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Best Locations For Portrait Photography

Whether you are deciding whether to have your portraits in studio or on location, want to know more about portrait session locations, or have a more specific question -- we're here to help you! Portraits can be created at a location of your choice, or at our Dexter studio just 10 minutes from downtown Ann Arbor.

We have a dedicated camera room at the studio, with a variety of traditional backdrops and basic props. The studio is situated on a lot with a green grassy area overlooking a pond, and a wooded area with mature trees. If you'd like outdoor portraits in a natural setting, consider having your session here at the studio!

Photo Locations in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Brauer Preserve

S Parker Rd, Arbor, MI

Brauer Preserve is a 226 acre site with wooded areas, wetland, and open water areas too. Unimproved trails total two and a quarter miles in length. A portion of the preserve is still being actively farmed.

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Burns Park

1300 Baldwin Ave, Arbor, MI

Burns Park is a 15 acre park in the neigborhood by Burns Park School. There is a picnic shelter, various courts, a sledding hill, and play structures.

Parking is available, and restrooms and a water fountain are on site.

Burns Park (Ann Arbor) Senior Pictures With Car + Dog

Buhr Park + Cobblestone Farm

2781 Packard Rd, Arbor, MI

The Cobblestone Farm house wasbuilt in 1845, and today is a museum. The barn is a rental for weddings and the like, and the structures provide a beautiful farmlike setting for portraits. Cobblestone Farm is situated at the southern end of Buhr Park, which is a 39 acre site with courts and ball fields, a sledding hill, and nice open grassy areas.

Parking is available on site, restrooms may be available if buildings are open.

Senior Portrait at Cobblestone Farm, Ann Arbor

County Farm Park

Platt Rd, Arbor, MI

County Farm Park is a 127 acre park with more than three miles of trails. There are two covered pavilions, restrooms, and a playground. Parking is available off Medford Dr, and Platt Rd. While much of the park is open natural areas, there are nature trails going through the Britton Woods at the northeast corner of the park.

Delhi Metropark

E Delhi Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

Delhi Metropark is a 52 acre park situated between Dexter and Ann Arbor. There are mature trees and open grassy areas alongside the Huron River. The park has ball fields, a playground, and canoe/kayak rentals (as well as a public canoe launch/take-out).

Dexter Senior Portrait With Car

DeVine Preserve

Peters Rd, Arbor, MI

The DeVine Preserve is a 157 acre site with mostly wetlands. There are several trail loops:

  • Grassland Trail (1 mile)
  • Wet Meadow Trail (0.25 mi, one way - may be wet)
  • Woodland Trail (0.6 mi)

The Grassland Trail can only be accessed via the Wet Meadow Trail (seasonal trail), which is at the end of the Woodland Trail loop.

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Dolph Nature Area

Wagner Rd, Parklake Ave, Arbor, MI

Dolph Nature Area is a 57 acre park with two lakes. The site is wooded and natural, and the trails are unimproved. There are benches and seating areas throughout the Dolph Nature Area, some of which overlook the lakes.

Parking is available off Wagner Rd, but no other facilities are on site.

Fox Science Preserve

Peters Rd, Arbor, MI

Fox Science Preserve is a 69 acre former gravel pit, with a unique look. The trail length is about a half mile, but there are hills. Most of the area alongside the trails is open, with plants just starting to establish (mostly grasses, small trees etc) and an abundance of loose rocks (of all sizes).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Freeman Preserve

Old Ford Rd, Arbor, MI

The Tom A. Freeman preserve is a 71 acre forested preserve. With mature tree forest, some wetlands, and a small tributary of Fleming Creek (Kirk's Brook), there is a lot to see on the two and a half miles of unimproved trails (including the adjoining Marshall Nature Area).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Furstenberg Nature Area

2626 Fuller Rd, Arbor, MI

Furstenberg Nature Area is right across from Huron High School, and is 38 acres of scenic wetlands & wooded areas. There are picnic tables, walking paths, and a boardwalk; the paths do connect to nearby Gallup Park's paths as well.

