Family Portrait locations

Location

Location

Location!!

One question clients always ask is - Where should we have our portrait session? I know it can seem daunting to narrow down one spot but don't worry. On this page, you'll find a breakdown of a number of locations that all work wonderfully for portraits with families or kids. With each location (or area) I give a short description of the space and what I love about the area. You'll also find pros and cons to consider as well as images, of course.

The first question I have all of my clients consider is do you want your session in the city or in nature? And if you're having trouble deciding between those options, there are ways we can get a bit of both in your session.

image of a mother hugging her young son. The boy is in front and grinning with his eyes closed. Mom is standing behind with her arms wrapped around his shoulders. She's looking at the camera, smiling. They're in a park in the fall.

North Park

Around the City

Pittsburgh is a vibrant city full of great spaces and locations for family portrait sessions all year round. Here are some of the many spots I've photographed at and what I love about each of them.

The Cultural District

Penn Ave

  • Penn Ave
  • Liberty Ave
  • Fort Duquesne Blvd
  • The bridges (Clemente, Warhol, & Rachel Carson)

This bustling downtown spot is perfect for the senior that loves being in the middle of everything! And with so many different places close by, you'll be able to get a wide variety of looks during your session.

Pros:

variety

Cons:

the potential of lots of people walking around

certain areas we might want to avoid during Pirates/Steelers games

Liberty and Strawberry Way

The North Shore
images of a family with young teenage boys sitting on the North Shore Trail in Pittsburgh

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

  • Three Rivers Heritage Trail
  • Allegheny Landing
  • The Watersteps
  • Northshore Riverfront Park

The Northshore is the perfect location if you're wanting to be downtown but still wanting some nature in your session. Between the trail and the grassy parks along the trail, there's plenty of nature while also being able to visit the bridges and get the city skyline in your session.

Pros:

a mix of nature and urban

Cons:

the potential of lots of people walking around

can't schedule during Pirate/Steeler home games

images of a little girl and little boy playing on the water steps along Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Heritage Trail in summer

The Watersteps

The Strip District
image of family (mom, dad, little boy and girl) sitting in the road with a train trestle over top of them taken on a street in Pittsburgh's Strip District.

33 St, Strip District

  • 33rd Street
  • The Tire Shop
  • Smallman Str
  • The Terminal

I love the Strip District! It's creative! It's industrial. And depending on the time of day, it smells delicious! The northern part is perfect for a grungy, more industrial look. Smallman Str is colorful and trendy and very cool.

Pros:

lots of interesting spots

colorful

Cons:

the potential of lots of people walking around

parking can be a challenge, especially on Saturdays

image of a family (mom, dad, two teenage boys) standing against wooden garage doors of a warehouse in the Strip District, Pittsburgh.

The Terminal Building

Point State Park
young woman with long dark hair and white shirt

Point State park underpass

  • The Fountain
  • The Three Rivers Heritage Trail

Nothing says Pittsburgh better than Point State Park. The fountain is one of those iconic symbols of Pittsburgh. It's another great place for variety with the buildings and the bridges as well as the park setting.

Pros:

an iconic Pittsburgh spot

a great way to mix city with nature

Cons:

the potential of lots of people walking around

can't schedule during Pirate/Steeler home games

image of a family (mom, dad, adult children) and their dog in a grassy clearing at Point State Park in Pittsburgh.

Point State Park

South Side & Color Park
image of a senior guy on the Hot Metal Bridge and sitting on a stone wall on the walking trail in the South Side

Hot Metal Bridge & South Shore Riverside Park

  • Hot Metal Bridge
  • South Shore Riverfront Park
  • Carson St

The South Side is a beautiful area with a number of different spaces that are pretty and creative for portraits. I've typically photographed seniors in these areas but all of these spots would work for family portraits as well.

Pros:

a more unique spot perfect for creatives

Cons:

the potential for people walking around

parking is challenging

senior girl wearing a red plaid shirt and sitting on a picnic table at the Color Park in Pittsburgh

Color Park, South Side

Oakland
image of a family portrait by Jodi Walsh Photography. the image shows a family with mom, dad, and two young girls sitting on the lawn at the Cathedral of Learning, Pitt campus, Pittsburgh

Cathedral of Learning Lawn

  • Mellon Columns
  • Cathedral of Learning
  • Craig St
  • Phipps & Schenley Park

I love Oakland! Having lived there in college and after grad school, I feel like it's the place that I know so well and it's another great location for family portraits. The columns are perfect for formal styles. Craig St has color. And there's always Phipps and Schenley Park for some more bridges and nature. The possibilities are endless.

