5 Weird And Wonderful Photo Shoot Locations in Austin

By Vanessa B

Weird and wonderful Austin attracts all types of photographers and photoshoot productions. There’s a bit of everything here, including some uniquely Austin sights. Read on to discover five of the most striking and interesting photoshoot venues in Austin. We’ve also included helpful permitting information for photographers planning a production in the city.

Photo permits in Austin

If you’re planning a personal photo shoot, then it’s unlikely that you will need a permit. However, if you are planning to monetize the photos you plan to take, or you are producing a commercial photo shoot, then you will likely need a permit from the relevant property owner or public authority.

Commercial photo shoots on public property in Austin will require a permit if they include the following:

  • Streets
  • Sidewalks
  • Right of ways
  • City parks
  • Airport
  • State Capitol

There is no fee for the permit, but you do need to have liability insurance. Additional fees apply to use the city’s staff, security, and utilities.

Productions that involve the temporary use of streets or sidewalks require authorization from the Right of Way Management Approval Network. Your application must be submitted at least three days prior to your intended production date.

Photo session permits are also required for any commercial photo shoot or productions using props at the following parks: 

  • Auditorium Shores
  • Mayfield Park
  • Mt. Bonnell
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park
  • Zilker Botanical Garden

Sessions are limited to two hours per session pass. Each session fee costs $50. Photo session passes must be booked at least four days in advance. Note that photo session passes are not permitted during special events or public holidays.

To host a photo shoot at the University of Texas at Austin campus, contact University Communications. Filming advertisements is not permitted on university property. The use of drones requires special permission. 

Contact the PR/Marketing Department at the Blanton Museum of Art for permission to conduct photo shoots at least a week ahead of your planned production date. Note that many works of art in the museum’s collection require special permission to photograph and publish. 

5 of the most striking film shoot venues in Austin

Now that you have your permits, here are some suggestions of photo shoot venues where you can capture some truly striking images.

1. Blanton Museum of Art

Located on the University of Texas at Austin campus, the Blanton Museum of Art is a fantastic photo shoot location. The striking and modern architecture, plus dramatic lighting, provides a great backdrop, particularly along the staircases, underneath the arches, and against the blue tiled walls. 

Take advantage of the pops of color, as well as the many stunning installations and sculptures for your photos as well.

2. Roadhouse Relics

For nostalgic charm and plenty of color and lights, plan your Austin photo shoot at Roadhouse Relics. The studio and gallery features a large collection of modern and vintage neon pieces, handcrafted and weathered by artist Todd Sanders for the perfect look. 

There’s also a vintage sign boneyard filled with historic signs, rusty gas pumps, and antique carnival rides. As a bonus, the gallery is also home to the famous “Greetings from Austin” mural.

3. Sekrit Theater

This multi-acre outdoor gem is one of the prettiest photo shoot locations in Austin and gives off a secret garden vibe. The property offers several structures and artistic props that make for great photo backdrops, including a vintage glass greenhouse, an old school bus, goldfish pond, backyard with chandelier tree, and fountains. There’s also plenty of lush greenery, perfect for a romantic wedding or a dreamy fashion shoot.

4. Congress Avenue Bridge

From March to October, North America’s largest urban bat population can be found in Austin, at the Congress Avenue Bridge. Capture the stunning sight of more than a million bats taking flight each evening around sunset. 

You can also capture great photos of the Austin skyline from here. In addition to being on the bridge itself, look for vantage points on the water and on the Butler Hike & Bike Trail along Lady Bird Lake.

5. Cathedral of Junk

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This adage certainly rings true at the Cathedral of Junk, which Austin resident and avid recycler Vince Hannemann started building in 1988 in his backyard. 

It’s like a giant clubhouse, made of 60 tons of junk and reclaimed items, from kitchen utensils and car parts to knick-knacks and old electronics that may or may not work. If you’re looking for a truly weird photo shoot venue, this place is it. 

Planning a unique photoshoot in Austin

When planning a unique photo shoot in Austin, your choice of locations will be key. Whatever look or style you’re going for, you’re bound to find it in Austin. The venues listed above are a good starting point. Whatever location you decide on, make sure you have the appropriate permits if one is required. Then get ready to capture all the weird and wonderful sights and scenes!