Senior Portrait locations

Location

Location

Location!!

One question clients always ask is - Where should we have our senior 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 senior portraits. 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.

Herr's Island Park -

September afternoon/evening

Around the City

Pittsburgh is a vibrant city full of great spaces and locations for senior portrait sessions all year round. Here are some of the many spots I've photographed and what I love about each of them. You can click the links to see more images from the session and some sessions visit multiple locations so that can help with planning too!

These are all just observations of the space and some tips to keep in mind. We can make any space work at just about any time but I like to give as much information as possible as you make your plans.

The Cultural District
image of a senior girl in a form-fitting bright red prom dress on the sidewalk in downtown Pittsburgh

Penn Ave

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

try to avoid scheduling during Pirate/Steeler games

Best Time to Schedule:
midday or early afternoon

image of a black girl in a leather jacket and black top, hitting a snare drum with gold glitter puffing up.

alley behind Benedum Center

The North Shore
senior guy sitting on the watersteps in Pittsburgh. The Clemente Bridge is in the background.

Watersteps, North Shore Trail

August afternoon/evening

  • 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

try to avoid scheduling during Pirate/Steeler games

Best Time to Schedule:
late afternoon/sunset

black and white image of a senior guy along the North Shore with the Andy Warhol Bridge behind

Allegheny Landing

September evening

black and white images of a senior guy in a dark suit standing along the North Shore with the Pittsburgh skyline behind him.

Allegheny Landing, North Shore Trail

August mid-morning

The Strip District
image of a senior girl with long dark hair. She's weating a black leather jacket and is stanging in the road with a train trestle behind her.

33rd Street, Strip District

February morning

image of senior guy leaning next to large industrial tires near the Strip District in Pittsburgh

33rd Street, Strip District

August morning

  • 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

Best Time to Schedule:
morning

image of a senior girl sitting on red and pink checked steps. she's wearing a leather jacket and newsboy hat and sitting with her arms resting on her knees.

The Terminal Building, Strip District

February morning

black and white images of a senior guy taken at the terminal building in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. He has short dark hair that sticks up and is wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

The Terminal Building, Strip District

August morning

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

Point State park underpass

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

try to avoid scheduling during Pirate/Steeler games

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

The South Side is a beautiful area with a number of different spaces that are both pretty and creative for portraits.

Pros:

a more unique spot perfect for creatives

Cons:

might be a busy area but hard to predict

images of a senior girl standing next to a train caboose covered in graffiti at Pittsburgh's Highline. She has long dark hair, black framed glasses and a yellow sweater with jeans.

Pittsburgh Highline, South Side

August afternoon

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

Color Park, South Side

October afternoon

Oakland
image of a senior girl in a flower dress and rust sweater sitting on a stone wall in Schenley Park.

Panther Hollow, Schenley Park

October afternoon

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 senior 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 crowded

image of a senior girl wearing a red dress, sitting on the steps of Mellon Institute, Pittsburgh

Mellon columns

October afternoon

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.

West End Overlook

July evening

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.

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

October

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

image of a senior girl in a pale pink dress. She has long wavy, blonde hair and is wearing orange, pink, and yellow tinted sunglasses. She's standing next to a stone wall at Mellon Park.

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. You can click the links to see more from these sessions.

North Park
image of a senior girl in a white sundress. she's sitting on a large boulder with a field of black-eyed susans around her

North Park Meadow - sunset, late summer

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 senior!

Pros:

beautiful with lots of different options

WILDFLOWERS!

Cons:

some areas can be busier than others

Best Time to Schedule:
there are great places around the park that work throughout the day

image of a senior guy in a blue henley shirt. he has shoulder length dark wavy hair and is standing in a clearing with a line of trees behind him.

Pigeon Shelter, North Park

October morning

image of a senior girl with dark curly hair, wearing jeans and a black t-shirt, sitting in a grassy field with her elbow on her knee and the sun streaming behind her.

Pigeon Shelter, North Park

August afternoon

Hartwood Acres
image of a senior girl at Hartwood Acres Mansion. She's wearing a purple top and blue jeans and she's leaning against an old wooden door.

