West 12 Ranch Studio is a one-stop photo shoot location in Lodi, CA, featuring three main barns and a variety of open spaces. We have a growing collection of vintage furniture, suitcases, and other props, which you are welcome to move and use throughout the ranch. Wish you could take our props off-site for your wedding or other event? Now you can! Click HERE to learn more about West 12 Ranch Event Rentals!
REMEMBER – This is YOUR studio. Please help us keep it beautiful and safe! If you see someone doing something they shouldn’t please say something, or text Barb.
Hours of Operation
The Studio is open 7 days a week to both amateur and professional photographers, and we welcome single client/family sessions, mini-sessions, groups, clubs, and workshops.
How to Book a Session
To book your tour and/or session, text Barb at 209-479-3220.
If this is your first time, please skim the rest of the FAQS page before you book.
Please be considerate of Barb’s need for sleep and only text her between 8am-8pm. She has to keep her phone at full volume overnight in case of an emergency with the animals, so a late or early text WILL wake her up. She is also in church Sundays from 9am-12pm, and will not usually respond to texts during this time.
On your first visit, we’ll arrange a brief tour so you can learn where to check in and what is available throughout the ranch. Once you know the ropes, you are free to roam and bring your visions to life! This tour is mandatory for all first time photographers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time are you open?
At this point, the ranch is available 24/7 – we’ve even had someone film overnight in our barn! But please note that we do limit the number of sessions happening at one time and weekends tend to fill quickly, especially during the holidays!
Do you provide photographers?
No. We are a photography location, and we welcome all professional and amateur photographers. We do not specifically contract with or endorse any specific photographers. If you are new to the area and looking for a local photographer, you are welcome to browse our Facebook page (facebook.com/west12studio) – we attempt to post and share photos from a wide variety of our photographers. When you see a photo you like, click on it to see the credits, and we link directly to the studio pages when possible. You are also welcome to browse our Familiar Professional Photographers list for some names we see repeatedly in our appointment calendar.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We accept same day appointments if we have availability. Most weekdays, even during the holidays, it’s easy to book within a few days (or hours!) of your session – it never hurts to ask! Most of the year, weekends (Friday afternoon-Sunday sunset) book out about 1 week in advance, but November and December tend to fill about 3 weeks ahead. Don’t forget – the sun sets earlier, so there are less daylight hours for the outdoor locations. The 6 weeks before Easter also tend to fill quickly, especially for our mini-sessions featuring the ranch’s ducklings and chicks. But it never hurts to ask!
What are your rates?
To view our current rates, please click HERE. These monies help cover our costs for developing all the different backdrops, buying new props, and payroll for our staff who maintain and develop the acreage.
What is a single session?
A single session is up to 90 minutes with ONE client or client family/couple, wandering the ranch. The rate is per client, even if you don’t use the full 90 minutes. For instance, if you spend 60 minutes photographing a senior, then 30 minutes on a maternity shoot, those would be two separate single sessions – unless they’re in the same family.
**Still not sure? If your clients are splitting a single fee with you, they can split ours as well, Otherwise each group owes separately.
What is a mini-session?
Mini-sessions are in one reserved location on the ranch, paid by the hour (two hour minimum), with up to three client sessions each hour. We will make a sign to direct clients to your chosen area and we can arrange special parking for distant locations like the hay barn.
What if I want to book more than three clients per hour for my minis?
Sorry, but after several years experience, we have learned that 20 minutes is the optimal number for client overlap, allowing everyone to flow smoothly in and out of the ranch, and get the most from their session.
What type of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, or checks made out to West 12 Ranch, Inc. Sorry, we do not accept credit cards.
Do I have to pay separately for the props?
Most props are included in your session, including a variety of chairs, sofas, and access to the trucks in their main locations. The only separate prop charges are for the lemonade stand and carriage, if you would like us to move a truck, or if you would like to use one of our event rental pieces (they’re a little bit fancier, and don’t live in the barns).
Would you ever trade sessions for props?
Can I reserve props?
Yes, within reason. Please tell Barb when you book if you’re interested in specific props for your shoot, for instance one of the trucks, or a certain sofa, or a group of suitcases. We can put out a sign to let the other photographers know you’ve requested that item during your session time. We just ask that you use the reserved props first during your session, so that they can be made available again for other photographers as soon as possible.
Do I need to reserve the trucks? Where are the trucks?
