4. It has pathways, waterfront trails and access to the parked yachts and docks. Pier 4 is another location that can be busy at times, but there is no fee to photograph at this park. Just make sure to watch out for the Canadian Goose poop!
It is also a good idea to research a new area to see if they allow photographers on the grounds or charge for permits. I had a pretty embarrassing experience once at a location where I was confronted about not having a permit. The worst part about this was it was right in front of my clients. How embarrassing. I will never make that mistake again and will always check with the location ahead of time.