top of page
  • Writer's pictureJordan Urbeck

The Gardens at SIUE: A Photography Hot Spot for a Reason

The Gardens at SIUE is the first photography spot I found when I first started over 6 years ago, and boy did I struck gold on the first try! The variety of landscapes, bridges, and well maintained grounds make this location a top pick for sure! And I'm not alone! Every time I have a session out at the Gardens I see at least 2 other photographers, and during peak times I could see 10-15. However, the beauty of this location is that it is so large and has so much beauty to offer that the large amount of people has never been an issue.

The only downside to this location is that it often involves a bit of walking. Certain spots take 10 or more minutes to get to, but there is plenty in a closer radius too. It would not be my first pick for those with mobility issues, but for most people the walk easy, and fun too!

Best Seasons

There's really no time of year that we can't find gorgeous views at the Gardens. Fall is definitely a popular time there, but isn't it everywhere? This location is not ideal in wet weather conditions, as it can get muddy quick.

Best Time of Day

I'm a sucker for golden hour shoots just before sun set, but I have never had a problem finding the right spot at any time of day at The Gardens. There is plenty of shade, as well as an abundance of open space, so no matter what time you are looking for a session, this place can accommodate!

What to wear

Anything goes at The Gardens! Nuetrals, colors, it all looks good against the natural backdrop. I would recommend sensible shoes due to the walking. Most shoes are fine, but anything with a heel could get uncomfortable. I have had clients bring slip ons for walking and switch to heels once we find out spot. If you need any help deciding on colors/patterns/outfits, I am always happy to help!


Hi friend! I am Jordan Urbeck of Iris and Opal Photography, a family, portrait, and event photographer located in Gillespie, IL and serving clients throughout the STL Metro region. I believe vibrant colors, genuine interactions, and creative storytelling bring photos to life and hold tangible memories. I aim to make every session an easy and positive experience so that your time with me feels more like a fun outing than a photoshoot. I can't wait to connect with you!


bottom of page