Family walks through a field. Dad holds son's hand and mom carries their other son.

Best Family Photo Locations in Milwaukee

I’ve been meaning to make a blog post about the best family photo locations in Milwaukee for quite some time now, and I’m so happy to get one out there! Milwaukee has so many BEAUTIFUL places that are just a short drive away. I have a pretty strong preference for natural and simple backgrounds, so you will see a lot of parks and nature on this list. However, there are certainly a few that do have some architectural components. I find that the more simple the background, the more emphasis there is on your own family in the photos! So, here are a few of my recommendations for your next family photo session in Milwaukee!

Grant Park (specifically, Grant Park Beach)

This is one of the best Milwaukee family photo locations in the summertime! In my opinion, there is nothing that beats the beach in the summer. The sand is the most beautiful reflector of light, the skies are beautiful, and kids always have so much fun at the beach! Grant Park Beach is STUNNING and is just a short drive from downtown. Not only that, but you can get beautiful photos there any time of year! Whether it is late spring as shown below and no leaves are on the trees, or if it is summer, the light neutral background will always provide beautiful family photos.

This photo features several images from a Milwaukee family photo session at the best beach in Milwaukee - Grant Park!

If you’re heading to Grant Park Beach for your session, make sure to bring towels! 😉 Also, note that it is about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot to the beach, and there is no access for wheelchairs since you will need to walk down a fairly large set of stairs.

If you’re looking to grab some ice cream with your family after your session, I would definitely check out Ferch’s Beachside Grill! Such a great summer treat!

Retzer Nature Center

Retzer Nature Center is truly in my top 3 for the best family photo locations in Milwaukee. In fact, I love it so much that I have a whole blog post on it! There are plenty of reasons it makes the top of my list for family photos. It is quite a popular family photo location in Milwaukee, as there are usually many photographers there.

The background is BEAUTIFUL and gives such variety! The tall pines, fields and even some of the light-filtering trees all offer very different but natural looks.

The park itself is quite large, and it’s unlikely that other photographers will be in the spots you want. And if they are, you’ll easily be able to find another location that is just as beautiful!

If you do decide to go to Retzer Nature Center for your Milwaukee family photo session, I would recommend that you be ready to walk! It’s quite a sprawling park, and can take some time to walk around. I’d also recommend wearing bug spray in the summer 🙂 In my opinion, this location works best just before sunset, especially with the fields in the back of the park.

Atwater Beach – Another beautiful Beach Milwaukee Family Photo Location

My next recommendation is another beach! Surprise! 😉 I warned you; I love beaches!

Atwater is a great family photo location and is location just north of University of Milwaukee’s campus. The beach is a bit of a walk from the street, so make sure to give yourself a little time to get down there! There is an option to take a steep staircase or a long winding ramp, so it is stroller-friendly.

The walkway down to the water also makes for some beautiful photos, especially in the summer, due to all the greenery!

Boerner Botanical Gardens – The Best Summer Family Photo Location

Boerner Botanical Gardens is another one of my top locations for family photos in Milwaukee! There is an admission cost per person, as well as a photo permit fee of $35 to shoot here. HOWEVER, I believe it is fully worth the extra cost. Not only is it one of the few places to get flowers in your photos, but the light in the evening is perfect. There are neutral ground coverings that will reflect light perfecting, beautiful architectural components with stone columns, and stunning greenery. Literally everything you could want for summer family photos!

Boerner Botanical Gardens is inside of Whitnall Park, so there are so many fun things to do after your photoshoot! If you want to walk a trail, Wehr Nature Center is beautiful! It’s also close to so many fun restaurants and Whitnall Beer Garden is SO fun in the summer!

Lake Park – An amazing Milwaukee Family Photo Location with Architecture

Lake Park (and Northpoint Lighthouse) are right next to eachother, just a short distance from Lake Michigan. The lighthouse makes for a great neutral background with architectural interest, as do the bridges at Lake Park! In the summer and fall, there are beautiful trees that line the bridges, as well as the path leading to the lighthouse. If you wanted to head to more than one location, Lake Park is also just a short distance from some of the beaches (Atwater, or Bradford Beach).

Image collage of a maternity session at Lake Park in Milwaukee, one of my favorite Milwaukee photo locations.

Bonus Location – Kohler Andrae (Not a Milwaukee family photo location, but a fan-favorite and photographer-favorite!)

This family photo location isn’t necessarily in Milwaukee, but if you’re up for about an hour drive north, you will LOVE it. Kohler Andrae State Park might be one of my favorite summer locations of all time. It differs from the beaches in Milwaukee in that it has beautiful green trees and beach grasses that add texture to the photos. The plank paths and rolling hills and sand dunes also add visual interest, especially with the sun setting over them.

Not to mention, the sand feels SO SOFT. I regularly take my kids up to the beach because you can’t find sand like this anywhere in the Milwaukee area! Every kid has fun at this beach and it makes it a great experience for the entire family.

Here are a few photos from my sessions there last year!

Photo gallery of a family of 5 at Kohler Andrae taking family photos by a Milwaukee photographer

I’d love to talk to you about what type of location would fit your family best, and give recommendations no matter where you live and what your family loves! If you’re interested in talking more about what working together might look like, check out my family page (or contact me here!). I’d love to connect!