What are the best portrait location options in the area?

Planning your child or family portrait session means making a lot of decisions including choosing the best location but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Pittsburgh is full of gorgeous spots indoors and outdoors.  I always suggest that my clients choose locations that mean something to them but that’s not always easy.  How do you decide?  I suggest families consider where they have special memories for their locations.  Families that love the Pittsburgh sports teams might also love a session schedule in one of the many downtown locations- The North Shore or Point State Park.  Some families love the outdoors and being in nature.  There are so many great parks in and around Pittsburgh that provide gorgeous natural locations.  Pictures always help to tell the story so I wanted to just share a few of the great location options that we have available to choose from.

Downtown Locations?

Pittsburgh is such an awesome city for portrait sessions!  It has this great mix of neighborhoods with small-town charm as well as a beautiful downtown area with tall skyscrapers and great bridges for backdrops.  Downtown portraits are perfect for families wanting to capture their town, whether it’s just in the background or also while sporting their black and gold.  Keep in mind, families that choose to have their session downtown need to be a bit more patient and flexible.  There are often lots of extra people around (especially during baseball, football, and hockey seasons) to watch what’s going on and possibly be in the way.  There can also be construction that can also cause challenges getting around.

family portraits at Point State Park and North Shore Pittsburgh locations

North Shore and Point State Park locations for family portraits

tween girls posing in Pittsburgh alley locations and tween boy on Pittsburgh sidewalk

Strawberry Way in downtown Pittsburgh and Craig Street in Oakland for tween portrait locations

family posing on Pitt Campus near Cathedral of Learning and in the Strip District, urban locations

In Pittsburgh, you can find both urban and natural backdrops for your family portraits.

Park locations? Urban or rural?

Urban park? That might sound hard to believe.  When people think of park settings for portraits, they think of trees and grassy spaces.  An urban park possibly sounds like a swing set and chain-link fence but Pittsburgh has some incredible urban parks that make you forget that you’re even in the city.  Mellon Park, Frick Park, and Schenley Park are my favorite spots in the city, each with unique offerings for portrait settings.

Outside of the city, there are even more options from North Park to South Park to McConnells Mill.  And there are smaller parks like Squaw Valley, in Fox Chapel, and Morrow Pontefract Park in Sewickley.

family portrait with fall trees and tall grasses, park locations

toddler boy in Schenley Park locations and baby boy sitting on rocky creek bedmother and daughter sitting in the woods of Schenley Park, Pittsburgh locationsmother with daughters for family portraits at Fall Run Park, Pittsburgh locationslittle girl wearing a blue flowy dress in grassy field locations


Studios are a great option if you like to have a little more control over your session.  In Pittsburgh, once November arrives, the weather can make outdoor portraits extra challenging so scheduling a studio session can alleviate some of that weather anxiety.  While I do not have my own studio, there are a couple of studios that I’ve rented and love.  One is downtown off of Ohio River Blvd and the other is in Sewickley.  Both offer beautiful spaces with plenty of natural light.

teen ballerina putting on point shoes in white studio locationslittle girl and little boy in Sewickley studio locations


Are you feeling adventurous?  How about a visit to Lake Erie?

Pittsburgh is a good 7 hours from the east coast so family portraits with an Atlantic Ocean backdrop is not really a possibility but we’re only 2 hours from the shores of Lake Erie.  It’s a great option for getting photos with a beach feel without having to stay for a weekend (or week).  There are some really beautiful spots around Lake Erie that are perfect for family photos.

baby boy and big sisters sitting on the shore of Lake Erie locationslittle girl sitting on the Lake Erie shore locations

What if you just want to stay home?

Whether you are celebrating a new home or just because you love your current home, having a portrait session there can be the perfect way to document your history in this meaningful place.  Our homes are such a significant part of our histories whether it’s your forever home, or a transition, they should be captured.  Home is comfortable and it immediately puts us at ease.  For kids and families that might be uncomfortable with being photographed, the home might be the best option.

family moments captured in Wexford home locations with mom and sons

Sometimes home is the best place for photos.

little boy playing in the dirt with toy backhoe in Wexford backyard locations

A session at home doesn’t mean that your house has to be pristine and spotless.  Homes are lived in.  Homes are full of life and activity, especially if you have small children.  Portraits are meant to focus on YOU and not the things in your home.  And if all else fails, the yard can be a great space too!

So many options!

So as you can see, there are so many options for locations.  It all comes down to deciding what you like and what fits best with your family.  I’m happy to help you sort that out when we schedule your next portrait session.  Send me an email and we can start planning!

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

When it comes to portrait photography, there are a lot of options. It's important to me that I help my clients create the session and have the products that are the best fit for their family!

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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