Raleigh's Best Places for Family Portraits {Raleigh Cary Newborn Photographer}

August 19, 2013  •  5 Comments

I really debated with myself about writing this blog post about locations to have your family portraits taken.  I really wanted to share with you some of my favorite spots for photographing families in the Raleigh area.  I knew it would be helpful in helping families decide where to have their portraits done.  You may have a place in mind that is special to your family, but sometimes it helps to browse some locations and see photos taken at that location.  I thought it would also be cool to provide this resource from any photographers who are looking for new spots.  The other part of me worried that other photographers would not like my article because I'm giving away all of our "not so secret" locations.  After much contemplation, I decided to go ahead with the article because all of these locations are public parks in Wake County or Durham County that you can easily discover with a quick google search.  The information I provide is simply a description of each location, photos when possible, and what time of year I think is best to visit this location. I've visited all of these locations, but for some of them, it's been a while, and I don't have any recent photos to post.  I'll be hoping to update this post with more photos soon. 

1.       Historic Yates Mill County Park- Southern Raleigh  http://www.wakegov.com/parks/yatesmill/Pages/default.aspx

This park is gorgeous year round, but especially in the fall.  It has many beautiful spots for portraits, including a mill, a cobblestone walkway, a bridge over the lake, a grass field, and a path in the woods.  The park is very busy with photographers during the fall, so the optimum time to visit in the fall is during the week.  

2.        Bass Lake Park- Holly Springs http://www.hollyspringsnc.us/index.aspx?NID=320.  

Featuring a beautiful lake, this park has a visitor’s center with a large deck and rocking chairs and is a unique place for portraits.  There is also a mulch walking path and benches throughout.  Portraits at this park involve some walking, so unless you have a stroller, this may not be an ideal park for families with very young children.

3.       WRAL Azalea Garden- Raleigh, near NCSU http://www.wral-gardens.com/   

This is an amazing place for your spring portraits.  During the first few weeks of April, the azaleas are in bloom and they are breathtaking.  This small park features a fountain, benches, and stone walkways.  

4.       JC Raulston Arboretum – Raleigh http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum/index.php

This is a beautiful garden located near the NC State Fairgrounds.  It has interesting architecture, fountains, benches, and trellises.  There are many different kinds of flowering plants.  Spring and summer are the best times of year to visit.

5.       Duke Gardens – Durham http://gardens.duke.edu/

This is one of the most beautiful gardens in our entire state.  There is a wide variety of flowers and plants.  This garden has pretty stone walls and paths, benches, bridges, and boulders.  There is a pond with ducks as well as a grass field and several fountains.  The possibilities for portraits at the Duke Gardens are endless.  This garden is amazing any time of year.   Because of its distance and because the gardens charge a $50 fee to professional photographers, I charge an additional $75 fee to have a session at Duke Gardens.

6.       North Cary Park- Cary 


This park in northern Cary, off Harrison Avenue is a really fun place for portraits.  There are many interesting walkways and a very pretty grass field shaded by giant oak trees.  There is a quaint, shaded bridge that goes over a stream.  North Cary Park is pretty any time of year, but the fall color is gorgeous there.

7.       Downtown Apex  

If you’d like a downtown or urban feel to your portraits, this sweet little town has some neat streets and brick walls.  There is also a parked train caboose that is fun for kids to climb on.

8.       Seagroves Farm Park, -Apex- http://www.apexnc.org/services/parks-recreation-cultural-resources/park-facilities/seagroves-farm-park

This is a pretty little park just outside of downtown Apex.  There are pretty paths through woods, a nice bridge and a deck on the pond to walk on.  This spot is nice any time of year, but especially in the fall. Pairing Seagroves Farm Park with a visit to downtown Apex makes for a unique session.

9.       NC Museum of Art- Raleigh. http://ncartmuseum.org/

This art museum has some really interesting grounds for pictures.  There is a small pond with a deck, pathways, fields, and sculptures throughout.  This spot is nice for portraits year-round. 

10.   Historic Oak View Park- Southeast Raleigh http://www.wakegov.com/parks/oakview/Pages/default.aspx

This beautiful park is a best kept secret of Raleigh.  It’s an old farmstead and features fields, large oak trees, brick pathways, and historic farm buildings.  The park is amazing year-round, but especially pretty in the spring when the trees are flowering and in the fall with the leaves changing. 

11.    Fred Fletcher Park- Raleigh.  http://www.raleighnc.gov/arts/content/PRecRecreation/Articles/FletcherPark.html 

This pretty little park has some historic buildings, large oak trees, stone walls, and flowers that make a nice backdrop for portraits.  It’s the perfect place for portraits any time of year.

12.   Crowder Park- Apex http://www.wakegov.com/parks/crowder/Pages/default.aspx 

This adorable little park has some hidden, sweet spots for portraits.  There are some paved pathways, decks, bridges, and a beautiful pond.  The park also has a grassy field and large trees. 


Those are my favorite locations for photographs.  In case you didn't notice, most of them are located in the southern half of Wake County.  That's because I live in Fuquay Varina, so I'm most familiar with parks and locations in this area.  If you are considering family portraits this fall, I would love to talk to you about how I can help.  I am a newborn and family portrait photographer who serves Raleigh, Cary, Apex, and surrounding areas.  Fall is the perfect time of year for a family session because the leaves are beautiful and the holidays will be just around the corner, meaning time to think about Christmas cards and gifts.



shira falix(non-registered)
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Jody Mahoney(non-registered)
This is so helpful, Erica. I'm a Raleigh photographer and have needed some "location inspiration." I would also add to this list Joyner Park in Wake Forest. Large oak trees, stone walls, sprawling green grass, old tobacco barns.
Thank you!!!!
I found this very helpful. Do you provide classes for new photographers?
Thanks for posting. As a new photographer, this was helpful to me.
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