Parking is available off Fuller Rd.

Gallup Park

3000 Fuller Rd, Arbor, MI

Gallup Park is a 69-acre park that has an elaborate trail system of walkways, paths, and bridges. There are playgrounds, picnic sites, and also a canoe/kayak livery. More recently, a beautiful garden has been added just off the parking lot off of Geddes Rd, it is called the Elizabeth R. Dean Grove & Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden.

Parking is available off Fuller Rd. and Geddes Rd. (just east and west of the intersection with Huron Parkway).

Goodrich Preserve

N Dixboro, Ann Arbor, MI

The Raymond F. Goodrich preserve has 36 acres and a wooded area, a swamp, and a central area that is filled with wildflowers at certain times during the year. The trail loop is just over a half mile long, and connects to the University of Michigan's Horner-McLaughlin Woods Trail (bringing the trail total to just over a mile for both areas).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Graffiti Alley

Downtown Ann Arbor, MI

Graffiti Alley is at the heart of Ann Arbor, and is everchanging. Urban, gritty, and ever-transient, the graffiti art is likely to be different each time you go.

There are no facilities on site, parking is in a structure or on the street.

Urban Senior Picture (Ann Arbor)

Island Park

1420 Island Dr, Ann Arbor, MI

Situated along the Huron River, Island park has a Greek Revival shelter and two picnic shelters. There is a play area and benches throughout. Among the many paths through the island, there is also a connection to Fuller Park.

Parking is available.

Kerrytown Markets & Shops

407 N. 5th Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Kerrytown is one of the unique places that make Ann Arbor memorable for both visitors and Ann Arborites alike. The shops have a lot of character, as does the market. If you're looking for a bit of Ann Arbor charm to show through in the location for your senior portrait session, you should consider Kerrytown. Metered street parking is available.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

Matthaei Botanical Gardens has indoor and outdoor gardens, with a gorgeous variety of plants. Admission to the trails, gardens, and conservatory is free, however there is a fee to use the parking lot if you are not a Matthaei-Nichols member. For more information, get the downloadable visitor guide (visiting the Matthaei Botanical Gardens).

Note: The University of Michigan requires a fee to have your portrait session here. We will make arrangements to get the photo pass, but will add the photography location fee we pay to your invoice ($35 for 1 person, $50 for 2 people, and $100 for 3-16 people, per UM Photography Fee Details).

There is no charge to take portraits at Willow Pond or on the areas beyond the driveway (bridges and trails), but you are encouraged to consider a donation that will help with grounds upkeep. Please pay it forward!

Nichols Arboretum

1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI

Nichols Arboretum is 123 acres of undeveloped land, owned by the University of Michigan. There are a variety of natural areas: rolling hills with grassy open fields, deeply wooded areas, maintained gardens, and frontage on the Huron River. It is easy to spend the day at the Arb, feeling like you are far from the city of Ann Arbor. For more information, get the downloadable visitor guide (visiting Nichols Arboretum).

There is no parking lot at Nichols Arboretum; you will need to park on the street or at the UofM Medical Parking Structure (E Medical Dr).

Note: There is no charge to take portraits at the Arb, but you are encouraged to consider a donation that will help with grounds upkeep. Please pay it forward!

Osborne Mill Preserve

E Delhi Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

Osborne Mill Preserve is just over 18 acres (though its map mentions 39 acres). The preserve is kept as a natural area, with trail loops totaling half a mile.

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Park Northfield

Pontiac Trail, Arbor, MI

Park Northfield is small park with wooded areas around a large grassy area. Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Parker Mill County Park

Geddes Rd, Arbor, MI

Parker Mill County Park is a 45 acre park that runs along Fleming Creek and the Huron River. You'll also find a grist mill, a former cider mill, and a log cabin near the trail head. There are several trails:

  • Shared-Use Trail (0.75 mile connector to Gallup Park and the Border-to-Border Trail)
  • Helen + Norris Post Legacy Trail (0.25 miles)
  • Hoyt G. Post Trail (1.2 mile boardwalk)
  • Sugarbush Trail (0.2 miles)

There are covered pavilions, restrooms and a drinking fountain near the Geddes Rd. parking lot. Parking is also available off Old Dixboro Rd.

