Location scouting is a huge part of being an on-location portrait photographer. I'm looking for a very specific set of features when location scouting: my number one goal is to find a lot of visual variety within a relatively small walking area. The Meek Estate Park in Haward is a great example.
The gazebo is adjacent to a large well maintained lawn with nice even lighting. The main structure is the Meek Estate, which is a Victorian style mansion. It has a back patio with wooden columns looking out onto the gazebo. The landscaping around the house features lots of different colors and textures.
Behind the house there is a fruit orchard. Possibly apple trees? I definitely saw a fig tree there too.
Another feature I'm always on the look out for is places to sit down. And Meek Estate has this: there are benches in several spots and also stairs. This is important to me because it allows us to work in a much larger variety of poses than just standing or sitting on the ground (which can be tricky in a dress or skirt).
Being a huge plant nerd, I also love the fact that there is a garden next to the house. These grasses are just spectacular- I love the color gradient they create and how they light up in the afternoon sun.
Pathways are also a nice feature to have at a venue. They create leading lines that direct the eye to YOU in the picture. Again, Meek Estate has plenty of them.
Finally (and I didn't take a picture of this), Meek Estate has restrooms. This is nice for obvious reasons but also it makes changing outfits a breeze. If you would like to shoot your senior portrait at Meek Estate, this is a fantastic option. Click on the "Contact" tab and we'll get started arranging your session!
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.