On the hunt for some San Antonio photography spots? Here’s 15 of the best places in Texas Hill Country, all perfect for family, maternity, engagement, or portrait sessions!
As a local photographer, I’ve traveled all over San Antonio, chasing light and grins behind the camera. My number one question from my clients is “What location do you suggest for our session?” So I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite San Antonio photography spots available to for all types of sessions. From outdoor, indoor, or seasonal pictures, this post is for you too, photographers!
Phil Hardberger Park is a favorite photo spot central to San Antonio. It’s ideal for any session because you can get that sought-after adventurous feel without the lengthy drive outside the city. This historic park is full of tall grasses and open space. In the winter, there’s the perfect blend of brown and golden tones. Bring a blanket for a pop of color, or chase the light through the fields. Then in the summer and springtime, you’ll get the sweeping grasslands for a classic, natural backdrop. It’s a spot that doesn’t miss!
Want to take it up a notch? The beauty at Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne is worth the driving distance. At Cibolo, you can walk through the marsh, tall grasses, woodlands, and along the creek—so much variety!! In the fall, the trees along the Cibolo Creek waterline reflect reds, oranges, and greens for backdrops. Then during the summer, your little ones can chase butterflies through the daisies. Get the timing right for golden hour light, and you’ll have some OMG-worthy photos to frame. But be mindful of conservatory guidelines and purchase photo permits, which helps the park with research projects.
The McNay is a go-to place when you’re looking for a location that showcases San Antonio’s deep-rooted culture. The pillars and fountains create a photography location that feels quintessentially Texas—stunning for bridal shoots! But don’t rule out the museum for your lifestyle sessions or portraits! The landscaped grounds provide so many options for photo ops. Along with the gorgeous walkways, visitors can use the courtyard, a favorite spot at the McNay.
This may seem like an obvious (or overused) photography spot in San Antonio to take pictures. But you can’t go wrong with classic, city shots! Use the courthouse architecture for a backdrop. Get some stunning views behind you from the rooftops. Or use Market Square to get some fun pictures in the rainbow of colors. But make sure you get there early to beat the afternoon crowds and heat!
The San Antonio Botanical Garden has sooo much variety for sessions. The 11-acre Texas-native trail is home to over 250 plants, providing a backdrop full of textures and colors. First, start out in Gertie’s gardens moving through the roses. Enjoy the water lily pond in the Japanese garden. You can’t miss the wisteria arbor full of purple blooms or the the uniquely-Texan architecture. Visitors can take personal photos with a ticket purchase, if only using a phone or camera. Or buy a special occasion photography permit is, a bit more pricey at $195, but it allows up to 8 people for your party.
Enchanted Rock Area is pure photo magic! It’s one of my favorite spots in Texas Hill Country if you’re willing to drive (and hike a bit). The 1.5-hour drive is just far enough away for an adventurous session without needing to book an overnight stay. Once you’re there, buy a park pass for only $8, then get ready for the climb! Chase the light up the rocks during golden hour, then finish at the top with a sunset for your backdrop. You’ll get the unmistakable red granite backdrop along with tall grasses, flowers, and a creek. The golden light makes Enchanted Rock an undeniably dreamy spot for engagement sessions. But don’t cross it off your list for family photography locations! There are also plenty of short trails for kids to explore around the pink and red rocks. Just be sure to bring sun protection, water bottles, and comfy shoes!
This San Antonio park is full of gorgeous trees and tall, grassy spots for photos. It also stays open until sunset, when the trees illuminate for some magical shots. Madla Park is a perfect mix of classic and natural. Photographers should buy a $40 photo permit for one session or can buy an annual pass at $200 for unlimited visits.
Fun fact: Bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, start blooming in the south and work their way north. So here in San Antonio, you can catch them sometime around March. The Eisenhower City Park is one of the best places to capture them in bloom during season. But no worries if you miss out! The park has plenty of wildflower patches along the trails, perfect for couples, milestone photos, or portraits. Plus, the park is completely free to visit and take photos in!
Ok technically this isn’t an indoor location. But this cute, hidden gem is magical! It may not have air conditioning, but the houseplants, antique furniture, and stained, glass windows are worth the heat. Sounds like a dream, right? Located at a private address, the greenhouse is only available through booking. So if you’re looking to snag a family session or cuddle up for a mommy and me photoshoot, you’ll want to find a local photographer holding mini sessions. (I may know a good one!)