Pros:

so many great locations in such a small area

nature and city and bridges and architecture

Cons:

Saturdays at the columns are a challenge because it's a popular wedding spot

the green spaces around the Carnegie and Pitt can be quite packed with people

image of pre-teen sisters hugging on a bridge in Oakland. The younger sister wears glasses. They're both smiling. The bridge fencing is covered with a variety of combination locks and padlocks.

Schenley Bridge below Phipps

West End Overlook
an image from the West End Overlook of asenior girl wearing a white crop top and ripped jeans leaning against a blue railing. The Pittsburgh skyline is behind her.

If you're looking for the Pittsburgh skyline, this is the spot for senior pictures! Throughout the year, the West End Overlook has gorgeous views of the city. There is also enough of a park that you can plenty of images without the city view as well. It's also close enough to the Northshore that you can combine both locations to get even more variety in your portraits. This is another spot where I've only photographed seniors but would work beautifully for family portraits.

Pros:

the perfect Pittsburgh skyline

Cons:

sometimes the sky and clouds don't cooperate with the view and it ends up hazy

images of senior girl sitting on a stone bench at the West End Overlook

West End Overlook

Aspinwall Riverfront Park
images of a family (mom, dad, boy and girl) in a grassy space with stone and metal train trestles behind them at Aspinwall Riverfront Park

Aspinwall Riverfront Park is a new location for me. As the name says, it's on the Allegheny River in Aspinwall. In addition to river views, it's a beautiful park full of greenery and wildflowers with large stone and steel train trestles crisscrossing the park.

Pros:

Nature and cool architectural elements really close to downtown

Cons:

some areas of the park are not available if there is a wedding or event scheduled

image of a family (mom, dad, boy and girl) standing in a stone pavilion with twinkle lights strung across the ceiling in Allegheny RiverTrail Park.

The Pavilion

Mellon Park
image of a mother holding her young daughter in her lap while sitting in a walled garden at Mellon Park.

This is a cute little park nestled between Shadyside and Squirrel Hill. It's known for its walled gardens filled with flowers of all kinds but also has some beautiful open areas with huge old trees. This is another spot that is beautiful all year but it's completely magical in spring and summer when things are starting to bloom.

Pros:

beautiful gardens, stone and brick structures

Cons:

can be very crowded. I try to avoid scheduling on weekends here

Mellon Park, fall family photos, siblings, Jodi Walsh Photography

Mellon Park

In Nature

Western Pennsylvania is known for it's beautiful woods and fields. For the senior that prefers quieter spaces, I have a number of parks that work wonderfully for Senior Portraits.

North Park
image of little girls standing in North Park with their dog. The dog is a large and brown with black ears that flop.

North Park

North Park is so big! And the possibilities are endless! Woods, fields of flowers, water! All of it and usually within a quick 5-minute drive. North Park is the perfect spot for your nature-loving family!

Pros:

beautiful with lots of different options

Cons:

some areas can be busier than others

image of a dad and his young son. They're sitting on rocks near a lake in North Park.

by the lake

image of a family standing in a clearing with tall grasses and trees. Mom and dad with two daughters, one teenaged and wearing a pink dress. the other daughter is about 10 and wears a blue t-shirt and long skirt.

Pigeon Shelter

Hartwood Acres
image of a family (mom, dad, four daughters and one son). They're standing close together in front of a wooded area of Hartwood Acres Mansion, near Pittsburgh

Hartwood Acres

Hartwood Acres Mansion and Park is a favorite spot for many photographers around Pittsburgh. The gardens and green space are beautiful year-round. The mansion is also beautiful with its gray stone walls and weathered wooden doors.

Pros:

the flowers in the garden and around the mansion are absolutely lovely

Cons:

it can be very crowded at certain times of the year

image of a little boy wearing a dark gray hat, red bow tie and suspenders near the mansion at Hartwood Acres, Pittsburgh

Hartwood Acres Mansion

South Park

Maple Springs Gazebo

South Park is another big beautiful park in the south hills area of Pittsburgh. The gazebo is a popular and picturesque spot but my favorite is the tall grassy areas that become absolutely magical as the sun sets.

Pros:

beautiful space with a variety of options

the gazebo, rocks, tall grasses, and gardens

Cons:

traffic on 51 can be a headache

image of a little girl with red hair. She's standing in some tall grasses as the sun is setting behind her and she's looking down at a flower in her hands.

South Park

image of a couple wearing black. They're holding hands and standing in front of a field of tall grasses with two little dogs on leashes in front of them.
O'Hara Township Community Park
image of a family (mom, dad, three little girls) sitting on the steps of a gazebo at O'Hara Township Park in Pittsburgh.

O'Hara Township Community Park

O'Hara Township Community Park is another sweet little park for portraits with the family or just the kids. Nestled near Fox Chapel, it has a gazebo, a pond with a fountain, a creek, and little bridges. The creek is a favorite spot for wading and throwing rocks.

