One hour in Southern Pines is most definitely not enough time to capture the endless charm and beauty this quaint area of North Carolina has to offer. But if one hour is all you have, then this guide was made for you. I recently spent a beautiful late July morning exploring downtown Southern Pines and surrounding areas while shooting portraits for Chloe Creative Studio. In this post, I’m breaking down our one-hour itinerary and sharing my top three outdoor photoshoot locations in Southern Pines (or, as the locals have fondly coined it, ‘The Pines’).
Our first stop was Weymouth Center, which is just five blocks from the center of downtown Southern Pines. Every corner of Weymouth Center is a dream. It reads a bit more formal with the building structure and manicured gardens (they also host weddings!), but if you’re looking for a more rustic feel, you can stick to the wooden fences and open fields on the outskirts of the property. I was tempted to spend the entire hour just at the Weymouth Center; there is truly so much diversity.
Given the time of day, the lighting during our shoot from this vantage point wasn’t ideal, but my top two favorite spots were (1) the view of the gardens with the house in the background and (2) the hydrangea hedge.
You will need advance permission to shoot at Weymouth Center. If you’re a professional Southern Pines photographer or photographer in NC planning to shoot here regularly, it’s probably worth investing in their $300 annual Photographer’s Membership. Without the membership, their rate is $75 for two hours. If you’re an amateur photographer or shooting for fun, they simply ask for a donation of your choice to the Center. More info can be found here.
“My parents built a house with fourteen doors, eight of them glass, looking out over the fields and trees. During my childhood these doors were always open—to friends and neighbors who came to talk about politics, farming and gardening, writing, horses and dogs, history, music, education. That’s the way my parents hoped it would always be.”—NANCY BOYD SOKOLOFF
Weymouth Woods, with its tall pines and sparse undergrowth, is so quietly beautiful. The park entrance is only a six-minute drive from Weymouth Center, and the area is extremely well-maintained. It was overcast when we got here, so there was truly no bad direction to shoot.
Whenever I plan a photoshoot near dense forests or woods, I always look for a decent amount of light filtering through the trees, which prevents your background from looking super dark. Luckily, the pines here aren’t super dense, so the reflected light on my client was luminous and neutral at this time of day. While there isn’t as much variety in backdrops compared to Weymouth Center, this is a great place to shoot if your client is aiming for a very specific look.
Make sure to check out my 5-step Branding Photoshoot Checklist before planning your next session!
From what I can gather on the NC Parks & Recreation website, there are no precise fees for photography or filming sessions at Weymouth Woods, however, there is a permit application for both individuals and production companies. You may want to look into this if you’re planning a larger project that involves multiple models and photo and video. You can check out additional fees and fill out the permit here.
Our third and final photoshoot stop took us to the heart of downtown Southern Pines. Even though we only spent 20 minutes here, we made the most of our time by sticking to an area with the most variety within a one-block radius. We parked on the corner of NE Broad Street and E Connecticut Ave. Right in front of parking were these beautiful (albeit seasonal) flowering Crepe Myrtles that I just couldn’t pass up for a few quick shots.
A quick walk across the street brings you to the covered (read: good light in any time of day or weather) Southern Pines Train Station.
Southern Pines Station Address: 235 NW Broad St, Southern Pines, NC 28387
From there, we walked to grab a few shots in front of the nostalgic Sunrise Theater, which has become an iconic landmark in the area.
Sunrise Theater Address: 250 NW Broad St, Southern Pines, NC 28387
Head to the corner of NW Broad and W New Hampshire and you’ll find a great blank painted brick wall. This provides a great visual break in your gallery if you’re like me and want to include a bit less distraction in a few of your images. This is also the perfect location to grab a few simple, professional headshots for your client.
And there you have it—my top three outdoor photoshoot locations in Southern Pines when you only have one hour to shoot! I hope this outline is a helpful reference guide for your next outdoor session in this quiet but charming corner of Moore County.
Check out some of my tips below if you need a few pointers on shooting outside of golden hour.
If you’re a natural light photographer or book most of your sessions outdoors, blue hour or golden hour are most likely your favorite times to shoot. If you find yourself limited by the weather or time of year and shooting at non-peak hours, follow these tips:
I think you’ll discover, like me, that the quiet simplicity of The Pines is truly idyllic. Ready to venture to the far corners of southern NC together? Inquire about my small business branding photoshoot availability and rates here.