Pittsfield Preserve

Marton Rd, Thomas Rd, or E Textile Rd, Arbor, MI

The Pittsfield Preserve is a 535 acre wooded area with multiple entry points. Portions of the preserve are active farmland. Parking is available at:

  • Marton Road
  • Thomas Road
  • Textile Road

Trail loops totalling over 18 miles traverse the Pittsfield Preserve. There is also a wildflower area in the Presrve.

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site. Note that the trailhead at the Textile road parking lot does not connect with the other two lots, but leads to the Harwood Heritage Preserve, a 16 acre wooded area adjoining Pittsfield Preserve.

Saginaw Forest

W Liberty Rd, Arbor, MI

The Saginaw Forest is an 80 acre site owned by the University of Michigan. There is a dock and boardwalk at the ten acre lake in the middle of the forest.

Parking is not available at the access gate on W Liberty Rd, but the trailhead is located to the rear of the parking lot at 2|42 Community Church on Wagner Rd. See map with hiking trails. No facilities are on site.

Scio Woods Preserve

Scio Church, Arbor, MI

The Scio Woods Preserve is a 91 acre preserve with a mature wooded area. There are two small foot bridges, but otherwise the trails are unimproved. The trail has several loops, and its total length is a little over two miles. This preserve has an open understory and is gorgeous during the fall (portraits with fall colors, anyone?).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Photo Locations in Chelsea, Michigan

Cavanaugh Lake (County) Park

Cavanaguh Lake Rd, Chelsea, MI

The Cavanaugh Lake Park is a two acre site with mature trees and lakeshore views (no swimming).

Parking and vault toilets are on the south side of Cavanaugh Lake Rd, while the park is on the north side of the road. There is a playground and a covered pavilion overlooks the lake.

Koenn Preserve

Hayes Rd, Chelsea, MI

The Herman S. Koenn Preserve is a 90 acre preserve with both wooded areas and wetland areas. The trail has two loops, and its length is just under a mile (unimproved).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Gerald E Eddy Discovery Center

Bush Rd, Chelsea, MI

The Gerald E Eddy Discovery Center has a number of trails (14 miles total) that go through the woods, past Mill Lake, Spring Lake, Cedar Lake, and also connect with the Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking Trail:

  • Old Field Trail (0.8 mile)
  • Lowland Trail (1.1 mile)
  • Spring Pond Trail (1 mile)
  • Bog Trail (1.5 miles)
  • Oak Woods Trail (1.3 miles)
  • Lakeview Trail (3.6 miles)
  • Hickory Woods Trail (5.3 miles)

Parking is available, and restrooms are located in the Discovery Center building. The Gerald E Eddy Discovery Center is part of the Waterloo Recreation Area, which, at 20,500 acres, is the largest park in the lower penninsula of Michigan. A Michigan recreation passport is required for entry to the Waterloo Recreation Area.

Park Lyndon

N Territorial Rd, Chelsea, MI

Park Lyndon has 335 acres, of which a portion are accessible via the trails. The park spans across North Territorial Road, with parking, vault toilets, and covered pavilions at both parts:

  • Park Lyndon North
  • Park Lyndon South

The northern trail loop connects to the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail, and includes boardwalks. The southern trail loop also connects to the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail, and on trail loop passes by the shore of Lake Genevieve (dock and overlook). Note that bikes are *not allowed* on any trails, but dogs on leash are allowed.

Pierce Park

S Main St + Will Johnson Dr, Chelsea, MI

Pierce Park has an open grassy area, play structures, a covered pavilion, and is nestled in among mature trees.

Parking is available, but no facilities are on site (will confirm next visit!)

Squiers Preserve

Sylvan Rd, Chelsea, MI

Squiers Preserve is a 59 acre preserve with two trail loops (trail length, 1 mile). There are artesian springs, as well as swamp, meadow, and marsh.

No facilities or parking lot on site.

