Captured MOMents: Best Locations for Portraits around New Orleans

Fall (and cooler temps – yay!) is approaching and with that comes the promise of the holiday season.  Translation: it’s time to take those family photos for holiday cards!

Am I right? I remember when I was taking portraits, I would get many calls during the fall months for friends and family wanting me to capture a few quick shots of them for their holiday photo card.  Often I would wind up in early December with my tripod, remote and family somewhere close to home trying to get a great photo since I was always busy taking pictures for everyone else; sometimes we even got our picture right in our own backyard!

While your very own backyard is at least one option for taking your family portraits, we have many others to choose from! One of the things I did frequently was travel out and about in search of unique, fun locations to capture great portraits of families.  Our area is so picturesque that you don’t have to go very far to find a beautiful place to take a few photos!

Whether you are hiring a photographer to capture lifestyle portraits or doing them yourself, we have many great, low cost or free locations throughout the New Orleans metro area – from Uptown to the River Parishes – that make for great photographs!

New Orleans

City Park (Mid-City)

I am pretty sure that nearly everyone from our area is familiar with City Park and all that it has to offer.  The park is large, and there is lots of room everywhere for photographs.  The Peristyle/Playground area is popular, but if you are looking for something a little more natural, you can drive throughout the park and find many green, neutral areas as well. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, Botanical Gardens and Storyland are all also great locations for photos as well.  Small fees apply at the Botanical Gardens and Storyland. Be sure to call ahead to see if Storyland will be open to the public, as it can be closed for birthday parties.  There is no fee to enter the sculpture garden; however, donations are greatly appreciated (and encouraged!).

Tip: If you have a toddler or older child, the promise of playground time (or using playground time for portraits) will provide a cooperative child when it comes to smiling for photos.

Our recent family portrait taken at City Park in New Orleans for Andrew’s first birthday by Amy Cherie Photography

Audubon Park

To the right of the Audubon Golf Clubhouse, there is a great lagoon area, bandstand, and lots of beautiful oak trees that provide beautiful light for family and children’s portraits.  There are also lots of ducks and squirrels, which can be very entertaining for little ones.

French Quarter

Like most of us, I LOVE the bright colors and scenery of the French Quarter.  However, I only recommend children’s portraits in the French Quarter during the very early morning hours because it gets so busy down there after 9 or 10 am. My favorite area in the French Quarter for kids is behind the French Market where there are some fun statues and fountains and it’s not as busy.

Tip: Bring Pennies for the kids to make wishes in the fountains. And also maybe some cash to grab beignets?

Longue Vue House & Gardens

Near the Jefferson/Orleans Parish Line, Longue Vue House & Gardens boasts acres of many beautiful trees, perennials and other natural elements, along with a historic home for portraits.  There is a fee for professional photographers to shoot portraits there, but moms with cameras are welcome at this beautiful local treasure. Garden tour fees do apply for “mamarazzi” ($7 for adults, $3 for children 3 and older, and children under 3 are free). For professional photographers, either the photographer OR the subjects must be members of Longue Vue. Membership fees are $75 annually for families, while a $175 fee for photographers covers ALL sessions for one year.

Collage of some of the beautiful areas at Longue Vue featuring NOMB baby Thatcher and his friend Micah. Shhhh – don’t tell them that they played in the fountains!

Jefferson Parish/Metairie 

Lafreniere Park 

The largest park in Jefferson Parish, Lafreniere is home to a bird sanctuary and oodles of  ducks, egrets, herons and other fowl. The wooden deck over the lagoon, as well as lots of shady trees and benches, provide great light and fun activities for portraits. There is also a carousel and a playground (remember, these are good bribes for smiles!).

Tip: Bring bread to feed the ducks.  Some of them will eat right out of your hand!

Kenner Rivertown Heritage Park

If you like whimsy and a vintage inspired location, this park is right for you.  Kenner Heritage Park, in the heart of Rivertown, is home to a mini village of fun antique setups that are great for some fun pictures of your kiddos.  Equipped with a mini-chapel, general store, old time gas station, and even a stable,  there are lots of fun picture opportunities. Also in Rivertown there are several fun museums for kids you can check out!

Tip: Call first to check park hours and events.

One of Andrew’s 6 month portraits taken by Amy Cherie Photography at Kenner Heritage Park. I just adore all of the cute antiques they have in their little village!

Metairie Park Country Day School Campus

A favorite of Ashley’s (one of our co-founders), Country Day has a beautiful campus with some colorful brick walls, a lush, green courtyard and playground fun for the kids. We strongly recommend Saturday or Sunday mornings when the campus is quiet (this is not a location for a school day for obvious reasons). Park in the front circle and capture a few shots of your little ones in front of the historic administration building before wandering into the courtyard to find endless gorgeous backdrops.

