Portrait Photos at Cranbrook Gardens

The scenic gardens, iconic artwork, and other natural and tended outdoor spaces at Cranbrook Gardens are now available as an unforgettable backdrop for your family, engagement, wedding, senior, and other portrait photos! 

All portrait photography at Cranbrook Gardens requires a paid reservation. Revenue from photography sessions helps support our nonprofit organization. Visitors who simply want to view the grounds may enjoy a self-guided visit at no charge during open hours.

Photograph of a family in the Sunken Garden.

Portrait Photography FAQs 

Why do I need a reservation? 
As a National Historic Landmark with students and residents on campus, portrait photography is only permitted in select areas and for safety, must follow our campus and photography policies. Additionally, we host internal and special events on our grounds which may conflict with an unscheduled visit.

What does my reservation provide? 
Your reservation includes use of the exterior grounds and gardens surrounding Cranbrook House for up to 2 hours of photography. Popular areas include the Sunken Garden, the Reflecting Pool lawns, Turtle Fountain, the Japanese Garden, and the Cranbrook House Courtyard. 

Is my session private?  
Sessions are not private. The Gardens remain open to the public for touring during all scheduled sessions. Although there may be visitors exploring the gardens during your session, yours should be the only portrait photo session happening during the scheduled time. Please do not hold locations or hinder visitor access to walkways.

Can I use any indoor areas? 
No indoor areas are available. One reschedule will be permitted for severe weather at a mutually agreed time within the same calendar year.

Do I need to hire/bring a photographer? 
Yes, Cranbrook does not provide photographers. You may use an amateur or professional photographer during your session.

How many people can attend?  
To maintain the integrity of our historic grounds and retain access for other visitors, the maximum group size we permit is 16 people (not including your photographer).

How much is a session? 
1-4 people being photographed: $300
5-10 people being photographed: $500
11-16 people being photographed: $700

Sessions may not exceed 16 people (not including the photographer)

Each session is for a 2-hour block of time. 

If you are a Cranbrook Schools high school senior, Cranbrook employee, or current Cranbrook Schools family, please do not book online, email: photos@cranbrook.edu for accommodation.

When are sessions offered?
Sessions are offered at select times from April through November. Please visit our Events Calendar to view and book an upcoming session. 

How do I book a session? 
Registration closes three business days in advance of each session at 9:00am. Please click the registration button at the bottom of this page to reserve your photography session. Only one client is booked per offered time. Please be sure to book the correct group size attending the session.

Are homecoming/prom photos permitted?
Homecoming/prom photography is only permitted for Cranbrook Schools students. 

Who can I contact?  
For questions about our photography policies or help with booking a photo session, please contact our Events Department at 248.645.3164 or photos@cranbrook.edu

Where do I park?
Parking is available in our main lot and on Lone Pine Road. Parking is permitted in marked spaces only. Large vehicles must use the BUS DROP OFF area due to clearance limitations under our bridge. Please do not park vehicles in the Cranbrook House Courtyard.

Are the grounds accessible?
Cranbrook House & Gardens is a historic facility preserved and maintained as closely as possible to its original design. As such, there are certain natural and artificial surface conditions, such as grass, wood chips, stones, stairs, steep slopes, and uneven terrain which can make walking and use of a wheelchair difficult. Assistance for persons using wheelchairs or walkers is recommended.  For more information on accessibility, please click here.

If the weather is poor, can I reschedule my session?
Sessions should be held rain or shine unless the weather threatens safety. In case of severe weather, your session can be rescheduled, no indoor areas may be used. Should you need to reschedule your session for severe weather, you must notify us prior to the session time via an email to photos@cranbrook.edu. Your same size session will be rescheduled for no additional fee at a time to be determined by Cranbrook in the same calendar year. Any part of a session taken will be considered completed in full. 

What if I need to cancel my session time? 
Due to the limited availability of these session times, all bookings are non-refundable but may be transferred to friends or family for the same date and time. In the rare event of severe weather that poses a safety risk to everyone involved, fees may be transferred to another date and time as determined by Cranbrook. Please contact us at photos@cranbrook.edu

2024 Portrait Photo Schedule*

Spring: April 15 - May 31
Monday - Friday
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Saturday & Sunday
8:00am - 10:00am
1:00pm - 3:00pm
4:00pm - 6:00pm
6:30pm - 8:30pm

Early Summer: June 1 - July 31
Monday - Sunday (everyday)
8:00am - 10:00am (Saturday morning may not be offered due to programming)
2:00pm - 4:00pm
4:30pm - 6:30pm
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Late Summer: August 1 - September 1
Monday - Sunday (everyday)
8:00am - 10:00am (Saturday morning may not be offered due to programming)
1:00pm - 3:00pm
4:00pm - 6:00pm
6:30pm - 8:30pm

Fall Season: September 2 - November 2
Monday - Thursday
4:30pm - 6:30pm

Friday – Sunday
8:00am - 10:00am
2:00pm - 4:00pm
4:30pm - 6:30pm

End of Season: November 3 - November 24
Monday – Friday
3:30pm - 5:30pm

Saturday & Sunday
8:00am - 10:00am
12:00pm - 2:00pm
3:00pm - 5:00pm

Please Note: The session times are not customizable and the schedule is subject to change. Session time is to be booked for photography only, no other activities should take place during your session time. Campus Security will patrol the grounds throughout the day.

*The Gardens are winterized in early October. Annuals will be removed, fountains turned off, and sculptures may be covered during April, May, October, and November sessions. In order to preserve the historic paths and flowerbeds, Cranbrook does not permit photo sessions at the Gardens in the colder months as the gardens are not maintained for ice and snow.

Book an Upcoming Photography Session

By registering for a photography session, you agree to the photography, refund, insurance, and other policies stated on our Photography Session Terms and Conditions page.

Portrait Photographer Directory

View a directory of local photographers you are welcome to contact to take your portraits at Cranbrook Gardens. This new directory consists of paid listings. You do not have to use one of these photographers for your portrait photo session.

Portrait photo of a senior at Cranbrook House & Gardens.

Advertising Opportunities

Photographers: Purchase an ad on our Portrait Photographer Directory webpage to be seen by more potential clients while supporting your local National Historic Landmark!

Portrait photograph of a person in the Sunken Garden.

Photo Credits (From Top to Bottom)
Photo by Futurewave Images.

Photo by Naturally Photography by Monni.

Photo by Nicole Rollin Photography.

Photo by Leon Halip Photography.

Photo by Dianne Scafone Photography.