It’s that time of year again. Family portrait time.

{I just saw on someone’s Facebook page that there are 99 days until Christmas… which ultimately triggered ‘do we have a photo for the Christmas card?’ panic. The answer is not yet.}

So where can you snap the best family photos? We went straight to the local pros for their favorite locations and advice. And you all saw what happened when I tried to take my own… so I highly recommend hiring a pro to snap the shots, too!

where to take awesome family photos in baltimore

Laura Black, Laura Black Photography
Robert E. Lee Park is a favorite space of mine because there are so many photo options that aren’t dependent on peak fall foliage (so you don’t have to worry if you are taking photos later in the fall when the leaves aren’t perfect!). Oregon Ridge Park also has a lot of great, woodsy options on their trails and, for older kids who can handle photos are more than one spot, you can drive across the street and snap a few by the tree lane at Farm Park at the Baltimore County Agricultural Center. Be sure to check with any state park before heading out their with your professional photography — many of them will require a permit. {But, as Laura points out, it’s your pro’s job to know that info!}

Cara Walen, Cara Walen Photography
I love Cylburn Arboretum for younger families and Fells Point for families with older kids. Favorite time of day is early evening or super early in the morning like just after dawn (but watch out for the morning dew!). I love that Cylburn offers so much in terms of architecture, gardens, and trees. In terms of Fells Point is a beautiful backdrop with all of the cobblestone streets, iconic buildings, water views, and the colorful businesses along Thames Street.

John Waire, The Wairehouse
Loch Raven Reservoir is one of my favorite places. It’s fun with lots off room to roam and let the little ones be themselves. Trails, streams and leaves…what more can you ask for? From a light perspective, the best times are still the golden hour time frames: early morning and later afternoon. But any chance where the kiddos are in good spirits make for the best photos. Period. Happy kids are what it’s all about.

Shayna Hardy, Shayna Hardy Photography
Federal Hill is a great location for both families in the city and around the surrounding counties. You can go atop of the hill and capture beautiful skyline views. There is also a fun playground on top of the hill to get some candid images of kids doing what they do best – playing! As an added bonus the American Visionary Art Museum is right now the hill so you can race down to create images using their sculpture garden and colorful building. Plus, you can’t beat the backdrop of beautiful boats in the water for a full Baltimore harbor vibe with a walk along the water!

Jennifer Snyder, Jen Snyder Photography
My current favorite right now is Clear Meadow Farms sunflower field, which is in peak bloom until about the 27th. Go about an hour before sunset when the light is nice and soft! Another local favorite is Jerusalem Mill in Kingsville, of course. 
I tend to work there about 2-3 hours before sunset as many spots are nice and shady — but it can get crowded with photo sessions, especially in the fall. It’s popular for good reason, though! No permits required, and it has a huge variety of spots for photos with little walking involved. Beautiful buildings, lovely fields, water, trees, etc.  If you miss peak leaf color and the trees are bare, Main Street in downtown Bel Air is a fantastic backdrop. It’s fun and colorful and won’t get mud on your shoes.  I like to shoot there anytime from sunrise until about 10am, and again after 3pm to avoid the unflattering, harsh sun shining straight down. My absolute favorite place for family photos, however, is any location with sentimental meaning to the client. Maybe that’s a family farm, a favorite hiking spot, a place where the kids play all the time.

Photograph courtesy of Cara Walen, Cara Walen Photography