Outdoor Photography

One of a kind spaces in Toronto

I began my photography journey as primarily a convention photographer. Some of my earliest work - if we're being generous enough to call it that - was taking posed, full-body portraits in subpar lighting against a backdrop of some of the ugliest hotel convention center walls and carpets. During the covid-19 pandemic, the situation for cosplayers and cosplay photographers changed drastically. No longer were there large gatherings, big conventions, or an acceptable place to gather in costume. However, photographers still needed work, and cosplayers still wanted to create. Once the weather grew warmer and public spaces began to open back up slowly, photographers and cosplayers began participating in outdoor sessions. The community started to see the importance, and artistic value in staging photoshoots in curated locations that fit the stories they wanted to tell! Of course, these beautiful locations are not limited to cosplay only. Just like the subjects I photograph, the city is versatile and unique!

The most important thing to remember when selecting a location is finding a place that works for you and your needs. Be mindful of weather, your physical limitations, space requirements, and how many people you'd like to include in your session

If selecting a space seems overwhelming, let's talk!

Although there's some novelty and uniqueness that comes from renting a studio space, I enjoy working outdoors, and it's a great way to keep costs low for both photographer and client, (unless permits are required)! Most of my clients know that I walk and cycle to the bulk of my sessions when possible, so I often keep my eyes peeled for some of the lesser known nooks the city has to offer.

The locations below are some of my favourite places to host sessions, but some of them I've marked off as part of my wishlist. If you're interested in booking at one of these locations, visit my investment page for an up-to-date rate card!

Lastly, when holding sessions anywhere, we need to be mindful of the land we're using and occupying. I believe in leaving a session space as untouched as possible. This means that I always ensure that myself and my clients do not damage any flora or fauna, take care not to leave any litter, respect the community in and around photo session locations, and acknowledge those who care for and protect indigenous lands.

Osgoode Hall

Location: Downtown Toronto, next to city hall

Best time of day for shooting: early morning or early evening

Seasonality: Great in all seasons, has beautiful landscaped gardens in the summer.

Features: Spacious grounds and interesting arched doorways. Romantic cobblestone paths, gardens and intricate metal grates.

Accessibility: Easy to access from TTC with parking nearby. Cobblestone paths may be inaccessible for those with mobility issues

Permit: None Required

Julia's thoughts: I love shooting here! The location is easy to get to and the architecture is very romantic, perfect for almost every setting. Since the grounds are so spacious, it's great for larger groups and couples.

High Park

Location: West of Toronto, 1873 Bloor St W

Best time of day for shooting: very early morning or early evening

Seasonality: Possible to shoot in all seasons, but many pathways aren't upkept in the winter

Features: Manicured gardens, a pond, abundant wildlife, and blossoming trees in spring

Accessibility: Easy to access from TTC, park is closed to vehicles on weekend and street parking is subject to availability. Steep hills may be inaccessible to those with mobility issues

Permit: None Required

Julia's thoughts: High Park is my go-to. I have many "special spots" that I love taking clients to. In the autumn, it's where I host my Halloween photo marathon.

Sunnyside Beach

Location: Lakeshore Blvd West

Best time of day for shooting: very early morning

Seasonality: Summer

Features: It's the beach! Some portions are very rocky, others have soft sand. If you're inclined, step into the water!

Accessibility: Accessible via the Queen Streetcar.

Permit: None, unless you'd like to use Sunnyside Pavilion

Julia's thoughts: I am an early riser, so shooting at the beach is one of my favourite places. I even go there to photograph the birds sometimes

Graffiti Alley

Location: Queen West and Spadina

Best time of day for shooting: Midday or afternoon

Seasonality: All Seasons

Features: An alley in the heart of downtown full of colourful graffiti

Accessibility: Accessible via the Queen Streetcar. Green P parking nearby

Permit: None

Julia's thoughts: The alley is tight, so it's best for only one (maybe two) people. Keep in mind that this is a real alleyway. I don't recommend leaving valuables unattended, or holding a session here at night. There are also powerful smells from the restaurants and their garbage, so it may not be an ideal location if you're sensitive to scents.

Toronto Necropolis / Riverdale Farm

Location: Toronto East End, Cabbagetown

Best time of day for shooting: Early morning or late afternoon to Golden Hour

Seasonality: All seasons, but it's most beautiful in the autumn when the leaves turn

Features: One of Toronto's only examples of gothic architecture, plus a real working farm with real farm animals

Accessibility: Accessible via TTC, limited street parking and lots nearby. Sessions inside the park will need to be wrapped up before closing at 5:00pm, however the necropolis is open later.

Permit: None required

Julia's thoughts: I will take anyone here at the drop of the hat, especially in the autumn when the leaves are golden

Etienne Brulé Park

Location: West End, Humber River

Best time of day for shooting: Early morning or late afternoon to Golden Hour

Seasonality: Summer and late spring

Features: When the water level is low, you can get great shots right inside the river. The Humber Bay bridge is also nearby for a modern twist

Accessibility: Accessible via TTC by way of Old Mill Station. Parking nearby. Not suitable for clients with mobility issues

Permit: None required

Julia's thoughts: Some of my most unique shots were captured here a few summers ago. I am dreaming of going back!

Cedarvale Park

Location: Between St. Clair West and Eglinton West Station

Best time of day for shooting: Early morning or late afternoon to Golden Hour

Seasonality: All

Features: The large wooden bridge makes for an interesting backdrop

Accessibility: Accessible via TTC but with an uphill walk/large flight of stairs from St. Clair West Station.

Permit: None required

Julia's thoughts: This location is wonderfully private for those who want a session away from curious onlookers. Be prepared with bug spray, and maybe to get a little muddy.

Various Churches

Please inquire! I love to hold sessions at churches, as they are some of Toronto's most beautiful buildings. When I select a location, I consider my own values and inclusion, as a queer photographer. If you are interested in holding a session in a church yard, please get in touch.

Wishlist Locations

Princes' Gates

Princes' Gates

Near the exhibition place at Lakeshore Blvd West. This location includes fountains in the summer, and curated flower arrangements. Best time of the day for photos would be in the late afternoon, or early morning.

Guildwood Park and Gardens

Guildwood Park

Guildwood Park is full of old statues and Roman-influenced artwork. It's located in the Scarborough area and requires a permit, making it best suited for a large group of people.

Alexander Muir Gardens

Alexander Muir Gardens

Perfectly landscaped and located just south of Lawrence station. This garden is perfect for summer sessions duting anytime of day.

Can you see yourself in one of these locations, with me as your photographer? Let's chat!

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