Thatcher just loves going to Country Day to take pictures! Photo by his mom, Ashley.

Northshore

Fountainbleau State Park

One of Louisiana’s many beautiful state parks, Fountainbleau is not only a beautiful place to go camping or have a picnic, but it is also great for taking portraits!  There are oodles of hundred year old oaks draped in Spanish moss, a very unique beach laced with cypress trees, and even a fun pier overlooking Lake Pontchartrain.

Tip: If you go at sunset, you can get some beautiful beach pictures.  There is also a splash pad, so in the summer months, the promise of playing in the splash pad may be a nice incentive for the little ones! An admission fee is required to enter the park.

I took this pic of this sweet little gal at Fountainbleau’s beach. I love that we get our very own beach sunsets on the northshore!

Fairview Riverside State Park

A smaller state park nestled on Highway 22 in Madisonville, Fairview Riverside is also a nice location for capturing some great family portraits. There is a beautiful old home, lots of cypress and oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and a fun playground for the kids.

Tip: There is an admission fee to enter the park. 

Mandeville Lakefront

All along Lakefront Drive in Mandeville, you have amazing views of Lake Ponchartrain, beautiful ages-old oak trees and lots of benches for classic family and kids’ portraits.

River Parishes

Wetland Watchers Park

A hidden gem, Wetland Watchers Park is at the very back of the Bonnet Carre Spillway levee, bordering on Lake Pontchartrain. Home to a fun wooden gazebo, a nature trail, playground,  and beautiful views of the lake, it’s a great location for some nature loving as well as taking family portraits.

Tip: Do you and the kids love fishing?  There is a fun little pier where your little ones can cast for a great catch.

Bonnet Carre Spillway

The Bonnet Carre Spillway not only serves an engineering purpose; it is also a great natural location for photos and recreational fun! On the north side of Airline Highway, there is a quaint nature trail with beautiful shade and lighting for portraits.  On the South side of the spillway, in the early summer, there are giant patches of sunflowers as well. There are also lots of oak trees, cypress trees, and small ponds that are beautiful natural backgrounds for photos.

Tip: The Spillway is all natural, not manicured like our local parks.  The nature trail and boat launches are easily accessible and kept up. However, other areas are accessible by dirt road and may be overgrown. Plan accordingly!

I took this picture of my niece & sister on the nature trail at the Spillway. The nature trail area is very lush and green and has beautiful lighting during the sunrise and sunset hours.

Ormond Plantation

One of two historic antebellum homes on the River Road in Destrehan, Ormond Plantation is another great location to capture some great images of your family or little ones.  On Saturdays, Ormond Plantation is also home to the German Coast Farmers Market where you can grab a snack or two after taking photos.  There are lots of beautiful old oaks, a classic plantation veranda, and lots of open grass for some fun pictures.

Tip: Be sure to call first to make sure gates and property is open for photos.

As you can see, when I am not the one taking photos of Andrew, our favorite photographer, Amy, has been capturing his milestone moments! We love Amy and will continue using her for years to come!

One of Andrew’s 1 year portraits by Amy Cherie Photography

We are excited that the talented Amy Cherie is offering one of you a one hour session (valued at $100). You will receive 20-30 retouched high resolutions images on a CD and the copyright release. Happy holidays to one VERY lucky reader!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

51 Responses to Captured MOMents: Best Locations for Portraits around New Orleans

  1. Ashley M. September 17, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    We had some beautiful family pictures done in Downtown Covington. There are some beautiful buildings to use as backdrops.

  2. Amy-Lynn September 17, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Absolutely love Amy’s work…Amy + camera= great photos

  3. Jessica F September 17, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    For family pics I relly like the City Park lake area!

  4. Meghan September 17, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    We have used many of these great locations, including downtown Covington as another mom commented! I can’t wait to have some pictures taken at Rivertown… love the idea!

  5. Lindsay September 17, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    We love country day too! So pretty!

  6. Stephanie B September 17, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks for the ideas! Never considered some of the places you mentioned.

  7. Paula September 17, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks for all of the wonderful suggestions. I think I’m gonna make my poor husband drive me around to take family photos and photos of our baby next weekend. Baby boy just made a year old. I’ve always loved Audubon Zoo and City Park.

  8. Janie September 17, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    We took newborn/family pics at Fairview in Madisonville. It is one of my favorite locations for pictures. Thanks for all the other great ideas and locations!

  9. Paula C September 17, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I love all the suggestions. I seem to snap the greatest photos of our baby at home but I really want to get some outdoors photos. I love every suggestion and really want to see if I can talk the husband into going to City Park and a few of the other spots mentioned. Sorry if I’ve posted twice. I would love to have someone else photograph us than be bothered with a tripod :)

  10. Amelia P September 17, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I’ve done pictures at City Park, but I would love to have some taken in our yard with our oak trees!

