Columbus, MS Photography Spotlight with Victoria Mendoza Photography

Location Guides

Hey milspouse photographer! If you are moving to Columbus AFB, this post by Victoria Mendoza Photography is for you! She doesn’t hold back in sharing what she’s learned while stationed in this area and I’m excited for you to learn from her experience. Keep reading for a Columbus, MS Photography Spotlight!

What are your top three favorite locations for sessions? Briefly share about each.

On Base Creek

I recommend this location in the spring and summer months. It is a very random and secluded spot perfect for families on base. Easy to locate, this little creek right across from the flightline is an unassuming and relaxing place for photos. The tall trees filter the light beautifully, especially 2-2.5 hours before sunset. For families/couples that don’t mind a short walk, you can follow the creek further back for a variety in your gallery.

Be aware that there is an increase in ticks at this location in the spring and summer months. Bring bug spray for you and your clients and remind them to check themselves once they get home!

New parents holding their baby at creek on Columbus AFB in Victoria Mendoza Photography's Columbus, MS photography spotlight
On Base Creek, Victoria Mendoza Photography

Butterfly Garden and Open Field at the Riverwalk

This is another location that is easy to find! The Riverwalk offers two beautiful spots for photos. The first is a butterfly garden. Named because it is a pollinator garden for butterflies, the garden is at its peak in September. Perfect for August-early October, this quaint garden has a variety of colorful flowers. This is also wonderful for toddlers as the garden is relatively enclosed. The garden is closed between October/November as they pull all the plants and prepare to plant it for the following year.

The open field directly across the garden is versatile and changes color throughout the year. In the spring and summer months, the field is a vibrant green. In the fall, the grass dries out and is a beautiful golden grass backdrop.

Pregnant mama in an open field at the Riverwalk in Victoria Mendoza Photography's Columbus, MS photography spotlight
Open Field at the Riverwalk, Victoria Mendoza Photography

Chapel at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church

A darling location year round, the chapel is a good option for people who don’t want a solely nature-based location. As it is not a functioning chapel, you are welcome to go anytime. You may occasionally run into another photographer doing sessions here, but I’ve always had pleasant experiences and we’ve been able to successfully share the location.

Parents with their three young children at the chapel at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church in Victoria Mendoza Photography's Columbus, MS photography spotlight
Chapel at Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church, Victoria Mendoza Photography

Are there any particularly busy seasons for photographers in this area? Any events an incoming photographer should know about?

Cotton field sessions are a big hallmark of the South and clients look forward to that every year. The cotton fields are privately owned, so you’d have to get permission from the farmer in advance. I’ve never done them in Mississippi, so I don’t have a contact to pass on.

If you’ve never photographed cotton field sessions, it’s important to note that you must have some flexibility when scheduling. The determining factor of when cotton is at its peak is the weather! If it’s been very hot, the cotton will bloom earlier. If there’s been less rain, the cotton will take a little longer to bloom. Keeping in contact with the field owner will be helpful in scheduling those sessions.

If you choose to serve military families, flight line sessions are also really popular. This base is slightly different and doesn’t have as many restrictions when it comes to those photos.

What should an incoming photographer know about permits in this area?

None of the areas that I have been to require any permits.

What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to an incoming photographer?

If you have never lived in the South, the weather may be a bit of a shock to you! Thunderstorms can often come out of nowhere and the range of temperatures during the year can cause interruptions in scheduling. However, I have had the absolute best clients here. If you specialize in senior sessions, there is a university in town (The W), MSU is in Starkville and The University of Alabama is an hour away in Tuscaloosa. If that’s a niche for you, make sure you work on your SEO. The town is very small and Facebook and word of mouth are often sufficient marketing strategies.

Any other local expertise you’d like to share?

Know your weather here! In the winter, the sun sets around 4:45. That makes your typical “golden hour” sessions very early. This is a big plus for parents (if you do family sessions) because 3/3:30 is a friendly time for little ones.

I would recommend marketing in-home sessions, if you do that, for December-February. The temperatures fell below 45 degrees on many afternoons during those months and it snowed in January, making outdoor sessions impossible. In the spring and summer, thunderstorms are frequent. Most are transient, some aren’t.

There are also all sorts of bugs here, so make sure you bring bug spray to your sessions. The humidity in the summer can be difficult to manage too, with August and September being the hottest months. If you are someone that likes to do sessions during the day/mid-day, I do not recommend that here. Sunrise/sunset are your only options during those summer months. If you do otherwise, you will be miserable, your clients will be miserable, and there’s often a heat advisory during the day, so it’s a safety concern as well!

The landscape is green beginning around end of March/beginning of April through the end of October/beginning of November. When people ask you for “fall colors”, that won’t typically be until November!

Where can other milspouse photographers connect with you?


Are you a milspouse photographer interested in contributing? I’d love to have your insight! Please send me an email at and I’ll be in touch with the details!

If you enjoyed this Columbus, MS photography spotlight, be sure to check out other featured location guides and tips for moving your business!


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more about me

I've been navigating military life with my family since 2008. In that time, I went from a full-time classroom teacher to an online course designer to a photographer. Actually, I still teach a little math on the side because I just love it too much!

Through it all, I've discovered how passionate I am about connecting with military families. Whether it's taking photos at a retirement ceremony, coaching a fellow milspouse photographer, or just grabbing coffee with a new squadron friend, I love this community. And as a teacher at heart, I'm excited to use this space to share what I've learned about business and life with you.


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