My family and I moved to the Madison area about 2 1/2 years ago and part of the fun of settling in here in our new home has been exploring all the beautiful places in this lovely city. And since I’m a photographer and I love taking pictures of my own family, I have generally had my camera on hand for our explorations of our new hometown. I spent the first six months or so of our time here in Madison getting our family settled in this new place and in the fall of 2017 I launched my business here, too. Consequently, I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to think about the best places for family photos in Madison. While I absolutely love photographing both my own family and my clients in their own homes, I also understand how wonderful it is to have photographs of your family taken away from your home. This beautiful city is replete with picturesque locations that present wonderful opportunities to create beautiful, meaningful family photos. And so, without further ado, here is a totally biased list of what I consider to be the best places for family photos in Madison!


By the Shores of a Lake

We are so lucky to live in a city that is full of lakes! I personally love water and I think that having photos taken on a beach or next to water is the best. No matter the lake, I think that the proximity to water makes family photos both more fun and more beautiful. (And yes, frozen lakes count too!!)

By the shores of Lake Wingra with Duck Boat


Playing in Lake Mendota


Best places for family photos in Madison


At Lake Wingra: Best Places for Family photos in Madison


Walking on an icy Lake Mendota




As we discovered soon after we moved here, Madison’s downtown is unique, picturesque and full of fun things to do and see. And if Madison is your home, there is a special meaning to family photos with Madison’s iconic downtown as a backdrop.

Photos at Wisconsin State Capitol



Best Places for Family Photos in Madison




As parents all know so very well, there is something about a good playground that is forever attractive to young kids. And as I’m a firm believer in the idea that happy children make for fun and happy family photos, I often suggest to parents that we include a trip to a playground in our plans for a family photo session. I see the joy that a solid play at the park brings to my own children’s faces and I place my trust in the fact that that that reaction is universal. And the best part is that the joy of a playground can be found on your backyard swing set just as easily as at a fancy park miles away.


Family Photos in Madison WI








As residents of Madison, we are so lucky to have a number of really beautiful wild-ish places so close within our reach. Some of my favorite more natural locations in the area include Owen Conservation Park, the UW Arboretum, Cherokee Marsh and Pheasant Branch Conservancy. However, there are plenty of other awesome spots nearby that provide a bit of wilderness without leaving the city.

Pope Farms Family Photos





Best Places for Family Photos in Madison

I am absolutely positive that you have your own particular thoughts about the best places for family photos in Madison and I’d love to hear all about them! Photographing families in meaningful and beautiful places is central to what I think is so important about family photography. Doing so captures the interaction between people and their environment in wonderful and sometimes unexpected ways and has a way of bringing what is important to families to the surface, allowing me to help families remember exactly what it is about a place that brings them joy.

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Catherine Hilcove Photography: Family Photography, Madison WI