Personal Branding Photos and Corporate Portraits & Headshots can be hosted ANYWHERE, as long as the location resonates with your brand. What is fun about personal branding or say… a small business or solo entrepreneur… is that you can use your own office, your home office, your kitchen, or even your backyard for photos:
The Yingling Group of RBC Wealth Management
Kelly Frager Professional Development & Training
But if your own home or office locations are feeling a bit stale, there are many a cool locations nestled within beautiful Carroll County, Maryland, locations that are stunning in photos. Continue reading as I share ten great photo spots to re-inspire your drive for new photography marketing collateral…
*As a professional, I highly recommended seeking permission to use any location that is not your own property. Some locations are private, while others are not, and it is important to respect the property owner’s rules. Sometimes a venue charges a site fee or require a photographer’s pass, and the last thing we want is to be kicked out in the middle of a photo shoot.
1. College Campuses
Carroll Community College
1601 Washington Road, Westminster, MD | carrollcc.edu
I’ve been to Carroll Community College as a student, an adjunct faculty member, and for over 40 photo shoots contracted by their marketing department. I’ve also been on campus to photograph a few local business owners. The campus features several striking elements worth noting.
As you enter the college, the unique facade and courtyard features an architectural design that is really fun and unique, allowing for several flexible backdrops and corners.
The rear facade of the campus faces Rt. 27. After walking through the “Great Hall” down the steps and outside, you will find an incredible multi-story tall glass face that photographs beautifully as a background. This spot is naturally lit best on days that are overcast or timed near sunset (be sure to Google “what time is today’s sunset?” to plan your schedule). It reflects beautiful hues of blue, in contrast to the vibrant red brick, resulting in rich color tones.
If your company has anything to do with theatrics, performance, or speaking, the Scott Theater (Building T) is a very nicely designed space, with balcony. You can contact the college to rent the Scott Theater. (The Carroll County Arts Council also has a theater you can rent!)
The K-Building hosts many community business events. Within Room K100, there is a large meeting space where I have often attended networking events, presentations, and other community gatherings. If you walk past this space, down the hall through the cafeteria, and all the way to the end, you keep discovering beautifully designed spaces and flattering open light.
As you move through campus, you will discover other photo-friendly spots, and the glass Sky-Walk between Buildings K & T is quite unique too. Finally, on the K-end is another open space and balcony with beautiful light fixtures that looks down over the entrance to Room K100.
Be sure to contact the college ahead of time, for permission, if you are interested in using their space for photographs or other purposes.
For a full map of the CCC Campus, visit https://www.carrollcc.edu/About/Maps-and-Directions/Campus-and-Parking-Map/.
2 College Hill, Westminster, MD | mcdaniel.edu
I have also photographed at McDaniel College a number of times. McDaniel’s campus offers a wonderful mix of beautiful grounds, lush vegetation, outdoor courtyards, historic architecture, and modern architecture.
There is so much to share about McDaniel, starting at the Ward Arch, surrounded by knock-out roses. The gorgeous Little Baker Chapel, where many a wedding happen. The water feature in front of Memorial Baker Chapel, plus the architecture of that building with its soaring white columns. And directly across is a tree line that overlooks downtown Westminster, Maryland. The deep concrete courtyard seating in the center of campus. And a walkway loaded with Canna Lillies. The beautiful landscaping that leads to the Klitzberg Pavilion, with a full glass facade that reflects beautiful hues of blue and turquoise.
Be sure to contact the college ahead of time, for permission, if you are interested in using their space for photographs or other purposes.
For a full map of the McDaniel College campus, visit https://www.mcdaniel.edu/media/798.
2. Hashawha & Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster, MD
300 John Owings Rd, Westminster, MD | ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/recpark/hashawha
Hashawha is a favorite destination: a 320-acre park with over 5 miles of trails. Enjoy a pond with decks / docks, wildlife, trails, trickling streams, pine forests, and more! Hike just up the hill to Bear Branch Nature Center for more wooded trails, a beautiful overlook facing the sunset, and fields released to nature.
Elisa Koehler – Trumpeter & Conductor
Over the years, this venue has been ideal for both consumer and B2B photo sessions, like solo headshots and commercial photos that highlight physical activity and outdoorsy vibes. Enjoy a few samples from senior portrait sessions and a project for Carroll County Tourism, below!
Check the park’s hours before visiting.
