I take the vast majority of portraits outdoors. That makes knowing a good photo shoot location very important. Fortunately, Hattiesburg is a beautiful city with plenty of great photo shoot locations. If you’re reading this and looking for some places to take landscape or scenic photos, this list won’t help very much. For that, I would recommend you check out my buddy Jim Harmer’s app, really Good Photo Spots.
University of Southern Mississippi
When you think of Hattiesburg, one of the first things that pop into your head is USM. As with most college campuses, USM’s campus is very well-kept with many picturesque locations. You can get almost any look you want. If you are going for a natural-looking background, the many trees and flowers provide you with many such locations with great open shade.You can get a “southern classical” look, by including the exteriors of many of the older buildings on campus (College Hall is my favorite for this look). If you want a more of a grunge look, find some of the accessible loading docks and physical plant fixtures.
I’ve just considered portraits when listing these locations. But USM is also great for landscape, still life, or architectural photos.
Be warned, though. At times, the university campus is too busy. Of course, trying to make a photograph during normal class hours will likely be problematic. Then, there’s the regularly-scheduled weekend flag protest, and of course, Hardy Street is so busy that it makes a terrible background. The beautiful grounds outweigh these problems in my opinion.
Hattiesburg Train Depot
With a sense of adventure and classic styling, who wouldn’t like photos at the train depot? Like USM, the grounds are well kept and there is plenty of open shade thanks to the covered train platform. It is a frequent site of wedding receptions.
The two downsides to the train depot are, first, that it is often used for social events, so unless you are there for such an event, your photos probably need to be taken earlier in the day when such functions usually do not occur. Second, it is an active train depot. Trains come and go throughout the day, and they can be quite noisy.
I guess I should say Hattiesburg-area parks because both Petal and Oak Grove have parks with some good spots in them. As with my other two spots, the grounds of parks are well-kept. You can get great natural backgrounds such as flower and trees. Depending on the park, you can also find wooded backgrounds. Some parks have playgrounds that provide the opportunity for candid/action shots of the little ones after you finish the “required shots.”
As with so much in photography, locations are a compromise. Almost any location is going to have some problems. You just have to be a little creative in framing the shot to minimize the distractions in the background. To paraphrase Rick Sammon, or rather his father, “If you notice the background, it wasn’t that interesting of a photo, to begin with).