It’s fall and if you are in high school, or have a teenager who is, that means it’s homecoming time!
Homecoming is a tradition of welcoming back former students and alumni and celebrating with themed dress up days for students and staff. Homecoming weeks wrap up with the much anticipated Friday night football game against their biggest rival and of course, the Homecoming Dance!
The homecoming dance!!! The long held tradition that all high school girls long for (taking only second to prom)! It begins with searching for THE perfect dress, finding the best person to be your date (sometimes’s that’s your boyfriend/girlfriend, sometime’s it’s with a big group of friends!) and getting your hair and makeup done for that special evening. There are a lot of costs that can go into preparing for the dance (and that week leading up to it, to be honest). It is important to take pictures of you and your friends and dates (or your sons and daughters, if you are a parent), but there may not be much extra money in the budget for a photographer.
Most parents own a camera (or can borrow one from someone), so why not invite everyone over before they leave for the dance? I know what you’re saying…”My house doesn’t look good enough for pictures”, “I don’t have any big beautiful trees or anything that would be a cool background”, etc.
That’s where Sara Davis Portraits can help you!! I have created a list of places in the Edwardsville, Collinsville and yes, even St. Louis area, where I recommend going to take your homecoming pictures! Some of these locations I have personally taken my clients to for their prom and senior portrait sessions! These places are all free (except for one) and the majority are outside, with the exception of Target, which we’ll discuss more below.
So grab a cup of coffee or tea and a notebook and let’s get started on planning you or your teenagers homecoming pictures!!
The Gardens at SIUE – There are plenty of flowers, a pond, garden paths, an oriental influenced pergola and a butterfly garden in this beautiful garden area on the edge of the SIUE campus in Edwardsville.
Downtown Edwardsville has many places that are perfect for portraits, both individuals and groups, with an urban touch to them. Some of my personal favorites are:
Edwardsville Public Library
Lewis and Clark Community College campus
Another fun and unique place to take homecoming pictures is inside Target. Please be sure to call and check with management to make sure that they are ok with it!
There are tons of old buildings on Main Street in Collinsville that are awesome for homecoming photos. A few of my suggestions are:
Miners Theatre – 204 West Main Street, Collinsville, IL 62234
Collinsville Public Library – 408 West Main Street, Collinsville, IL 62234
The Blum House – 414 West Main Street, Collinsville, IL 62234
Outside of Butterfield Jewelers – 123 East Main Street, Collinsville, IL 62234
Woodland Park is a fantastic location, if you are looking for more nature and park setting. There is a lake as well as multiple playgrounds, if you want to tap into your inner child while you take photos!
St. Louis Area
For those of you who really want unique, take a drive across the river and plan to take pictures at some of these great places! I am grouping them by urban and nature to make it easier for you. Remember to plan for up to 1-2 hours extra to ensure that you have plenty of time to make it to the dance! Also, remember to have loose change or a debit card available to pay for any areas that you need to park at (parking ticket fines aren’t any fun to deal with). Typically, $1.00 will cover an hour on a parking meter (these do take debit cards now at the majority of locations).
Urban All of these locations are for outdoor pictures unless noted! Addresses are provided for your convenience.
Union Station Hotel – While you cannot take photos inside of Union Station without paying a hefty fee, their grounds and outside of the building are gorgeous! St. Louis Union Station opened in 1894 as a passenger intercity train terminal and is on the National Historic Landmark Register. It was once the world’s larges and busiest train station and converted to a hotel, shopping center and entertainment complex in the early 1980’s. Currently, what used to be the shopping center portion, has been taken over by the hotel and is being turned into train themed hotel suites. It will also feature a 75,000 square feet aquarium. The building is constructed of Indiana limestone, which photographs beautifully, as you can see from my images! The train shed is another fabulous area to take your pictures. It is located behind the hotel and can easily be accessed from South 20th Street, off of Market Street. Address: 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103
City Garden – The garden, located just 4 minutes away if walking from Union Station Hotel, is a lush oasis covering 2.9 acres in downtown St. Louis. There are twenty kinds of trees and twenty-four pieces of large-scale modern and contemporary sculpture, by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The sculptures range from whimsical, tongue-in-cheek, and fun to somber and mysterious; from elegant, lyrical and sensuous to geometrical, edgy and surprising; and from figurative and classical to abstract. It most definitely makes for some fun and creative photos. Address: 801 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63101.
