Some locations off-limits for prom photoshoots

Holly Viers • Apr 21, 2019 at 2:30 PM

In Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, there are countless locations to choose from when it comes to taking outdoor prom photos.

But along with the many places that are available for photos, other spots are either unsafe or unavailable due to other events. Before you plan your prom photoshoot this year, make note of some places to avoid.

Don’t try it

Many couples strive for a rustic look with their prom photos — a trend that has also taken off in the wedding industry. The problem is the locations they choose aren’t always wise — or even legal.

Though it might be tempting to take photos on railroad tracks or scenic backroads, doing so creates a serious safety risk. As the Federal Railroad Administration points out, it is almost impossible to accurately judge the distance and speed of an oncoming train, and pedestrians might not hear an approaching train until it is too late.

Old barns have also become popular photo backdrops in recent years. However, many of them are located on private property, meaning photographers and their subjects would have to get permission beforehand.

“As a general rule, citizens may feel free to take photographs on public property; however, they should always obtain permission from a property owner prior to taking photographs on private property and pay particular attention to ‘No Trespassing’ signage,” said Tom Patton, public information officer for the Kingsport Police Department. “People should also use common sense when choosing a setting for a photograph and avoid extreme or inherently dangerous locations, so as not to put themselves at risk of serious injury or death.”

When in doubt, call first

If you’re unsure whether a particular location is available for prom photos, it’s always best to call beforehand. For example, Allandale Mansion does allow prom photos, but only on days when other events are not taking place.

This year, the mansion will host weddings every Saturday through June, meaning prom-goers will not be able to take photos there unless they come during the week or on Sundays. Even then, they’re asked to call ahead of time at (423) 229-9422.

“Depending on what I’ve got going on, if somebody shows up and they’re already out here and it’s not bothering anybody, I’ll usually let them finish and just tell them to call me first next time,” said Jennifer Henry, program leader for Allandale Mansion. “But if they walk out here during the middle of a wedding ceremony, we’re just going to say, ‘Sorry, you’ve got to take this somewhere else.’ ”

Staff writer Rain Smith contributed to this story.