Photography, Photography Tips and Tricks

May 26, 2017

Three Syracuse Parks You Don’t Want to Miss

After booking a session, one of the first questions I’m usually asked is, “Where should we take our photos?”  The great news is that there are TONS of excellent photo shoot locations in the Central New York region!  But while I love to travel, there are also a few gems right in our own backyard that often get overlooked.  Today I’m showing you three of my all-time favorite Syracuse parks and why they are great for photos!  

Number One: Thornden Park

Thornden Park was one of the first places I ever visited in Syracuse.  When Caleb was in graduate school at SUNY Upstate he lived one block from the park and so we would go there all the time for picnics.  The park is full of variety, making it a fun place to explore and a great location for photos.  Some of my favorite places in Thornden Park are the E. M. Mills Rose Garden, the amphitheater, and lily pond.  This park has the feel of a private garden, but is located right in the University area of Syracuse. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • The roses usually reach their peak around the middle of June, so keep that in mind when scheduling your photo session.  
  • Thornden Park is also a great location for winter photos, due to the stone buildings and structures.  The amphitheater is especially beautiful in the snow!
  • Bottom Line:  Real-life secret garden.
Thornden Park, Syracuse parks, amphitheater, Syracuse photography

This is the amphitheater in winter. In the summer the amphitheater is home to Shakespear in the Park, which is why I wasn’t able to get a shot of it this week.

Syracuse parks, Thornden Park, E. M. Mills Rose Garden, rose garden, Syracuse photography

Here is a photo of my family at the E. M. Mills Rose Gardens a few years ago. It was Father’s Day weekend and the roses were at their peak!

Syracuse Parks, Thornden Park, lily pond, Syracuse photography

The lily pond garden is another great spot for photos, and is often less busy than the rose garden. 

Number Two: Onondaga Park

If you read my post about Elizabeth’s 18 month photos, you already know that I love Onondaga Park.  This park is located on the top of a hill in the Strathmore neighborhood and has some of the most gorgeous lighting in the city!  If you’re looking for open spaces and a light and airy feel to your photos, this the park for you!  Plus, the lovely lake, gazebo, and stone bridges don’t hurt either! 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Since this park is located at the top of a hill, it has an amazing view of Syracuse University and the hospitals. 
  • You don’t want to miss the boat house on the far side of the lake!  The brick building and arches photograph beautifully and provide some extra variety.
  • Bottom line: Bright, airy, and romantic. 
Onondaga Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography

The lighting just before sunset is gorgeous!

Onondaga Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography

There are beautiful stone features throughout the park, including this bridge.

Onondaga Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography

You can’t beat this view!

Number Three: Franklin Square Park

I have to say, I’m not a city person at all, but I LOVE Franklin Square Park!  It took me two years to finally visit it and now it’s one of my all-time favorite places in Syracuse.  Despite the fact that it’s just a minute from I-81, the park feels incredibly secluded.  It has a great urban feel, with large industrial brick buildings, wrought iron fences, and a beautiful fountain in the center. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • The buildings surrounding the park are beautiful themselves , so don’t forget to walk down some of the side streets!
  • Despite all the brick, there is actually a large amount of lawn in the center of the park. 
  • Bottom line: Urban, yet secluded. 
Franklin Square Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography, Samantha Ludlow Photography

There is always something flowering in Franklin Square, which adds a softer feel to all the brick.

Franklin Square Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography, Samantha Ludlow Photography

The fountain is in the center of the park. Bordering it are trellis-covered walkways and benches.

Franklin Square Park, Syracuse parks, Syracuse photography, Samantha Ludlow Photography

The brick buildings around the park make stunning backdrops for photos.

As you can see, the location of a session can have a large impact on the overall feel of the images.  From urban, to open fields, to quiet gardens – Syracuse parks have it all!  So the next time you’re thinking of having your photos taken (or just want to go on a picnic!), hopefully this post will help you find the location you’re looking for.  


**I still have a few dates available for summer sessions!  Contact me for more information!**

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