Camera Club: Location Scouting at Frick Park

Each month, Heather Lahtinen of the Flourish Academy organizes a camera club meetup for local photographers throughout the Pittsburgh area. Recently, however, local wedding photographer Gretchen Ciccone of GCiccone Photography joined Heather in coordinating off-site meetups at different locations to explore throughout the area, including March’s event held at Frick Park.

Location Scouting at Frick Park

More than 20 photographers met on this chilly Saturday morning to hit the trails and check out the surrounding architecture of Frick Park, one of the city’s largest historic parks with approximately 644 acres to explore. We had fun location scouting its wooded slopes and the buildings around the Beechwood gate entrance, sharing camera settings and lenses, and working with reflectors.

Flourish Academy photographers exploring Frick Park in Pittsburgh during a camera club meetup

One of our members also brought along her beautiful daughter, Sami, who stepped in as a model for the morning. We found some great spots near the gatehouse and along a stone wall along the parking lot to shoot at and worked with the challenging morning light using a reflector to add some sparkle to Sami’s gorgeous eyes and to throw some light on her face. While the difference may appear subtle at first, having that extra bit of light made a significant impact on the final images!

beautiful red-headed senior with stone walls at Frick Park near Pittsburgh

The Benefits of Location Scouting

Location scouting offers numerous benefits for both photographers and clients. Scouting a potential location for a session helps you assess a location’s feasibility and

  • allows you to acquaint yourself with new or unfamiliar spots,
  • enhances your confidence in being able to execute both your vision and that of your clients in spite of unexpected or challenging logistics,
  • helps you scope out optimal spots for a particular time of day in regards to available light and the location of this light and its quality within certain areas,
  • allows you to focus on actually photographing instead of searching for spots in which to photograph, and
  • eliminates stress by affording you the opportunity to arrive at the session as prepared as can be.

Tips for Location Scouting

Location scouting can take time, but there are a few ways you can maximize your efforts.

  • Consider your clients. Who are you photographing? Do they have mobility issues that may prevent them from walking too far? Are young children involved? Take these limitations into account as you begin searching for a location tailored to their needs.
  • Keep in mind the final images you want to create. Ask yourself if this spot fits the look you and your clients are envisioning.
  • Use an app like MapAPic to take photos as you scout, which automatically includes details like notes, geotags, sunrise and sunset times, tags, GPS coordinates, and more, or Sun Seeker that can tell you the sun’s hourly direction intervals with unique map views.
  • Look into any required permits or possible restrictions surrounding the location. For example, is it dog-friendly? Is there a fee associated with using certain areas? Is the property private or public?

If you’re interested in attending a camera club meeting, the details can be found on the Flourish Academy Camera Club group on Facebook. Click here to join and keep current on upcoming events.


This post is a part of the Blogging for Pet Photographers blog circle. To see what the next pawesome photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Photographer’s Choice,” check out Nancy at Nancy Kieffer Photography, capturing the journey with your Pet, serving Syracuse, central New York, the Adirondacks, and beyond. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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20 thoughts on “Camera Club: Location Scouting at Frick Park

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      It’s quite sprawling, but would be perfect for those dogs who want to adventure a bit and hit the trails. I’m thinking of taking Hunter here just to do some sniffing around.

  1. Elaine says:

    Very wise and sage advice. I ALWAYS scout locations prior to a session with clients. I often use my cell phone to map out exactly the spots where I will take them for photographs. It works really well, saves time, and clients are impressed with the end result. Great blog!

  2. Kylee Doyle says:

    I love location scouting (I just wish my day job left me with more time for it) – especially with dogs, I want to make sure the location is usable and, more importantly, safe. Looks like you guys found an awesome spot!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      I will say, between the harsh morning light and all the dead brown, it certainly did present a unique set of challenges, but together we scoped out some great spots.

  3. Darlene Woodward says:

    I always love brick as a backdrop when photographing – looks beautiful! Gorgeous images!
    I admit I’ve done many locations “blind” – but for those, I always make sure I’m at golden hour for light!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      I’m such a planner that even when flying blind, I have to arrive early enough to scope it all out.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      It is a huge park, perfect for adventuring! I definitely want to check out more areas within it with Hunter.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Sami has become the official Flourish Academy camera club model of sorts! She’s a good sport about it!

  4. Linda A Perdue says:

    Wow – what a beautiful location – I am thinking it would be a great place for a dog photo session! Nice that you were able to have such a beautiful model to help out with getting a few photographs there too.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks, Linda! I’m super interested to check this place out in the spring and fall when there are leaves and some color!

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