Known as the “City of the Violet Crown,” Austin, TX is the capital of Texas. And, if you find yourself living in Austin, there are many picture-perfect photo spots that you’ll want to check out as you get to know the city. From bat caves to a number of different parks to explore, we reached out to a handful of locals to share their favorite places to take pictures in Austin. So, whether you’re renting an apartment in Downtown Austin or just bought your first house in Barton Hills, you won’t want to miss checking out these amazing spots in and around the city.
The Sekrit Theater is a historic landmark in Austin that was designed by artists and architects to fuel inspiration and wonder. It features a beautiful greenhouse, a vintage ford truck, and a lounge bus, among other unique things that make the perfect backdrop for photos. If you’d like to do a photoshoot there, be sure to book on their website.
“My favorite places to photograph in Austin are Sekrit Theatre,” shares Marion Matrimony Events. “My clients love the unique, bold, and eclectic so these spots pull our heart strings. Sekrit Theatre has an old-world charm with an old bus, overgrown alcoves, and black and white tiled floor in a greenhouse theatre.”
“The absolute best spot for photos has to go to Sekrit Theater because not only can you take photos for yourself, but you can also have your elopement ceremony there or a surprise proposal,” adds Photography by Estefana. “If you’re looking for a ‘Keep Austin Weird’ vibe, this location is a testament to that.”
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Zilker Metropolitan Park comprises 350 acres of publicly owned land and is known as “Austin’s most-loved park.” There are many things to check out in the park including the Zilker Botanical Garden, Zilker Hillside Theater, and the Zilker Caretaker Lodge.
“One of my favorite spots to capture shots of the Austin skyline is from Zilker Metropolitan Park just southwest of downtown. The location offers beautiful views of Austin throughout the day and great spots to see the lights come on after dusk,” boasts Bee Creek Photo.
Zilker Botanical Garden
Located within Zilker Metropolitan Park, Zilker Botanical Garden features several gardens including a Japanese Garden, Prehistoric Garden, and Rose Garden where you can take pictures of beautiful flowers blooming.
“My favorite scenic photography spot is Zilker Botanical Gardens,” shares Heather Curiel Studio. “When you enter, you’ll feel transported and surrounded by lush natural beauty all around and every corner provides a picturesque photo spot.”
The Southwest Greenway in the Mueller Tower District
The Southwest Greenway is the perfect place for an evening walk or a great place to escape the city to be surrounded by nature. Here you’ll find water features, grasslands, and nature trails to explore.
Haley Grant Photography says, “One of the best places to take photos in Austin is The Southwest Greenway in the Mueller Tower District. Every time I photograph a client here, whether it is a baby milestone or a maternity session, the whole family enjoys the fact that we get to meet at a beautiful butterfly garden complete with art installations. This spot offers everything from gorgeous glowing light to the unique character that makes Austin a fun place to live.”
Bull Creek District Park
“As a portrait photographer in Austin, one of my favorite spots to take photos is Bull Creek District Park. It’s such a great location because it has so much variety, hiking trails, waterfalls, the creek bed, lush greenery, limestone cliffs, and is pet friendly,” says Jama Pantel Photography.
Bull Creek District Parks is comprised of a beautiful creek, hiking trails, and biking routes. It takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete, but may take longer depending on how many stops you take for photos.
Lindsay Herkert adds that “The variety of textures and background it provides within a short walking distance make this spot a photographer’s dream. Beautiful rock, lush trees, the sparkling creek, and beautiful light are all elements that make this location magical. But, my favorite part is the spontaneous water play that usually happens near the end of a shoot, providing some candid photos to add to the client gallery.”
The Long Center
The Long Center provides a stunning backdrop of Austin. There are many activities that go on throughout the year at the long center such as movies, festivals, and cultural performances.
My favorite photography spot in Austin, Texas would have to be The Long Center pavilion because of the variety, notes The Jessica Martin. “Not only are there amazing skyline views of the city, but Auditorium Shores park is right across the street for portraits at the river with lots of beautiful trees.
She also shares that there’s a small free parking lot at the park so be sure to get there early and check the events at the Long Center before going.
Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park
Auditorium Shores is one of the go-to places in Austin for all things music. When there isn’t a concert going on, this is a great place to capture people playing a game of frisbee, lounging in the glass, or flying a kite.
“If you’re looking for a great spot in Austin to capture photos, look no further than Auditorium Shores. This area gives you access to The Long Center with sprawling views of the downtown skyline, is in close proximity to the 1st Street Bridge, and is right next to the Doug Sahm Hill Summit,” says Trulove Studios.
“Auditorium Shores is my favorite place for photos, going for a hike, or an evening picnic. The skyline views are breathtaking and you can feel the energy of the city while being surrounded by, and enjoying nature,” boasts Hey Alex Good.