Timber Town Playground

Sibley Rd, Chelsea, MI

Timber Town is

As a parent, I really appreciated the fact there is a main “entrance” to Timber Town playground, and while it’s not fenced in, you do have a hard time getting out. That’s good for corralling toddlers! In addition to the main play structure at Timber Town, there is a pint-sized “Tot Lot” attached to Timber Town. This area is more tailored to younger children, and, as we discovered, was the perfect place to play when the “big kids” descended upon the park for a picnic playdate.

There are several picnic tables near the entrance to the Timber Town structure; a larger gazebo/pavilion picnic area sits just next to the playground.

Portable toilets are next to the parking lot.

Veteran's Memorial Park

Main St + Sibley Rd, Chelsea, MI

Also called the "Boat Park," Veteran's Memorial Park is next to Letts Creek (a bridge passes over the creek), and has a wooden ship playground. There are ball fields as well.

Parking is available, but and restrooms are next to the parking lot.

West Lake Preserve

Waterloo Rd, Chelsea, MI

The West Lake Preserve is a 217 acre preserve with a network of natural trails:

  • Hilltop Trail (0.5 mi)
  • Lake Trail (1 mi)
  • Meadow Trail (0.33 mi)

The trail length at West Lake Preserve adds up to a little over two miles, and while there is no access to West Lake, you do walk along the shoreline. West Lake Preserve has wooded areas, wetland areas, and open grassy fields.

Photo Locations in Dexter, Michigan

Baker Woods Preserve

Trinkle Rd, Dexter, MI

The Baker Woods Preserve is a 70 acre site with wooded areas and several open meadows. Mill Creek runs through the site as well. The trail loop is just over one mile.

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Betsy's Photography

902 Marshall Lakes Dr., Dexter, MI

Our studio has a lovely wooded area overlooking a lush green lawn. There's a lake on site too. If you're looking for an easy choice for outdoor portraits, Betsy's Photography might be the spot for you. We can create indoor and outdoor portraits with minimal drive time.

Parking is available, and we have a top-of-the-line professional photography studio with backdrops on site. Get a feel for what your portraits might look like by viewing the video below:

Burns-Stokes Preserve

N Zeeb Rd, Dexter, MI

The Burns-Stokes Preserve is a 29 acre area along the Huron River that has been protected since 1980. Most of the site is wooded, and there are several trail loops:

  • Mill Pond Trail (0.33 miles)
  • Prairie Trail (1 mile roundtrip)
  • River Trail (0.2 mi offshoot of Prairie Trail)

Both the Prairie and River Trails go down to the bank of the Huron River. Depending on the time of year, the ground may be wet, and the river may have risen into the "floodplain forest."

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Community Park

Ryan Dr, Dexter, MI

Community Park is a five acre park with a lot of playground structures, a pavilion, and a grassy open area. There is a short walking path as well. It may be a suitable location for clients with small children seeking casual portraits outdoors.

Dexter-Huron Metropark

Huron River Dr, Dexter, MI

Dexter-Huron Metropark is a 120 acre park situated between Dexter and Ann Arbor. There is a paved walking path that goes along the edge of the river, as well as a rustic trail and a walking labyrinth. The park has many mature trees and grassy areas throughout. There is a restroom on site.

First Street Park

Second St + Edison St, Dexter, MI

First Street Park is a very small park with a grassy open area and a number of horsehoe pits. Portable toilets are available during summer months.

Lions Park

Ann Arbor St + Edison St, Dexter, MI

Lions Park is a very small park (less than half an acre) with a grassy open area (on the side of a hill), a playground, and a small gazebo. There is a parking lot.

Mill Creek Park

Main Street, Dexter, MI

Mill Creek Park is a six acre park that runs along the edge of Mill Creek on both sides of Main Street. Technically, there are two parks:

  • Mill Creek Park North (just over two acres)
  • Mill Creek Park South (four acres)

There is a playground and climbing rock for kids (behind the fire station). The park's walking path and boardwalk connects to the more than 40 mile long Border-To-Border Trail (B2B Trail), so you can walk or bike all the way up to Hudson Mills Metropark. Portable toilets are on site.

