Top 5 Recommended Portrait Locations in Madison, WI


When it comes to any kind of portraits, one of our most frequently asked questions (besides "What do we wear?!", which we cover here) is how to choose a portrait location. In no particular order, here are our top 5 recommendations for portrait locations in and around Madison, WI, with some helpful information about each choice. As always, if you have a spot that is special to you, that is a great choice for portraits! 

1. The UW Arboretum

The UW Arboretum is an amazing gift to the Madison area, and a wonderful place to have photos taken! The expanse of the property has many photo settings to offer, from wide open prairies, to evergreens, to densely wooded areas to lake views. This is one of our all-time favorite spots! Just note that there is a $30 permit fee per session at the Arboretum unless your photographer has an annual Photographer's Permit. 


2. The Willy Street Neighborhood 

Just as the UW Arboretum offers a wide variety of natural settings, the Willy Street area offers a great variety of more eclectic urban settings, all within short walking distance. If you're looking for something a little more offbeat and quirky, the Willy Street area probably has just the place for you! Just make sure you're not planning portraits on festival days! 


3. A Favorite Coffee shop, Restaurant, or Pub

Okay, so this recommendation is a little more personal, because the where is really up to you. Do you have a favorite hangout with your person? Same coffee shop every Saturday or same neighborhood dive bar every Friday? Why not work some of your personal story into your portraits and go to a cherished place for photos, and hey, it's always a great idea to have an inclement weather backup plan in Wiscosnin! 


4. Downtown Madison

It may be obvious from our choices that we like the option for variety! So if you want some variety, there isn't a better place to go than Downtown Madison. The options are practically limitless in the Downtown area; You've got the iconic Capital building, the hustle and bustle of State Street, the classic lake front views of the Memorial Union Terrace, the magic of the Allen Centennial Gardens, and after you're all done, why not get some ice cream from Babcock hall? Just bring your walking shoes!



5. Your Place 

Sure, why not? I know no one really likes cleaning their place before folks come over, but Lifestyle sessions are all the rage, and they're comfortable and meaningful. You don't have to leave your house, you get to hang out with your sweetie or your family and just chill and have fun! You can play board games, you can play Mario Kart, you can snuggle in bed, you can dance around your living room; Whatever you want to do! It's a great way to have more intimate portraits and save yourself some drive time. 

Hopefully this helps gives you some ideas for where you might have your next portrait session, and if you need more ideas, feel free to reach out to us! We love helping folks plan their photographic adventures!