The world of amateur photography holds many challenges: there are few who have avoided paying for parking passes, location fees, ungodly gas prices, and more. The profession is hard to break into, yet those starting out must find a way to produce beautiful photos with little initial funds.

Teenagers with a budding interest in photography and beginners in the field may have trouble finding low cost locations. It can be hard to get creative, but luckily I’ve got some budget-friendly, unique ideas for you!

The most important thing is to do your research!

I’m constantly checking the local paper for any mention of antique car shows, art galleries passing through, or murals in the works. Any of these provide a unique backdrop for a shoot!

Be on the lookout for seasonal festivals as well: music, Halloween, Christmas, boat, and folk festivals are all examples of great opportunities to use backdrops and decorations that other organizations provide to the public for free!

Nature tends to provide lots of free beauty as well. Look into state parks, which can be free or have minimal entrance/parking fees. Nearby commercial farms offer fields of fruits, flowers, or grain as a backdrop for shoots. Taking a hike through mountain trails, visiting wineries, and even adventures through local gardens can prove to be great locations for a photographer.

Tons of commonplace stores can also be great for themed photoshoots!

Any candy store will hold beautiful, multi-colored backdrops and tons of tasty props! To capture a retro feel, visit an old timey laundromat during off hours.

My personal favorite budget locations are nurseries: tons of flowers packed together for sale will truly give you a vibrant source of color. If there aren’t any close by (although it may seem silly), feel no shame in adventuring to Walmart, Lowe’s, or Home Depot and taking advantage of their outdoor abundance of plants!

Here are a few examples of a recent series I completed in a local greenhouse.

Restaurants are also a great choice in venue when picking a shoot location. Not only do they offer unique backdrops, but yummy props as well! Five Guys, retro diners, and cozy coffee shops come with fries, milkshakes, lattes and more to pose with!

Lastly, for those like me who consider themselves flat out broke, getting artsy with home items is the best way to go. I’ve used dramatic makeup, glitter, confetti (consisting of torn up construction paper), face paint, and color-coordinated themes that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also save tons of money!

Any of these options will give you a great starting point for shoots. Remember, it’s not always the location that matters the most, but how much fun you have during the experience!

Have any other budget locations you love to shoot? Post them in the comments below!

Ava Purcell

Ava Purcell

Teen Talk Blogger

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