Top 3 Outdoor Photoshoot Locations in Southern Pines

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’). 

The Weymouth Center Grounds and Gardens in Southern Pines NC | Sara Coffin Photography

Photo Location #1: Weymouth Center

Address: 555 East Connecticut Avenue, Southern Pines, NC

Time: 9:15a-9:40a

Lens: 55 mm

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. 

Read: When Should You Hire a Luxury Branding Photographer?

Girl in a black slip dress poses on the walkway in front of the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines NC | Photo by Sara Coffin Photography

Weymouth Center Photoshoot Tips

  • Due east is directly behind the house (if you’re facing the front), which is why the lighting is so pretty on this image (open shade in front and hair lighting behind from the rising sun). 
  • My favorite vantage point doesn’t have as great lighting because of the trees directly in front of my client, and the vast amount of grass – the lack of open shade and amount of green give a muddier appearance to her complexion and a green cast. If you’re shooting in this particular spot, I’d recommend coming at golden hour.

Weymouth Center Photography Policy

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.”

French doors at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines NC | Photo by Sara Coffin Photography

Photo Location #2: Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

Address: 1024 Fort Bragg Road, Southern Pines, NC 28387

Time: 9:45a-10:05a

Lens: 55 mm used for full body shots, 85mm used for tighter portraits

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!

Weymouth Woods Photoshoot Tips

  • Pull up the Compass app on your phone if you’re looking to find the best direction to shoot on a sunny morning. If the sun had been out, I would have placed the sun directly behind my client, with my client facing the woods’ opening if possible.
  • The Weymouth Woods Sandhills Preserve has seven miles of hiking trails. If you venture a bit deeper into the woods, you’ll find wide, sandy walking paths, which make great photo spots.

Weymouth Woods Photography Policy

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.

Photo Location #3: Downtown Southern Pines 

Address: NW Broad St, Southern Pines NC 28387

Time: 10:10-10:30a

Lens: First half of collection shot with 85mm, second half (starting with end of train station shots against window) shot on 55mm

Girl in black slip dress poses among branches of a Crepe Myrtle tree in downtown Southern Pines NC

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.

Girl in black slip dress poses with backpack slung on one shoulder in front of a blank brick wall in downtown Southern Pines NC

Photoshoot Locations in Southern Pines

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. 

The Boyd House at Weymouth Center in Southern Pines NC | Photo by Sara Coffin Photography

Check out some of my tips below if you need a few pointers on shooting outside of golden hour.

Photoshoot tips for photographers shooting at non-peak hours: 

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: 

  1. Look for open shade—shade with an expanse of space in front of it—and place your subject facing the open space. This is great for creating great skin luminosity if you’re not in golden hour.
  2. My favorite light is open shade with hair light behind it. This not only gives a lovely tone to the skin but also provides a lightness to the background. Golden hour is great and all, but I’ll take this light any day.
  3. Use a light (preferably white or cream) colored building to act as a natural reflector and create those beautiful skin tones if you don’t have pretty open shade. Concrete also acts as a great natural reflector!

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.

The Weymouth Center Grounds and Gardens in Southern Pines NC | Sara Coffin Photography

Top 3 Outdoor Photoshoot Locations in Southern Pines

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