One of the first questions I ask when booking a session with a client is, “Are you interested in a natural or city setting?” Most people seem to want a natural setting, but I think that’s beginning to change as the beautiful city of Birmingham is revitalized more each year. We have many murals and interesting, often historic architecture; why wouldn’t you consider photographing downtown? I’m writing to offer you ideas for 6 Photoshoot Locations in the City of Birmingham. I wrote a popular post a couple of years ago, 11 Location Ideas for Photography in Birmingham, Alabama. I shared some of these same places, but today’s post is specific to locations to photograph, outdoors, in the city of Birmingham.
- Theater District– this area is incredibly cool and colorful and a visual playground for photos. There is the obvious historic component with the Lyric Theater and the Alabama Theater. Both are more than 90 years old and have been renovated. They are Birmingham landmarks and make fun backdrops for photographs. Within the Theater District there are several murals. If you love color photography, you won’t want to miss the large mural wall across the street from the Alabama Theater.
Don’t miss the opportunity to use the great variety of backdrops while photographing in the Theater District. You don’t always have to rely on buildings; there are a number of trees too. Sunset is the best time to photograph there in my opinion. Look at that gorgeous light!
Just around the corner from the mural wall is an alley. It’s a great place to get away from the sun or even find the sunset during certain times of the year. It also makes a fun runway for the little ones. Let them play and go to work documenting! All of these images were taken within two blocks of the Alabama Theater.
2. Morris Avenue– I’ve probably used Morris Avenue more than any other location mentioned in this blog post because it’s one of the first places I was introduced to for photographing downtown. It’s also very popular with other photographers so keep that in mind if you schedule your session there. It’s nice because it has the original cobblestone street and it’s lined with shops and interesting storefronts. It’s a fairly low traffic area and if you do encounter vehicles, they’re normally driving slowly because of the cobblestones, so it’s easy to navigate while photographing. Don’t miss using the stairs you’ll find near the overpasses. You’ll find a nice view of the city, that’s really striking at sunset!
Parallel to Morris Avenue is the Color Wall mural by muralist Marcus Fetch. It’s vibrant and makes a great backdrop for just about any type of photoshoot whether you’re a professional photographer or just want to take a couple of fun selfies. It even looks fantastic in black-and-white images.
3. Avondale– who doesn’t love Avondale? I’ve watched this sweet spot evolve over the last 15 years and it’s come a very long way. Saturn is one of the most beloved businesses, which vibes cool inside and out. That corrugated metal wall is one of my favorite backdrops in Avondale. Don’t forget to pop inside for a cup of coffee or a beer.
4. 5th Avenue– this is a new find for me. Of course I knew that 5th Avenue existed; I just didn’t realize what potential this area had for photography until a client asked me to meet him and his son there for his family session. It’s beautiful! With several tall buildings, it just feels like you’re in a large city. (One thing I love about Birmingham is that it’s not a large city, but it’s cool to pretend sometimes, and especially in photos.) Don’t expect colorful buildings or murals. It’s full of muted tones-dark gray, off-white, brick, etc.
5. Woodlawn– I’ve photographed here a few times. I’ll admit, the first two times were so long ago that I’ve not done the deep dive into the archives it would take to find images to share. The last time was only a year ago and after it had undergone quite a lot of renovation. It’s definitely an area I want to revisit. It’s very colorful!
6. Rotary Trail– this is such a wonderful location for photographers for several reasons. Rotary Trail is on 1st Avenue South. The trail itself is truly a landscaping success pretty much all year long. Even in the winter, you’ll find some form of plant life. In the spring and summer it’s lush with ivy growing along the walls. If you haven’t been there, what are you waiting for? Don’t forget to look around the trail as well. There is a large building with murals on two sides across the street. Take a walk outside of the trail and along the sidewalks of 1st Avenue in the month of November, and you’ll find that quintessential fall foliage and even some pink Pampas grass. Explore this area. There is a lot to see!
I wrote this post because when I was trying to think of a new location in a city setting when planning a recent photo session, I was stumped. I will sometimes use Google for ideas and then scout locations with a drive. I found a few articles about “Instagrammable locations” but not much available by local photographers so I decided to fill that void with my own blog post. I hope you find this helpful! I value community over competition so I want to share ideas with other photographers. Visit these 6 Photoshoot Locations in the City of Birmingham. There’s plenty of space for everyone so photograph and enjoy!
Here’s an example of what I came across while searching for new location ideas in the city, 27 of the Most Instagrammable Spots in Birmingham. I found it to be a useful article, but there’s something special about knowing the photo examples you’re seeing were taken by a local photographer. I find value in that.
If you’d like to see a couple of portrait sessions that I shot in a city setting, take a look at Creative Portraits in Birmingham and Birmingham LGBT Portrait Session, Bang Images .
[…] a colorful mural that runs parallel to Morris Ave. You can see photos of that in my second post offering location […]