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5 Nature-Inspired Photo Locations in the Western Suburbs of Chicago

Location #1: Riverview Farmstead in South Naperville

The Riverview Farmstead in South Naperville is far and away my favorite location to shoot. It offers a variety of different rustic backgrounds in a natural prairie setting and is perfect for family, maternity, and senior photos.

There are three distinct structures on the property– a huge red barn, small white barn, and stone farmhouse– each of which offer a rustic backdrop.

The tree-lined country roads contouring the property are crushed limestone and surrounded by tufted grass and prairie.

The best time to shoot is in the early morning and late afternoon, and it’s a wonderful location for kids as each new environment piques their interest again and again.

This location works all year round but you can expect more robust colors in the spring and summer when purple flocks and wildflowers grow abundantly.

Location #2: Fabyan West Forest Preserve in Geneva

If you’re looking for a more feminine, elegant yet woodsy location, Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva offers a lovely Japanese garden-inspired landscape with unique features in the gardens. It’s ideal for family portraits, wedding, engagement, maternity and senior photo shoots.

This location offers towering orange oaks in the fall with golden maples on the river bank.

A gorgeous wrought iron gate with sinuous lines appeals to the ladies. A garden wall made of grey cobblestone has great masculine textures.

A signature vined archway blooms seasonally. Its rich green in the summer and deeper oranges and yellows in the fall. Eventually the leaves drop.

With its idyllic views of the Japanese Garden and structures, manicured gardens, and paths that meander down the river banks of the Fox River, there is no shortage of historic, Asian-influenced backdrops.

My favorite time to shoot is early morning to give plenty of time to explore before the crowds set in. Special access to the Japanese Gardens is available for an additional permit fee.

Location #3: Leroy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles

Leroy Oaks Forest Preserve in St. Charles is where you go for that iconic, midwest fall picture look.

With two naturally distressed red barns that are rich in texture and color, this farmland offers a dynamic backdrop for traditional family photos.

Here you’ll find foot paths that meander through light woods and open fields lined with distant trees, giving kids plenty of room to play and be themselves. I love capturing both candids and traditional portraits against the many rustic backdrops, easily filling a full gallery of photos you will love.

The best time to shoot is really early in the morning for both the best light and to avoid crowds.

Location #4: Naperville Riverwalk - Urban Walk

The Naperville Riverwalk - Urban Walk is a fun, trendy location for street-style images against a downtown backdrop.

With river views, covered bridges, and an assortment of textures (think: brick walls, wrought iron fire escapes, and tight alleys), it’s a great place to shoot senior portraits, anniversary, engagement, and wedding photos.

This location is perfect for summer, when the annual gardens bloom, fountains are running, and the trees provide shady patches in the lawns. It’s fun to stroll by the downtown storefronts or head down to the river’s edge where winding paths lined with gooseneck light poles offer great views of downtown Naperville.

With benches, fountains, and Naperville’s signature covered bridges, there are plenty of elements that lend themselves to beautiful, urban images. The best time to shoot is early morning, before the hustle and bustle sets in.

Location #5: The Naperville Riverwalk - Nature Walk

The Naperville Riverwalk - Nature Walk offers a tranquil, quiet setting that is rich in greenery. With it’s manicured park and access to the natural riverbank, it’s a great place for family, engagement, senior portraits as well as kid’s milestone photos.

Exploration is highly encouraged in this relaxing, expansive space. There’s a picnic area with hardscape gardens, a fountain, gazebo, and of course, Naperville’s striking covered bridge. You can also wander off the path next to the water for stunning images.

While this location works great year-round, in the spring and summer the foliage really pop. The best time to shoot is the early evening.

Are you ready to book your session in one of these amazing locations? Email me today to schedule!

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