Choosing a location for your branding shoot might seem a little overwhelming. I mean, there are literally a thousand great spots for branding photos on the North Shore, but I’ve been lucky enough to travel ALL around, and I’ve narrowed it down to my TEN favorite spots for branding photos on the North Shore!
QUICK TIPS FOR NARROWING DOWN A LOCATION
Before we dive into my faves, let’s make sure you know what you’re looking for! Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Where is a place that I might meet with clients?
- What kind of space do I need to get the photos I want?
- What is the main point I’m trying to get across to my viewers?
- Does the location have GOOD NATURAL LIGHT?
- Do I need to get permission to take photos in this place?
- Is there a fee for taking photos there?
- If it’s a public space, when is the best time to go with the fewest people?
- Does the setting match the vibe of my branding?
- Will I be able to bring props to this location?
- Is this somewhere where I will be comfortable in front of the camera?
Now that we have that settled, let’s jump into my top ten branding photo spots on the North Shore! These are in no particular order, because I love them all. Let me tell you, I could have made this list my top 50 because there are so many, but I thought 10 was an appropriate amount for you to get those brain waves flowing!
This little gem in East Lake Forest is probably one of my favorite spots because of the sheer versatility and number of different options! Market Square alone offers a huge variety, including a starbucks, Sweets Ice Cream Shop, stunning architecture, allies, etc etc. This is probably the most popular location for someone needing great outdoor venues, slight city vibes without all the hustle and bustle, and a little bit of old world charm!
This stunning new venue in Evanston is the perfect backdrop for a branding shoot that needs space to breathe! Gorgeous light, a beautiful bar, and the best accessories and decor make for a great spot to have your branding shoot. I’m thinking table settings, florists, mixologists, or literally ANYONE.
A personal favorite of mine, downtown Highland Park is a great place to grab that downtown ambiance without tricking it into the city. With the stunning metra station, super fun alleyways, and a great little coffee shop, the options are endless! I had so much fun taking my own branding photos there with the lovely Lisa Kay Photography! We especially enjoyed our drinks from Coffee Speaks.
Downtown Lake Bluff
I fell in love with Downtown Lake Bluff immediately when I first moved here. It’s the CUTEST little town and really great for branding photos that strive for that small town, neighborly feel! Between the two AMAZING coffee shops, tree lined streets, and the beach, there really is a TON to do in such a small space! This is the perfect place for photographers, bloggers, and solo-preneurs.
Lake Forest Beach
If you live in Lake Forest, the beach is a great place in the summer, and if you’re not a local resident, it’s JUST as gorgeous in the off-season! While we don’t necessarily live in a beach town, beach branding photos can capture another side of your business that may catch the interest of your ideal client! When I think of the beach, my mind goes two ways: thoughtful or fun.
This is a hidden gem if I ever knew one! I was SCOURING the shoreline for a great place to get a great mix of photos one day, and I stumbled upon Fort Sheridan, and LET ME TELL YOU! It’s such a gorgeous spot with tall grass, city-like art, and a sandy beach. I’m dreaming of having a yoga instructor branding session here, so if that’s you and you’re reading this, CALL ME! Seriously. 😉
A couple months ago a client of mine asked me to meet her at Towne & Oak for her monthly secession. I had never heard of it before, and in my mind I pictured a store kind of like Pottery Barn… you know, really pretty things set up, different options, etc. Imagine my surprise when I get there and I walk into a coffee shop! Not only is this a GREAT spot for branding photos, but they have a tree growing in the middle of their store, and everyone needs to experience that!
So, it’s not a farm like, with wild chickens and cows, but it is one of the most interesting places I’ve seen! Elawa is gorgeous, with its brick buildings and white carriage doors, but it also has a little hidden spot full of wildflowers, paths, and the occasional animal sighting! They have cages of rescued animals (owls, wildcats, even an alligator!) and in the summer they bring more animals outside. One time at a wedding we got to see a sloth and giant tortoise, so I always love coming here! Maybe you’ll get to kiss a sloth in your branding photos! Imagine that!
Chicago Botanic Gardens
The gardens are a given. There are SO many possibilities, especially when they have special exhibits like their Orchid Show! While there is a permit process for the gardens, it is SO worth it for a full branding session!
NEVER underestimate the power and possibilities of your own home! I get it… we live there. We’re there every day and it loses its charm after a while, BUT having someone else come in and re-imagine your space during your branding sessions will make you see it through new eyes! Yes, I will completely rearrange your space to make it PERFECT for your photos… sorry… but I do promise that it’s 100% worth it! In-home sessions can be branding photo gold. Not only are they super personal, but they can also help make you more comfortable! Not feeling your outfit? Just run to your room and change it up! Need another serving platter? Just rummage through your cabinets! Can’t find child care? No problem! They can hang out with us during your session and you don’t have to worry about them!
Like I said, when it comes to your branding photos, there are a million options, and nowhere is right or wrong. It’s a personal decision, driven by your own personal brand and who you’re trying to reach through your imagery!
Other note-worthy spots:
Deer Path Inn
Cuneo Mansion Gardens
Tala Coffee Roasters
Have another favorite place on the North Shore? Let me know about it!