Hey, high school seniors—are you ready for your final GLOW up? Kick off your year right by picking out the perfect location for your Tampa senior portraits.
We’ve been all over the Bay taking senior photos, and the one thing we’ve learned is that you should pick a spot that speaks to your unique personality. For example:
Here’s what you need to know about the top 6 best senior portrait locations in Tampa Bay!
RELATED: Deep Dive Into Our Photoshoot Experience
Location: 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33767
Sand Key Park, also referred to as “Seashell Heaven,” is located on the barrier island of Sand Key. This gorgeous park and the white-sand beach is a hidden gem just south of Clearwater Beach. It has everything you could ask for:
Photographers are always scouting for new locations, and Sand Key Park remains at the top of our list of favorite senior portrait locations.
“Golden hour” takes on a whole new meaning here!
This little slice of heaven is a client’s dream when it comes to backdrop variety. Pose on the boardwalk, take a walk on the sandy paths, reminisce on playground swings, and dig your toes into the wet white sand.
Remember when I said, “hidden gem”? Sand Key Park is far less crowded than your typical Clearwater Beaches, making it the ideal setting for your senior pics session.
RELATED: MORE PHOTOS AT SAND KEY PARK
Location: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
So much fascinating history in one spot! Where do we begin?!
The Ringling is a State Art Museum that sits on over 60 acres of waterfront property among the art community in Sarasota. This pink, Renaissance-inspired palace preserves the memory of the famed John Ringling and his wife Mabel. The same John Ringling who co-owned “The Greatest Show on Earth”, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!
The property is also home to:
It’s easy to see why we love The Ringling for Tampa senior portraits. The architecture is a wonderful combination of Renaissance and Venetian Gothic. Both styles demand attention and beg to be photographed!
Classical sculptures fill the tiered terrace courtyard, which also has a grand moat. The awe-inspiring Bayfront Gardens are home to the striking Banyan trees that provide the perfect setting for your senior portrait. The Bayfront Promenade and Millennium Tree Trail showcase exotic tropical trees and plants.
We could go on for days as to why The Ringling is a superbly unique venue and will add an extra pop to your senior pictures.
Location: 401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606
The University of Tampa (UT) covers 110 acres on the banks of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, providing an eclectic mix of culture, food, and fun!
UT’s campus is filled with historical and modern buildings (60 in total) and many more sites to discover. Even though the University of Tampa is surrounded by a buzzing metropolis, the campus flora includes palm trees, grand oaks, rose bushes, and azaleas.
The campus grounds include Plant Park, a landscaped, palm-tree-lined riverside area. Toss in the various areas for sports and recreation, and you’re left with a resort-like feel in the heart of Tampa. It’s hard to believe this is an actual college campus!
As you’ve probably noticed by now, the best locations are full of diversity.
After all, we don’t want all our images to look the same.
In this regard, UT does not disappoint! Aside from the University’s castlesque appearance, the surrounding area offers a casual urban vibe with brick-lined streets and pathways that seem to touch the river. The Victorian architecture, coupled with the Moorish minarets, domes, and cupolas of the UT buildings, is a sharp contrast to the bustling downtown atmosphere. This only adds more visual interest to the already stunning backdrop of Tampa’s distinctive skyline.
Throw in the parks, vast fields, tall palms, and breathtaking views, and you will have senior photos everyone will love and envy.
Location: 2525 Philippe Pkwy, Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Philippe Park is a historic landmark that overlooks Old Tampa Bay. The park was named after Odet Philippe, who is said to have introduced citrus to Florida.
The mile-long trail wraps around the shoreline, offering historical points of interest. The area was once a Native American settlement and still has ties to the culture today.
The park itself has a considerably large, ancient temple mound that was built by the Tocobaga chiefdom. You can explore the nature trails, picnic in the park, and just relax by the water. Maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of some wildlife.
Philippe Park is the oldest park in Pinellas County. I don’t know about you, but I am completely mystified!
The story of Philippe Park is quite enchanting! If the rich history doesn’t draw you in, perhaps the canopy of trees will.
These massive ancient oaks can only be described as tranquil as they offer peeks of crisp rays of light through the Spanish moss. This gives your senior photos a dynamic quality and leaves you (and everyone else) breathless. Philippe Park offers so much more in its landscape, stonework, and quaint beach.
It is truly a setting that will make others say “wow”!
RELATED: See the ✨GLOW✨ Gallery
Location: 17302 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Lutz, FL 33548
Lake Conservation Park is located just north of Tampa. Here you have 600 hundred acres of hiking trails intermingling with the park’s 5 lakes, cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks.
Lake Park also offers a wide range of amenities, like an archery range, a Tampa BMX track, and a horse arena. In fact, it’s the site of the Bakas Equestrian Center for handicapped riders. This park is sure to take you on a wild ride for your senior session.
Welcome to the jungle!
Maybe we should be answering why we wouldn’t love it!
Clearly, this place is all about action, and we love a good action shot!
The expansive oak archway along the trail leads you into a world of excitement and adventure. Hiking, mountain biking, cross-country runners, equestrians (we love horses), and sport enthusiasts, all have a home here. Lake Park is the perfect location for all our active high school seniors and nature lovers.
Need to take a quick break? There’s a lovely gazebo where you can spend a moment taking it all in, and it makes for a gorgeous photo!
This park always reminds us that we need to spend a bit more time outdoors, appreciating the great wide world (not to be confused with the world wide web).
So, saddle up for your Tampa senior portraits! It’s time to start your next adventure!
Location: 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
Curtis Hixon Park is Downtown Tampa’s new attraction. This waterfront park spans 8 acres and neighbors:
Aside from the surrounding museums, this urban space is filled with opportunities for every event or activity imaginable. Vast open space areas give way to festivals and concerts. Splash pads, playgrounds, and dog runs help to keep the family entertained. The Riverwalk, fountains, and lighting displays help create that much-needed romantic night out.
This is a place where boredom does not exist.
This Tampa haven is all about city life and has the personality to match! The urban metro fanfare offers just about anything you could ask for your Tampa senior portraits.
Dance in the neon lights. Sing and laugh with the street performers. Lounge in that golden hour sunset on the park benches. The Cityscapes, water views, and parks all come together seamlessly to provide ever-changing backdrops for your ultimate senior session.
All of this ensures no two photos will look the same! Alleyways, iron staircases, brick walls, fountains, palm tree-lined paths, and art installations; all create perfect posing possibilities! Who knew one place could have it all?
Do we have your attention now?
Find Inspiration for Your Session
Prepping for an engagement, maternity, newborn, family, or senior portrait session can make you feel excited, anxious, a smidge stressed … and of course, making a giant mess in your closet as you search for the perfect outfit. Inside our blog, we’re serving up all the inspo, tips, and tricks you need to have a stress-free photo session, from how to pose without feeling super awkward to what you and your family should wear. Reap the benefits of our 30 years of photography experience and wisdom, or just enjoy looking at the pretty pictures.
Don’t stress (or start panic shopping just yet!). Download our Style Guide, so you know exactly what looks to lay out.
You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers!
Get the Scoop
Here are some of our top spots in Tampa for ahh-maa-zing lighting and magazine-worthy backdrops.
Get the List