Here is a list of the best locations for a family photoshoot in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas!
“Where’s the perfect location for a family photo session around Pittsburgh?”
I often get asked this question so I created this list that can be used for choosing a location for a family photo session, an engagement session, a senior session, wedding photos, etc..
After photographing hundreds of families in the greater Pittsburgh area for the last twelve years, I’ve shot at dozens of places and I’m always happy to share these locations with other photographers.
This is not even close to being a complete list but I’ll continue to add to it as I think of more places. I’ve included Google Map links to all of the locations as well as photos of most of them. I also added blog links to the places that I have a blog post for, so click on the links to see more images!
Please feel free to send me a message to ask me about any specific details about any of these locations, I’m happy to help!
If you’re interested in a Family photo session with me, here are the details, I’d love to plan a session with you and help you pick the perfect location for your family!
Just shoot me a message!
Pittsburgh | Allegheny County
1. Schenley Plaza | Oakland
Here you can hang out on the grassy lawn, ride the whimsical carousel with the animals, go over and visit Dippy the Diplodocus by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and hang out by the Mary Schenley Memorial fountain. Check out my blog post from a family session there, and here’s another one!
2. Mellon Institute Columns | Oakland
The stone columns here are a popular spot for wedding photographers and a great spot for a rainy day!
3. Phipps Conservatory | Oakland
You are allowed to photograph outside of Phipps, but not inside the gated outdoor garden areas. You must ask permission and pay a fee to photograph there and inside. Check out my family photoshoot from there and this one! Please note the ponds/fountains do not always have water in them in the off season.
4. Schenley Park Visitor Center and Cafe | Oakland
Just across the street from Phipps is a brick building, the Schenley Visitor Center. Just behind that is a beautiful cobblestone path with a black metal railing that leads to a stone archway below. You can use the street parking all along Schenley Drive, just remember to pay the meters (except on Sundays!)
5. Flagstaff Hill – Oakland
While you are at Phipps and the cobblestone path, just across from Phipps is Flagstaff Hill. There you will find stone walls and stairs and a lot of lovely trees that are covered in colorful foliage in the fall.
6. Westinghouse Memorial | Schenley Park Oakland
And before you leave Oakland, take a short walk down Schenley Drive to the Westinghouse Memorial. There you will find a nice little pond/fountain and a walking path behind it. There’s gorgeous fall foliage here in the fall.
7. Schenley Park | Oakland/Squirrel Hill
Schenley Park is large with playgrounds and paths into the woods where you can find beautiful stone walking bridges and if you head up on the hill you can catch a view of the city from the Park Overlook.
Be sure to check out Panther Hollow and the Westinghouse Memorial.
8. The Bowling Green area of Frick Park | Point Breeze
Here you will find trails leading into the woods of Frick Park and a beautiful stone archway that is a popular spot for photo sessions at the Reynolds Street Gatehouse. Here is a Maternity session, and another maternity/family session. Walk towards the Bowling Green area to see another curved stone wall with stone steps behind it.
9. Frick Park and Frick Nature Center
This is a huge park with many locations to choose from! I suggest taking a day to explore before planning a session here. It is mostly wooded with miles of trails throughout. There is a brand new building at Frick Nature Center.
10. Point State Park | Downtown Pittsburgh
There is a gorgeous grassy lawn, walkways and trees that are full of blossoms in the Spring. It is right next to the rivers (take caution with small children), views of the stadiums, bridges, the cityscape and don’t forget the iconic fountain on the Point! Here is a post from one of my sessions there and this one.
11. Mt. Washington
An iconic location to see a gorgeous view of the city from the overlooks! There are a few platforms to see the views, here is the Grandview Overlook.
12. West End Overlook Park
13. South Side
Take some time to explore the South Side to scout great spots for photo sessions! Start at one end down by the Three Rivers Heritage Park and check out the Hot Metal Bridge! Walk over to the South Shore Riverfront Park to get close to the river and see the boats on the docks and continue onto the Three Rivers Heritage trail to find the Color Park, a unique and fun spot for photos! Be sure to find the brightly painted building nearby!