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.

  • The Mansion at Hartwood
  • The gardens

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

Best Time to Schedule:
for the front of the mansion, late afternoon/sunset

closeup image of a senior girl with dark curly hair, wearing an orange dress with orange and white flowers in the background

Hartwood Acres

Herr's Island

Herrs Island North Park - sunset, late summer

Herr's Island (aka Washington's Landing) is this hidden gem of a spot just across the river from Lawrenceville. It has views of the river, fields of tall grasses and wildflowers, stone walls and stairs, and views of the downtown from the Herr's Island Bridge!

Pros:

beautiful space with a variety of options

Cons:

parking to access the bridge can be challenging sometimes

Best Time to Schedule:
late afternoon/sunset

Herrs Island

images of a senior guy at a park on Herrs Island. In one image he's walking along a short stone wall and looking off to the left. In the second image he's standing in tall grasses with pine trees behind him. He's wearing a gray henley shirt and khaki pants.

Herrs Island

August afternoon

Crouse Run Park
senior girl in a lilac dress standing in a wooded clearing with wildflowers around her

Crouse Run is a hidden gem just beyond North Park going towards Gibsonia. It's a creek through the woods with stone walls, and tall grasses, and is just magical.

Pros:

perfect for creek walking!

Cons:

can be muddy

the small parking lot can be crowded at times due to the pizza place next door.

and the smell of pizza can be both a pro or a con depending on how hungry you are 😁

Best Time to Schedule:
early or midday. the trees can make it pretty dark

image of a senior girl wearing a white top and jeans sitting on a rock in a shallow creek bed.

Crouse Run Park

July afternoon

Boyce Park
image of a senior girl in a light flower dress. She's standing in a field of wildflowers with the sun setting behind her

Boyce Park is on the eastern side of Pittsburgh, near Monroeville. It's full for hills and woods with trails but also has some beautiful wildflower fields that bloom at the end of summer.

Pros:

the spot for wildflowers

Cons:

be ready to hike a little- the wildflower hill is steep

image of a senior girl in a white sundress. She's standing in a field of wildflowers with the edge of a wood behind her.

Boyce Park

other options

These spots highlighted on this page are just the places that I've been with my most recent seniors. 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.

images of a senior girl on a small town street. She has long, dark hair and is wearing a gray dress with orange flowers.
College Campus

Have you already committed to your local college? Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas have some great colleges with beautiful campuses. If you know where you're going to go, have your portraits on campuses!

images of a senior girl with curly hair and glasses seated on a bench at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She's wearing a denim jacket over a flowered dress.

Fisher Auditorium, IUP

May afternoon

Inside

Your senior portrait session doesn't have to be outside. We can certainly plan for some indoor spots during your session. Ice cream parlor, movie theater, or a cool building downtown. There are a number of options we can look at. We can even rent a studio and have studio portraits be part of your session.

two images of a senior guy in a glass atrium. He's wearing a light blue dress shirt and tan pants. He's looking out of the window at the city buildings below.
?

The possibilities are endless and I'm happy to work with you to make them happen. Are you hoping for portraits with a waterfall? or at your favorite hiking spot? I'm happy to talk with you and make a plan so that you can have the session that captures all of the qualities that make you, you!

images of a senior girl at Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park She has long dark hair and is wearing a knitted crop top and long flowered skirt

Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle September afternoon

These are all just my observations of the locations and some information to keep in mind.

Please remember, we can make just about any space work at just about any time so you'll have portraits that you love! As always, if you have questions or ideas, please share them with me and we can work together to make them happen!

Collection prices are from $400-$950

contact Jodi for more detailed information.

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. I recently talked with a senior who was trying to make this decision. She described her style as grunge and was eager to wear her Doc Martins for her session. The Strip District fit her style perfectly. The industrial bits, the graffiti, the train tracks. It all fit with the look she was going for.

 

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 a big bulky sweater) 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.

senior 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

Pitt Campus

Southside

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portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

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