Hooray, you’ve booked the photoshoot! The next question: “Where do we go?”
We get asked this by photography clients a lot. So, here’s a list of our top 9 in the St. Louis area — all with photos we personally took at these locations!
Also check out our list for the Kansas City area!
9. Augusta Wineries / Klondike Park
It would be higher on the list if it weren’t such a drive! But, it’s definitely worth it. The wineries in Augusta have the beautiful, rolling hills — which make for a perfect backdrop.
And since you’ll already be in the area, may as well hit up Klondike Park, too! It’s only a few miles away from the winery. It touts sandy, white beaches — probably due to the fact it used to be an old silica sand quarry. Plus, it has a beautiful lake! What’s not to love?
And, I mean, you drove all that way — why not just make a day of it and stick around after the photoshoot to enjoy the wineries? You’ll already be dressed for the part! <3
8. Tower Grove Park
Since I lived in Kansas City for so long, I am a sucker for fountains. And St. Louis has some amazing fountains to tout, too! Like this one in the middle of the water at Tower Grove Park!
Plus, there are some fun rock formations surrounding the water. Perfect for stacking a wedding party onto, right?
The park is also historic — it was founded in 1868 and opened to the public in 1872. It has around 7,000 trees! Whoa!
7. Faust Park
This is one of my favorites to whip out. With so many great parks in St. Louis, this one oftentimes gets overlooked, or in some cases, never heard of!
Faust Park has the perfect architecture for those rustic shoots — just look at this amazing barn!
If cowboy boots are going to be involved in the shoot — this is where I suggest. It has that look and feel, and flows seamlessly.
Faust Park also has a “Historic Village” section with buildings from 1840 to 1910! It is also home to The Butterfly House, so there is something to do after your session! It also has a park right next to it for any kiddos to run and play during or after the session.
No one expects to find historic barns in Chesterfield. It’s 200 acres of hidden glory in the heart of Chesterfield — just waiting to be discovered!
6. Castlewood State Park
Nestled in Ballwin, this park boasts wooded trails, and a backdrop of the Meramec River!
Although, this section of the Meramec is very turbulent, so there are a ton of signs warning you of “DEADLY RIVER!” Most access points are blocked off, but it’s possible to walk onto the beach and get photos still.
Right near the overflow parking area is this huge, open field. I can’t wait to see it in the fall — it’s going to be just as stunning!
Along the trails are several ancient trees. I can tell because they are literally bigger than several humans standing side-by-side. This one below was Redwood big!!
The only downfall of this park is that if you go on a weekend — it can be hard to find one another.
5. Downtown Eureka
If you’re wanting that cute, hometown feel — downtown Eureka is the place to go! It has cute, colorful buildings (I found this one in a little alley when Tatiana was taking our family photos) —
It also has brick walls, decorated buildings, and the best little hometown feel to it! Make sure to check out Sarah’s Cake Shop when you’re there!! My youngest is obsessed!! (I swear I didn’t get paid to promo that, I just freakin’ love their cupcakes!!!).
They also have this adorable pagoda! It is kinda out in the middle of a parking lot — but hey, it works!
4. Myron & Sonya Glassberg Conservation Area
This beautiful park is also hidden in Eureka, down Highway FF. It’s 634-acres of woods, trails, and even includes a 3-acre fishing lake.
Along the trail, you’ll find a stream that runs along it. Your entire walk you can hear the trickle of water and the chirping of crickets.
After walking a short while on the trail, you’ll see this gorgeous miniature waterfall.
It’s a perfect picture opportunity. Plus, the trail is flat, so it’s not a hard walk. Perfect for nature lovers. It’s very easy to get a shot here without a ton of people in the way.
And, you’re surrounded by forest on all sides, so it’s just beautiful!
3. Lafayette Park
This park is a hidden gem. Until a client recommended it for their shoot, I had no idea it even existed! I ran the location by one of my lifetime St. Louisan friends, and they also had never been there!
Historians have called it the oldest urban park west of the Mississippi.
It has this stunning bridge, that’s surrounded by ornate flowers, and even a willow —
If you walk just slightly past the beautiful water / bridge area — there’s this standalone building with ornate oval windows, bricks, and wood.
There’s also a pond with a fountain, and a walking trail that goes around it. If we venture in the spring, you will also see all sort of baby geese, swans sitting on their eggs, and tons of little squirrels running around!
And if you have kiddos — there’s also a park located right there as well! It’s a hidden gem, and never extremely crowded, which is another bonus!
2. Forest Park
Of course, the iconic Forest Park had to make our list. It really is a jewel of St. Louis. It’s 1,371 acres of awesome. What’s not to love?
It has the Muny, and its amazing architecture, which includes columns and a huge chandelier —
And right beside the Muny is this gorgeous garden area! It doesn’t even feel like you’re in St. Louis anymore when you see all of the tropical buds!
It also has lakes, yes, multiple! (And if you know where to look, some super docile ducks, too) —
And while there are the typical locations that everyone wants to hit up (and for good reason, they’re stunning!) — there are also some hidden beauties — and willow trees!
You can’t go wrong with willow trees. Seriously. And a little breeze!
1. Shaw Nature Reserve
Our number one spot is a place a photography client pointed out to Christine. She has been in love ever since! Shaw Nature Reserve, owned by the Missouri Botanical Garden, has a little bit of everything!
It has water in several locations, and some of those water locations have bridges or cute little awnings to duck underneath:
There is also the Joseph Bascom house, which has gorgeous pillars to pose between. It can give a completely different photo session look! The home was built in 1879, and the columns make for great photos.
Of course, there are also trails galore! Just a quick walk on one and you are surrounded by nature. It’s easy to forget you aren’t actually out in the country, you’re in a park!
There is also the Whitmire Wildflower Garden where more than 800 native Missouri plants are on display.
The park itself does have a $5 entry fee for adults. Children are free! It is definitely worth the small price to see this beautiful scenery. It really makes the photo session special, especially with so many amazing backdrop options!
And, depending on the timing, depends on what you’ll see! These gorgeous daffodils were only in bloom for one week. This next photo was taken by a good photographer friend of mine, Dee Keim Photography. She took our family photos at this gorgeous park, too, so I wanted to share:
The history of Shaw Nature Reserve is also interesting! They phrased it well themselves: “The Missouri Botanical Garden’s land purchase in 1925 began the legacy of Shaw Nature Reserve. Originally set up as a safe refuge for the plant collection from the smoke pollution of the 1920’s, its role in the community has evolved through the years. Shaw Nature Reserve has many roles—as a nature reserve, a place to walk and hike, and a good spot for relaxing and for studying nature.”
Which one is your favorite?
And if you’re in the Kansas City area — we have our Top 10 list for there as well!!
Click here to book your photoshoot with Kansas City Photography (which is in both St. Louis & Kansas City)!
(All photos in this blog post were taken by Kansas City Photography. You may not re-use without permission.)