If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw me do a few polls this week to gauge interest on more Charleston-related blog content. Since moving here almost 2 years ago (CRAZY!!!), I have fallen in LOVE with Charleston and started sharing more and more about the amazing city. I was BLOWN AWAY by the response of hundreds of people wanting to see more content about CHS…so here we are! Over the next few months I’ll be sharing tons of posts with all of my local favorites for eating, shopping, exploring and more. And, because I’m a photographer, I figured the best place to start would be my favorite PHOTO SPOTS! All 10 of these locations are my go-to’s for professional photography sessions, but are also TOTALLY worth a stop for just some iPhone photos and exploring (even if you aren’t a professional)!
I’ll share the location, how to get there/where to park (if applicable) and some photo examples! Feel free to bookmark or screenshot this for your next trip to Charleston!
#1: Rainbow Row
This one obviously HAD to come first! Rainbow Row is one of the biggest Charleston tourist attractions (with good reason)! It is a strip of colorfully painted historic homes on E. Bay Street, and it is truly a photographer’s DREAM. I personally love it because I am able to get SO much variety without having to travel to another location. I could seriously do 5 back-to-back shoots here and make them all look COMPLETELY different! My two favorite colored homes are the pink and light blue homes on the corner of Tradd and E Bay Street.
Parking: I always park in the small lot on the corner of E. Bay Street and S. Adger’s Wharf – there are meters for easy parking, and you can just walk right across the street! Street parking is always packed near Rainbow Row.
#2: Tradd Street
This street is perpendicular to Rainbow Row, which makes it perfect for walking without having to re-park! The Pinterst-worthy blue and white home (in the 1st + 3rd photo) is about 2 blocks down Tradd Street (when coming from Rainbow Row), but the entire street is lined with beautiful colored buildings and photo-worthy window boxes. I love having my clients do one outfit on Rainbow Row, then change outfits to walk down Tradd Street. So. much. variety!
Parking: I always leave my car in the same lot as Rainbow Row!
#3: The Battery
Another famous Charleston location that is a must-visit! The Battery is at the very end of E. Bay Street, and it is a gorgeous walkway right on the water. Some of the most incredible (and expensive, haha!) Charleston homes line this walkway, which means it makes for a GORGEOUS photo backdrop. This is another location that I walk to from Rainbow Row or Tradd Street – they are all within 3-4 blocks of each other.
Parking: Same as Rainbow Row and Tradd Street.
#4: Hampton Park
The best downtown location for Spanish moss! One of the tricky parts about photography in Charleston is that a lot of the popular parks, plantations and gardens require expensive photography permit fees in order to professionally photograph on their property. Hampton Park doesn’t! It is a completely public park with tons of Spanish moss, floral trees, white sandy walkways and beautiful pergolas. I photograph here for at least a small portion of almost every shoot I do!
Parking: Hampton Park can be tricky for parking, because they actually close the road through the park on some weeknights to allow runners and bikers to use it freely. So, I typically park on Cleveland Street – it’s the street perpendicular to the park (that they do NOT close), and you can parallel park right there! It’s also closest walking distance to my favorite spots in the park.
#5: Church Street
If you are looking for a beautiful shot of the Charleston church steeples, this is where you want to be! The famous St. Michael’s church is located on this street, so photographing wide images from any angle will have the beautiful steeple in the skyline.
Parking: I always parallel park right near St. Michael’s!
#6: The Mills House
If you’ve ever seen a Charleston photo in front of a pink wall…it was probably here! The Mills House is a famous downtown Charleston hotel that is painted a beautiful bubblegum pink. The lighting is also ideal because it’s shaded the majority of the day, so it’s a photographer’s dream! I prefer to photograph the Queen Street side of the building across the street from the Poogan’s Porch restaurant.
Parking: There is a parking garage on Queen Street, right past the Mills House on the left. I always park there in one of the 1-hour spots, which are easily accessible on the first floor of the garage.
#7: Hibernian Hall
Right next to the front of the Mill’s House is Hibernian Hall – a beautiful white, courthouse-looking building. But, the best part? The floor at the top of the stairs is a beautiful black and white tile! It is one of my favorite locations for rainy days because it’s completely covered, and the pink Mill’s House wall is in the background!
Parking: Same garage as the Mill’s House.
#8: Bedon’s Alley
This beautiful hidden gem in walking distance of Rainbow Row + Tradd Street is another one of my favorites. The tall trees give off Italian/European vibes – and the light here is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset!
Parking: Same as Rainbow Row + Tradd Street!
#9: George Street
This is another popular wall in Charleston! On the corner of George Street and E. Bay Street lives a beautiful grey wall with light blue shutters – it is so photogenic! And, the Charleston Gaillard Center is one more block up – another great, photogenic location!
Parking: Parallel parking anywhere on the street
#10: Isle of Palms Beach
This is the ONLY location that isn’t downtown Charleston…but I wanted to give a beach option! Charleston beaches can be tricky because some allow professional photography and some do not. Isle of Palms only requires a permit of the shoot “disrupts” the public use of the beach…which typical portrait sessions typically do not. I’ve found this beach to be the easiest to access from downtown Charleston (it’s about a 15-20 min drive without traffic).
Parking: Near “The Windjammer” venue – parking can be very busy during the summer, so allow for extra time to find a spot!
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