We are incredibly fortunate to have so many great locations for photography sessions to choose from in the Las Vegas Valley. It is hard to believe that a city, literally in the middle of no where, has so much beauty to offer beyond that of traditional desert landscape. Below are my personal top five locations in and around Las Vegas. It was a challenge narrowing it down to five, so I may have to do a continuation!
Many public locations have rules and/or stipulations for professional (commercial) photography, and several require pre-arranged permits and insurance coverage, so please be sure to check before you shoot.
1. Floyd Lamb Park (Tulle Springs)
Floyd Lamb Park could easily be my top five all in its own. With so many different ideal locations for photography within the park, you could easily cover desert landscape, lush green trees, and a large pond all in one session. Roaming animals, including bunnies, ducks, and peacocks make it every family’s favorite spot. The park changes slightly with seasons (one of the few areas of the valley to experience a "true Fall", with Fall colors usually occurring later in the season, near mid-November. Aside from the $7 entrance fee per vehicle (walking and horses are free), no additional permits are required for sessions.
Seriously. ALL of those locations were within one park! Go explore!
2. Downtown Las Vegas & Fremont Street
This is an area that I love taking clients to that want a VEGAS feel in their session. While many out-of-towners ask for the strip, I find that shooting on the strip requires significantly more walking and crowd hassling, making downtown a better alternative location for photography. There are still plenty of people and crowds, but the atmosphere, the lights, and the artwork, have a way of highlighting this location. I also feel you can cover a bit more ground downtown than the stip. Beautiful murals cover many of the buildings, making it easy to get a variety of styles within a session. Shooting within the Fremont Experience does have some stipulations listed on their website that may require permits for photography, but I typically stay just outside of the experience and on the surrounding blocks without issue.
3. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
A short drive outside of the city, just past Red Rock Canyon, is Spring Mountain Ranch. This location is a beautiful alternative to Red Rock, which I often see suggested as a great location for photography sessions. What makes Spring Mountain Ranch the better option for many, is the cost of a permit for photography. Red Rock Canyon permits start at $250 for a day use permit, while Spring Mountain Ranch is only $50. There is a small area that doesn’t require a permit to shoot on, but I highly suggest paying the $50 for trail access. It’s definitely worth it. The park has an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle (included with your permit).
4. Nelson, NV (Ghost Town)
Even if you aren’t taking photos, this is a fun place to explore. Abandoned buildings, cars, antiques, and even a downed plane. The location is privately owned and requires you listen to and abide their rules, including areas to stay clear of (mostly for safety reasons, like the “jumping” cacti). The fee is $10 an hour, which is beyond reasonable for such a cool place. My personal favorite spot to shoot is up in one of the barns. If you plan on shooting at sunset, take note that the sun sets on the ridge quite a bit sooner than it sets in the Las Vegas Valley, so plan your session earlier or go ahead of time and do some scouting!
5. Lake Las Vegas
I remember my first time exploring out here was really confusing and hard to navigate. After learning my way around a bit better, I actually really love everything it has to offer. The permit for photography is only $50 for the day and parking is free. You can shoot up on the balconies, in the little “town” area, along the lake, or even by a waterfall. There is also a bridge with amazing architecture within it that glows beautifully at sunset. The colors are bold and vibrant, bringing a high class, elegant feel to the session.