mother and daughter in black dresses in a lake

Best Locations for Family Photos in New Orleans

In a city as iconic, and photogenic as New Orleans, making a selection with the best locations for a family photo shoot is not an easy task. There are so many beautiful and unique places, making perfect backdrops for portraits. I remember my own first impression of all these spots, and since then I have photographed portraits and unposed moments at all of these places. Let me show you where I love to photograph families, and what you need to know when you’re planning your family photo session here.

City Park, New Orleans

One of the most popular locations for family photos, and for good reason, is City Park. With its 1300 acres, it is one of the largest urban parks in the country and the home to an impressive amount of mature live oaks. Some of these trees have been around for many centuries, the Spanish moss hanging down the branches just adds to the beauty.

City Park is a great location and offers so many options for family photos. For portraits, the area alongside City Park Avenue is just stunning, especially about an hour before sunset. During my documentary-style photo sessions, I often document families having some beignets at Cafe du Monde, kids climbing the trees, or even playing at the playground.

note:  a photo permit is required for any professional photo session. Click here for more info.


Another great location for family photos is the Lakefront. I remember the first time I saw this area, it felt like I was watching the ocean. Lake Pontchartrain is just such a big lake (did you know it is not technically a lake, but an estuary, since it connects to the Gulf of Mexico) so you get those wide views over the water. There is a great area to walk alongside the water, play hide and seek, watch the most amazing sunsets. And if you are planning on doing a little picnic during your session, there are several grassy areas as well.

note: no permit required, plenty of parking space alongside Lakeside Drive.

Audubon Park and the Tree of Life

These are almost two different locations, but they are close to each other and the Tree of Life is part of Audubon Park, so I mention them together.

Audubon Park, much like City Park, has a lot of beautiful trees, draped with Spanish Moss. It is a great alternative to City Park for family photos. A big family picnic, or just some playtime with your little one, it all looks great in this lush park.

The Tree of Life is just a short walk away from the main gardens and can make a great spot as well for family portraits, as well as for small celebrations.

note: no permit required, you can take the St Charles streetcar to Audubon Park to add to the New Orleans experience.

three kids playing chess by the Tree of Life

The French Quarter

Of course, this wouldn’t be a list with great photo locations in New Orleans, without the French Quarter on it.

A super popular location for visitors, the French Quarter just has so much to offer for any type of photo session. The architecture and abundance of color make for an endless source of inspiration.

What I like a lot about the French Quarter, as a photographer, is that we can easily walk a few blocks and find ourselves a completely different color to match your outfits. We can seek out or avoid the crowds, all just depending on what you prefer, and what your family needs in the moment.

And who thought family photos in the middle of Bourbon Street would be a strange idea? I don’t think so.

Even if you live in New Orleans, exploring the French Quarter together as a family might be something you don’t often do, and can be a great idea for a family photoshoot.

note: no permit required, don’t forget to pay for parking or take the streetcar there.

Crescent Park

This unique linear urban park is situated in the French Market District, a short walk from the French Quarter.  Crescent Park offers a variety of native landscaping, more industrial structures as well as some amazing views over the city because of how the park runs along the riverfront.

The concrete walls as well as the deep rust-colored walls at the Piety Wharf, a former industrial wharf make a unique background for portraits. Another big plus is that there is a large covered area with lots of natural light, a lifesaver on rainy days.

note: park opening hours are 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m

Lower Garden District

This neighborhood, easily reached by taking the streetcar offers an abundance of quintessential New Orleans, while giving you a break from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. Especially with older kids, I highly recommend the Lower Garden District as a magical backdrop for your family photos. The tree-lined avenues, beautiful mansions, and some of the oldest cemeteries in the city make for a unique area, with endless options for exploring and getting beautiful portraits done effortlessly.

pro tip: combine your photo session on the day you go to Commander’s Palace for brunch, or to Magazine Street for a great shopping experience.

Fontainebleau State Park

Not strictly speaking New Orleans, but definitely worth mentioning as a great option for family photos, if you have transportation from the city and don’t mind the 40 minutes drive. And of course, if you live on the north shore of Lake Pontchantrain, this is a great option for your family.

Fontainebleau State Park offers lots of stunning backgrounds for family portraits, including a beachfront, hiking trails and gorgeous live oak trees decorated with Spanish moss. There is a great playground as well, and I’ll let you in on a little secret, I love including playground photos in family sessions. 

note: park opening hours are 7:00 a.m. to 9 p.m, no permit required, entrance fee $3 per person, free for anyone under 4 and over 62

Your home

As a documentary family photographer, I have one favorite location for your family photo session, and it’s the one you might not even have considered at all.

Your home. During a documentary family photography session, we document your family on a normal day. Depending on how long your session is, that can literally mean an entire day. Or just a few hours.

The best way to keep things real and low stress during a photo session? Make a plan, then allow yourself to change things around, improvise, or do nothing for a little bit. The in-between moments are just as interesting to get captured. Build a rough timeline, but don’t worry if things just pan out slower than you expected.

If there is one specific activity that is extra important to your family and you want to make sure to have it documented, try to plan it early in the session. 

Your home is where everyone feels most at ease, and where the story of your family is written every day.

Keep in mind, when it comes to getting the best photos of your family, I strongly believe that there is no actual bad location. Everything depends on the type of session we are planning for, on what your family loves to do, and how your session fits into your day. When booking your family photo session, we discuss what fits you best, and plan accordingly. For more information and scheduling your family photos, let’s connect [link to contact form]

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