A stairway (with bike ramp!) now allows visitors to get from the park up to Alpine street (where the Library and Farmer’s Market are located). There are also boat launches for kayaks/canoes (one on each side of Main St). The water is almost always nice to wade in, and feels great during hot summer Michigan days. On rare occasion the water is too high, and the current too fast, but usually my older (i.e. teen or adult) clients are able to comfortably wade into the shallows of the water.

I have enjoyed creating family photos, high school senior pictures, and portraits of toddlers all in various areas of Dexter’s Mill Creek Park. It offers a nice variety of settings for most types of portrait photography sessions — and, most importantly, there are some nice shady spots to keep you out of the heat of the midday sun!

Senior Portraits at Mill Creek Park in Dexter

Miller-Smith Preserve

Dexter-Chelsea Rd, Dexter, MI

The Albert J. Miller & Robert & Nancy Smith Preserve is 29 acres of natural preserve area. It has a trail almost one mile in length that leads through mature woods and more swampy wetland areas as well.

There is a parking lot at the preserve, but no other amenities are available.

Monument Park

Ann Arbor St + Central St, Dexter, MI

Monument Park is a small park (less than half an acre), but is the epicenter of many Dexter events (Dexter Daze, Apple Daze, holiday parades, etc). It has a memorial statue of Colonel Harrison H. Jeffords (who fought in the Civil War), and a large gazebo.

I've done a number of family + senior portraits here over the years. If you want iconic Dexter, then including the gazebo at Monument Park is one great way to accomplish that goal.

Parking is on the street, and may be limited. Depending on the events taking place in downtown Dexter, Monument Park may be crowded.

Hudson Mills Metropark

North Territorial, Dexter, MI

Hudson Mills Metropark is another nice park just north of town in Dexter. It features an extensive trail system, playgrounds, ball diamonds, a disc golf course, and access to the Huron River. There are grassy open areas and wooded areas as well.

I’ve done a number of senior portraits + family portraits here over the years, and they always look fantastic. Depending on the location within the park you want for your portraits, a fair amount of walking may be required. See a past family portrait created at Hudson Mills Metropark below:

Peace Park

Ann Arbor St + Central St, Dexter, MI

Peace Park is another small park (less than half an acre) in Dexter. With an open grassy area and benches for seating, this may be a nice outdoors option for clients who don't want to walk too far. Parking is on the street.

Sloan Preserve

Baker Rd, Dexter, MI

Sloan Preserve is a 50 acre natural site owned by Scio Township, with several trail loops that lead out to Mill Creek. There are wooded areas, open meadows, and access to the creek as well. During certain times of the year, the path may be muddy, and one trail loop does require crossing a stream.

I've photographed a number of senior portraits and family portraits here, and it is gorgeous. Watch out for poison ivy along the side of the trail (they may have eradicated this since last season).

Parking is available, but no other facilities are on site.

Trinkle Marsh Preserve

N Dancer Rd, Dexter, MI

Trinkle Marsh Preserve is a 151 acre preserve with both unimproved and paved trails to birdwatching/observation platforms overlooking the marsh. The total trail length is less than half a mile, so you will not be able to access most of the preserve (some of which is still active farmland). Where you are allowed to walk -- enjoy the natural setting and abundance of waterfowl!

Photo Locations in Saline, Michigan

Brecon Park

N. Harris St + Nichols Dr, Saline, MI

Brecon Park is a six acre park with several play structures, a baseball diamond, and a walking path connecting it to nearby neighborhoods. The park is mostly open grass, with wooded areas bordering the south and east sides.

Canterbury Park

Willis Rd, Saline, MI

Canterbury Park is a four acre park with a number of play structures and an open grassy area. Mature trees border the edges of the park.

Curtiss Park

W. Michigan Ave + Monroe St, Saline, MI

Curtiss Park in Saline, MI is a 50 acres, and a great location for any type of portrait session. You have two options for water portraits -- Mill Pond (to the north, which is technically part of Mill Pond Park), and the Saline River (which winds through Curtiss Park).

