20 Scenic Locations for Your Fall Photo Session

Chicago Family and Children Photographer | Sharon Gaietto Photography

So, before I begin my list, I have to apologize. It is definitely a list that focuses on numerous north side locations. I know there are plenty of beautiful locations throughout the Chicagoland area, but I have favored locations closer to my home. Please feel free to share some of your favorite places to visit during the fall.

1.  Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

For the longest time, I had no idea this little gem was located on the north side of the Lincoln Park Zoo. You would walk right by the entrance if you did not know to look for it. Though it is a short walk around the pond, you will find yourself making numerous stops, just to take it all in. Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is located at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive.

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Click here to read more about the Caldwell Lily Pool.

2. Chicago Botanic Garden

If I could make a weekly stop at the Chicago Botanic Garden, I would. I really love this place and I never tire of walking around its countless gardens. It truly is a photographer’s dream. Only a 30 minute drive from the city (on a good day). It is definitely worth a visit. Chicago Botanic Garden is located in Glencoe at 1000 Lake Cook Road.

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If you happen to be on Facebook, click here and check out some photos from my family’s visit in  July.

3. Chicago Riverwalk

The River Walk is a work in progress. However, what they have already finished is quite spectacular. To think how undesirable the river used to be and what it has become today, it truly is a Cinderella story. You can never go wrong with this beautiful city as your backdrop.

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Click here for a map of the Riverwalk.

4. Foster Beach

It is my beach of choice to take the kids in the summertime. It is also a great place for fall photos. You get the best of both worlds, plenty of trees and of course the beach. It is a great spot, on non-windy days! Foster Beach is located at 5200 N. Lakeshore Drive.

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5. Garfield Park Conservatory

It used to be a breeze to bring clients to the conservatory. We would walk around and pose for pictures in the numerous rooms. Now, it is not so easy. It has become quite the hot spot for photographers, especially on days when the weather is not cooperating. Though, I no longer suggest the inside as a location for professional photos, I do highly suggest the outside space, surrounding the Garfield Park Conservatory. It really is impressive. The Garfield Park Conservatory is located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue.

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Click here to read more about the Garfield Park Conservatory.

6. Gompers Park

A couple years ago I did an internet search of Chicago parks around the city and Gompers Park popped up. It was relatively close, so I went to check it out. I first went to the north side of the street. It had a nice playground, but not ideal for a photo session. Then I realized there was a south side of the street, with an even larger park and one quite worthy of being photographed. Gompers Park is located at 4222 W. Foster Avenue.

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7. Horner Park

Only a 5 minute walk from my house, Horner Park is a convenient and also picturesque location for photos. Even with its numerous baseball fields and fenced off future dog park, this park has some big, beautiful trees that offer such wonderful colors in the fall. Horner Park is surrounded by Irving Park Road, California, Montrose and the river (map).

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8. Lincoln Park Zoo (South End)

You really can not go wrong with any side of Lincoln Park Zoo. South side, north side, west side or east side, they are all great spots. However, I do tend to favor the south end of the zoo. The views of the city are breathtaking, the honeycomb pavilion offers some fun photos, the lagoon is a nice water feature and there are plenty of trees. Oh, and I forgot to mention the zoo. Could there be any better incentive for your children to take extra special family photos, then a visit to the zoo? Lincoln Park Zoo is located at just south of Fullerton Avenue, in between Canon and Stockton Drive (map).

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To read more about a photo session at Lincoln Park Zoo, click here.

9. Millenium Park / Lurie Garden

It is not all about “The Bean”. There are plenty of other spots around Millennium Park to take photos. The Lurie Garden, the bridge to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Crown Fountain and the bridge to Maggie Daley Park, are all lovely spots. Of course, I would still make a point to stop at “The Bean”. Millennium Park is surrounded by Monroe, Michigan, Randolph and Columbus (map).

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10. Milton Lee Olive Park

I have actually never been at Milton Lee Olive Park. I have seen it from above, while riding the ferris wheel at Navy Pier. I do know, there are some amazing views of the skyline from the park. Not the easiest place to get to, but definitely worth any inconveniences you may face. Not to mention, having photos taken here would make for a great excuse to visit Navy Pier. Milton Lee Olive Park is located at 500 N. Lakeshore Drive.

