I photograph many high school seniors in downtown Birmingham (Oakland County). In fact it is the most popular place for my high school senior clients. Seniors from Birmingham, Royal Oak, Troy, Bloomfield, Beverly Hills, and West Bloomfield choose downtown Birmingham because it offers so many great backdrops, ranging from natural to urban. The architecture and streetscape is interesting and varied.
Many of my high school senior clients spent time as teenagers in Birmingham hanging out, going to movies, riding bicycles, walking, and gathering at local coffee houses like Starbucks. They have an emotional connection to the place.
The locations in downtown Birmingham that are most popular for portraits include Shain Park, along Old Woodward Avenue, and the Baldwin Library. Other local parks such as Booth park and Quarton Lake are also popular.
Today we are going to focus lesser known locations for senior pictures: the alleys and backstreets. These are locations some shoppers never see, but the City of Birmingham has done a great job planning for alleys. We can find a wide variety of urban settings in the City by exploring the alleys and backstreets.
Some alleys are upscale, with outdoor dining and fireplaces. Others are more service oriented. They all have some elements that are useful as a backdrop or prop for senior pictures. The type and color of brick and stone vary widely, as does the pavement type. Steel emergency stairs and walls covered in vegetation add to the backdrop choices. Metal and wood doors of all sizes and textures are also found throughout downtown.
You will find alleys and backstreets throughout downtown Birmingham. My favorite is the alley that runs just south of Brooklyn Pizza. I have taken portraits of high school seniors, couples, and rock bands here. Another favorite is the alley behind the Willits. It has something of a European feel to it. There are lots of possibilities for creative portraiture here.
If you are planning a senior photo session soon, feel free to contact me about great locations. Downtown Birmingham is just one, and the alleys and backstreets provide an opportunity for portraits that are far from ordinary.