Head down Carson Street with all the shops, bars, and restaurants to find something that catches your eye. Then you can head down to Station Square for a view of the city and go a little further down to ride the Duquesne Incline up to Mt. Washington.
14. Mellon Park and walled garden | Shadyside
This is a gorgeous park with a variety of architectural features and beautiful gardens! During the summer there is also a working fountain. Here are a few blog posts from there: This one, this one, and another one and a beautiful Mother-Daughter Session and a mother-son session! There is free parking here on Beechwood Blvd. and a paid parking right next to the walled garden.
Please note that this is a hot spot for photo sessions and it is extra busy now that Hartwood Mansion is closed for the remainder of 2021. Expect to see quite a few other photographers there with their clients, especially on weekend evenings before sunset.
15. North Shore trail by PNC Park
The North Shore trail is a riverfront walkway that goes right by the stadiums with a view of the city across the river! You’ll pass under the Clemente, the Warhol, and the Carson Street bridges. Between the Warhol and Carson Steet bridges, there is a beautiful willow tree by the river. Check out the photos in this blog post from a family session there! You can find street parking on or near Isabella Street or find a nearby parking lot. During Pirate games, they sometimes close the Clemente Bridge to cars and open it to pedestrians to walk on the road! This is a great opportunity to get photos on the bridge!
*Please note, that the Clemente Bridge is now closed until 2023.
16. Allegheny Commons Park | North
Located next to the National Aviary, you will find this beautiful park where you can find Lake Elizabeth with a bridge as well as cherry blossoms in the Spring! Perfect for a photo session!
17. RandyLand | North Shore
Please call ahead to make reservations for a photo session, there is a photographer’s session fee. Here’s one blog post and another. Parking can be a little difficult but just drive around Randyland and the Mexican War Streets until you find a spot.
18. The Pittsburgh Zoo | Highland Park
19. Highland Park
This park has a large fountain with maintained flower gardens in the summer and early fall as well as a stone arch bridge with a path under it.
20. Aspinwall Riverfront Park
This small park is right on the river and has a winding path through a maintained park. There is also an open but covered area which is great if it rains.
21. Riverview Park | North Side
23. Hartwood Acres Mansion | North
*PLEASE NOTE that Hartwood mansion is closed until the summer of 2022 for construction/renovations.
This is a hot spot for photographers but for a good reason, the mansion is beautiful and there is a beautiful fenced-in flower garden next to it. Take caution as it will have lots of photo sessions going on most weekends. You are also not permitted around the mansion if there is a wedding or event taking place. You may want to call ahead to make sure. Here’s a family session, another one, and a maternity session in the winter.
23. Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve | North
I love shooting here! There is this wood deck overlook, a pond, a small boardwalk, trails, fields, an old barn, etc! During the late Spring/early Summer, you may be lucky to find wildflowers just below the barn! Check out this post, and this one and another one in the fall, oh, and one more!
24. North Park | Wexford
This park is huge and has a lake and a boathouse. You will find pretty white blossoming trees by the boathouse in the Spring! There are so many spots to choose from! I suggest taking a drive through the park to find a perfect spot for your session! (according to the employees, you are not supposed to shoot in/around the Latodami Nature Center. they are known to ask people to leave)
25. Falls Run Park | Glenshaw
This park has a nice trail with bridges that cross over and next to a creek leading to a tall waterfall. Caution, it can be muddy here, especially in the Spring.
26. O’Hara Township Community Park | Fox Chapel
27. Washington’s Landing / Herr’s Island
28. Seldom Seen Greenway | Beechview
29. Boyce Mayview Park |South Hills
30. South Park | South Hills
This is a huge park with many locations to choose from! There is a great spot with a pond and the Maple Springs Gazebo. You can also ask permission and pay a donation to shoot at the Oliver Miller Homestead! Here is a session by the gazebo and pond. I suggest taking a drive through the park to find your perfect location.
