Contact Heather at 706-338-4414 for pictures of your family in any of these places!
As a professional family photographer in Athens GA, what I look for in a location for the best pictures is not only a pretty spot, but also the best light. I have a few spots that I think make the top 10 for prettiest locations and gorgeous lighting for your family photos, kid, child, dance, or fairytale portraits.
1. The UGA Botanical Garden – 2450 S Milledge Ave, Athens, GA 30606
The garden is a 313-acre preserve set aside by UGA in 1968 for the study and enjoyment of plants and nature. The Athens Botanical Gardens are where I think I shoot about 85% of all my sessions (even the fairies!). The locations are all different there. From huge rocks and benches to sit on, to stone walls and gates to lean on, to green grass lawns or tall grass fields to lounge in, the gardens pretty much have it all. Pathways to walk, creeks to stick your toes in, both wild and manicured areas. It’s so versatile. In the more managed sections there are flowers depending on the seasons, brick pathways and gazebos for shade. The wilder places have dirt paths through tall trees, but watch out for fire ants. I even go to the botanical gardens when I want to take my nature photos. This is a great place to come even if you’re not taking pictures. You might find me here volunteering in the children’s garden or birdwatching on my days without my camera. I also buy all my personal garden plants there at the Plantapalooza plant sale, and definitely don’t miss Insectival and the sunflower concerts in the summers.
2. The UGA Founder’s Garden – 325 S. Lumpkin St.Athens GA 30602
A living memorial to America’s first Garden Club, founded in Athens in 1891, the Founder’s Garden is a tiny gem in the middle of UGA. It’s little, but divided into 5 sections. The central area is a walled-in area with old bricks and iron benches, then the other 4 quadrants are lush lawns and flagstone pathways ending in arbors. The UGA Founder’s Garden is my absolute favorite place for family photos. My favorite thing about it is the iron gates. The lighting here is nothing short of magical every time I use it. It’s a bit of a pain to get to with no parking, but worth the walk, about 10 minutes from the famous UGA arches. The founder’s garden also has HUGE azalea shrubs and rose vines that bloom in the spring.
3. Ashford Manor – 5 Harden Hill Rd, Watkinsville, GA 30677
The property dates back to a purchase in the mid 1800’s. The original house is no longer standing, but the current house built in 1895 served as a bed and breakfast until 2019. Permission from the owners is required to be on the property. If you’re looking for natural beauty without walking much, this place is the winner. Azaleas and roses, canopies and a pool, a bamboo grove with cedar logs to sit on, stone walls and rock fountains, wrought iron benches and climbing vines.. the list goes on and on. Because of the water the mosquitoes are really rough in the hot summer months, but it’s utterly gorgeous anyway.
4. UGA North Campus –
Walk through the landmark Arch onto the original campus, highlighted by Greek Revival architecture, beautiful gardens and stately trees. When the University of Georgia was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly on January 27, 1785, Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university. The University of Georgia is well known for the beautifully gardened and maintained campus, and the Northern side of it nearer to Historic Downtown Athens GA is the prettiest spot. The architecture is really the first thing you notice here, with the huge marble columns and stone benches, but there are some natural nooks as well. Featuring four huge quads of buildings and lawns, two large fountains, several gates and many ivy covered walls, this is a must see. This is a fair walk from parking areas and around to the separate locations, but a great area to just be out and about. Of course, the famous UGA Arches are also on North Campus.
5. Historic Downtown Athens GA
The City of Athens was incorporated on December 8, 1806. The University of Georgia had opened for classes in 1801, and the city was named in honor of the center of higher learning that had flourished in classical Greece. In 1867, visiting naturalist John Muir described Athens as “a remarkably beautiful and aristocratic town,” where “marks of culture and refinement” were everywhere apparent. The antique brick buildings and colorful doorways make downtown Athens a great photo spot. There is always something new around every corner. Perfect for the modern family that wants something more urban, and great for dancers!
6. Downtown Watkinsville
Watkinsville first appeared in Clarke County records in 1791: only fifty-eight years after James Edward Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia. Downtown Watkinsville is a very unique mesh of urban and nature. You can get stairways, then 5 feet later you’re in a grassy field. Big churches, then right next door is an urban downtown sidewalk covered in shops. Lots of variety here and great for finding little out of the way places.
7. Thomas Orchards – 6091 Macon Hwy, Bishop, GA 30621
Thomas Orchards has been around since the late 1800’s and the nursery was started in 1996. The short peach trees are now gone, but is now a huge hay field. The actual store and nursery is right up the road and is an amazing spot to buy plants, peaches, jams, honey, home decor and their world famous peach ice cream.
8. Five Points Area in Athens
Five Points is a residential-ish neighborhood in Athens, Georgia, centered on the intersection of South Milledge Avenue, South Lumpkin Street, and Milledge Circle. It does have loads of housing, but it also has a sprawling nearly-urban shopping area peppered with a lot of big yards, parking areas, and trees. It’s pretty easy to get a lot of variety in a short time here, so it’s perfect for baby photos. The Fairyography studio is also located here, at 1720 S. Lumpkin St. Athens GA 30606
9. Chase St Park Warehouses – 160 Tracy St Athens, Georgia 30602
From condos to commercial properties, the historic cotton warehouse complex has a wide range looks for a photography session. The corrugated steel building sides give way to exposed brick, which is also right next door to a concrete plant. There’s lots of natural light and architectural detail including original post and beam construction. Fun round windows and interesting colors make the Chase st warehouses very unique to shoot in and around. Also home of the famous Tree Room!
10. Your own home
There’s nothing more unique to your family than your own house. From your backyard to your front porch, or your bed or even your bathtub as you can see above, there are always load of places to take stunning pictures. Home photos are even #1 on my list of the cutest places for baby photos!