For a full map of the Hashawha & Bear Branch Trails, visit carrollcountymd.gov/services/gis-maps/gis-map-gallery/trails/hashawha-and-bear-branch.
3. Downtown Historic Main Street ANYWHERE
There are several fun aspects to just about any historic main street. Within Carroll County Maryland, we have EIGHT main streets that you can stroll and shop. Downtowns Sykesville, Westminster, Taneytown (my hometown), and Mount Airy are my favorites. With fun architecture, bright colors, fun shops, and texture filled alleyways, outdoor dining options, downtowns are always oozing with small town charm!
Sykesville even has a railroad stop and stationary trains (get permission guys!! it is illegal to photograph on train-tracks whether they are active or not).
In Westminster, I find my self repeatedly visiting the area around The Carroll County Historic Courthouse and active courthouses.
Michelle O. Campbell, Esquire Attorney at Law
I’v a Westminster City Hall, on Emerald Hill Lane, which is a beautiful historic building and also backs up to a small garden.
The courtyard on Locust Lane across from the Westminster Public Library is also great – this little space has a huge mural with neutral tones. And within walking distance are countless interesting alleyways, cut-throughs, and pretty main street facades.
Each and every one of our historic downtowns, including Hampstead, New Windsor, Manchester, and Union Bridge, have their own unique features that make them stand out.
4. Parking Garage Rooftops
The prettiest light and intriguing texture comes from parking garages and rooftops. There are a few parking garages in Westminster, Maryland, and I have photographed clients in all three. The time of day can be tricky – so make sure you aim for sunrise, sunset, or plan your session for an overcast day. I also love to take my travel studio lights for a little more creative control.
Make sure you ask permission from the property owners in advance of your photo session.
Rock The Runway Face of Fusion
5. Belle Grove Square in Westminster, MD
I would have never appreciated Belle Grove Square to the extent I do now, if not for a four-season photo-documentary project I led for the City of Westminster. I was asked to capture the little downtown park block’s beauty throughout one glorious year, and what a beautiful spot it is. Not only is the park itself just lovely, the buildings that surround it are quaint and well designed… including two churches and several charming homes. Out of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter… Spring is my favorite time at Belle Grove Square. But the other three seasons are close behind and each season the park completely transforms.
You can reserve Belle Grove Square park for special events, and even book the Westminster Municipal Band!
6. Various Parks & Trails
Piney Run Park
30 Martz Rd, Sykesville, MD | ccgovernment.carr.org/ccg/recpark/pineyrun
Piney Run Park features a 300-acre lake, with boat rentals, multiple pavilions, and surrounded by walking trails. This is the first location with a cost – just $5.00 to park. For a full map of the park trails, visit carrollcountymd.gov/services/gis-maps/gis-map-gallery/trails/piney-run-park.
Benrose Ln, Sykesville, MD | dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/central/morganrun.aspx
Located in Carroll County, the Morgan Run Natural Environment Area is comprised of approximately 2,000 acres of natural area. Hiking and equestrian trails are popular. The Morgan Run is a catch and release trout stream. A wheelchair accessible platform for fly fishing is available to anglers. For additional accessible amenities in Maryland State Forests and Parks, visit the Accessibility For All section of this website. For a full map of the park trails, visit carrollcountymd.gov/services/gis-maps/gis-map-gallery/trails/morgan-run.
Roberts Mill Pond & Westminster Community Pond
Located in Taneytown, MD & Westminster, MD
Settings with water are always alluring, especially at sunrise or sunset. Both of these community ponds are circled by paved walking paths, making them easy locations for family or business photo projects.
Find more Hiking Trails, Waterscapes, and Parks at www.CarrollCountyTourism.org.
7. K-12 School Campuses
Gerstell Academy, Westminster High School, and Francis Scott Key High School are just a few school campuses I have explored, full of interesting backdrops.
Be sure to contact the schools ahead of time, for permission, if you are interested in using their spaces for photographs or other purposes.
8. Historic Properties for Outdoor Photo Shoots
Carroll County Farm Museum
500 S Center Street, Westminster, MD | carrollcountyfarmmuseum.org
Carroll County Farm Museum is a beautiful property that hosts many large public and private events. With open landscapes, wooded settings, and historic barns, there are many fun backdrops to consider. And just around the corner from their property is another beautiful pond and a small evergreen forest that photographs beautifully at sunset. Carroll County Farm Museum requires that photographers have an active pass to use their property in advance of photo sessions.
