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A solid list of engagement photo locations in Austin, TX (like a Chinese Money Plant or breakfast tacos after 3PM on a weekday) is a rare bird. Most lists include some obvious spots like Zilker Park or the 360 bridge, which (no judgement if that's the spot for you!) can be all too common for an Austin local. Here’s a list of locations we recommend to our Austin couples, sprinkled in with a few *secret* finds and original ideas:
1. Hyde Park Known for its cozy bungalows, Victorian architecture, and charming small businesses, Hyde Park is a great place to stroll around and snap some photos. You’d be hard-pressed not to find your dream home or a random, old-time grocery store nestled in a row of houses (looking at you, Avenue B Grocery & Market).
2. North Loop Consider this to be North Austin’s answer to SoCo. You’ll find vintage boutiques, record stores, coffee shops, and unique eateries that rival some of the more common Austin landmarks down south. North Loop is a surefire way to capture all of that Austin quirk and color without the trouble of finding a decent parking spot.
3. Clarksville Full of historic homes, mom-and-pop shops, and great restaurants, Clarksville will definitely inject some good old Americana into your shots. Marvel at the beautiful houses, grab some coffee at Caffe Medici, or share a milkshake at Nau’s Enfield Drug while the camera snaps away.
4. Secret Beach Sure, the Secret Beach isn’t so much of a secret anymore, but there’s still a lot to explore if you’re willing to do a bit of trekking. Beyond the beach, you’ll find quiet, grassy areas along the water, as well as some gorgeous wooded area. Combine that with the light of magic hour, and you’ve got yourself some amazing photos.
5. Secret (Sekrit) Theatre Speaking of secrets, this one's more well kept. Out in East Austin, Secret Theatre (or Sekrit Theatre online to keep it off the map) is a beautiful outdoor venue with fountains and an all glass greenhouse with a black and white tile floor. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Secret Garden because this place is pure magic. Cons: photo sessions come with a venue booking fee at around $100-$200 depending on the length of the session and whether or not you want a private room to change.
6. Mayfield Park Peaceful, quiet, and meditative, Mayfield Park is home to lily ponds, walking trails, and a whole lot of peacocks. A great idea for those looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of downtown. This park has become an increasingly popular spot for photos, so make sure to book a session with the city ahead of time and pay any booking fees.
7. A favorite bar, restaurant or coffee shopThere's no engagement photo we love more than one that feels totally authentic and original to a couple's history together. But, between Austin's go-to murals and all-too-common landmarks -- it's easy to get bogged down in the endless engagement location possibilities Austin, TX has to offer without pausing to think what location feels best like you. Consider scrapping the 360 Bridge or SoCo for a more chill feel, and instead using your favorite bar, restaurant or coffee shop as your location for an engagement photo sesh. Heck, it's Austin, so what about a brewery? Just remember to call ahead because some of the more popular places have booking fees.
8. South Congress Allow us to get a bit obvious for a sec: a tried-and-true favorite, SoCo features an array of eclectic shops, boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. It’s home to recognizable spots such as the “I Love You So Much” wall and Hotel San Jose, and has an unbeatable view of the Capitol and the rest of downtown. If you’re looking for a recognizable Austin-centric shoot to floor your out of town guests, this is your best bet.
9. Downtown It’s no surprise that you’ll find a variety of interesting art, colors, textures, and architecture to experiment with for a downtown shoot. Whether you’re walking along 6th Street, marveling at the Blue Tile Wall on 5th and Sabine, or wandering into a nondescript alleyway (seriously), your options are endless. If you're feeling indecisive and want a wide variety of photos to choose from, just pick a starting point and work your way through!
10. Boggy Creek FarmFor someone who digs that off the grid feel without going too farmhouse-y, there's Boggy Creek Farm, an urban farm located in East Austin. Pose on the porches, walk through patches of beets and spinach, say hey to some chickens. It's a cute, cute spot, but it comes with a steep booking fee of $250 for each hour at a minimum of 2 hours.
11. The Long Center and Palmer Events Center Located close to Town Lake, the centers' open plazas and fun architecture make for awesome backdrops and killer views of the Austin skyline, especially right before sunset.
12. Tillery Street Plant Company Hang out in the rows and rows of succulents or take a stroll in the misty tropical greenhouse. This nursery is one of the team's favorite nurseries in Austin. It's a great dupe for Boggy Creek without shelling out the extra cash.
13. Mt. Bonnell It’s a bit of a drive and a bit of climb, but the view is certainly worth it.
14. Zilker Botanical Garden With a variety of featured gardens (Cactus and Succulent, Hartman Prehistoric, Herb and Fragrance, Isamu Taniguchi Oriental, etc.) and interesting architecture, Zilker Botanical Garden brings the green. This lush spot does come with a booking fee at $50 a session.
15. The Seaholm District For the couple that loves the more clean lines, modern industrial look, go for the Seaholm District. Right next to Town Lake, the Austin Public Library, Local Coffee AND Trader Joe's you'll be swimming in photo ops. (And stop for some Three Buck Chuck and Cookie Butter.)
16. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Unlike the Zilker Botanical Garden, the Wildflower Center is home to a number of plants native to central Texas. Walk around hand-in-hand, admiring all of the natural beauty that good ol’ Texas has to offer. Sessions must be booked in advance with the location's event coordinator and include a booking fee of $100 per day.
17. Rainey Street For the couple that's always down to party, work your way through the city's favorite bar district. Hula hoop at Lustre Pearl, sip a beer at Craft Pride, and gaze out at the city during sunset on the roof of the Container Bar. Bonus points: twinkly lights, food trailers, and dog friendly patios.
18. Your own home But for real. There's nothing like being comfortable and cozy in your own home. Sit on the kitchen counter tops, cuddle on the sofa, drink tea on the back porch. Plus, think of how special it will be to look back on photos taken in your first place together. *Dabs eyes*
Still haven't found the perfect place? Think about what you're going to use your engagement photos for. Invites? Announcements? Displays at the wedding? Imagine how you want those materials to look, and then choose a location based off of that. Still stumped? We got you. We've shot just about everywhere, and we're here to brainstorm.