31. Morrow Pontefract Park | Sewickley
This cute little park is just past Sewickley by the Giant Eagle. It has a bridge, trees, a creek and a bench or two. Parking is limited so you may want to park at Giant Eagle. Check out this blog post from a family session there.
32. Fern Hollow Nature Park | Sewickley
This beautiful park has tall grasses with mowed paths, trees, fields, all the things a photographer could want. Check out this session from there, and this family session. Please be courteous if there is an event taking place.
Downtown Sewickley is a cute little town that could be perfect for a photo session! In addition to Fen Hollow Nature Center (listed above), be sure to check out the Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park!
34. Pittsburgh Botanic Garden | North Fayette
This is a large and beautifully maintained park however, there is an entrance fee and you must pay a photography session fee to shoot here. Here is a Maternity session that I did there. The dogwoods and the bridge were my favorites!
35. Settlers Cabin Park | Robinson
There are a few spots in this park great for photos, especially for fall foliage. It is mostly pavilions and a couple of playgrounds. People often ask about the waterfall at Settlers Cabin Park, just know that there’s a not so easy downhill hike and it is a very small waterfall and can be disappointing, especially in the summer.
36. Moon Park | Moon Township
This little community park has a nice pond and tall trees and a path
37. Robin Hill Park – Coraopolis
This park has a beautiful brick building with decorative arches on the side, a gazebo, and a small garden. Definitely worth checking out! You will need to call ahead to make sure there is not a wedding or other event taking place.
38. Monroeville Park (West)
This park is mostly known for the recreation fields, however, there is a gazebo area with maintained flower gardens, a dry rock river, and a small wooded area just across the street in the middle of the park.
39. Boyce Park – Plum
There are plenty of spots in this large park, including an old log cabin and a skatepark. I suggest driving through the park prior to a session to find a good spot!
40. White Oak Park | White Oak
Although this post is for locations for photo sessions in Pittsburgh, I am including some places in the surrounding counties.
–Peters Lake Park | Canonsburg
Large lake with trails into the woods and a boat dock.
-Mingo Creek Park
Google Maps to the covered Bridge
This large park has two iconic covered bridges and a shallow creek and wooded areas throughout the park. A hotspot for photo sessions. Please not cell service can be spotty in this park.
-BY Park | Trafford
This small park has woods and a pond with a willow tree.
-Succop Nature Park | Butler
Please call ahead to get permission as you are not permitted there if there is a wedding or other event. Goose poop has been a problem around the pond. There is also an old barn on the property.
-Blueberry Hill Park | Cranberry Township
This park has a few small areas that are good for photos, including this spot by a historic cabin.
-Moraine State Park
Google Maps for parking by the North Shore beach area where there is also and the nice tall grassy hill for sunset photos. This is a large park with wooded areas and a large lake. You can also find boat docks by the beach and marina areas.
This park is known for the red covered Harris bridge, old mill, and the Slippery Rock Creek and large rock features. Please take caution by all rock ledges and stay back from the water when it is running high as many people have fallen in and drowned or needed to be rescued. Please do not take children close to the edge of the creek.
There is also Hell’s Hollow waterfall which is a one-mile easy hike from the parking area. FYI, cell service is very spotty throughout the park.
I hope that my fellow Pittsburgh photographers found this list of locations for photo sessions in the greater Pittsburgh area helpful and useful!
Here’s some other blog posts that you might find helpful!
Let’s connect on Instagram!
~All images by Mary Beth Miller Photography ~
Mary Beth Miller Photography specializes in lifestyle and documentary family, newborn and Fresh 48 photography in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and many of the surrounding areas. Mary Beth has over ten years experience photographing families, newborns and babies in the South Hills, South Park, Bethel Park, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Greentree, Point Breeze and Highland Park. Her style is very relaxed and natural and your family session will feel like a stress free Sunday afternoon with your family!