Sekrit Theater is one of the most popular photography spots in Austin, and for good reason! With its glass greenhouse and checkered floor, it has an almost ethereal quality to it that attracts photographers from all over. A lot of photographers are also intimidated by the location because they aren’t sure how to manipulate such different light. As someone who has done many shoots at this venue, here are my best tips for photographing at Sekrit Theater.
Sekrit Theater has funky light, there is no doubt about it. In the spring, summer, and early fall months, the venue is very lush and covered. Because of this, you might not want to wait until Golden Hour to shoot or else it could become too dark and shadowy. There’s also the wildcard of whether or not your shoot will be overcast. That’s something I never want to chance, so I would personally rather have it be too sunny than too dark. Because of this, I opt to shoot about an hour before Golden Hour.
Bring the Bug Spray
Sekrit Theater is a breeding ground for mosquitos due to its damp and shadowed location. Not to mention that there’s a water fountain in the middle of the venue, and we all know how much mosquitos love a covered water source. They sometimes have bottles around the venue, but make sure you bring your own – especially if you have sensitive skin and are looking for a specific kind.
Changing and Bathrooms Are A Breeze
There’s a tiny house located across from the greenhouse that has AC, electricity, and a bathroom. It’s perfect for your people to change in before shoots or if kiddos need to use the bathroom.
Don’t Be A Messy Jerk
Sekrit Theater stacks their sessions back to back, without any leeway for clean up. Therefore, it’s imperative as a photographer that you are cognizant of the next slot and allot time to clean up the greenhouse. I’ve had photographers who have left the greenhouse an absolute disaster right when my own session was about to start, and then I have had to work around clean up, which results in less time for my families despite paying for the full hour. Don’t be that person. Factor in time for clean up if you’re having a more elaborate session.
There Are Cats
There are two calico cats who live at the property and are always hanging around during shoots. Though they have always been very sweet to me when I’ve approached them, there have been instances where they have scratched young children when they’ve gotten too close. This is just a head’s up for families with littles for you to relay to them, as well as if you or your clients have any allergies.
Push Your Creative Boundaries
One of the coolest parts of this kind of location is how creative you are able to be with the location and light. Don’t be afraid to walk around the greenhouse perimeter and shoot through the windows or position them in different spots around the greenhouse. Don’t just limit yourself to inside of it!
Use The Other Spots
Don’t be afraid to utilize the other locations at the venue! There is an old school bus with funky furniture inside, as well as abandoned trucks and even a piano. Explore the grounds and get some cool shots outside of the typical greenhouse vibe.
Rescheduling is Tricky
Sekrit does not give refunds under any circumstances, only reschedules. Therefore, this is something important to plan with your clients and yourselves. Even if your client changes their mind about using the location, they will not be able to get a refund. You also should plan to shoot in light drizzle, too, since Sekrit will not permit reschedules for mild weather.
What do you think, Austin photographers? Any tips you’d add to this list?