A common question from brides is- Where in Columbia is a good place for my bridal portrait?  Well, today I’m posting some of my personal picks for the best bridal portrait locations in the Columbia area!  

What makes a great bridal portrait location?

I’d say my top priority for a bridal portrait location is somewhere that is well maintained.  The SC State House and the Governor’s mansion come out on top as far as being beautifully kept up all year round.  They also have greenery during every season, so spring, summer, fall or even winter, they’re great options for bridal portraits.

Secondly, you need to consider variety.  Does your location allow you to have several different looks in one area?

Another consideration is the mood of the location.  701 Whaley is a venue with exposed brick walls, large windows, and wood or concrete floors depending on what room you’re in so I’d say this location would work well for a vintage/industrial sort of feel.  The Governor’s mansion has little gardens, ivy and brick alcoves so that location has more of a dreamy, romantic mood.  If there’s somewhere that has special significance to your story as a couple, such as a park he proposed to you in or if you’re both alumni of USC and you wanted photos on the Horseshoe, that would have a personal mood all of it’s own, unique to you, so that would be something to consider.  



Is the location open to the public, is there a fee and what hours is it available are also important questions to ask?  For example, Robert Mills House and the Seibels House both have a lovely gardens and picturesque architecture, but since they are privately owned, there is a fee for taking photos there, so you’ll want to check into that before you get your heart set on a location.

Seibels House bridal portrait


Lastly, I like to consider if it’s easy to keep the dress clean.  Generally bridal portraits are taken before the wedding so it’s always a priority to keep the dress as spotless as possible.  Some locations are very pretty, but there’s dirt paths, sand or wild vegetation which make this more challenging.  Places like the State House and USC Horseshoe have wide paved pathways which make it very easy to keep the dress clean.  Also, if your location has a clean place to change into your dress, that will go one step further to keep everything clean.  

Columbia Area Bridal Location Details

Now for my favorite part- the photos!  The details are subject to change but this should help give you an idea of place to check out for your portrait.  The fees are in dollar amounts from $ for in the neighborhood of $50, to $$$ for fees around $125-200.

SC State House Bridal Portrait

Times available– Interior available 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday, open on Saturday/month.  Exterior available anytime as long as no other events are planned.  Restrooms available to change into dress during business hours.
Fees– No fees required but you must schedule ahead.

This is one of my personal favorite locations because you have lots of little gardens, an old oak tree with a Charleston feel, the interior columns and staircase if you go during business hours, and of course the rich-looking marble balcony area.  That’s a lot of variety in one location.  And the lighting at the State House is just dreamy streaming through the trees around sunset!

SC State House Bridal Portraits

Governor’s Mansion Grounds Bridal Portrait

Times available– 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday
Fees– No fees to use outside area.  $$$ Fee required if you use the Lace House for interior photos and changing into/out of dress.  Not aware of a reliable place to change into/out of dress at this location unless the gift shop is open.

Featuring several little gardens, fountains, a wrought iron gate and a cute brick alcove, this location has a classic Southern, romantic mood.  

Governor's mansion and Lace House bridal portrait

USC Horseshoe Bridal Portrait

Times available– Anytime.  School activities may limit some use.  Avoid move-in, move-out weeks.
Fees– No fees to use outside area.  No reliable place to change unless you reserve the Rutledge Chapel for a fee.  $$

Always a great choice for USC alumni and fans, the Horseshoe features USC flags and icons, long brick walkways, open green spaces, little gardens and another great wrought iron gate.  This location is especially beautiful in the mornings and mid-late afternoons.

USC Horseshoe Bridal Portraits

701 Whaley Bridal Portrait

Times available– Varies.  Contact venue for date/time openings.  Weekday mornings/evenings are generally the most readily available times.
Fees– $ There is a per-hour fee for this location.  You can change in the spacious bathrooms.

This location used to be an old mill and it has kept the exposed brick and high windows look for a fun retro/industrial type of feel.  This is a great options for a bridal portrait because you don’t have to worry about the weather.  If you’re having a bridal portrait in the heat of the summer, you’ll definitely appreciate the air conditioning.  

701 whaley bridal portraits

Your Reception Venue

Times– Vary, contact your venue to discuss date/time options.  Most venues prefer weekday mornings/afternoons, since they typically save weekends and evenings for potential events.
Fees– Generally most locations allow you to use the facility at no cost, but you’ll want to confirm with your venue.

Even through your having your wedding photos at your reception location, a bridal portrait is a great time to try new spots at different times of day and really take your time enjoying getting beautiful photos of yourself at a location that will have significance for you for the rest of your life!

Here’s a few bridal portraits we took at the Springdale House and Gardens.

Springdale House bridal Portrait

Corley Mill House

Corley Mill House bridal

Adam’s Pond

Adams Pond Bridal
Adam's Pond Bridal

Family Home/ College

Another option is if you have a pretty family home or a relative with a nice house on the lake, that’s another option to consider for your bridal portrait.  You may want to send photos of your location beforehand to make sure it has enough options to make a great bridal portrait, but what greater significance can a location have if it was the home you grew up in, spent summers in, or your parents lovely worked on the garden for?  Or the farm your Grandparents own?  Or the college that spent four years walking around?

Family Farm Bridal

Farm bridal portrait

Columbia College

Columbia College Bridal Portrait

If you’d like more information on how to be ready for your bridal portrait with Palmetto Duo or pricing information, send us an email or fill out the contact form below and we’ll respond with our Bridal Portrait Preparations Guide.  

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