Location, Location, Location Part 1: State Parks and Southern Locations
If I am honest, I feel so very lucky to live in an area with so many incredible places for portrait locations! Of course, Myrtle Beach's gorgeous beaches are the obvious location that many people, both locals and tourists alike, think of first. The reality is, though that there are so many different options available. I don't know about you, but I am a very visual person (probably why I'm a photographer), so I decided to put all of my favorite Myrtle Beach photography locations into a blog series so that you guys can reference them easily to pick the perfect location for your Myrtle Beach portrait session with Necessary Photography!
1. Myrtle Beach State Park
Myrtle Beach State Park is located just south of the city of Myrtle Beach, SC at 4401 South Kings Highway; Myrtle Beach, SC 29575. Depending on the season, you may find azaleas or gorgeous white lilies in bloom.
1. Tons of variety of locations within the park. There are boardwalks over swamps, awesome trees, a green meadow, a pier, the beach and tons of nooks and crannies that provide unique shots.
2. The beach within the park is undeveloped, so you don't have to worry about homes or towering hotels in the background of your pictures.
3. It's pretty centrally located and easily accessible for those coming from the north or south.
Things to Keep in Mind:
1. It can be VERY crowded during the summer months.
2. There is a $5 entry fee per person unless you have a South Carolina State Park Pass.
2. Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach State Park is located in between Murrells Inlet, SC and Litchfield Beach, SC right across from Brookgreen Gardens at 16148 Ocean Highway; Murrells Inlet, SC 29576.
1. Tremendous variety. Huntington Beach State Park has so many different options in one. First, there is Atalaya, AKA the "castle." You can use the outside of the castle at anytime, and the interior can be used from 9am-5pm for $2 per person. Huntington also has numerous trails that wind through the forests, several boardwalks that lead out to the beach, lovely sand trails that also lead out to the beach, as well as access to the inlet and boardwalks over the inlet.
2. While the part is definitely busier in the summer months, it is not nearly as busy as Myrtle Beach State Park.
3. Huntington Beach State Park allows dogs on the beach year round. If you are looking for a session that will include your furry friend, this is a great place for it.
Things to Consider:
1. There is a $5 entry fee per person unless you have a SC Sate Park Pass.
Locations on the South Strand
1. Caledonia Golf Course
Caledonia is located in Pawley's Island, SC at 369 Caledonia Drive, Pawley's Island, SC 29585. Although it may sound weird to recommend a golf course as a potential portrait location, the ground are timelessly southern and, as you can see, a gorgeous backdrop for your portrait session.
1. The gorgeous live oak lined driveway! Talk about southern. This drive is breath taking and offers the perfect backdrop for your portraits.
2. Their landscapers are top notch - there is usually something in bloom at Caledonia.
Things to Consider:
1. First and foremost, this is a golf course. It is important to remember there will be golfers around, and we are not allowed to disturb them or their game. For this reason, I do not recommend Caledonia as a location for families with children under the age of 5.
2. The ground of Caledonia are only available when the proshop is open. This means, that the shoot must be prearranged with enough reasonable time to make sure that it corresponds with the proshop's hours for that time of year/date.
3. Caledonia is not available for portrait sessions when a private event like a wedding is happening.
2. Hampton Plantation
Hampton Plantation is a State Historic Site. It is located roughly 15 minutes south of Georgetown, SC at 1950 Rutledge Road; McClellanville, SC 29458. The plantation home was built in 1735 and sits on roughly 300 acres. The grounds are lovely year round, but in early spring, it is particularly gorgeous at Hampton because the azaleas are in full bloom.
1. If you love history, specifically southern history - this place is for you! Not only is the home in wonderful condition, the ground also host the separate kitchen, George Washington once slept here (he is even rumored to be the reason why the huge live oak in front of the house still stands) and they are currently excavating the slave area of the plantation.
2. It's FREE! Other plantation homes in the area charge between $150 -$400 for a location fee.
3. Because the ground are so wide open, this is a great location for large family photo shoots as well.
Things to Consider:
1. It is a long drive. From Myrtle Beach, you can expect to drive roughly an hour - maybe more depending on traffic.
2. The ground close at 5pm in the winter and 6pm in the summer. So, unless you plan your shoot right before Day Light Saving's Time ends, you will not be able to take advantage of the beautiful sunsets that South Carolina has to offer.
3. If you plan on using any areas other than the main house or the driveway, I highly suggest close-toed shoes. Many of the gorgeous trees and ground are located in the midst of fields that are quite wild.
3. Pawley's Island Beach
Pawley's Island is located between Murrells Inlet, SC and Litchfield Beach, SC. The southern pointe of Pawley's Island is the area that I generally shoot at. It is gorgeous, uninhabited, and offers one of the few water's edge sunsets at the beach.
1. The southern tip of Pawley's Island is uninhabited. There is a large area of beach that has no homes or hotels on it, providing a natural beach backdrop for your portraits.
2. Because the sun sets in the west, it is nearly impossible to have sunset photos on the beach. Yes, with most beach locations, you can get lovely pinks and oranges in the sky on the beach at sunset, but you never really get the full impact of the sunset. Because Pawley's is an island, and the pointe is at the very tip with water on both sides, Pawley's Island offers a fantastic location for those looking for 'sunset beach pictures' in the Myrtle Beach area. I believe Pawley's Island offers, hands down, the best sunset on the Grand Strand.
3. Even though it is only a beach location, the jetties at Pawley's Island as well as the vegetation on the inlet side offer some variety from your normal beach photography.
Things to consider:
1. Choosing Pawley's Island for your portrait location is only recommended if it will be low tide during your session date and time. The beach is very short and the jetties unusuable during high tide.
2. During the later summer/early fall, black biting flies can be found in great abundance at Pawley's Island at sunset. I do not recommend shooting at Pawley's this time of year because I have yet to find a type of bug spray that deters them and they are horribly painful.
4. Surfside Beach, SC
Surfside Beach, SC is located on the southern end of the Grand Strand in between Myrtle Beach, SC and Murrells Inlet, SC. It has a small, quaint historic strip as well as the beach and the Surfside Pier.
1. The beach offers a little bit of variety with the addition of the pier.
2. While it does get crowded during summer months, Surfside is generally not as crowded as Myrtle Beach, SC and it is more of a family friendly beach that Myrtle.
3. The small historical strip offers several neat locations including some awesome staircases, wood piles (don't laugh - they photograph beautifully) and great streetlamp lined sidewalks. The strip is less than a mile from the beach, so it's easy to do both in one session.
Things to Consider:
1. The historical strip is quite small. If you're looking for a historical city feel, I would definitely recommend historical Conway over Surfside. It is also important to note that the strip can have heavy traffic flow. For this reason, I do not recommend the strip of Surfside for families with children under the age of 5. Surfside Beach and pier is fine for all ages.
2. If your session is scheduled before 7pm, you will need to pay for parking at the Surfside Pier. It is $1.25 an hour - and the machine takes cash and credit.
Stay tuned for my next blog which will cover locations in Myrtle Beach and Conway!
Necessary Photography is a Myrtle Beach based professional photographer that specializes in fine art dance photography, senior portraits and family pictures. Contact me today to schedule your custom portraits!