One of the toughest things of any baby or family photography session is the decision of WHERE we should do the photo shoot. Over the past year I’ve spent in Chicago, I’ve discovered some amazing places and since this is a question I’m constantly answering for many of my clients, I figured it would be best for me to compile a list of my favorite spots in and around this beautiful city called Chicago.
1) Lincoln Park
It should come as no surprise to see Chicago’s oldest and largest park at the top of the list. The sheer size of the park offers numerous backdrops within walking distance while maintaining a particularly intimate experience even on busy weekend afternoons. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool located between North and South Pond is one of Chicago’s most underrated sights and provides an enclosed setting so you know the pictures can turn out amazing ANY time of the day. Given the availability of nearby playgrounds and the lake, children and babies getting their picture taken can also have a fun time. The only downside to the park is the availability of free/cheap parking but if you’re well versed with Chicago’s public transportation system or if you’re lucky enough to score a spot on Stockton Avenue, that issue may not be a problem. Over the past year, I’ve probably done over 50 baby photography sessions at this park and still feel I have yet to explore the place in its entirety.
2) Oz Park
Oz Park, located at the corner of Webster and Halsted, is like the little brother of Lincoln Park. I only just recently started hosting photography sessions there and my only regret is I didn’t give it a chance sooner. The ample trees provide adequate shade (even in the playground )so shoots can be scheduled most times of the day. And though sometimes it can be hard to find a spot, nearby parking is all free!
3) Humboldt Park
Don’t let the neighborhood’s reputation fool you, Humboldt Park is arguably one of the most beautiful parks in the city. With some awesome trails, plenty of shade, and a quaint pond, I’m always pleasantly surprised with what this park offers in terms of backdrops for a baby photo shoot. Parking is incredibly easy to find but can be a bit hard to get to if using public transportation.
4) Portage Park
For clients coming into the city from the suburbs or for those located further north, I love suggesting Portage Park. Located at the corner of Irving Park and Central, it’s right off the expressway and located in place where parking is ample. With plenty of shade, an above average playground, and some cool miniature bridges, I highly recommend this park for shoots with kids 1 year or older. Overall, the best time to shoot here is in autumn when the colors of the trees begin to shift.
5) The HOME!
People often forget that we have done a TON of shoots at our clients’ homes. The thing is, though, not all homes are ideal for a home session. For one, it’s important to schedule the appointment when it’s brightest in the home. Because we tend to shoot only with natural light for baby and family sessions, the rooms with larger windows are where we will probably take most of the photos (whether in the bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc). That said, there are a lot of benefits to hosting photography sessions in the home. For children more weary of strangers, keeping the session at home will allow the child to be a bit more comfortable since they’ll be in a more familiar place. Having the child stay comfortable will allow us to more easily get the most natural photos possible. And even if you don’t have large windows in your home, we could always move the session outside in the backyard or, if doable, make the trek to a nearby park.