Lady Bird Lake
Located on the Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir that offers Austinites access to hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, river cruises, and bat watching. It is the perfect location if you are looking for diverse photo shots.
Lynn Walker Photography mentions that the best part about Austin is that there are so many unique locations to represent what is important to the families she’s photographing.
“The Seaholm Power Plant to Lady Bird Lake allows Austin photographers to capture both the downtown skyline as well as the beautiful landscape that surrounds the city. South Congress is always a fun spot to photograph clients new to the city.”
Lou Neff Point on Lady Bird Lake
On Lady Bird Lake, there is Lou Neff Point, a scenic overlook, where you can get a beautiful view of the Austin skyline.
“Lou Neff Point on Lady Bird Lake is one of the best locations for photos – you get a close-up view of Austin Downtown skyline, it’s right on the water, and just a 5-minute walk from Zilker Park and restaurants,” notes Kacie Tennet Photography.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is located on UT Austin’s campus and features over 900 species of native Texas plants. There are a diverse variety of plants you can capture including Central Texas Milkweeds to Cardinal Feathers.
Zesty Orange Photography shares, “The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the perfect spot to capture your family’s unique story and hands-down my favorite stop to photograph my clients. With its ever-changing landscape, Texas native flowers blooming throughout the season, and a beautiful courtyard and pond, the center provides a picturesque backdrop for any photography session.”
A symbol of the University of Texas at Austin, UT Tower represents academic excellence and personal opportunity. The tower stands at 307-feet tall and was completed in 1937. There are many different lighting configurations that represent important events going on throughout the school year.
“Hook em’, University of Texas graduates love a photo in front of the iconic UT Tower,” shares Pearl Events Austin.
Located about 5 miles from downtown, Laguna Gloria is the perfect place to discover art pieces and is also a great wedding destination for photographers who specialize in capturing weddings.
“As a wedding photographer, I love gardens and feeling like we are getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Laguna Gloria is a fun spot for its fun art, lovely villa architecture, pretty walking trails, and views of the water,” boasts Neva Michelle Photography.
Butler Metro Park
The perfect place to capture both wildlife and city views, Butler Metro Park features an art center, plenty of green space, and even a pitch and put for those who like to golf.
“My favorite place to take photos of clients in Austin, TX is Butler Metra Park. What I love about this location is the variety of backgrounds. There is the mound with the Austin skyline behind it, stone walls, a pond with a fountain, children’s play area, and more,” raves Charlotte Bell.
This location is central to Austin so it’s easy for my clients to get to and it has many different options within the park for beautiful scenic backdrops, adds John David Weddings. “From the top of the hill, you have a great view of the city and down below the hill (near the dog park) you have a beautiful pier view of the Colorado River to more greenery in the park.”
John Winters Photography says, “I personally love the view of downtown from Butler Park for an epic skyline shot. You really can’t beat all that the city has to offer.”
Shelley Shroyer recommends going to the park at dusk for unique shots on the downtown city skyline. “Right around dusk is lovely when the tall city buildings are all lit up making for one stellar backdrop. The park also has a pond with decks that look out over the water and a field where people oftentimes picnic or walk their dogs. Sometimes, if you’re lucky you’ll even have live music to enjoy in Butler Park on any random evening.”
McKinney Falls State Park
With about 641 acres to roam, McKinney Falls State Park is best known for its outdoor recreation opportunities including biking, swimming, and bird watching.
“My favorite photography spot in Austin is McKinney Falls State Park. It’s filled with gorgeous waterfalls, lush greenery, and swimming holes. It’s my favorite because it looks like a different planet it’s so unique,” raves Alyssa Nikole Photography.
Second Street District
Second Street District is a residential neighborhood of Austin that offers delicious restaurants, a ton of local shops, and the perfect urban experience.
“I love photographing downtown in the second street district,” notes Jenny DeMarco Photography. “There are some beautiful unique restaurants and shop fronts. I love the turquoise stairs near La Condessa and the way the street trees look when the light gets golden closer to sunset times.”
Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Umlauf Sculpture Garden is a notable green space that features work by artist Charles Umlauf.
“There are many things to do in Austin, but if you’re looking for a hidden gem in plain sight with picturesque moments, beautiful landscape, peaceful tranquility, and art history, visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Centered around the American sculptor Charles Umlauf’s work are endless possibilities to explore,” shares Events Unleashed.
Austin Rowing Club
Austin Rowing Club provides outdoor activities for students interested in getting out on the water. They offer everything from stand-up paddle boarding to rowing to kayaking.
“If you love the idea of taking photos in a usually secluded area along the river running through Downtown Austin, I have just the place. It’s not somewhere you can use your map app on your phone to find. You’ll need to route yourself to Austin Rowing Club Rentals on Google Maps, find parking, and then search for the pier that they use. There is even a lookout point you can use to get the most epic photos,” reveals Lona Weddings, a wedding films service in Austin, TX.