Olbrich Botanical Gardens is mere steps from our studio in Madison, Wisconsin and is honored as one of the most inspiring gardens in North America. 

At Olbrich there are endless backdrops that lend themselves to creating truly inspired portraiture, and it’s one of our favorite outdoor portrait and wedding locations in Wisconsin.

Walking through Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ Meadow Garden looks and feels like taking a stroll through an English garden, and we love following an adventurous toddler as they explore the flowering bulbs or placing a preciously wrapped newborn in a basket among the fescue grasses in the warm summer months.

One of our favorite areas is the Thai Pavilion and Garden. The gold leaf etchings trailing over 30 feet high above the intricate Thai Garden provides an interesting architectural backdrop ideal for senior portraits, an engagement session, or even a professional business headshot. The beautiful structures and art combine with the lush, tropical garden, who would imagine a bamboo oasis in Wisconsin!

Two acres of roses usually begin to bloom in June in Olbrich Botanical Garden’s Rose Garden. These blend with ornamental trees, annual and spring-blooming bulbs. The vibrant colors and the fragrance are about as romantic as it gets, but also a fun place for formal family or wedding portraits.

The calm, cool, feeling of the Sunken Garden is reminiscent of a Versailles-style garden with its shrub hedge enclosure and symmetrical design. There is a gorgeous 80-foot long reflection pool, and we find that clients enjoy the laid-back vibe of the oldest garden at Olbrich.

Perhaps the best thing about doing portrait sessions or having your wedding at Olbrich Botanical Gardens is that it provides outstanding backdrops year-round. In the Event Garden, there are striking spring and summer annuals, repeat-blooming shrub roses mixed with vibrant perennials. This is a fantastic spot for those annual family portraits and a great spot for capturing kids with lots of benches and places to sit.

We find that some clients don’t like to sit still; they want to walk and adventure. Sometimes it’s a curious toddler who is captivated by the colors or a couple who has never had formal portraits taken before and aren’t sure how to ‘pose’ for the camera. The Birch Walk at Olbrich Botanical Gardens is the perfect place for this. Lush and shady, and filled with flowering bulbs and perennials we can stroll and take photos with ease. 

While truly any location at Olbrich is perfectly suited for just about any portrait session, there is something extra romantic about the Wildflower Garden. Perhaps it’s the blossoming cherry trees framing the bridge over the creek or the lush emerald ferns enveloped in the menagerie of wildflowers which remind us of a hand-tied wedding bouquet, but the Wildflower Garden feels like pure love and we adore taking clients there.

The key to creating inspired, amazing portraiture is the magic of finding locations that suit our client’s personality, helping them relax and feel comfortable so we can capture who they are really. Olbrich Botanical Gardens is a location that is pure cinematic magic and we’d love to take your family, your children, or your almost-ready-to-graduate-senior on a stroll through the park. 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens Family Snuggles