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Statewide Travel 1

Arkansas Photo Spots for Brides and Seniors


This time of year, seniors are graduating from high school and college, a rising senior class is getting excited about everything on the horizon, and brides are in their final stages of planning for summer weddings. The main thing these individuals have in common is the need for picture-perfect photo spots around Arkansas.

If ever there were a picture-perfect photo spot, it would be Arkansas, the whole state. But a few types of locations make great spots for bridals or senior portraits. One of the best things to remember as you work with a photographer to select your site is to recognize the best locations where you feel comfortable and safe. Then, use these portraits to show your personality, capture a moment in your journey and commemorate a beginning. But remember, they will probably hang on the wall in your grandmother’s hallway all your life!

Meaningful Locations

We start here on purpose. Bridals and senior portraits are pictures that commemorate and capture a specific moment in time where beginnings and ending converge. Is there a science lab, arena, or sports complex where you’ve spent many hours? Are there locations that mark important steps in your journey with your fiancé? Is there a place you’ve visited over and over to celebrate milestones? Did you navigate a complex diagnosis and want to show your victory? What about a place you were standing in a life-defining moment? Simply adding beauty to that space by capturing you in that environment becomes part of capturing your story.

Green Spaces

Gardens are beautiful and romantic settings for bridal portraits. They offer a variety of backdrops, from lush greenery to colorful flowers. Green spaces are also great for senior pictures if you want to add color and beauty. Remember, you don’t have to be in the middle of a National Forest (but that would work, too!) or a designated garden. Entrances to neighborhoods, local city parks, a college campus, a local nursery, or a neighbor’s yard can still capture green space beauty since you are looking for a portrait-style photo.

State Parks 

The 52 Arkansas State Parks are perfect photo spots for any style portrait. With a mix and variety in textures, tree bark, rocks, decades-old CCC and WPA structures, waterfalls, and lodges are all locations that make bridal and senior portraits uniquely Arkansas. Did you explore a particular park while you were dating? Did you go every year on a specific hike with your dad? Recreate these moments forever through your commemorative portrait settings. But remember, the perfect photo is never worth the danger or distractions on a cliff’s edge.

Churches or Chapels

Churches and chapels offer elegance and potential for a focal spot with architectural details, stained glass, and framing opportunities with doors and windows. Historic homes also fall in this area with a focus on architectural details. Locations like Thorncrown Chapel, Cooper Chapel, Berry Chapel, Subiaco Alley, and the Chapel of Transfiguration are perfect locations around Arkansas. For the right person, a recording studio might be a suitable space with built-in props and wide-open rooms for creativity to explode.

State or Historic Landmarks

Most Central Arkansas grads and brides often look to our State Capitol as a portrait backdrop. The marble stairs, bronze doors, and North Garden are all spaces to capture a quintessential Arkansas space. But other landmarks like cannons at Civil War battlefields, trolleys, trains and train depots, caves and caverns, and public art become great reminders of a locale and offer visual interest for beautiful portraits. Then, of course, places like Pinnacle Mountain, Hawksbill Crag, Talimena Drive, and the Roark Bluff at the Buffalo River capture hillside scenery as the visual landmark in the fall months.

Downtowns and Urban Spaces

While some like elegance, others prefer the rustic and rugged side of downtown and urban spaces. City skylines, murals and dingy alleys all offer a texture perfect for adding depth to portraits. For my dating journey, my husband and I spent much of our courting time on the Bentonville Square, which made an excellent backdrop for our engagement photos. With hard edges, mosaic tile entrances, patina on escape stairs, vibrant colors in brick murals and ideal landmarks, being in these environments forever weaves them into your story.

Sports Complex

For high school and college athletes, sports complexes and arenas make a perfect backdrop to share a visual story. Use a bowling alley or rodeo arena to capture these unique environments. A moment in the middle of a football or baseball field, under the stadium lights, always sets a visual tone for contrast and depth. And, as cycling grows in Arkansas, creative spaces in nature offer the grit and grunge of gravel paths with dirt bikes.

Farms and Gardens

For many in Arkansas, rural roadside views capture their everyday experiences. Use a barn, the rows of a cotton field, or a nearby vineyard to tell a beautiful story of love and new beginnings. The Arkansas Delta is an excellent spot for many of these, with rice fields, soybean lanes and cotton blooms. But don’t miss the vineyards of Altus and Tontitown or a Christmas tree farm or pumpkin patch.

Unique Airbnbs

Especially for bridal portraits, the decoration and staging in a unique Airbnb location could be the perfect setting. Stonehaven Castle captures the elegancy and mystery of childhood dreams. Alda’s at Magnolia Hill is a step back in time, where a Clydesdale carriage and pond with a canoe make the perfect enchanted setting. Arkansas has unique Airbnb sites among caves, farm fields, log cabins and forest canopies.

Now that you have some photo spot ideas, what must you consider as you prepare for your photo session? In general, all photographers will have a client focus on a few things to maximize their experience.

  • Choose a location that is meaningful to you.
  • Bring a few accessories to add personality to your photos.
  • Choose a time of day when the light is soft and flattering.
  • Experiment with different poses and angles to find what looks best on you.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that you feel confident in.
  • Pack an emergency kit or bag with extra hair spray, a comb, lipstick, wet wipes, etc.
  • Bring a friend or family member to help you relax and have fun.
  • Be yourself (and take deep breaths).

Tag us in your photos. We’d love to see where you place yourself to capture Arkansas’ beauty in your most memorable moments!

Still in search of the perfect dress to say yes to? Check out our story on Low’s Bridal in Brinkley.

All pictures used with permission by Tyler Rosenthal Photography.

Meet the

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

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One response to “Arkansas Photo Spots for Brides and Seniors”

  1. Katharine says:

    Unique idea for a story, Keisha! I enjoyed this, and as an expat, always need help recognizing all the lush scenery in Arkansas. 🙂

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