Depth of Field is a blog where I give advice to new clients about the process and also share stories about my favorite sessions. Enjoy!

Finding good locations to take portraits outdoors can sometimes be challenging. Public spaces can often be crowded. If you do not have a portrait photography permit, you could be turned away. You could show up to only discover there is an event happening that you did not know about. Or the location could just not meet your exceptions if you have not visited the location in a while to discover it is unkept on the day you arrive to shoot.

For a few years now I have been doing portraits for the lovely Khan family. This time they wanted portraits at a location with a lot of greenery, so I suggested the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia.

The permit fee is very affordable for such a wonderful outdoor location and well worth it. At the time we took the portraits it was just $50. The permit must be purchased in advance online to book a time slot as they do not want too many photographers shooting at once. If you are a photographer reading this, I suggest that you arrive at least one hour ahead of schedule to scout the location if not earlier. It is a very large 127-acre botanical garden that takes some time to walk from one end to the other.

At the Arboretum, you will find beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces with flowers, trees, tropical foliage, African and Australian themes in addition to large open grassy spaces. There is a historical Queen Anne Cottage (under renovations at the time of this article) that can make for a beautiful backdrop, a waterfall, fountains, several ponds, and a lake.

Sometimes grass can be wet in early morning hours that can make a bit of a wardrobe mess, so I recommend shooting towards the end of the day when lighting is also soft. The closer to sunset the more flattering the lighting will be. On this day we shot in September just after 4 PM in 90-degree weather. I used an on-camera flash to brighten up the shadows since we were about 2.5 hours away from sunset on a sunny day.

If you would like to book a similar portrait session with Amy Texter in the Los Angeles area, please send a message using the contact form through the website or call.

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