St. Louis, Missouri
Photographer Van Chaplin says: “This is one of the finest public gardens in America. It’s got beautiful trees and great spaces—rose gardens, lots of large trees, open spaces, running water, a beautiful lake. There’s some nice architecture, a Victorian house. It’s really diverse.”
Where to shoot: the Japanese Garden with a 4-acre lake
Rules and fees: Photo subjects must be family-level members of the garden ($150/year). But there’s no photo fee and no limit to the people you bring.
Van’s best tip: “For a soft, out-of-focus background, shoot with a longer lens. An 80mm to 100mm lens is an ideal portrait lens. Also, consider shooting black-and-white—it makes people look much more interesting.”
4344 Shaw Blvd.; mobot.org or 314/577-5100