  11. Alissa September 17, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    I love having my kids pics taken at Longue Vue…they love splashing in the fountains at the end!

  12. tiffany truxillo September 17, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    love Kenner’s Rivertown

  13. Tiffany September 17, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Thank you for insight on some beautiful places!

  14. Laurel T September 17, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    I like the bird sanctuary at Lafreniere.

  15. Lindsey D September 17, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Houmas House Plantation in Darrow is beautiful! Also love audubon park!

  16. Jennifer Lantz September 17, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Thank you for this post we are looking for a place to do some photos!

  17. Robyn G.B. September 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Love the Rivertown idea! Would like to steal that one. We’ve done most of ours just in our backyard which has lots of greenery and it’s been a easy and simple backdrop for our twin infants. But now that they’re getting older I can’t wait to venture out into New Orleans more. Would love to try the French Quarter too – but that seems intimidating!

  18. Stacey September 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    This is an great list Andie! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Ashley Brasher September 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    City Park

  20. Jennifer September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Andie, this was such a wonderful post!!! Jane’s 12 month session is coming up, and I think we are going to do early morning at Audubon Park. We’ve done her others in her nursery, and now I can’t wait to add a little New Orleans flare to her photo collection.

  21. Trista Friloux September 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    In front of our shiny black Yamaha piano, sitting on a old low oak branch, on the stage or bridge at audubon park, (where we got married) are all good spots for a family photo! Lovely photos, thanks for sharing!

  22. JENN September 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    headed home in October to take family pics (and visit family)…can’t wait to take my daughter’s photo in city park and jackson square!

  23. ashley burrer September 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    We’d love to get our pics taken at the state park

  24. Ashley September 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I love the Botanical Gardens in City Park for photos!

  25. Jennifer Rapp September 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Amy has taken pics for my family and does a fantastic job! I love her work

  26. Elizabeth September 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Love all of these ideas!! I want to take Addison’s pictures in a pile of leaves this fall. If we can’t do it in our own yard, I’m going to keep some of these places in mind.

  27. karen September 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I would love to try out City Park for my xmas cards!!

  28. Skye Ayer September 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    We love Fountainbleu State Park. The trees and beach are beautiful!

  29. Marissa Uhlich September 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Amy does beautiful work! I love children/family photos at city park and storyland. My daughter is 7 months and I look forward to using those venues for her pictures!

  30. Marcy Folse September 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    What great places, have only taken pictures at just a few, would love to take family Pix’s at any of the places u mentioned..

  31. WeNdy September 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Would love to try out some of these wonderful places to get my husband and daughter’s pictures taken this year.Every year since she’s been born we take turns doing a photo shoot with her.This year is his year and I’ve been trying to cone up with an idea.You just gave me a bunch.Thanks!

  32. Randi P. September 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    I always forget about Ormond Plantation and it’s right down the street. :-)

  33. Jennifer September 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    City Park has so many great locations!

  34. Monica September 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Loving my Micah’s cameo above! I took his Christmas card photo at Longue Vue last year. It’s one of my favorites.

  35. Anne September 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Nice post! I did a mini shoot with my daughter at Audubon and City Park this summer to get some ideas for later photos. While in the sculpture garden, I snapped a great picture of our little one in front of the LOVE sculpture. Perfect for my husband’s desk at work! Tip – take toys or balls that you dont mind having in the picture. It worked out beautifully to roll her a ball and snap her delight as she stopped it.

  36. Ashlyn January 26, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    I’ve been searching all over google for good places to have photo session in the N.O. area and i’m so glad i came across this. will be visiting all of these locations ( some already visited, but still great) thanks so much for sharing some secrets!!

  37. Stacey Autin June 3, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    would love to do pics at the zoo!!! It’s my girls fav place!

  38. Julia June 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    anywhere outside!

  39. abby June 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    City Park

  40. Erin June 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    So far we’ve only had a family portrait done at the beach, but we would LOVE a NOLA one!

  41. Monique LeCompte June 4, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Great blog and great ideas!

  42. Victoria June 4, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    I love Fountainbleau for family photos! The beach is so pretty!

  43. Danielle Vincent June 6, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    City Park is such a gorgeous place for pictures, but so is downtown in the quarter. The architecture down there is gorgeous!

  44. Amanda June 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    I love the outdoors, but I wish it was cooler!! Lol!

  45. Mary A June 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    City Park is a great place for pictures.

  46. Michelle Roberie June 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    I usually take pictures of my little ones at Audubon Park.

  47. tiffany t June 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    love city park!

  48. Ashlin June 10, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    I love shooting on streets right off of bourbon. They aren’t too crowded and have beautiful buildings.

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