You're looking for Pittsburgh's best photo locations for family portraits, senior pictures, engagement photos, or any other type of outdoor photography from nature photography to people photography. You came to the right place because this list has got you covered!
No matter where you're located or what you want for your background this guide will tell you the best place to create your perfect Pittsburgh photographs. I've broken down Pittsburgh's best photography locations by type and location below. If you're looking for an urban background in the North Hills we've got you covered. If you're looking for a nature background in the East End you're all set.
Best Photography Locations
The following are the best photography locations in and around Pittsburgh by location from natural to urban. If you're looking for natural areas check out the first list. If you're looking for urban backgrounds check the second list.
Pittsburgh's Best All-around Nature Photo Backgrounds
If you're looking for Pittsburgh's best all-around nature photo backgrounds no matter where in or around the city you are then this list is for you.
- Phipps Conservatory - Phipps is one of the most beautiful places in Pittsburgh for photography. The only catch is that if you're paying for photos you need to get a permit. Still, Phipps is incredible and getting a permit means a private photo session without anyone else disturbing you so it's well worth it if you're getting professional photos.
- Pittsburgh Botanic Garden - Another really incredible spot that has gorgeous landscapes and photo backgrounds no matter what time of year you go is Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Just make sure you follow their rules. The great news is that they don't charge for professional photo sessions but they do ask you to be courteous to other visitors. We've never had any issues photographing there. PBG is located near Robinson and Settler's Cabin Park.
- Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve - Audubon Society of Pennsylvania has three great locations around Pittsburgh full of great natural scenes including Beechwood Farms.
- Frick Park - Frick is an incredible park that I've listed next to last because you can find a combination of urban and natural photography settings in Frick Park. While most of Frick doesn't have manicured gardens, if that's your thing, the area around the entrance by the Frick Environmental Center. That said Frick also has a really wide variety of settings from creek and wetlands to meadows and deep forests.
- Mellon Park - If you're really looking for more manicured photo backgrounds Mellon is a great spot right in the east end off of 5th Ave in Shadyside. Parts of the park are also falling apart which provides it's own aesthetic.
- Allegheny Cemetery - While it may seem really strange to do family photos in a cemetery there are a lot of beautiful spots in Allegheny Cemetery where you won't have graves in the background unless that's what you're looking for. There are ponds and wooded areas as well as the beautiful gates. Just be sure to call or reach out to them to get permission.
- North Park - With it's lakes, creeks, and walking trails North Park is a really great and diverse place to find great areas to take photos. It's a favorite spot of mine to create nature photos and portraits.
- Hartwood Acres - Though the Mansion is closed most of 2021 (and maybe beyond) the grounds at Hartwood Acres are great for photography. Just be aware that a lot of other people take photos there - so much so that the county has talked about implementing a photography permit which would have fees attached. If you're just out taking photos for non-commercial purposes it shouldn't affect you but if you're looking to do any commercial photos check the permit situation.
- Winnie Palmer Nature Preserve - This one is last on the list because it's way out in Latrobe PA but if you're in the Greensburg area it's a great option. In fact there are a few spots out that way which are wonderful for nature photography as well as portraits of all sorts but Winnie Palmer NP is by far my favorite.
Pittsburgh's Best All-around Urban Photo Backgrounds
- Mellon Park - I know, I already mentioned Mellon but because of the recent building boom around Bakery Square it's in a really great place to get a nice mix of nature and modern urban backgrounds. It's proximity to Shadyside which has a lot of private houses that have lush street-facing gardens also gives you a fun mix.
- The Strip District - Nowhere beats the Strip District in my opinion. From the Terminal to the newest urban buildings, the riverfront trail and the 16th Street Bridge, the Strip has loads of interesting walls, murals, streetscapes, parking garages, and everything else you could ever want for an urban backdrop. The city's skyline is (still mostly) visible from a lot of places in the Strip so no matter the look you're going for the Strip is the place to find it.
- The Northshore - The Northshore gives you some distance between you and downtown. There are also a lot of buildings set back from the river and the entire place is set up for lots of people to walk around and take photos. Views of the city and especially the Point's fountain are great from near the Carnegie Science Center and Heinz Field. There are also sculptures and lots of bridges to take photos on or around.
- Southside - The Southside from Station Square to the Hot Metal Bridge has a really wide verity of photography locations. The Highline, one of the newest, is a great spot as is the river trail and parts of Southside Works. If more gritty urban stuff is your cup of tea then hit the area between Station Square and 10th Street.
- Downtown Pittsburgh - from Market Square to the Convention Center downtown is full of great photo locations. When there isn't a global pandemic happening the Cultural District is bustling and full of people and bright lights. There are darker and dirty spots in and around some alleys still but the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has done a lot of very cool public art projects and turned a lot of formerly dank passages into vibrant art-filled spots that are great for photographers.
Other Pittsburgh Photography Locations
Pittsburgh, like everywhere else is brimming with great places to take amazing photos and there are a lot of other Pittsburgh photography locations that I didn't mention. This list is really full of my favorites but I've asked a lot of other photographers and many agree with these choices. What is your favorite location? Shoot me a message and let me know!