outdoor family portrait

Yes, we’ve heard it all before…..Location, location, location. But this time we’re not talking about the perfect home.  We’re talking about the best spots to capture sacred family moments on the picturesque North Shore.  Spring is finally here (let’s hope it stays that way) so now is the perfect time to head out to the great outdoors for breath-taking portraits and memories that will last a lifetime.

Gallery Park, 2500 Chestnut Ave., Glenview (between Tower Lane and Patriot Blvd.)

An easily managed park with walking and biking paths that encircle a fish-stocked like. Plenty of bridges and fishing docks provide ample opportunities for gorgeous photo ops. An added plus is Little Bear Garden Park, which is a beautiful gated refuge in the middle of the park.  The shrubbery maze, flower garden, leaf-covered trellis and wooden bench swings scattered throughout make it the perfect place for a photo shoot. Plus, when you’re done you can head over to the nearby Glen for some family shopping or a leisurely meal!

The Grove, 1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview

With over 100 beautiful acres of trails, woodlands, ponds, historical buildings, gazebos, animals and more, The Grove provides endless backgrounds for beautiful pictures. It’s also a great way to spend the day with plenty of educational opportunities at the interpretive center.

Techny Prairie Park, 1750 Techny Rd., Northbrook

A great scenic park. Whether you want action shots on the playgrounds, skate park, and batting cages or more traditional portraits by the lake or amongst the wildflowers, this park has it all.

Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe

No surprise that the crown jewel of the North Shore is on this list.  And while you’re guaranteed an endless amount of spectacular backdrops amongst the 26 gardens, taking photos, especially using a professional photographer will cost you. First, you have to pay the $25 parking fee if you are not a member. Second, if you use a professional photographer, they will charge you a $125 permit free.  Now we know plenty of people that “sneak” it, but don’t tell them we told you that!!!

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, 117 Sheridan Rd., Lake Forest
(847) 367-6640

This clean and peaceful preserve provides ample opportunity for great family picture taking.  With pedestrian access to the beach as well as the surrounding woodlands you get the best of both worlds. Large rocks on the beach offer built in props and gorgeous Lake Michigan views. There is also a vast field of golden prairie grass right by the parking lot.  Plus, there are plenty of walking paths that will lead you throughout the woodlands, including a very scenic pedestrian bridge over the ravine.

Lighthouse Beach, 2611 Sheridan Rd., Evanston

Of course any of the beaches along the North Shore are a great choice for a family photo shoot. However, we are a bit biased to this beach, due to the charming lighthouse that borders the beachfront, hence the name. The beach is on the smaller side, but there is plenty of parking, and a bit of a bluff and pier that jets out into the water. Plus beyond the lighthouse is a little walking trail where they let wildflowers grow that eventually turns into a field of grasses. And you can also take advantage of the Evanston Art Center that is on the grounds.  $8 entry fee per person during beach season.


Amateur photographers  click away! But if you are looking for a professional to capture these moments,  here is a list of some local photographers that do on-site shoots:

Rebecca Gould, www.rebeccagouldphoto.com
$110 mini session (20 min), $200 Full session (45 – 60 min)

Sari Fine @ Sari P. Photography, www.saripphotography.com

Lauren Fallon @ HoneyBrown photography, www.honeybrownphotography

Carolyn Rikje Photography, www.carolynrikjephotography.com , 773-744-8968

Susan Ryan Kalina Photography, www.susanryankalinaphoto.com, 773-510-7105
$250 lifestyle mini (up to hours); $400 lifestyle half day (up to 4 hours); $750 lifestyle full day (up to 8 hours)

Mindy Garfinkle Photography, www.mindygarfinkle.com, 847-744-0275
Session fee: $150…$75 print credit

Laurie Longfield Photography, www.laurielongfieldphotography.com, 773-655-1431

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