We recently had the pleasure of shooting some videos in the districts with Sophie Rousmaniere of Ironthorn Media. While out and about, Sophie kept commenting on how awesome the districts are to photograph. With the colorful public art, interesting local business and her artistic eye, she captured some amazing images. Here is her experience behind a lens while visiting Austin IBIZ Districts:

Photographer Elliot Erwitt says “Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with how you see them.” Well, it won’t be hard to find inspiration in and among Austin’s colorful IBIZ districts. Each area has it’s own identity, it’s own creative flair and dynamic history to capture with your own unique perspective.

If you head on down to the North Drag IBIZ District stop by Spiderhouse Ballroom. Vintage signage, fabulous murals, interesting people and creative décor make Spiderhouse stop number one for photos in the North Drag. Tom’s Tabooley, Antone’s Records and Ruby’s Bar-B-Que are all right at the intersection and also offer colorful opportunities to shoot. A final recommendation in this district is to stop by Breed and Company, on 29th St. which always has an impressive display whatever the holiday.

North Drag(1)

The East End IBIZ district hosts a myriad of historical buildings and businesses. The mural on the side of the Historic Victory Grill and the mosaic mural on 11th celebrate the district’s rich African American musical heritage. Franklin’s Bar B Que has some iconic imagery, especially if you are eating there. Many local businesses in the area have beautiful displays like Take Heart or Tiny Tiaga. Explore these creative nooks and crannies with your wide angle lens to get some stunning shots of historic East Austin.

East End mural


South First is another good stop to capture Austin’s creative spirit starting with the mural on Annie Street and First St. The area hosts the largest number of owner run shops in the city and it shows. Pop into Bouldin Street Café, swing by Amelia’s Retro Vogue & Relics, take a shot of the sign for the South First Food Court for some Austin humor and a bite, and swing by An End of an Ear to capture a melodic slice of Austin creativity.

south first 1

Rainey Street comes alive after dark but that doesn’t mean you have to wait ‘til then! Banger’s has quite a few options for creative photography, and be sure to go there hungry so you can grab a few shots of their delicious sausage, hundreds of beer taps beer, or Bloody Mary bar. Lucille’s has some stunning décor inside and good signage so be sure to bring your flash. Interesting architecture and quaint wooden bungalows reminiscent of Austin gone by make for lovely pics to add to your Austin collection.

Rainey 2

Head on over the East Sixth and shoot colorful signage, interesting store fronts like Birds Barbershop, Practice Yoga, East Side Show Room, and others. There are colorful murals like the one on the side of Buenos Aires Café at the intersection of 6th and Waller and other smaller pieces peppered in between buildings and on fences in the area. East Sixth is a fun place to people watch (and shoot), and while you’re there you can grab a beer at Sputniks, a gelato at Gelateria Gemelli, or something tasty from the local food truck lot.

East 6th mural CU

Burnet Road has a lot going on! My personal favorite for outdoor photography is Tiny Pies – inside and out there is a lot to shoot, not to mention taste. Do bring your wide angle lens. Cool vintage shops and fabulous eateries make for good interior shots, so don’t forget your flash! Photo challenge – see if you can shoot a flaming martini at 416 Bar and Grill –  I dare you!

416 drink fire

This district has more indoor photo ops than out but cool signage from Galaxy Café and El Interior which could offer a creative outlet. Inside of El Interior brilliant colors jump off the walls so be warned and don’t shoot black and white here. Nau’s Drugs is a cool old-school soda fountain and convenience store hosting an array of bizarre nostalgic toys and cool stuff to shoot, not to mention stopping for an ice cream soda with a cherry on top! The vintage TV collection at Bond’s TV’s is unmatched in Austin. They’ve been collecting for 50 years and welcome a visit.

West Lynn Bonds TV

The North loop is kitchy, creative, silly, serious and cool. Breakaway Records is a fun place to shoot vinyl culture; then head on over to Room Service Vintage or Big Bertha’s  where wild vintage clothing and colorful décor will delight your eyes. Monkeywrench Books is a more serious foray into community activism, while the Workhorse Bar will keep you hydrated and well fed while you’re there.

North loop

After you’ve photographed these amazing districts connect with us on Facebook and upload your shots! Show us how you see Austin’s IBIZ districts!