Picking your next session location can be hard! And different locations shine during different seasons. So to help you narrow down your options here is my list of favorite Columbia, MO spots for photos (and a couple of seasonal favorites). For a more complete list of my recommended locations check out the KatFour Photo Location Guide for location ideas!
Kat's Favorite Columbia, MO Locations!
Before I get into the locations around town, remember that one of the best options is your home! You can schedule a session during any kind of weather! It's a great option with small children - toys, snacks and a change of clothes are readily available. I can bring a portable set of lights to any location so your home can turn into a studio for your session!
Now for my favorite Columbia spots to have your session!
KatFour Photo Studio
During mini-mini events, if you need a headshot or have a cakesmash for your little one, my studio is a great option. With both indoor and outdoor options for photos it's a great spot for individual photos or small groups!
This park is beautiful and rustic, with bright red barns, a woodsy patch, a pretty pond and several historic buildings. If you're looking for a combination of nature, rustic charm and historic beauty this is just the spot. Be prepared for a bit of walking on gravel and grass, so a comfortable pair of shoes may be in order!
Grindstone Nature Area
This gorgeous trail has a beautiful bridge, wonderful tall grass, gravel paths and a stunning rocky area by the water. If you're a fan of nature, this spot has it all! Everything is pretty close, but keep in mind this is a trail, with lots of bikes, hikers and a leash-free area for you pets.
Stephens Lake Park
If you love the water and want your next session lakeside, Stephens Lake Park is perfect! There's a beautiful lake, lots of trees, and a pretty waterfall. Though there quite a bit of walking, the paths are paved and for the kiddos there are some fun playgrounds to keep them entertained.
A small park owned by Shelter Insurance, this cute littler garden is a great spot for photos, especially in the spring and summer! There are pretty benched, gorgeous flowers, a sweet little schoolhouse and several pretty stone bridges. The park is pretty small, and is very popular for photos, so it can be rather busy (especially around Prom time). But it's small size makes it easier to navigate without having to walk as much.
If you're feeling more for a cup of coffee and more cityscape than park, downtown Columbia might be just the spot for you. Alley A, the Tiger Hotel, plus cute coffee shops and ice cream parlors make this a great settings for your photos. Not only does it make for great outdoor photos, but if the weather isn't cooperating it opens up your options!
It's easy to forget that Mizzou is a bontanical garden and makes a wonderful backdrop for your photos during any season. You can choose to photograph with full Mizzou-RAH spirit and get the big landmarks (like the Columns, the Tiger Statue, Memorial Union and Jesse Hall) in your photos or avoid the landmarks entirely and just focus on the beautiful architechture and lovely plants. Just avoid high traffic days like graduation, game days or other major campus activities to avoid having large groups of people in your photos!
Devil's Icebox Trail at Rockbridge State Park
If you're hoping for a bit more nature with wooded hiking trails, streams of water, and gorgeous caves, this spot is just right for you! A great spot with wooden pathways and scenic woodsy spots! When the weather is nice, this spot can be a bit busy, but is otherwise a great place for sessions!
Of course there are others, including Columbia College, Capen park, downtown Rocheport, and many others. To see more options look through the KatFour Photo Location Guide for location ideas!
Although all of these location are great and can work any time of year here are my favorite couple of options for each season!
Where do I take photos in the spring?
For the spring you'll want somewhere blooming, with paved paths to avoid wet ground after spring rains and that will feel fresh and bright in your photos.
Mizzou and Shelter Gardens have loads of flowers and trees to enjoy and have plenty of paved paths and benches. No need to venture into the grass where you may sink into the mud. I also love the studio for spring photos! You never know when thunderstorms will strike during a Missouri spring and the option to pop inside to hide from the rain is very appealing.
Where do I take photos in the summer?
Summer in Missouri is hot, so we want to find a spot that will allow you to cool down or at least find shade!
Downtown has ice cream shops and shady alleyways to take photos. Not to mention air conditioned buildings to take a moment to cool off. Shelter Gardens is shady and most of the flowers are in bloom, making it a beautiful place to take photos without too much walking! Devil's Icebox at Rock Bridge State Park is shady, has cool caves and chilly streams which not only make for a great photo session but a fun adventure!
Where do I take photos in the fall?
Fall colors make for some beautiful photographs! So you want a place where the leaves turn vibrant orange, yellow and red and stay that way for a long while!
Stephens Lake Park offers a beautiful, scenic backdrop and the colors not only show on the trees, but reflect int he water. Grindstone nature Area offers a gorgeous trail, with stunning leaves and tall, dry grass in the autumn, making it another favorite choice! Nifong Park is the final fall favorite with a rustic look, bright red barn and quite a few colorful trees!
Where do I take photos in the winter?
Winter time poses unique challenges due to the cold, the wind and the increased chance for bad weather. I recommend considering locations where you can stop inside to warm up and that won't look dreary.
Downtown and Mizzou both offer all these benefit and are beautiful spots to have your photos during the cold season.Also consider a session at home during the chilly months! With Holiday decorations up most people have plenty of cheery spots to take photos!
Do you have a favorite spot in town I missed?