Best Portrait Locations in the Triangle

August 16, 2019 Outdoor Portraits 0 Comments

Best Portrait Locations in the Triangle

Finding a great location for a portrait session is not really a challenge in the Triangle. There are a lot of great options, fortunately. I’ve listed some of my favorites from Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill below.

When you are trying to decide on a location for a photoshoot, consider a few things. What kind of location would best represent the person or brand that you are photographing? Would an urban / downtown setting be best, or would a natural park setting be better? This is often the first thing that I will ask portrait clients. Do you want a lot of architectural details in the background, or do you primarily want to see greenery?

Please note that each location below has its own rules with regard to professional photography. Some will require you to make a reservation ahead of time and some will require that you pay a fee. Please check the website for each location to see their current photography policy.


Historic Yates Mill:

I often joke with my clients that I need to stop offering this location as an option because the majority of my clients pick this location! And I show my clients about 7 other location options around the Triangle. It has everything: greenery, water, a wooden bridge, rustic buildings, a mill, and a waterfall. I mean come on! It’s hard to beat. This location has been overcrowded in the past, but since they now require photographers to make a reservation to shoot there, I have found that it is not as crowded.


Yates Mill Best Portrait Locations in the Triangle

Raleigh Little Theater:

I love this location because it has a great mixture of architectural elements, greenery, and color when the rose garden is in bloom. It is also spacious, which means that a few different photographers can shoot in the same open area without getting in each other’s way. It is also not usually crowded, although that can always change!



American Tobacco Campus:

American Tobacco Campus is a treasure trove of vintage details mixed in with modern design. Like Yates Mill, it has a waterfall, but its hallmark is the brick that lines the entire complex. I love that they preserved the old lunch counter signage and the train car toward the north end of the campus. It is a bit crowded with pedestrians and it doesn’t have very many wide open spaces. But, there are some real gems in this space!


Downtown Durham near Alley 26:

There is an alley right next to the bar Alley 26 that has brick and cool arches in the background. I also love that you have the market lights to work with as well. This spot also tend to have great natural light at certain times of day.

Chapel Hill

Coker Arboretum:

Coker Arboretum is a beautiful spot for clients who want lots of greenery in their portraits. There are also beautiful pockets of light and some architectural elements like a long tunnel-like arbor on the edge of the arboretum. I love the stone walls and the variety of foliage at this location.