We polled over 150 photographers in Texas and asked them what their favorite locations are to shoot photography. These are the best locations in the state-some of them are popular and some of them are little hidden gems.

State Capitol

Located in downtown Austin at 1100 Congress Avenue, the Texas State Capitol is a beautiful place to take both indoor and outdoor photographs. You’ll have plenty to photograph: The Texas State Capitol is the second largest capitol building. (Only the U.S. Capitol building is larger in terms of square footage.) Self-guided tours of the Texas State Capitol are available during business hours. Guided tours are also available: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 9:30 am -3:30 pm; Sunday, 12 noon – 3:30 pm. For more information, click here.

Not only is the building impressive, but the grounds are impeccably maintained, offering opportunities for outdoor photography as well.

And if you enjoy night photography, visit the Capitol building in the late evening. It’s stunning lit up against the black sky.

Oh, and while you’re in Austin, check out this Pinterest Board with more locations in the area.

6th Street in Austin

If you have an interest in street photography and enjoy listening to live music, check out Austin’s famed 6th Street. In the evenings, there are a variety of bands playing in the seven blocks of 6th Street between Congress Avenue and Interstate 35. You’ll hear more than just country music; reggae, jazz, blues, and hip-hop are also showcased. As you’d expect, the area is often crowded, particularly on the weekends and during special events.

If the bar and club scene doesn’t pique your interest, try visiting 6th Street during the day where you can admire and photograph historic homes and commercial buildings, most of which were erected in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Hill Country

In the heart of Texas is an area commonly known as Texas Hill Country. Texas Hill Country includes the city of Austin as well as many small towns. There’s a lot to do, see, and take pictures of in Hill Country. (Click here to view a map of Hill Country.
In my opinion, here are four of the best places to take photographs in Hill Country.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

In Fredericksburg, you’ll find Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. There, you can climb the 425-foot pink granite dome, which affords you fantastic views of Hill Country. You can also study and photograph birds. If nighttime photography interests you, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to stargaze and snap photographs of the stars and moon. Enchanted Rock is busiest from September through May.

Location: 16710 Ranch Rd. 965 Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 10 pm

For more information, click here.

Austin 360 Bridge

Austin 360 Bridge

Austin 360 Bridge

The Austin 360 Bridge is famous for its aesthetic and the surrounding area. It’s a great location for landscape photography, but you could also shoot unique portraits with the strong geometric shapes of the bridge as a background.

Another option for this bridge is to shoot it at night and get the tail lights and headlights of the cars in a long exposure.

Hamilton Pool Natural Preserve

Just thirty minutes outside of Austin, you’ll find the 232-acre Hamilton Pool Natural Preserve. This historic limestone pool was formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. A 50-foot waterfall cascades down into the swimming hole, making it a great spot to take spectacular landscape photos.

Location: 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, weather permitting. (Call ahead because sometimes it’s closed due to water quality issues.)

For more information, click here.

Gruene

Pronounced “green,” this tiny town (population: 30) is located 25 miles south of San Antonio. The town itself is quite charming (it is home to the oldest dance hall in Texas, built in 1878), but what many photographers come to photograph is the Guadalupe River crossing, located right behind the town of Gruene. The view of the river crossing is spectacular, particularly in the fall when the tree leaves are various shades of red, orange, and yellow.

For more information, click here.

Stonehenge II

In Ingram, Texas, you’ll find a replica of the original Stonehenge. Stonehenge II is about 90% of the width and 60% of the height of the original Stonehenge located in England. There are also two 13-foot Easter Island heads, sitting on either side of Stonehenge II. Yes, it’s a bit quirky–but it’s free and you just might get a few good shots of the statues.

Stonehenge II is located in Ingram, Texas.

Photo of the Dallas Skyline

Photo of the Dallas Skyline

Dallas Skyline from Trinity River Levee

One of the best locations to shoot the Dallas Skyline is from the popular Trinity River Levee location. The Dallas Photography Meetup group has had several shoots there.

Here is a map to the parking location.

Dallas Arboretum

Located in East Dallas, this 66-acre botanical garden offers photographers the opportunity to capture images of flowers, trees, sculptures, and nearby White Rock Lake.

Many people enjoy visiting the arboretum in the spring and summer because the floral displays are so gorgeous. For example, in the spring, the arboretum is home to over 500,000 blooming bulbs. If you plan to visit in the spring or summer, I’d suggest you go early in the morning. Not only will it be less crowded, allowing you to photograph the natural beauty more easily, but it will be cooler as well.

Fall is also a fun time to visit the arboretum! During the autumn season, the gardens are decorated with 50,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash.

While you’re in Dallas, check out this excellent list of more locations to shoot in the area.

Location: 8525 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218

Hours: Open daily, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Houston Skyline

Home to the 1,002-foot JP Morgan Chase Tower (the tallest skyscraper in Texas), Houston has an impressive skyline. Some of the most popular spots to take photos of the skyline include: Sabine Street Bridge, Eleanor Tinsley Park and St. Joe’s parking garage (near St. Joseph Parkway and Caroline). Experiment with taking shots during the day (there is very little traffic on Sunday mornings) and at night.

