There are a few locations in the Charleston area that I LOVE to shoot at. I am happy to travel to you if you have some place specific in mind, but if you are looking for that perfect look and unsure where to go, here are a few suggestions.
4th / 5th Ave. beach access on Isle of Palms
If you are looking for an easy access point on Isle of Palms with available parking, my go to is 4th or 5th Ave. If you have someone in your group that is handicapped, 5th avenue is ideal because of the wide, easy to walk pathway to the beach. You can park along the road in any area with out ‘No Parking’ signs. Just be sure to have all your tires off the road to park legally.
Folly Beach Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve
If you are on the Folly side of Charleston, I recommend choosing the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve. It is a bit of a walk to get from the parking area to the area shown in the photos, but totally worth the hike! Along the walk the pathway is painted with a graffiti of colorful hearts and designs. A rock wall, Morris Island Lighthouse in the distance, and dried trees make for a totally unique coastline! For parking, there is a public parking lot at the end of East Ashley, or you can park along the road for free anywhere with out ‘No Parking’ signs. Just be sure to have all your tires off the road to park legally.
Ocean Marsh Road Beach Access – Kiawah Island
If you are staying on Kiawah Island, this beach access spot is one of my favorites. It is in an isolated area, so there are rarely other people in the background. A wide dirt path lined with lush green sea oats and Palmetto trees leads down to the beach. The beaches on Kiawah are some of the cleanest in the Charleston area. To the right of the path, there is also a wooden boardwalk, perfect for a variety of sitting and standing poses. I recommend this location for large family groups as well as small families and couples. Parking is just across the street in a gravel lot.
Washington Square Park
One of my favorite downtown areas is around Washington Square Park. This area has pretty flowers, historical stone monuments, iron fences and large oak trees within the park. Peek around the corner and you’ll notice brick and pastel colored houses down a cobblestone street lined with gas lanterns; all this within a city block of walking. It is a perfect backdrop if you are wanting that classic ‘Charleston look’ for a small family or couple’s session! The Charleston County Parking Garage entrance is just across Meeting Street.
I especially love photographing couple’s sessions at Rainbow Row. This area has so many beautiful pastel colored houses and even a cobblestone street. It is located just along the battery on East Bay Street, so we can venture over to the water for a few photos also. I usually avoid doing family sessions in this area only because it can get quite populated – it is a tourist attraction! But for couples it is PERFECT! East Bay Parking Garage is the closest garage in the area, but you might luck out and find a meter parking spot. Charleston parking meters accept credit cards now, so don’t stress if you are out of quarters!
White Point Garden
White Point Garden is definitely one of my all time personal favs. At the very tip of the peninsula, this park is right along the Battery, and also offers that ‘downtown Charleston look’ because of the historical houses just a few steps away. The park itself is lined with sweeping oak trees and a large white gazebo, popular for wedding ceremonies. Usually you can find street parking along Murray Boulevard, but if you have no luck, East Bay Parking Garage is a few blocks away.
Hampton Park – Upper Peninsula, Charleston
Because of the close parking lot, and cement sidewalks, Hampton Park is an ideal location for large families, and those with strollers or handicapped loved ones. It is also breathtakingly gorgeous in any of the warmer months when the flowers will be blooming. This park offers a large white gazebo on the far end, and a duck pond with a bridge close to the parking area. Throughout the park you will find a wide array of vibrant foliage, huge sweeping oak trees, and low hanging Spanish Moss.
Daniel Island Children’s Park
Right in the heart of Daniel Island, this hidden gem is perfect for a family photo session. It backs up against the water and even has a narrow beach area with tall marsh grass. Long wooden boardwalks, a row of oak trees, plenty of benches, and lush foliage make this location great for photos. In addition to all this, another perk of this park is the children’s playground with a wooden pirate ship, water fountain, and a large turtle to climb on! If you have a little one with a short attention span (don’t they all?!) this would be a fantastic option to keep them engaged.
The Sanctuary – Kiawah Island
Wether you are staying at the Hotel, or somewhere else on Kiawah, the Sanctuary Hotel is a gorgeous location for a family or couple’s session. There is a cute little garden area in the front of the hotel with a fountain and flowers, as well as a winding path around the back of the hotel lined with Palmetto trees, and giant Aloe plants, leading to a public beach access. Walk through the lobby to the back lawn and you will notice landscaped brick pathways, Pink Muhly grass bushes, Palmetto trees, and a bench surrounded by seasonal blooms. Incase it rains, the hotel lobby is an elegant option for some photos as well. The hotel offers free parking, or valet.