Laclede’s Landing – Located on the bank’s of the Mississippi River and just north of the Gateway Arch, Laclede’s Landing is downtown St. Louis’ oldest district and ONLY riverfront entertainment and dining destination. In addition to original cobblestone streets, the small urban historic district is the only remaining section of St. Louis’ 19th century commercial riverfront. There are tons of brick buildings and cast iron staircases to utilize in your photos. You may also stop in the Old Spaghetti Factory and ask if you can take some photos upstairs lobby or on the iconic staircase! They also have horse drawn carriages, available for rides ($50 for 2 people for a 30 minute tour) as well as a Princess Carriage ($70 for 2 people for a 30 minute tour). Laclede’s Landing encompasses 9 blocks, giving you plenty of options when taken your homecoming photos! Address: 710 N. 2nd Street, St. Louis, MO 63102.
City Museum – City Museum is a playhouse museum, consisting mainly of re-purposed architectural and industrial objects, and housed in the former International Shoe Company building in the Washington Avenue Loft District downtown. This photo location is perfect for both the eclectic artist and the history/architectural buffs alike! For access to anything inside the outside and inside walls of City Museum, admission is required. Tickets are $12 plus $5 for rooftop access, per person. I have taken both prom and senior portraits at the City Museum and they turned out beautiful and added a unique quality to the images and definitely made for a memorable experience. PS. Fun fact if you didn’t know…International Shoe Company provided shoes to Robert Wadlow, aka the Alton Giant, who wore a size 37 shoe! Address: 750 N. 16th St., St. Louis, MO 63103
Graffiti Wall – This secret gem of street art is by far one of the most unique and ever changing photo locations there is! The wall, which actually is a flood wall spans almost 2 miles, features legal graffiti artwork from graffiti artists from all over the world! Address: Chouteau Avenue and S. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63102
Nature Areas – St. Louis has a multitude of parks, gardens and green spaces. Below is a list of those places. Some will have a nice mix of nature with urban buildings and structures.
St. Louis Art Museum – The St. Louis Art Museum, originally designed as the Palace of Fine Arts of the 1904 World’s Fair, boasts a grand lobby and a gorgeous Beaux Arts facade. There is a very unique Giant Three-Way Plug sculpture located outside of the North Entrance (trust me, you can’t miss it and you don’t want to!) Another area at the museum, perfect for homecoming pictures is the Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden. The design of the garden consists of walking paths and more than 400 new trees. Whether you want to incorporate the architecture of the museum, the many sculptures, or the beautiful green space that surrounds the museum, this location has many options that makes it a perfect place for pictures! Address: 1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110
The Grand Basin at Forest Park – The Grand Basin is located at the bottom of Art Hill, just down from the Art Museum. It was restored in 2003 and has eight beautifully lit fountains that run year-round. I recently photographed a senior session and we utilized several areas of the Grand Basin. The fountains provide a beautiful backdrop in images. The basin is one of the most popular locations for wedding and prom photos, so please plan to arrive as early as possible to ensure that you have plenty of time to take pictures in this iconic location! Address: Concourse Drive, St. Louis, MO 63110.
Lafayette Park – Lafayette Park is a superb choice for homecoming photos, especially when the teenager likes urban park settings. The park, which was dedicated in 1851 as one of the first public parks in St. Louis, has 30 stunning acres and features original fences and gates, the beautifully restored and maintained Park House, an original bridge and the Elizabeth Cook Pavilion. There are also three canons, which are relics of the Revolutionary War. Address: Lafayette Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63104.
Please remember to keep parking in mind with the locations above as well! Fall is an extremely popular time with residents and visitors to the St. Louis area, so please allow ample time!
There are SO many places around our area and in St. Louis to take homecoming pictures, that I could write for days about them, but time is of the essence, so I have to narrow it down to my favorite places that I recommend to my clients!
Happy planning and don’t forget to have an awesome time at the dance! Creating long lasting memories is what it’s all about If you choose one of these locations based on my blog, please post it on Facebook and Instagram and tag #saradavisportraitshomecomingtipsblog! I look forward to seeing your pictures!