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11. Montrose Harbor

This is the first place I think of when people want photos with the Chicago skyline, without having to go downtown. As long as it is not a cloudy and/or windy day, this is the perfect spot. Not only will you have the skyline, but you will also get the break wall, bird sanctuary (with all its trees), country style fencing and a pretty cool Chicago flag storage unit. This will all make more sense when you click on the link below. Montrose Harbor is located at 601 W. Montrose Avenue.

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Click here to see more about Montrose Harbor.

12. The Morton Arboretum

It is a little bit of a drive from the city, but oh so worth it. I have been to the The Morton Arboretum numerous times and I am no where close to seeing it all. It is immense in size and just when you think you have found the most beautiful spot, you turn a corner and you are faced with yet another jaw-dropping view. It gets busy in the fall, but there are plenty of places to avoid the crowds. The Morton Arboretum is located at 4100 IL-53, in Lisle.

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To see more from the Morton Arboretum, click here.

To see more of this Senior Session at the Arboretum, click here.

13. Museum Campus

In my opinion, the Museum Campus offers the best skyline view the city of Chicago has to offer. You can see it all from here. Not only do you have the view, but you also have a small beach right next to the Adler Planetarium. You really get a chance to mix it up with this location. The Museum Campus is located at 1400 S. Museum Campus Drive.

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14. North Avenue Beach

I like to take advantage of my Lincoln Park Zoo membership, by parking in the zoo parking lot and then taking the bridge over Lake Shore Drive to North Avenue Beach. It is my favorite spot to watch the Friday practice before the big Air and Water Show weekend. It is also a nice spot for family photos. The skyline, the beach and plenty of trees, allows for countless photo opportunities. North Avenue Beach is located at 1600 N. Lakeshore Drive.

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15. Northerly Island

It has been a few years since I visited Northerly Island. From the recent reports on the news it sounds like even more work has been done to the grounds. I think strolling along the path and stopping here and there for a picture or two, would be a nice way to spend part of your day. The kids might not even be aware that there is a photo session going on. They will be having way too much fun enjoying their surroundings. Northerly Island is located near 1521 S. Linn White Drive.

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16. North Park Village Nature Center

It took me years to finally get my butt over to the North Park Village Nature Center. I had been hearing about it for years and kept saying how I really needed to pay a visit. Well, I finally made a point to take the kids and now I make sure to go back once or twice a year. It is a short walk along the path and you just never know what you will see. Ducks, frogs, geese, deer and many other animals call the park home. North Park Village Nature Center is located at 5801 N. Pulaski Road.

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To see fall mini-sesssions from the North Park Village Nature Center, click here.

To see a family session from the park, click here.

17. North Pond

I just so happened to be walking around the outside of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, when I came across the North Pond. I never knew it was there. It was a pleasant surprise and the view of the city was pretty, nice too. The path along the pond offers numerous places to stop and take a photo. The North Pond is located at 2601 N. Cannon Drive.

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18. Union Station

I am sure Union Station does not come to mind, for many, when thinking of a place to take photos. However, the huge pillars outside create a unique backdrop that really gives you a Chicago feel. I have never taken photos inside Union Station, though I am sure with the marble floor and grand staircase, it would be amazing. Union Station is located at 500 W. Jackson Boulevard.

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19. Winnemac Park

I can not say enough about this park. The gardens, the willow trees and the walking paths are just a few of the perks of this park. Luckily it is a large park, because in the fall it becomes rather busy with fall photo sessions. Though, not enough to keep me away. It is still one of my favorites. Winnemac Park is surrounded by Argyle, Leavitt, Foster and Damen (map).

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20. Your Own Backyard

When all else fails and the stress of taking family photos gets the better of you, why not have photos taken in your own yard. Now I realize that not everyone has a picture perfect backyard, but you might be surprised on the final result. Sometimes being at home creates a comfort level that really comes out in the photos.

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If you have any locations that could be added to the list, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

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