Are you totally stressing over where the heck to take your family photos? Outside of figuring out what to wear for your photoshoot (which is always the hardest part), I find that my clients aren’t sure where to take their photos at.
Over the years, I have photographed families, weddings and engagement all over Illinois, and I have found that some locations make my heart swoon every time I shoot there.
Here are my personal favorites Chicago suburb photo locations that I have photographed at over and over again and that I love oh-so-much.
+ Mayslake Forest Preserve // Oak Brook
This is my hidden gem photo location that you will always hear me gush about. Nestled in a beautiful nature walk is a gorgeous tree-filled area. I adore the tall grass, trees, and a beautiful lake.
This spot is extra private, and for all my dog parents, this is the perfect spot for photos with the fur baby because there is a dog park just steps away from this scenic spot. It looks gorgeous at all different times of the year, and this *might* be one of my favorite spots.
+ Waterfall Glen // Lemont
Yes, there is a real waterfall here that is oh-so-dreamy. If you want photos with the waterfall, spring or fall might be the best time to book your session at this location. Otherwise, there are tons of grounds to walk around and lush trees for beautiful family photos.
+ Ryerson Woods Forest Preserve // Riverwoods
If you are looking for a photo spot that has a lush forest preserve, a beautiful white barn, nature paths and a log cabin (yes, they have an adorable log cabin too), then this is your spot! There is SO much variety here, and I adore it because of this. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed inside the forest preserve.
+ Lake Forest Beach // Lake Forest
Did you know that this gorgeous beach is in Lake Forest? I love this location because you can get adorable family photos on the beach and still sneak in some parklike photos on the paths a short walk away. Just note that parking is very tricky if you are not a Lake Forest resident, and this location might be crowded during prime time beach season, so opt for a weekday session paired with an Uber / parking in downtown Lake Forest for this photo location.
+ Morton Arboretum* // Lisle
Morton Arboretum is PACKED with endless gorgeous spots for photos. There are miles upon miles of beautiful trees, open fields, and seasonal flowers. I truly believe you can pretty much take photos anywhere here, and your background will be a-maz-ing.
If you want to take your family photos here, I recommend obtaining a photo permit.
+ Danada House // Wheaton
I love this photo location for families because of the big white barn, white horse fence, and variety of trees and open fields around the grounds. There is tons of space for the kids to run around and be silly, and the white fence is always a fun family photo spot with the little ones.
+ Independence Grove // Libertyville
This massive forest preserve has so many options for outdoor photos. Between the open prairie and woodlands and beautiful lake, I adore photographing at this location, especially in the fall. You can even rent a boat or canoe onsite. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed inside the forest preserve.
+ St. James Farm // Warrenville
No matter what season you are taking photos during, St. James Farm is a great location. It has open fields, lots of trees, gorgeous black barn doors and a pretty white fence.
TIP: This location is VERY popular in the fall, so just know that if you are shooting on a weekend it can be crowded, and we may have to wait for the best spots.
+ Busse Woods // Schaumburg
I have barely explored Busse Woods because of the HUGE size of this forest preserve, but it has just about everything you could want in a photo location. If you are interested in having your family photos taken here, I would suggest checking out what areas you love most.
+ Chicago Botanic Gardens* // Glencoe
This place is worth every penny that they charge for a photo permit. The options are endless …. and your kids won’t feel like we are taking photos the whole time because they can run around and explore. Every nook and cranny is a gorgeous photo background, so you cannot go wrong with this spot. I promise.
Cantigny Park* // Wheaton, IL
Rose gardens, wood pergolas, and a gorgeous reflection pool make the acres of this historic estate photo-worthy. I have not photographed a family session here yet, but I have photographed weddings and engagements, and it is oh-so-pretty. A photo permit must be secured in advance to use this location, and just note, pups aren’t allowed here.
Fabyan Forest Preserve // Geneva, IL
This forest preserve is a hidden gem separated by the Fox River. It has water views, lush trails, a wrought iron fence, and this gorgeous a fifty-foot long ivy-covered arbor. A photo permit is not required for the grounds unless you want to take photos inside the Japanese Gardens.
* = photo permit required at these locations. Brittany Bekas clients are responsible for obtaining photo permit if they are interested in having their photos at these locations.
Is a family session in Chicago more your style? If so, check out my favorite locations with Chicago skyline views and the best places in Chicago for engagement and wedding photos.