Our trucks are working ranch trucks, but we try to keep one red truck in the hay barn and one red truck in the stallion barn for photos. If you stumble upon a truck (or any other vehicle) that is not in use, you are welcome to use it in your photo. If you would like to reserve a truck in a specific location (or do not want a truck in a specific location), please let us know when you book you session, or before you arrive. This way we can check for any conflicts with previous requests, and be sure we have a staff member available to move the truck and put it back. There is a charge to move a truck or reserve it for a specific spot.
Can I bring my own props?
Absolutely! But please remember to take them all with you when you go. We don’t have a formal lost and found, so stray props get added to the collection.
Can I use confetti/glitter/etc?
PLEASE DON’T!!! You wouldn’t want confetti or glitter scattered in your carpet or on your front lawn, so please give our property the same respect. We learned this the hard way with the “It’s a Boy” confetti from nearly 2 years ago that you can still find under the willow tree swing. It’s messy, and dangerous to the ducks and chickens if they eat it while they’re foraging. Unfortunately, with the wind, even laying a sheet to catch it doesn’t work – sorry!
What should I wear?
For colors and styles and coordinating a family, talk to your photographer – they can tell you what will be flattering on camera. That said, our location is largely outdoors and the inside locations are not heated/air-conditioned. If you wear sleeveless in November, or scarves in July, don’t say you weren’t warned. The ground is NOT level, and the grasses are left tall so they look pretty in pictures but can be an adventure in heels. One of the barns has concrete floors, but the others and the lanes are straw, dirt, and/or gravel. There will be mud and wet grass after rain, and it’s not uncommon to have a breeze come up at any time. Any of these can add a lovely effect to your photo – if you dress for success!
Can I change my clothes?
Yes, we have two or three areas on the ranch where you can change your clothes.
Can I do a boudoir shoot?
While we’ve seen some very tastefully done boudoir shots, at this time we choose not to host those on the ranch. Clothed shoots only. That said, a man with his shirt off (but pants zipped AND buttoned) and/or a pregnant woman showing her belly are okay.
What about a breastfeeding session?
We welcome breastfeeding sessions, but please let us know so we can alert any other photographers/families on property at the same time. We want everyone to feel comfortable and respected during their session at West 12 Ranch Studio.
Can I bring my pet?
Yes! But please let us know when you schedule your session, so we can put our ranch dog in the house. There is no additional charge. Pets must be caged or on leash at all times, and you must PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET!!! Please bring your own baggies, and there are trash cans all over the ranch. If this continues to be an issue we may have to change to a no-pet policy, and that would be sad!
Can I have a horse in my photo?
Absolutely. We have several calm, friendly horses on property who are hams for the camera. If you need one of our staff to bring a horse out of pasture for you, or to help you pose a horse for a photo in pasture, there is an additional charge. Horses who stick their heads over a fence or otherwise bring themselves into your photo are no charge.
What about my horse?
Yes, you can bring your own horse. The only catch is that your session has to be on a weekday, for safety’s sake. Let Barb know that you’d like to bring your horse when you book your session and she can help you work out details. As with other pets, we ask that you clean up any droppings.
I heard you have a unicorn…
Yes, we have seen unicorns roaming around the property – reclusive but friendly. One is a chocolate palomino, another an off-white palomino, and we recently found a little palomino paint pony unicorn has joined the band – just ask Barb if you’re interested and she can check their schedule. Do be aware that they are unavailable during the rainy season though, as they love to take full advantage of the mud baths.
Can I sit on or ride a horse or unicorn?
Sorry – our horses are not for riding or sitting on. Our insurance company says no. You are welcome to stand next to them, pet them, give them hugs, etc.
If you bring your own horse, you are welcome to sit on your horse. Please stay in the area agreed upon at the time of booking and don’t ride faster than a walk, for the safety of the other people and animals on property.
What if it rains?
We have several locations that are indoors or otherwise sheltered from wind and weather. Be aware that the driveway is the only paved area on the ranch – we recommend a pair of rainboots or other shoes you don’t mind getting muddy for the walk to and from your car, and a pair of dry shoes for your photo. However, we understand that many people come to West 12 Ranch specifically for the outdoor vistas and natural light, so there is no charge to cancel your session due to inclement weather.
What if I have to cancel?
There is no charge for cancellations made more than 48 hours in advance, or due to inclement weather. If you cancel 48 hours or less before your appointment date with expected good weather, you are responsible for the full charge for that cancelled session/mini-session hour.