Pros:

the creek!!

Cons:

definitely a small park and can be crowded during baseball games

images of a baby boy sitting on the rocks of a creek in O'Hara Township Community Park, Pittsburgh

the creek

Avonworth Community Park
image of a young couple with a newborn. They're standing together and looking down at the baby in mom's arms. There is a creek and a footbridge in the background.

Avonworth Community Park

I'll admit it. I'm partial to Avonworth Community Park because it's in the little community I call home. There's a lovely little bridge over a creek and plenty of trees. It's just the perfect little park!

Pros:

the creek!!

Cons:

definitely a small park and can be crowded with the community pool and baseball games nearby

image of a teen girl sitting on a sled in the snow with a frozen creek behind her. She's wearing a light blue hat and sweater.

Avonworth Community Park

Boyce Mayview Park
image of a family (mom, dad, teen son and daughter) with their puppy standing in front of a wooden building at Boyce Mayview Park.

Boyce Mayview Park - the classroom

A new-to-me spot in the South Hills! Boyce Mayview Park is a great location near Upper Saint Clair with lots of variety. In my short time there, I was able to see fields and wooded clearings, a beautiful wooden barn, and trails. And according to google, there are waterfalls too! Just a beautiful location south of the city for portraits!

Pros:

fields, woods, trails, and more in the south

Cons:

still a newer location for me so I'm still learning my favorite spots

image of a girl in a red dress standing at the edge of a woods in Boyce Mayview Park. There are some bushes behind her with fall flowers.

Boyce Mayview Park

other options

These spots highlighted on this page are just some of the places I've been with families. There are so many other potential places out there. I love when clients come to me with their own ideas for the style of their session and then I get to brainstorm places that will fit with their look.

Collection prices are from $400-$950

contact Jodi for more detailed information.

Small Town

There is something really fun and sweet about taking portraits in a small town and Sewickley is a beautiful small town. But what's great about a small town session is that it can be done in any small town.

image of a family (mom, dad, little boy, toddler girl). They're kneeling in the middle of a sidewalk in Sewickley. There are Christmas greens in decorating the shops.

Sewickley

Small Park

Parks don't have to be huge to be a beautiful spot for portraits. Just by changing camera angles, I can find different ways of seeing even a small park. Ohio Township Community Park is one of my favorite spots for portraits. It's especially good for a mini session where your time is a bit more limited.

little girls sitting in field of wildflowers near Pittsburgh

Ohio Township Park

At Home

Your family portrait session doesn't have to be at a specific location. Sometimes the best location is at home! Your home doesn't have to be Pinterest-perfect for portraits. I can see portrait potential in all spaces. If home is where everyone is most comfortable (especially our four-legged friends) then consider having the session at your home.

black and white image of a mom sitting in an armchair in a living room, cradling her son

Wexford

How to Choose

some tips to guide your location choice
city or country?
city or country?
choose what you love

I know I mentioned this up at the top - think about the space where you feel the most comfortable, where you like to be.

 

Are you outdoorsy? Do you love the idea of climbing on rocks or being around wildflowers?

 

Do you love Pittsburgh and all parts of downtown?

city or country?
think about what you don't like

Do you hate bugs? That's a big factor to consider in the city/country decision. There will be bugs. I will remind you frequently to check for ticks when your session is done.

 

Are you comfortable with people around you? Another question to consider in the city/country decision. Downtown, there are always people around. How many will depend on what events are happening but there are also people. Now that being said, people have always been wonderful to anyone I've been photographing. Shouting out compliments and encouragement. But if you're a bit shy, a session downtown might be a more challenging location.

city or country?
what are you thinking of wearing

Your clothing choices can actually help in deciding on a location for your session. More formal outfits fit with downtown or at the columns in Oakland. If you're keeping it casual and wanting to be active, a park or a creek are perfect spots.

 

So think about what clothing pieces you're planning on wearing (it doesn't have to be exact but can be general, like jeans and sweaters) and use that as you consider your location options.

city or country?
what time of year are you thinking of scheduling

This is another point to consider when you're deciding on a location. If you are set on having wildflowers, you want to plan for summer. If you want fall leaves, mid-October is the best time.

family inspiration

Sometimes we need a little bit of inspiration. Check Pinterest and Instagram for images you love. Check out magazines or even catalogs that are in your style. And you can check out some of my past sessions for ideas as well.

Collection prices are from $400-$950

contact Jodi for more detailed information.

North Park

 

Downtown

Pittsburgh

Southside

 

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family, senior, headshot, and creative

portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Mt Lebanon, Sewickley, Upper St Clair, and Wexford