Studio photos are so fun for mini sessions or portraits. Get with a local San Antonio photographer (hi, me again!) to take pictures at the Eleven Hundred Collective Studio. With 6 large, west-facing windows, the natural light here is pretty breathtaking through the lens. This studio is perfect for couple photo sessions, editorial shoots, and branding. They’re also dog-friendly, so bring your fur baby with the fam for a family studio session!
Another gorgeous studio space is the Studio 125, just a few blocks from the Historic Pearl District. With 2 natural, lit studios, this location is perfect for soft, all-day light. And the set ups? So fun!! They have canvas backdrops, eclectic furniture, and floral wallpapers in Studio A (along with plenty of neutral set ups, too). They’re also pup, kid, and baby-friendly, so you can get just about any type of photo session you want in Studio 125.
I could go on for days about why in-home family photo sessions are the most creative, comfortable, and fun shoots! Despite being a sucker for an adventurous hikes and sunset views, there is just something about capturing the honesty of an in-home session. But what if there’s a mess!? I know!! Tiny humans are MESSY. But if you’re looking for a family photography location, you won’t find anywhere more comfy. because your home is where everyone in your family gets to be their most raw, unfiltered selves—which is everything your photographer wants! You can also include your pets, feed your newborn without stress, and escape the chaos of trying to get everyone out the door on time. And don’t worry about making it look “perfect!” Because when you look back on your photos in 10 years, the fingerprints and dog hair are what will make you smile (I promise).
Tree farms aren’t just perfect for picking out a family Christmas tree (although I totally recommend that, too!). The cypress trees, Fraser firs, and Afgan pines at Pipe Creek make for the PERFECT holiday card backdrop. Bring some blankets to cuddle up during your session or simply enjoy strolling through the rows of trees. Afterward, don’t forget to grab a cup of the yummy hot chocolate!
Before the trees are ready for Christmas, Pipe Creek opens up the farm every weekend in October for fall activities. When a cold front moves through, put on your cozy sweaters and get some fall photos at the pumpkin patch. Bring the whole family (including pups — yep, they’re dog-friendly!), and enjoy the seasonal activities. Pipe Creek has pumpkin painting, scarecrow dressing, hay bale rides, and tractor pulls through the tree farm. Tip: get there as soon as they open to avoid the crowd. Given that this farm is a local favorite, getting pretty pictures can be tough on a crowded day.
As a child, there’s nothing better than summertime. What better way to capture those sun-kissed grins than in a field of sunflowers? Traders Village Sunflower Field is 10-Acres of floral paths. In 2021, they opened June 10th and allowed visitors each weekend until the sunflowers were gone (typically the first week of July). On Fridays, the field stays open late, so you can capture the beauties in the golden hour light. They also have concessions and kid-friendly activities, like sunflower picking for an extra fee. Traders Village requests no photographers bring screens, shades, or extra set-ups. Regardless, you can get some pretty amazing pictures here without any extra equipment!
I know what you’re probably thinking (photographers) after reading about those sunflower photo ops. That sounds like madness! Traders Village is only open for a few weekends out of the year, and yes, it gets crowded. Even 10 acres might seem small when all of San Antonio is fighting for the floral fun. Luckily, this family-owned property is reservation only! The farm, run by a brother & sister duo, plants sunflowers each year for San Antonio photographers to enjoy. Like all sunflower fields, beauty is fleeting, and the opportunity only lasts about 2 weeks. But the property is open anytime during the week or weekend to make the most of it, and they only schedule a few bookings per day. This lets photographers have plenty of space beneath the sunflowers to get those gorgeous shots.
*Update: Unfortunately, there was no 2022 sunflower field due to a rough season of drought and battling deer. However, they were able to offer private time spots to use their corn fields and milo fields. So fingers-crossed for lots of rain in 2023! (and maybe less hungry deer)
If you’re in love with any of these places as much as I am, and want to get some precious memories captured, then let’s do it! Reach out to me or join my mailing list for updates on my 2023 calendar. I’ll be sharing lots of fun info throughout the year for Christmas, spring, and fall minis. My email list always gets the booking link before the public link goes live. So don’t miss out!