Philly is a city of contrasts. It’s the juxtaposition of these contrasts that give the city it’s character and make it so incredibly stunning. Beautiful murals, lush woods, skyscrapers, statues, littered streets, arboretums, winding bike paths, two rivers, multiple museums, city parks, brick rowhomes, graffiti…the list goes on.
When people ask me for location ideas for family photo sessions it’s almost overwhelming. In all honesty, there isn’t a bad spot in the city to photograph. Philly is really one of the most photogenic clients I’ve ever had. And no matter what vibe you’re going for – floral-filled park, urban setting, industrial, small town main street, woods, water, wheat fields…Philadelphia has the perfect backdrop for any family photography session. I could go on and on about how gorgeous this city is. I love it so much. But I’ll spare you. You live here, you know how lovely, beautiful and gritty this city is. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect.
With that being said, I thought I would feature some of my favorite locations in Philadelphia for family photography throughout some upcoming posts. If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a family session, or a session with your partner, or maybe even your family pet, hopefully you can get some inspiration here.
Forbidden Drive – Wissahickon Valley Park
This session was done at my absolute, all-time favorite location in Philadelphia – Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon. If you are unfamiliar with the Wissahickon Valley Park trail’s Forbidden Drive, it’s a 7 mile stretch of gravel trail in the Northwest part of the city that runs along the Wissahickon Creek. The area was used by the Lenni Lanape for hunting and fishing and was later industrialized with numerous logging mills. The park is now a national landmark and lined with dense forest, streams, rocks, and single-track trails that lead up to the gorge that overlooks the creek. Forbidden Drive is extremely popular with equestrians, mountain bikers, runners and hikers.
I fell in love with Forbidden Drive the moment we accidentally stumbled upon it about a week after we moved to Philadelphia in 2008. And when we purchased our first home in Mount Airy, our major request was quick access to the trails. I’ve spent countless hours running and biking there through the years. We even had our own family photos taken there when Quinn was 8 months old.
And even though we moved out to the suburbs a few years ago, I often drive out to meet friends to run there or take the girls to feed the ducks. To have such a stunning park within such a large city is truly a gift and also the perfect location to capture a beautiful family – like Monique and Brett – as they excitedly await the arrival of their first child.
While we were planning this session, we threw around a few locations ideas. They wanted a spot that was beautiful, of course, but also a place where they could easily incorporate their pups in the shoot. (Yes, please!)
When Monique suggested Forbidden Drive, I was so excited and knew it would be the perfect spot to capture some gorgeous images.
We scheduled pretty early on a Saturday morning – 6:00am to be exact. This way, we were able to beat the July heat, and all the Saturday morning running clubs, cyclists and dog walkers. When we arrived, there as only one other car in the lot and we had the perfect blend of sweet morning light and an empty park all to ourselves. We were in and out within an hour – just as the parking lot filled up – and we were able to capture some beautiful moments with these excited first-time parents-to-be.
And their pups were pretty sweet, too.
If you’d like to learn how we can create some beautiful imagery in the Wissahickon or anywhere else in the city, just shoot me a message. I love exploring Philadelphia and the surrounding areas and would love to do it with you!