School is back in session and the high schoolers are already gearing up for homecoming. I am seeing signs for mums for sale and hoco-proposal pics on Facebook and Insta, so you know it’s almost time!
In additional to the dress, the date, and the right dinner spot, high schoolers are searching for a cool place for their group photos. But I have a little secret….
Location is nice – but lighting is MORE important.
In real estate you often hear that “location, location, location” is top dog. For photography, it’s “lighting, lighting, lighting” that wins every time. I’ve seen so many group photos in a great “location”, but the lighting is terrible — someone is totally in the shadows while others are in such bright light that they are squinting.
So, here’s my tip: find a place your whole group can fit and that the sun is not right in the kids faces or leaving dappled light on clothes (dapples happen when the sun shines through the trees – like light polkadots). This time of year, the sun sets around 7:30 so make sure you allow enough time to get ready, drive to the location, coordinate with ALL your friends and their parents, and have at least 30 minutes for pics in decent light.
And, you don’t have to go far for a nice spot. Remember, the high schoolers are the focus of the photo – so a well-lit backyard will do just fine. Your local park? Perfect! It doesn’t have to be fancy.
But still, I know the kids want some fun spots – so here are my suggestions for places in Katy with good lighting – keep in mind you might have to look around these areas.
- Cane Island – I like the green house in the background – with the kids’ backs to the sunset. Lots of fun spots for selfies, too!
- Katy Historic Society: 5990 George Bush Drive – has the cute houses and the Katy mural (professional photographers need to pay a fee).
- Cinco Ranch Rock Waterfall off Cinco Ranch Blvd (next to the water park pool and tennis courts) – watch out for the resident alligator!
- Cinco Ranch South lake park (beach club) lots of green space, lakes, fountains (but watch for “dappled” light and super reflective water)
- Gazebo in Grand Lakes, Phase 4 – this is also a decent spot if it’s drizzling, because a big group can fit under the gazebo. But not raining hard, because you do have to park and walk to it. Located at Grand Trace Lane and Lake Bluff.
- If you are a member or call and ask permission, Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club off Fry.
Further into Houston:
- Hermann Park – there are so many beautiful spots. Centennial gardens is a popular one but most people go to the main lawn where it can be very bright. Head to the left when you enter and go to the Japanese pergola. Nice light there with open space. Go early and find your spot – parking is harder here.
- Garden/parks near science museum near – lots of little pocket parks around that area.
- Any cool city street – if your group is smaller, you can find some fun streets in The Heights or even in shopping areas that look like cities like La Centerra or City Centre and have a very cool little photoshoot.
Rain is a possibility, of course, and since you can’t reschedule the day, here are my rainy day backup locations.
Rainy day backups:
- In a parking garage – the light is usually GREAT here. I shoot in these all the time even when it isn’t raining. Watch for cars!
- Your favorite hang out place! I’ve seen photos at places like Bucees or Target! This isn’t a stuffy photo session – have fun! Just be mindful of the other customers.
- Under any large overhang or car drop off area (think a hotel, museum, event venue or shopping area)
- Light drizzle? Get some cute umbrellas from Target! (see below!)
- Inside Gallery furniture (you MUST call ahead).
My overall advice is find the most convenient place for your group and the parents and go check it out a few days before. Watch for soggy grass (high heels sink!) and look for nice areas of shade. If you are planning to take photos on private property, make sure you get permission first!
But most importantly, HAVE FUN and enjoy the moment!