Spring Photo Shoot Locations in Chicagoland

Hi folks!  I’m so excited Amanda invited me here to share some wonderful tips about choosing locations for your family photos.  My name is Rebecca Hellyer, I’m a mom to one superhero-loving four year old boy, wife to a wonderful man, AND I own and run Rebecca Hellyer Photography.

rebecca hellyer photography

Based in Chicago, I LOVE working with my clients to find unique and beautiful locations for their boutique sessions that perfectly complement who they are as individuals or as a family.  If you like what you see here, I’d love to chat with you about scheduling the perfect session for your family!

The grass is green, leaves are popping out on the trees, and the flowers are beginning to bloom.  With Spring in the air you may be thinking about updating those family photos and wondering which Chicagoland locations might be best for you.  Luckily, living in this wonderful city means that there is no shortage of fun, unique, beautiful locations for your family portraits.

The most important thing to consider when choosing a location for your session is how that location reflects who you are as a family.  Do you love to spend time outdoors, perhaps hiking or going on picnics or just spending a little one-on-one time with nature?  If so, a forest preserve might be a great choice for you!  Or is your family more metropolitan, enjoying the fast paced life of living in the city?  Then look for more urban locations and incorporate some of the awesome inner-city gems that Chicago has to offer.

If you have chosen a fabulous and seasoned photographer, they should have no problems working with you to recommend the perfect location to suit your family.  Here are some of my favorite locations to help you get started.

Forest Preserves

Living in the city, you may not know that there are hundreds of forest preserves just a short drive from downtown!  Forest preserves provide a wonderful backdrop for portraits – lush wooded areas, trails, and wide open spaces.  There are so many to choose from, I’d suggest heading to the FPCC website to find a location close to your home.

Thatcher Woods


(More from this session here)


Busse Woods


(More from this session here)

Bunker Hill


(More from this session here)

Chicago Park District

Chicago has such a wonderful and robust park system that is fantastic for family portraits!  Be sure to choose a park that is relatively quiet and offers a lot of variety.  Two favorite parks are Humboldt Park and around the North Pond in Lincoln Park.  Note: CPD parks require a permit for any photography.  Be sure your photographer is in the know and follows any CPD rules/requirements!

Lincoln Park North Pond


(More from Lincoln Park here)

Humboldt Park


(More from Humboldt Park here)

Urban Locations

Chicago is one of the world’s most amazing urban metropolises, so it only makes sense that a chic, city-living family will want to capture photographs of themselves in the city.  You may be surprised – even unassuming alleyways or locations that you might otherwise just pass right on by may be perfect for your family photos!

Logan Square


(More from this session here)

River West


(More from this session here)

Loop and Grant Park


Chicago Skyline

One of the most iconic parts of Chicago is its magnificent skyline along Lake Michigan.  Take advantage of it!  Some of my favorite sessions have been shot along the waterfront, and the locations by the lake offer a wide variety of backgrounds.

Adler Planetarium


(More from this session here)

North Avenue Beach


(More from this session here)

Indoor Locations

Need to head indoors for your session?  The Garfield Park Conservatory is wonderful for family sessions at any time of the year (permits are required).  You could also try Union Station or The Rookery for a classic look.

Garfield Park Conservatory


Union Station


I hope that this has given you some ideas for planning your next photo session.   Remember to collaborate with your photographer to choose the best location for your family and, above all else, be sure to choose a professional with insurance and a business license who is well-versed on the rules and requirements of any given location.  Your photographer should never put your family in a risky situation, so please speak up if you are ever uncomfortable at a location or feel unsafe.

Hope to work with you soon and capture the beauty of your growing families!




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  1. Jeanine says

    Wow! Looks like there is a lot of absolutely beautiful spots for photos! Would love to visit one day and see for myself! Would be awesome! Those are all such beautiful photos!

    • amandasimkin says

      Chicago has never looked so pretty…Rebecca is a native Australian but you would think that she is a born and bred Chicagoan by the way she showcases the city in her photos!

  2. Rosey says

    What a fun job. And I love the action shots. The one of the child jumping makes me smile really big! I like Chicago. Scenery is never lacking for pictures there, that’s for sure. 🙂

    • amandasimkin says

      I must admit that I don’t get out by Palos Hills too much, but Busse Woods is near me and we love it! It is so nice having a natural preserve so closeby so that you can truly enjoy it.

    • Nikki says

      I’m so sorry, I hit enter too soon! I wanted to add that my favorite is the Urban locations. I think the colors really add a fun element!

      • amandasimkin says

        Don’t you hate it when when buttons get pressed mid-sentence? I’m always afraid people are going to think I’m so dumb. 😉 And I agree–I love the fun urban elements, too!

  3. Letty C. says

    Wow! this are all great locations. Love the action shot of the kid at “Busse Woods”, but my favorite is the main picture on “Lincoln Park North Pond”. Great job!

    • amandasimkin says

      There is a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the North Pond…my favorite in all of Chicago!

  4. Adanna says

    This is in time for me, we’ve been looking for inspiration for our family’s spring photos. I really like the graffiti shots. Pretty!

  5. SHARON WONG says

    Wow! those are amazing shots. I am learning to take photos like that for my fashion blog. You look like you had a lot of fun taking these pictures. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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