San Antonio Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk is a popular Texas destination where photographers can capture a variety of images: riverboats floating down the river, colorful restaurant umbrellas, stone bridges, flowers, and of course, people on the riverwalk. At night, the lights from the riverwalk reflect off the river, making for beautiful photographs.

For more information, click here.

Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

The largest free standing cross in the western hemisphere can be found in Groom, Texas. Groom is located 40 miles east of Amarillo on Interstate 40. This 190-foot-tall cross is best photographed at sunrise or sunset, using a wide angle lens. It is free to visit the cross.

San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

The San Antonio Mission National Historic Park is home to four missions. Although the 250-year-old missions once sat along the San Antonio River, they are now located in metro San Antonio. Each mission is in a separate location, so you’ll have to travel to four different places within San Antonio if you want to see all of them. (The fifth and best known mission, the Alamo, is not part of this park.) In the spring, summer and fall, the historic park is filled with green grass and flowers. Many photographers enjoy taking black and white photographs of the missions.

Hours: Open daily, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Cost: There is no entrance fee for the park.

For more information, click here.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch, an art sculpture made up of 10 old spray-painted Cadillac automobiles half-buried in the ground, is located in a cow pasture outside of Amarillo, Texas.

You can see this unique and colorful sculpture from Interstate 40. Although it is technically on private land, visitors are encouraged to stop by, take photographs, write graffiti on the cars–and even spray paint them, if you so desire.

There are no lights in the pasture, so plan on shooting during the day or bring your own lights at night.

Hours: Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Cost: The public art installation is free.

South Padre Island

South Padre Island, located at the coastal tip of Texas, is a popular tourist destination with plenty of opportunities to create beautiful photographs. You can photograph the sunrise or sunset, take pictures of fishermen, parasailers, or surfers, or snap images of sandcastles. (South Padre Island is considered by many to be the sandcastle capital of the world.) Wildlife shots are also possible; it’s likely you’ll see alligators, warblers, orioles, and thrushes on the island.

When NOT to go: Spring break! South Padre Island is packed with beachgoers during spring break, so if you’re looking to take landscape or wildlife photos, be sure to visit during another time of the year.

Caddo Lake

Located in North East Texas, Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in the south. This 26-acre lake is particularly special because its waters are filled with bald cypress and a number of aquatic plants. Because the vegetation is so thick and so lush, the lake is largely made up of sloughs, bayous, and ponds. The lake is a photographer’s heaven, both day and night. Sunset is one of the prettiest times to photograph the lake. In addition to the lake, some photographers enjoy snapping photos of the quaint cabins, built in the 1930s, as well as wildlife such as alligators.
Location: 245 Park Road 2 in Karnack, Texas
Hours: Open daily. It is busiest from March through November.

For more information, click here.

Bluebonnets

Okay, you got me! “Bluebonnets” is not a place in Texas. But these violet-blue flowers are so quintessentially Texas (they are the Texas state flower) that I had to include them in this photo list.

Interestingly, Texas Bluebonnets can be found in only one-third of the state. Which third is that, you ask? On bluebonnetlove.com, Author PerriAngela Wickham writes, “The majority of bluebonnets grow in the area we affectionately dub the Bluebonnet Triangle. Okay, it’s not really a true triangle — more like a triangle with a hump on its side. Imagine Houston, San Antonio, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as the corners, throw the Texas Hill Country in as the hump, and you’ll get the picture soon enough.”

Texas Bluebonnets bloom in the spring, generally between mid-March and mid-April, but exactly when depends on two things: 1) where you are located in Texas and 2) the nature of the weather. To find out where the Texas Bluebonnets are currently making their appearance, click here.

If you’re looking for a specific location, you might check out the Willow City Loop, which is only 12 miles Northeast of Fredericksburg, according to Nomadic Pursuits.

Do some edgy portraits at the graffiti park.

Do some edgy portraits at the graffiti park.

Graffiti Park in Austin

If you’re looking for a great portrait photography location, the Graffiti Park in Austin is a must! Rather than the typical “pretty picture in the park”, go for something completely different and shoot some hip, “urban” photos in the graffiti park.

Change your mind and decide you want the pretty park picture after all? Try Zilker Park.

Getting There: The location of the park is 1100 Baylor Austin, TX 78703 Clarksville, Downtown

Night Photography at Big Bend National Park

If you’re tired of shooting the Dallas skyline and you want to shoot some more “natural” scenes at night, then Big Bend National Park is the place to go.

Big Bend is a popular location for astronomy lovers because of its remote location-far away from city lights. With the gorgeous rock formations in the foreground, you have the recipe for a great shot.

Getting there: The directions are as simple as it gets. The huge park is located at the very bottom of the Texas Panhandle. Better directions are available on the official site.

In crafting this list, I chose some of the most popular Texas photo locations, along with a few lesser known sights. But there’s no doubt that Texas, the second largest state in the union, has many more outstanding photo locations. If you’re a shutterbug who hails from the Lone Star state or a non-Texan (like me) who has spent time shooting in Texas, please share your favorite photo locations in the comments below.

Original Content provided by Improve Photography

2 Comments

  1. Gruene is not 25 miles SOUTH of San Antonio. It is north of San Antonio and New Braunfels

  2. Don’t miss the bluebonnets in Ennis! 40+ miles of mapped trails to drive every April.

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