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Old Sacramento Location Spotlight

March 23, 2023

With its plentiful backdrops and rustic vibes, Old Sacramento is one of my favorite locations in the city for portraits.

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With its plentiful backdrops and rustic vibes, Old Sacramento is one of my favorite locations in the city for portraits. Perfect for couples or families, this location truly is full of hidden gems that allow for a full gallery with tons of variety.

Where to Start Photographing

I tend to photograph mostly near the California State Railroad Museum and the surrounding buildings, so I always tell my clients to meet me in front of the Railroad Museum entrance. It’s a great meeting place that is easy to find on all map apps. Once I meet my clients, we always walk around towards the back of the museum. The wooden doors on the back of the museum (where they take the old train cars out to put them on the track) is one of my absolute favorite places in the entire city to take pictures.

These doors give great rustic feelings and lots of texture. They are grand and stunning and work well from many different angles. This is a great location to get a wide variety of photos done before moving on to some of the other locations in Old Sacramento.

Where Are The Hidden Gems

After starting by the Railroad Museum’s wooden doors, I usually walk to the left and take photos along the next building. There are great brick walls as well as old white and glass doors that provide a really fun area to take photos. I love having kids sit on the little ledge or having couples cozy up in the corner.

From there, I walk around to the left again (basically heading back toward the museum entrance) and take photos with clients sitting on the big wooden boxes against the blue or red walls. These walls are so fun and give you some great contrast to the lighter wooden doors and brick and white doors that you’ve just come from.

Those are the main spots where I photograph, but there are several others including down the large alleys in between streets, a white building across the street from the train tracks and brick walls with white doors. And then there’s the bridge…

How To Get the Old Sacramento Bridge Photo

This is a photo that many photographers love to take, and it’s easy to see why. The bridge is beautiful and it provides such an amazing backdrop for a dramatic photo. But there is definitely strategy (and a little photoshop) involved in taking it.

I always tell my couples and families EXACTLY what the posing will be before we start photographing. I do this on the sidewalk and get everyone set up in their positions so they know what to do. You only have 20 seconds in between traffic lights to take this photo, so you can’t waste any of it on posing.

Once that light changes and you’re able to walk, head straight for the middle of the street. Your clients should know exactly where to stop, and you should also have found a mark on the street where you’ll stand each time you do this. As soon as they get into position, start snapping away. Look over your shoulder at the light countdown and when there are five seconds left, you head back to the sidewalk. Safety is the most important thing here.

Do that a few times so that you have options for the posing as well as for the background. While it will generally be the same, there might be cars immediately behind your clients for some of the photos, and it helps to have a few different photos so that you can stitch together the blank bridge background and your clients. This photo definitely takes some coordination, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Do you want to schedule your own session in Old Sacramento? Send me a message here!

Are you a photographer looking to take your business from surviving to thriving? I’d love to hear from you!

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I'm Kathleen, your new friend, storyteller, and cheerleader.

Once upon a time, I was a classroom teacher. But after moving from Chicago to California, I switched gears and turned my love of photography into a business! Now I'm combining the two and loving every second of it!

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