There are wooded trails (including the mile long Max Adler Trail at the back of the park), walking paths, an observation deck over the river, play structures for children, and a pavilion. Portable restrooms are on site.

Colony Park

Colony Dr, Saline, MI

Colony Park in Saline, MI is a six acre park with playgrounds, open grassy areas, and a three and a half acre natural area with informal footpaths.

Depot Museum + Trail

Ann Arbor St, Saline, MI

The Saline Depot Museum features a red caboose and the railroad depot station. It's a great spot for clients wanting to incorporate railroad elements into their session.

The quarter mile Depot Trail was cleared in 2006 along a section of abandoned railroad track. If you want portraits on railroad tracks, this would be a safe option as the railroad tracks are not in service Note: it's actually trespassing (aka illegal) to walk along functioning railroad tracks -- due to the danger involved.

Leslee Niethammer Saline River Preserve

Maple Rd, Saline, MI

The Leslee Niethammer Saline River Preserve is a little over 17 acres of natural area. It includes several trails:

  • Iris Detter Trail
  • Bur Oak Trail
  • Charlie Burg River Trail (leads to Saline River)

Between the parking lot and the preserve is a large hill. There are no sidewalks, and clients with limited mobility will find other locations a more practical choice.

Marpool Park

Marpool Dr, Saline, MI

Marpool Park is a very small park (less than half an acre in size). It has a playground, several benches, and may be appropriate for a casual session for clients who want to minimize walking.

Marsh View Meadows

Textile Rd, Saline, MI

Marsh View Meadows has several playgrounds, but also more natural wooded areas. There are trails through the woods, and a boardwalk platform overlooking Button Bush Swamp. There is also a pavilion and there are restrooms on site.

Mill Pond Park

Bennett St, Saline, MI

Mill Pond Park is 54 acres in size. It has a nice wooded area at its north end, along with a little wading creek for families with smaller children. From there, it runs south along the eastern side of Mill Pond. There is a large wooden playground, a large boulder (that is sometimes painted), and a fenced in dog park. Mostly grassy, Mill Pond Park does have some trees along the edges.

Peoples' Park

W. Monroe St, Saline, MI

Peoples' Park is 10 acres in size, and has a parking lot, as well as pedestrian paths to access from various streets. There is a baseball diamond, nature trails, and open grassy areas.

Ridson Park

Pleasant Ridge Dr, Saline, MI

Ridson Park is another very small park (less than half an acre in size). It is nestled in among houses. The park features an open grassy area, benches, and perimeter line of plants (ornamental grass, boxwood, lilcac). Every so often I have a client looking for family portraits by lilac plants, so this would be a great option if you love lilacs and want to plan for when they are in bloom.

Stonecliff Park

Saline River Dr, Saline, MI

Stonecliff Park is a four acre park without dedicated parking. It has an open grassy area, and a short trail that goes to the edge of the Saline River. From there, you can see across the river to Mill Pond Park.

Tefft Park

Woodland Dr East, Saline, MI

Tefft Park is 40 acres in size. A number of those acres have been developed as sports fields and facilities. There are walking trails, including a dirt trail and a paved fitness trail.

Wilderness Park

Willis Rd, Saline, MI

Wilderness Park is 22 acres, with a grassy open area, an extensive system of shaded trails through the woods, and a pond with sitting area (walking required). One neat feature? A tree from every state has been planted here!

Best Photo Session Locations

We are willing to travel throughout the state of Michigan for portrait sessions (for example, we've done senior portraits on Lake Michigan). We create portraits on a more frequent basis in these Michigan locations:

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Bridewater, MI
  • Canton, MI
  • Chelsea, MI
  • Dexter, MI
  • Hell, MI
  • Lakeland, MI
  • Pinckney, MI
  • Manchester, MI
  • Saline, MI
  • Whitmore Lake, MI
  • Ypsilanti, MI

We’d love to help you through the planning process, so contact the studio...regardless of where you are at in the planning process!

Want More Information About Michigan Parks?