Union Mills Homestead
3311 Littlestown Pike, Westminster, MD | unionmills.org
Union Mills Homestead is a 1790s estate with a historic buildings and is most well know for its working mill. Union Mills Homestead does not currently require a fee to photograph on their property, but donations are welcomed.
9. Historic Properties for Indoor (and Outdoor) Photo Shoots
There are so many amazing historic venues throughout Carroll County, that I am going to simply list a number of them with their websites. I imagine many, if not most of these venues, would welcome photo sessions with a rental fee. And while I have not personally visited every one on this list, I know they are all stunning.
Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel | Taneytown, MD | http://antrim1844.com/
Bowling Brook Mansion | Keymar, MD | https://bowlingbrookmansion.com/
Georges On York Bed & Breakfast | Taneytown, MD | http://georgesonyork.com/
Seasons at Magnolia Manor | New Windsor, MD | http://www.seasonsatmagnolia.com/
The Tannery Barn | Taneytown, MD | https://www.thetannerybarn.com/
10. Farms, Barns, & Vineyards
If you want to go for a small-town country vibe, Carroll County hosts countless farm and vineyard settings. The first thing that comes to mind for me is the Carroll County Barn Quilt Trail, an ongoing project which I have been photographing for Carroll County Tourism since 2014.
While the barn quilt locations vary from private properties to community venues, the below farms and vineyards are all open to the public (though some may require permission or rental).
Baugher’s Orchard | Westminster, MD | https://baughers.com/
Galloping Goose Vineyards | Hampstead, MD | http://www.gallopinggoosevineyards.com/
Good Feelings Farm | Westminster, MD | https://goodfeelingsfarm.com/
Local Homestead Products | Marston, MD | http://www.lhp.farm/
Montagu Meadows | Westminster, MD | https://www.montagumeadows.com/
Old Westminster Winery | Westminster, MD | http://www.oldwestminster.com/
Serpent Ridge Vineyard | Westminster, MD | http://www.serpentridge.com/
Wisteria Cottage & Barn | Manchester, MD | https://www.wisteriacottageandbarn.com/
BONUS: Borrow or Rent a Space
Think about venues and well designed business spaces that either offer interesting architecture indoors and outdoors, as well as beautiful grounds and landscaping. Wedding and corporate event venues are usually maintained for such opportunities. But don’t forget how friendly and community oriented Carroll County is… if you know someone who has an office space you love, don’t be shy to request using their space.
Below featured is from a Personal Branding Portrait Session held at Best Western Westminster Hotel for Jenni Utz of Utz Real Estate and Utz Property Management. Jenni was more than welcome on site, and it helps that the management team at BW knew me too!
Check out these samples from another Personal Branding Portrait Session hosted by a gym in Westminster, MD for Mike Gibble of Gibble Fitness. Mike, as a member of the former gym Musclemine in Westminster, MD, merged now with “The Gym” at Westminster Town Mall, was given permission to use the gym during a slow time of day so as not to disturb other members.
There are so many location ideas I am sure to have missed. But no matter the photo shoot goals, Carroll County, MD has countless photo-friendly locations and venues to offer.
If planning a photo session, I highly encourage you to first brainstorm locations that support the story behind your photos, or enhance your brand story. What would a Fly-On-The-Wall see on your ideal day? Write down all your ideas, then pair those ideas with locations that support your vision. For example…
Are you an event planner?
Wedding venues such as The Tannery Barn, Antrim 1844, or Westminster Riding Club would be perfect for you!
Are you a writer?
The courtyard in-front of the Westminster Public Library, or a cozy couch at your favorite Coffee Shop such as Birdie’s Cafe might do the trick.
Are you in the travel industry?
Find a venue that screams GET UP & GO, like the Westminster Airport.
Do you offer nutrition coaching?
A local cafe that values seasonal ingredients such as JeannieBird Baking Company, or shopping at a local farm market like Local Homestead Products, can highlight your values.
Do you travel a lot for work?
Book a modern hotel room at the Best Western Westminster Hotel or at a charming Bed & Breakfast, such as Georges On York Bed and Breakfast.
Are you a personal trainer?
Scout local gyms to see if any would welcome you using their space.
Are you a creative?
Let’s grab some of your tools of the trade and hit the streets! We can stage any setting you need.
Do you serve other businesses?
Ask one of your clients if you can feature their venue or office in your photo shoot… with a great plug, of course!